Breaking Up & Surviving a Broken Heart

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“What is the opposite of two? A lonely me, a lonely you.” – Richard Wilbur
“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” – Edna St.Vincent Millay
Breaking up is one of the most painful experiences there is. Letting go of someone you’ve loved can be exquisitely hard to do for many people, especially if the breaking up was not your idea.

If you’ve been taken by surprise, if you’ve been misleading yourself about how they feel or if you’ve been lied to, full recovery from breaking up can seem completely out of reach.

When breaking up it’s very human to torture yourself wondering what happened, is there something wrong with you and what could you have done differently? Blaming yourself and the lingering mystery of “why me” can infiltrate and discourage the beginnings of new relationships. People can take years to untangle themselves after breaking up.

Life is about making loss bearable. Whether we become handicapped, or someone dies, our children grow up or we lose out on a relationship, we have to learn to cope with loss. While you may still feel the spark, you have to deal with the reality that the other person doesn’t.

Breaking up can feel impossible to accept and that’s exactly what needs to happen. You can’t make someone love you, no matter how hard you may try.

In my practice I see so many young women who expect too much, too soon. They are very focused on all the details that hint of a long term future. They glide over the mixed messages and ambivalence that is the undercurrent in many relationships. This is called denial.

Despite breaking up, it is worth the risk of loving someone else more than they love you. In the beginnings of things someone always gives more. If that’s who you are, then accept the endgame may not work out the way you hope. Hoping for too much, too early can be a curse. Uncertainty is a huge part of romance.

Putting the pieces back together after breaking up can be very difficult. Who wants to date when you just had your heart broken? Give yourself time to grieve. It’s important to ask yourself do you really miss him/her or do you miss being part of an intimate relationship?

Are you grieving the loss of the relationship or the loss of your illusions about what you believed was happening before the break up?

The relationship was not what you hoped. The best thing you can do is accept that dating is a painful process. That means you will get sucker punched by someone you love more than they love you. It’s part of the deal.

Breaking up is always a possibility in any relationship if you are authentic.

Ask yourself, “Are you so focused on finding a relationship, that you are avoiding defining a more meaningful life for yourself?” There isn’t anybody out there who wants to be used to plug the empty hole inside of you. It is sensible to run away from too much neediness.

The best way to get over breaking up & a broken heart is by volunteering, learning to kayak or take up salsa dance lessons. Develop a less superficial lifestyle. Make your life matter whether you have someone or not.

The more you are able to define your own life as meaningful whether or not you have a partner the more likely you are to avoid breaking up insubstantial relationships.

Closure for a Broken Heart:

One technique that can be helpful for closure is to write goodbye letters. Two letters will be very useful to repair your heart after breaking up. The first can be an unedited dump that you then shred, burn or destroy. The second letter can be thoughtful and explore both the good and bad parts of the relationship.

Write your favorite memories. Write what you miss. Write about how you grew and changed from being in love. Write what was unfair or misunderstood about who you are. Write about feeling betrayed. Consider how you may have betrayed yourself.

Acknowledge the differences of who both of you are. Then try to take responsibility for your part in the problems, because it always takes two to kill off a relationship. Include your hurt, sadness and sense of betrayal. Tell them what you wish for them in their next relationship. Try to cover anything that will help you to say goodbye and glimpse the beginning of moving on after breaking up.

Then read it aloud to a really good friend who will be a witness and listen. Then you need to remove pictures and anything that will trigger your obsessing. For example, if they changed the brand of toothpaste you use, change back to what you used to brush with. If you lived together rearrange the furniture after breaking up.

Wait a week or so, then decide if you want to send them the letter or not. Ask the friend who listened what they think of the idea. Ask yourself will the letter help you to recognize this is the end of the relationship or are you really using the letter towards building false hope?

Read about expectations on the Depression page of this website.

Books to help with Breaking Up

Extreme Breakup Recovery by Jeanette Castelli

Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan Elliot

Obsessive Love: When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go by Dr. Susan Forward

Movies To Comfort When Suffering Through Breaking Up

break up,breaking up,after break up,get over break up (500) Days of Summer (2009) Follow this link to read review on my blog. Watch this delightful movie to learn about easy it is to make it all up in your head that you are headed towards long term loving.

breaking up,break up,get over a break up Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) Raunchy & Fun! Watch as Jason Segel comes back to life.

breaking up,break up,break ups,get over a break up Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004) Memories are erased in this delightful love story with Jim Carey & Kate Winslet.

break up,breaking up,break ups,getting over break up High Fidelity (2000) John Cusack plays a record store owner who recalls his top five breakups when he has a mid-life crisis.

Sliding Doors (1998) Gwyneth Paltrow is in a story with 2 endings, when she misses her ride & when she doesn’t.

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