A Piece of Advice
I don't want to break up but I have to. How do I cope?
I’m so sorry you lost someone who was important to you. Truly, a breakup can be an agonizing experience. Sometimes breakups happen even when we don’t want them to, like when one or both partners painfully realises they’re not a good fit for each other, or a couple parts ways in the face of social pressure and disapproval.
What are your options to cope and move forward without your partner? Research points to different approaches that may help:
- Recognize that you don’t have to deal with it all by yourself and reach out to loved ones, friends, or other connections in your community who could be a source of support.
- Be compassionate to yourself. Based on scholarly work, self-compassion is made up of three parts. First, speak to yourself with kindness, understanding, and gentleness. Second, remind yourself that when you’re having a hard time or when you make a mistake, you’re not alone because everyone faces times like this. And the third part is being attentive to your thoughts and feelings without becoming absorbed by them (i.e., focusing on them too much), but also without covering them up either (i.e., trying to stay away from them).
- Allow yourself space not to deal with it sometimes. When we’re confronting a painful loss and the difficulties that come with it, there’s only so much confronting we can do at one time before it feels like too much and we just need a breather. Spending time with friends and loved ones, concentrating on a sport or a hobby, playing with a pet, reading, or enjoying a game, a movie, or a TV show for a little while are all examples.
- And finally, accept the thoughts and feelings you’ll have and try not to misunderstand them. You’re probably going to have memories of your partner that will bring up hurt as well as other emotions that may not feel good, and this is perfectly natural. Sometimes we can get the wrong idea about our thoughts and feelings, and we label them as abnormal or problematic when they’re really not, so try to remind yourself that your memories and pain are human and okay.
As you try these approaches, just listen to yourself and see what works best for you. Above all, never stop taking good care of yourself as you move forward. You deserve it.
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