Following a relationship ending, it is typical to go through a roller coaster of emotions day to day. Below are some of the most common feelings that can be experienced after a breakup, as well as ways to cope and manage these feelings when they arise.
At the core of anxiety is a sense of uncertainty that feels completely overwhelming. Breakups can bring up uncertainty in a big way. It is not uncommon to wonder if we will possibly reconnect with an ex, wonder what our ex is doing, feel unsure as to what is going on for them or what they are feeling. The list can go on and feel exhausting to ruminate over. When we find ourselves in an anxious train of thought, continuing to wonder about things we do not or cannot know the answers to, it is important to hop off the train and remind ourselves that we are dealing with a lack of certainty. In these moments, it is helpful to focus on something that is in our control. We can control who we reach out to, we can limit our social media use, we can control how we take care of ourselves. When the storm of anxiety is brewing, focus on doing something that we have control over in order to help combat the lack of certainty that is being experienced.
Loss & Grief
Its important to remember that breakups are a form of loss. Outside of the loss of the person in our life, there can also be a loss of friends, loss of plans for the future, loss of expectations about where the relationship was going. Whenever there is loss, there is a navigation of grief that needs to happen. When we start to feel grief, it is crucial to be compassionate with ourselves. It may take time to come to terms with the different layers of loss associated with a breakup, and while this healing is taking place, we can be kind in the language we use with ourselves. We may even feel a pull to honor the relationship in some way. If this feels like something you want to do, sit down and list out a few reasons you are grateful for the relationship. Think about what you may have learned from your ex-partner coming into your life that you may not have learned had you not been in a relationship with them. Seeing the ways in which the relationship may have given back to us can help us cope with the heaviness of the loss one may be experiencing.
One of the most common post breakup feelings is the feeling of loneliness. The void of no longer having someone to call, text, do things with and share with can feel absolutely devastating. If this is the case for you, now is the time to plug back into other relationships that give back to you. There may even be relationships that you have been neglecting while dating your ex-partner that you could reignite. When lonely, it can feel easy to isolate and go inside ourselves. Although this can be what feels most comfortable and easy, these are the moments when it is most important to connect. Join that intramural team you never signed up for. Go out to eat with a friend. Ask them for a hug- we need touch and connection, especially when we are struggling with hard emotions. Even going to sit and read in a coffee shop instead of in your room alone can lead to a shift in energy and mood. We cannot go through hard experiences alone, so finding and leaning on the people in our lives is crucial following a breakup.