Real Life Story
Coping With a Breakup When No One Supported the Relationship
Topics: Same-Sex,Inter-racial,Inter-caste,Inter-class,Inter-Faith,Age Gap,Parting Ways,Quizzes
Life and relationship coaches on dealing with breakups and rebuilding relationships.
You were in love and that’s all that mattered. Your family disapproved of it and your friends said you’d be better off with someone else, but you fought for your partner anyway. And then you break up. You’re hurting and don’t know who to turn to. Many people are in this very situation, experts say.
“For reasons like being inter-faith or inter-race, it is very common in India and many countries in Asia that families don’t support a relationship,” said Saloni Singh, a life and relationship coach based in the city of Gurugram, India.
“We’ve had clients who were disinherited by their traditional Chinese families because they chose to be with Filipino partners,” said Rex Remitio, a life coach and co-founder of a mental health advocacy group based in Manila, Philippines.
Remitio said that in some religious circles, even friends can be harsh towards someone who gets into a relationship with a person whose background they disagree with.
So what happens when the relationship you fought so hard for comes to an end? How do you deal with heartbreak? Who do you run to after the breakup?
Here’s what life coaches have to say.
Focus on yourself
If you find yourself in a situation like this, you may have to first focus on yourself.
“If I’m coming out of an unconventional relationship and I feel that I might get judged [by my family and friends], and it would aggravate how I feel, then it’s okay, for the sake of my mental health, to just insulate myself for a time,” Remitio said.
“If I’m coming out of an unconventional relationship and I feel that I might get judged [by my family and friends], and it would aggravate how I feel, then it’s okay, for the sake of my mental health, to just insulate myself for a time.”
Remitio believes that you must first accept the situation.
“You cannot deny yourself the pain. Embrace it, and maybe turn it into fuel to succeed in other things that you’re doing,” he said. “And when you’ve spent a considerable period of time with that emotion—how long is up to you—then you can ask yourself, ‘How do I move forward from this?’ You have that choice.”
Overthinking “what might have been” is counterproductive and could only add to the pain.
“First of all, whatever happened, you have to accept that,” Singh said. “Because when people are feeling hurt, somewhere they’re trying to resist their hurt. Acceptance of your own emotions—that is the hardest bit.”
Acceptance is a decision you make. No one else can do it for you, she said.
“A lot of people think that acceptance just happens. No. Acceptance is a very active process, not passive at all.”
Once you’ve accepted the situation and opened yourself to your own pain, then that pain can run its course.
“And then it dissolves. Sometimes within days, sometimes longer, but definitely, it’s not going to stay if you allow it to pass through you,” Singh said.
Reconnect with loved ones
After working on yourself, you can then start reaching out to your family and friends. This is the time to rebuild broken bridges—if you want to. It can be complicated, since they could have been the ones who were against the relationship in the first place, but it can be done and can help you move on.
“They don’t have to agree with the relationship or the situation. Immediately start with telling them, ‘I don’t need advice. I don’t need to be taken out of the pain, even. I would like to just be heard and be loved in this pain. That’s all I am asking for,’” Kavita J. Patel, a love and relationship coach based in New York, said.
“They don’t have to agree with the relationship or the situation.”
Opening up may even help you see things from a different perspective, and your loved ones in a new light.
“You might actually have a family member or a friend who would understand and not judge you,” Remitio said.
Find someone to talk to
But there’s no reason to stick to toxic relationships either.
If you put yourself out there and learn that your family and friends are still not willing to support you, you can also seek professional counseling.
“It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. It just means that everybody goes through these really difficult moments, and what they need most is somebody to really hear them and acknowledge them and understand. And there’s nothing wrong in seeking that out from a third party,” Patel said.
“It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. It just means that everybody goes through these really difficult moments.”
Talking to a professional may also help you reframe the situation. Singh, for example, believes that one of the best ways to get over a breakup is a change in perspective.
“Stop calling it a ‘heartbreak.’ Calling it that makes you think something inside you is shattered, and that doesn’t help at all,” Singh said. “Instead, think of it as a loss. You are going through a loss—of your relationship, your expectations of a life ahead with that person, and of the love and reciprocation you had expected from them.”
Source: JC Gotinga, VICE
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Family support is the top enabler for couples pursuing unconventional relationships.