Illustration Credit: Knut (Stock Abode)

‘It’s Not You, it’s Me’: How to Deal with the End of a Relationship

Binned. Dumped. Chucked. Whatever you call it, being broken up with sucks. Really really sucks. And how do I know? Well, because I’ve just been thrown on the scrap heap too.

I’m not going to beat around the bush, it’s incredibly overwhelming. But it doesn’t mean things won’t get better. Right now you probably have a range of questions. How can you deal with the end of a relationship? Is it even possible to get over someone you still love? What can I do with all the photos we had together? Well, grab a box of tissues, get the ice cream out the freezer, and read these five tips on how I’ve coped.

Give yourself space

Whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee, it’s important to take some time away from each other. Even if you ended things on good terms, even if you want to remain friends, you should still limit your contact with them. While this might be as simple as blocking their number, or deleting them on social media, be strict with yourself.

However, it might be more difficult if you share childcare responsibilities. If so, and you still need some space, ask a family member or friend to be your point of contact for a few months. Let them arrange things on your behalf to give yourself some well-needed distance from your ex.

Giving yourself space doesn’t just include physical contact with them. However long you’ve been together, there’s probably a few items you’ve been gifted, bought together, or that simply remind you of them. Whether it’s photos, a teddy bear, or a birthday gift — clear it out of your space. If it’s something you no longer want, give it to charity. If you’d rather keep it (but having it in your space hurts right now) simply store it away for a few months.

Similarly, clear through your phone. Remove wallpapers, hide photos if you want to keep them, and delete any texts from them. Although this might be painful, what’s worse is scrolling through old memories, reminiscing on the past, and spending nights questioning what you could have done differently or changed.

Let yourself feel

Typically, we put on a brave face, bottle everything up, and simply go with the flow of the day. But the reality is that, unlike other pitfalls in life, this one can be a heavy blow. Your life might have turned upside down, the rug has been pulled from under you, and you need to give yourself the space to feel emotions.

Although there hasn’t been a death, it is an end. A heavy, messy, and often unsettling end to something in your life. You might have had a vision for your future together, planning out all things you’d do together, and unfortunately, none of this will happen. Whether it’s for your ex or the life you wanted to lead together, it’s ok to grieve.

With grief, it typically comes in waves. Sometimes it hits you hard and can feel like you’re drowning; yet for other moments, grief is the sea coasting around your ankles, tingling at your toes. While there’s no set schedule for this grief, it’s important to wade through the water and not cling to the shore. Although it’s painful, messy, and oftentimes confusing, let yourself feel.

Soon, the tides will change, but for now, let yourself swim with the heaviness. Take care of yourself through a strange morning or heavy afternoon. Let those pangs of sadness arise and don’t suppress them. Similarly, let yourself be happy in those intermittent moments as you reshuffle your thoughts. Simply: don’t be afraid of being sad.

Write it out

After a relationship ends, the main feelings are anger and sadness, and they’re often entangled together like chewing gum stuck in your hair. Psychologist Antonio Pascual-Leone puts these feelings in a nicer metaphor, and describes them as play-dough that “you need to take some time to tease these apart, find the right words, and describe what’s so awful, awkward or hard.”

While these feelings are difficult and hard to explain, an easy way to get them out is by writing. Whether it’s in a journal, in a word document, or drafting an email you’ll (probably) never send to your ex, get all of your thoughts out into the world.

Although it might feel unnatural — especially if you don’t regularly keep a journal — jotting your thoughts down can help you see your relationship in a different light. Writing gives you the distance you need to learn, let go, and continue to love (when you feel ready).

Look after yourself

When you’re dealing with a loss of a relationship, whether you expected it or not, it can be difficult to look after yourself. ’Cause why should you love yourself if they don’t want to? Well, there’s a multitude of reasons why, but in order to get through these next few days, weeks, or months, create a daily routine.

Whether it’s getting up at a certain time, making sure you’re dressed by midday, or taking yourself for a walk in an afternoon until the heaviness subsides, make sure you’re taking part in effective self-care. Run a bath, read a book, or listen to a podcast and address your pain head-on. But whatever you do, make sure your actions are serving you, allowing you to feel as comfortable as possible throughout this difficult situation.

Reach out

Just because they may not love you any more or cannot be there for you emotionally, it doesn’t mean you should abandon yourself to sail down the river alone. Although it can feel like no one in your life is there for you, your family and friends are always there to support you.

While it might feel weird, or you might not know what you want, send a text, let friends organise a night out, and just let them be there for you. Don’t be afraid to cry on a call, sniffle while watching TV together, or simply sit silently as you try and come to terms with this loss in your life.

Not so happily ever after…

Still feel like something is wrong and you’re not sure how to solve it? Don’t battle through this break up alone, book an appointment with one of our Wellness Coaches. Whatever the problem or support that you need, our coordinators are on hand to give your tailored advice, help you meet a therapist, or introduce you to different forms of wellness that could get you feeling back to normal.

However you reach out and however you cope over the next few weeks (or months), it’s important to remember that even though one person may not love you anymore, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other people in your life who do. While your future may seem uncertain, take it from me: it will be bigger and better than before.

Written by Alison Irlam
WellBe is spearheading the way to a brighter future for corporate wellness. Our innovative portal is scientifically designed and tailored to each individual employee to improve their wellbeing. We specialise in a range of services from coaching and therapists, to meditation and reading materials. Our aim is to reduce workplace stress that costs UK businesses £42 billion per year. Get in touch with us by visiting our site wellbe.global for more information.

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