It's easy to feel lost and drained when ending a long-term relationship that wasn't chosen by you. It can seem like your world is crashing down around you, that there is no comfort in sight and that the pain of the split will never truly be released.
So how can we cope knowing that a cherished relationship has been severed? The first step: acknowledging what happened. This can be a tough one, especially when the breakup was out of our control. To move forward, however, it's important to process what happened, to accept it and to make peace with the situation. For some, this means spending time alone in introspection and journaling, talking through it with a trusted friend or even seeing a therapist.
At first, it may be hard to accept the split. We may ask ourselves repeatedly why it happened, what could be done differently, or try to convince the other person to stay. These questions keep us stuck in endless rumination and may distract us from accepting what happened and understanding why it had to be. Even if it wasn’t our choice, we need to give ourselves the time and space to understand why and move on.
We also need to take extra special care of ourselves at this time. Exercise, find ways to move and challenge yourself, nourish your body with healthy foods, reach out to a support network, strive for connection in the best way possible, etc.
Creating small goals or minor achievable tasks can help us to take back control of our life. Focusing on finding meaning and purpose for ourselves in the wake of the split can restore meaning and wellbeing. After all, we are still here, and life is about learning lessons and growing from our experiences – both good and bad. In times of grief, self-compassion is essential.
Enduring a break up that wasn't our fault can be incredibly difficult. As humans, we're often left feeling powerless over our own emotions and attempts to heal. Yet there is hope. By creating a safe place to explore our feelings, forgiveness and acceptance can blossom and then eventually lead to a path of growth and healing.
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