Breakups are never easy. But it is an experience many of us have to go through at some point in our life. The end of a relationship can do a number on the self, and more so if you’re married. It can flip your world upside down and trigger a range of emotions. While some people quickly accept the demise of a relationship and move on, but some people are at greater risk. Unfortunately, more often than not, women are prone to depression.
As you spend time together, the lines between you and your partner become blurred; your self-concept and partner-concept become inextricably intertwined. So, it’s no surprise that when a relationship ends, people experience self-confusion and self-contraction. Clearly, this can be a heartbreaking time, and it can feel as if your world is falling apart. But while sadness and a heightened emotional state are normal reactions are a breakup, it’s important to recognise what you’re dealing with.
Firstly, you’ll need to understand that there is such a thing as healthy and unhealthy symptoms of a breakup. Healthy symptoms of a breakup may include:
- Anger and frustration
- Crying and sadness
- Loss of interest in activities
The above symptoms may be troublesome, but your emotional state will improve little by little as you adjust to life without your partner. The amount of time it takes to heal varies for each person, so be patient. But there are certain things that are warning signs you’re wallowing too much. And that includes:
- Isolating yourself
- Checking up on your ex obsessively
- Cutting everything that even remotely reminds you of your ex out of your life, including those that made you happy
- You can’t stop dwelling on the good parts of the relationship
- Letting your ex string you along
Of course, there is no strict rule for how long a breakup should affect you or exactly when you should start dating again. In any case, see a doctor or professional if your symptoms (both healthy and unhealthy) don’t start to improve in three to six weeks. Depending on the severity of depression after a breakup, your doctor may recommend counselling or psychotherapy to help you cope with your feelings, especially if you have had suicidal thoughts.
Yet, if you’re not ready to talk about what you’re going through (though I still highly recommend you do so as early as possible), there are a few alternative ways to cope with your heartbreak that don’t involve professional help.
Focus on rebuilding yourself
It’s time to try new things and spend time with new people. Individuals who do not make progress on redefining and rediscovering themselves experience poorer psychological well-being and post-breakup adjustment on a week-to-week basis. One of the most important actions you can take to heal post-breakup is to expose yourself more to new challenges and experiences. Make a bucket list of things that can push you out of your comfort zone (i.e. travelling, picking up new hobbies). If you are not sure what to try, then start by shifting your focus on to your personal goals/ ambitions/career.
Break the ties.
As hard as it might be, breaking up by actually breaking up may help post-relationship adjustment. Maintaining contact with a new ex-partner delays sadness recovery and slows the (much needed) decline in love. And most likely, your attempts to rediscover and rebuild yourself are blocked when a former partner is still actively part of your life.
Pick up exercising
Stressful life events, like a breakup, produce a variety of depressive-like symptoms that can be difficult to manage. And thankfully, it is scientifically proven that physical activity can serve as an effective intervention (it increases your body’s production of endorphins), disrupting the link between such stressful life events and their potential consequences such as sleep issues, difficulty concentrating and mood problems. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity at least three times a week.
Getting the right support
Getting through a breakup is easier when you receive support from family and friends. It is alright to take time to properly grief the relationship. But you don’t have to go through this alone. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you. If you’re feeling lonely or scared, call a loved one and make social plans. If possible, avoid negative people who may judge or criticize you. This can worsen your condition and make it harder for you to heal after a breakup.
Above all, remember: Don’t be too hard on yourself and have patience with the process of getting over them as it will take time. A broken heart doesn’t make you unlovable. At this moment in time, you are healing. But remind yourself to be open when love presents itself again.