“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
~ Brené Brown
My clients have often heard me say that walking away from someone you love is the hardest thing you may ever do.
I want you to know that the hurt and pain you are feeling is totally expected-even when you’re the one that ended the relationship.
It’s important not to make any emotional decisions right now.
Often, we are so overwhelmed by the sadness, loneliness, and pain of a breakup, that we will do anything to make that pain stop. This often results in pleas to get back together, late night texts when the loneliness hits, or physical intimacy.
It’s hard to know if you really want your ex, or if you just really, REALLY don’t want to feel like this.
Continued outreach to your ex is likely going to mess with your clarity. Remember, you broke it off with him for a reason.
I liken the end of a relationship to the process of a chemical detox; our brain is being deprived of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin when we remove one of their main sources-interacting with a person we love.
So, when we are no longer connected with our partner, our brain is left longing for these “hits of happiness” that it’s used to receiving.
This is the pain, sadness, and depression that you’re probably feeling right now. There are other, (healthier) ways to give your brain hits of happiness at this time:
2. Connect with a friend or family member.
Not only will this serve as a nice distraction, but your brain will also appreciate the connection with another human that you care about.
If you’re talking to a friend about your ex, notice how you feel at the end of the conversation. Is it helpful? Does it bring up lots of tough emotions?
Adjust topics accordingly. And please ask for what you need (to vent, to have an ally in trash talking, to be distracted, to process feelings, etc). Your support person will appreciate the guidance.
3. Walk away from your phone/social media.
It’s best to put some distance between you and your ex when you’re feeling regret, deep sadness, or overcome with emotion. This is to help ensure you’re making decisions from a grounded, not emotional, place.
Any time you’re reminded of your ex on Insta, you put your brain (and heart) through a LOT of turmoil. Try to avoid it.
3. Take good care of you.
Your body, spirit, mental health. You’re going through an impossible time right now, so treat yourself with extra TLC. Fuel your body with exercise, relaxation, and healthy foods to boost your reserves at this trying time.
4. Don’t judge your feelings.
Allow yourself to feel them, without any judgment, fixing, or minimizing. When we give space for our feelings and don’t try to “fix them” (spoiler: they don’t need fixing because there’s nothing wrong with them), we can begin to process and heal. .
Try setting a timer for five minutes and turn your attention to your body. What do you notice and feel? Allow it to just be.
Lindsey Brock, LCSW, LCASA – www.thebreakuptherapist.com
Every time we break up with someone, no matter if it’s a relationship that is just starting or is a long term relationship with the person you thought you were going to grow old with, you inevitably go through a grief process.
Maybe you are asking yourself, why I still miss him, if I was the one breaking it off? Or why I still miss him, if I know this is not the person for me?
The thing is that it is not always about the person, but about the expectations you create around him and around the possibility of the relationship.
During the time you are with them, and especially at the beginning, you might have idealized your partner to accommodate them to your idea of the right partner and to create the relationship you want, or at least that you think you want.
So, you create expectations, that sometimes the other person is not able or willing to fulfill, and what you mourn is what you couldn’t have, you mourn the possibility, not the reality of the person or the relationship.
Some other times, you might genuinely love that person, but you might have grown in different directions, or it has become a toxic relationship, so you end up getting the courage to break it off, but your feelings won’t go away as fast as your mind would like.
That is normal, and if you don’t want to go back to the same situation over and over, you need to remember the reasons why you made the decision of terminating the relationship.
They say that “time cures everything” and with that they are referring to the time that the grief process takes.
You need to give yourself time and allow yourself to go through the grief process with all its stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).
Ask the people around you for help and support and take care of yourself doing things that are beneficial for you, such as working out, hobbies, eating well and sleeping well.
And finally, be compassionate to yourself.
Allow yourself to feel any emotion that might show up, accept that it is a process and trust that you will be able to get through it and find the right person for you.
Viviana Vethencourt, MS, LMHC – www.sstherapyandconsulting.com
There are times that we find ourselves in relationships that are not healthy. We break it off, knowing that relationship is simply not working.
While we know it was the best choice, there is a chance that we still end up missing them.
As we grieve the relationship it can be difficult to cope with the resulting feelings of being alone, loneliness, anger, sadness, emptiness, etc.
It can be a struggle to move forward when difficult feelings become overwhelming. It can be a struggle to cope with how we thought the relationship was supposed to go and what we thought the future might hold.
Here are a few ideas for coping with a break-up:
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
It is important to acknowledge and validate your feelings. Even if the relationship did not work and you ended it, there was once a relationship and a person whom you are going to miss at times. And that is okay.
2. Allow yourself time to grieve.
Healing is a process and healing takes time. Allow yourself to cry, talk with supportive friends, consult a counselor, and give yourself time to heal.
3. Practice mindful self care.
It can be easy to feel sorry for ourselves and forget to take care of ourselves after a breakup. Practice self care– exercise, eat well, buy yourself that coffee in the morning, book a spa day, or take a bath with your favorite essential oils or bath bomb!
4. Learn to enjoy spending time with yourself.
Get to know you. Try journaling, walking, cooking, gardening, spending time outside, reading, and traveling are just a few examples of ways to get to know yourself and how to find peace spending time with just you!
While its normal for break-ups to be difficult, if you find your feelings consuming and experience a continued impact on your daily life please contact a therapist.
Amanda Ackerman, LMHC, NCC – www.sstherapyandconsulting.com
You broke up with your man and now are missing him.
You may be asking yourself, why or did I make the right choice, or maybe if I am missing him that means I should try and get back together with him?
These are common questions or thoughts that we have when a relationship has come to an end.
The reality is that it is okay to miss your man after a breakup.
When the relationship first comes to an end you might feel relieved because things had gotten so toxic or you were totally checked out.
When you have had some time to cool off or remove yourself from the push/pull of the relationship you feel better and can look at the past through a different lens.
It is easy to cultivate desire and longing when the person is gone from your life.
So you jump from missing him to then remembering why you left in the first place. As I said before it is normal and okay to have the mix of emotions, validate all of them. Just because you might be missing what once was, it does not mean you should, nor you do want to get back together.
When things come to an end, we grieve.
Ending a relationship means there has a been a loss and you miss those parts of your life.
- Ask yourself what am I really missing?
- Allow yourself to grieve?
Usually what you are missing is not about your ex but just about parts of your life that are no longer or things that you two did specifically that you currently are not doing anymore.
You may be missing connection, intimacy, filling the boredom, and having a partner to talk too. This is why I said it’s okay to be missing your man, but it doesn’t mean you should get back together.
We thrive in healthy connection with others.
- Instead of asking yourself why am I missing my man?
- Ask instead, how to fill the void or pain in healthy ways?
- What can I do that helps me grieve and then focus on how to create and cultivate a feeling of aliveness?
Do not just jump into another relationship, learn about yourself first.
- You may want to check him out on social media, you may want to text or meet for coffee, just ask yourself first, what am I really looking for?
- And is this an act of self-love?
Lastly, sometimes we miss our man because we are holding on to who he use to be.
When we reminisce, we think about the good parts and the person who we were first attracted to or fell in love with.
Remember with grief and loss we tend to idealize the past instead of seeing it for what it was.
Remind yourself to honor all parts of the past and the relationship not just the good parts. Remind yourself to see your ex for who they are today not just a version of who they were in the past.
Also, instead of focusing so much on him, focus on you and what is in your control.
- What have you learned about yourself?
- What have you learned about relationships?
- What do you want moving forward?
- What are healthy ways to take care of yourself while you are healing?
- What are healthy boundaries for you in relationships?
Here are the quick tips:
- Validate all your emotions
- It’s okay to grieve and miss your man
- Ask yourself, what am I really missing?
- What are your healthy outlets to help you heal?
- See the relationship for what is was-don’t idealize!
- See your ex for who they are today not an old version or hold on to a vision of who you want them to be.
- What is in your control?
- What have you learned about yourself?
- Don’t forget to smile and appreciate all of life’s lessons.
Monica Burton, MS LMFT – www.monicaburtonlmft.com
So you have broken up with someone, and now you miss him.
When you break up with someone, you will experience various stages of grief, even though it was your choice to end the relationship.
You may move between feelings of anger, depression, questioning, denial, and acceptance.
Just because you question your choice does not mean that you made the wrong decision.
It is normal to have ambivalent feelings about any big change in your life. Accept the fact that you are going to have some discomfort, and allow yourself to go through it
Try to remember why you broke up with him in the first place.
There were probably many good reasons that led you to that decision. Unless you are playing games and hoping he will beg you to come back, you probably broke up as a last resort when the bad outweighed the good.
After a break up, we have to be willing to sit with our feelings and go through them.
Feelings have a beginning, middle, and an end. Almost every feeling that you have ever had has changed at some point, and the grief around the loss of someone that you once loved will also change.
While you may never forget him or some of the things you loved about him, you will get over it.
Give it time. Get busy with new activities and new people in your life. Develop new interests, and keep yourself busy with constructive activities. Develop new parts of yourself.
When it comes to relationships, it is easy to forget the pain and harder to forget the things that you loved. If you find that you are second-guessing yourself, try to remember why you broke up, and that you have chosen not to go through that particular painful situation again.
There’s no way of avoiding pain in relationships, but if you have encountered a deal breaker, you must end the relationship in order to live your best life.
Some examples of deal breakers include active addiction, physical abuse, emotional abuse, or someone who is not willing to join you in working out the issues in the relationship.
Sometimes you have to leave someone in order to get yourself back.
There is no one worth losing yourself for. Ultimately, the relationship you have with yourself is more important than any relationship you have with a man, and you owe it to yourself to put that first.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
- Ever broken it off with someone and then started missing them?
- Missing them so much that you are now wondering if you made the right choice?
- Missing them so much that you are reconsidering?
If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few thoughts that might help.
Remember why you broke up with him.
Chances are you thought this through. And you can usually trust your intuition. Review why you made your choice and remind yourself that you can trust your inner guidance.
If you didn’t think this through and are wondering about it now, make a pros/cons list.
- What are the pros/cons of staying in a relationship with him?
- What are the pros/cons of not being in a relationship with him?
- Which side of your list carries more weight?
Remember that it is okay to feel lonely. It is okay to feel “alone.” Feelings come and go. This one will pass too.
If you just want to get him off of your mind for a bit, you can try some distraction techniques–read, listen to a book, watch a move, exercise, do a meditation, cook a meal, reach out to a friend.
If you don’t have a “feel good” list of things to turn to, make one of these lists.
Put things on this list that will always make you laugh, smile, and feel good. And then try something on it.
If you’d like to give yourself some distance from your thoughts, try a technique called “thought labeling.”
This is where you sit and observe your thoughts going through your head. You label each one as either “new” or “repeat” depending on whether you have had the thought before.
You will notice as you do this, that you have a lot of repeat thoughts, and when you simply label the thoughts rather than going along with them emotionally, the brain tires of that labeling. It will give you some distance from the thoughts.
Know that whatever you are going through right now and thinking–it is normal.
I hope that some of these simple techniques will help!
Amber Holt, LICSW, CDP, MAC – www.amberholtlcsw.com
This is completely normal.
When you are in a romantic relationship with someone, you are connecting with another person on many levels. You are connecting to them physically, emotionally, sexually, etc.
And when that relationship ends, it feels like you are losing a partner and a friend.
It is completely okay to miss your ex, even if you were the one breaking things off.
However, missing your ex and getting back together are separate issues.
And missing someone is not an automatic reason to re-start the relationship. I would ask yourself:
- Why did you break up with him?
- What was wrong in the relationship?
- If you get back together, what if those things don’t change?
- Can you have a conversation about what things need to change before you consider re-starting the relationship?
Just because you miss someone does not mean that you should jump back into the relationship.
And just because you ended the relationship doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to feel sad and miss him. Remember, these are 2 separate issues.
Take some time and space to heal, vent to your friends about what you miss about him (and also vent about what you don’t miss about him!) and overall spend more time with friends and family to get through the sadness.
Shelly Kessinger, LPC – www.friendswoodmarriagecounseling.com
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