We speak to a Relate counsellor about how to get through this difficult time without compromising your wellbeing.
By Karen Gordon
Going through a tricky break-up and struggling to cope? Ending a relationship is never easy – but sometimes it’s necessary. Recovering from a break-up can be incredibly tough and there are no quick-fixes to take away the pain, but moving on from a relationship that has come to an end begins with you.
Relate counsellor Rachel Davies recommends the five following ways to navigate heartbreak in the healthiest possible way:
1.Be kind to yourself
All too often it’s easy to beat yourself up about what you did (or didn’t do) in your failed relationship. But being kind to yourself is essential when you’re dealing with a broken heart. ‘Find the time to nurture yourself,’ says Davies. ‘Take the support and offers of help from others – it’s not the time to strike out by yourself.’
What to do: Rachel recommends doing whatever works for you – this may mean pampering yourself, doing more exercise, eating healthy foods, or seeing trusted friends who can help you (and avoiding the friends who might make you feel worse).
2.Avoid making big decisions
Break-ups can be a confusing time and your decision-making skills will often be compromised. Avoid making major decisions while emotions are running high.
‘What I come across quite often is people saying things like, “I can no way stay living in this city as my ex is still living here”, and things like that… And I don’t think the couple of weeks after a break-up are the times to make big decisions because the emotions are too strong,’ says Davies.
💟 What to do: ‘Don’t change your life, don’t resign from your job, don’t sign up to a very expensive new course – don’t do anything like that in the first two weeks after a break-up,’ she adds.
3.Limit contact with your ex
Asking mutual friends about your ex or checking their Instagram feed may be temping, but ultimately it will make you feel worse.
‘Checking up on your ex on social media and quizzing joint friends are the kinds of things we see quite often, and most of the time it just makes you feel a lot worse,’ explains Davies. ‘You may be asking if they’ve met anybody else or if they’re upset – and if you hear that they’re actually okay, it can make you feel a lot worse.’
💟 What to do: ‘Social media, of course, is such a problem for this because you can always find out what everybody else is doing,’ adds Davies. ‘So, the best thing you can do is withdraw from too much contact with the people who know that person. What you have got to ask yourself is if this is going to make you feel better – and most people will probably admit that it makes them feel worse.’
4.Use common sense
When emotions are running high, it’s easy to openly express where things went wrong in the relationship to both his/her friends and yours. And telling anyone who will listen the minute details of your break-up is not going to be very helpful in the long-term.
What to do: ‘Contacting his or her family and having a bitch about how much they hurt you is not going to be a good thing to do,’ says Davies. ‘So, just think about confiding in a few people who are on your side, who will be supportive rather than publicising all the ins and outs of what went wrong with your relationship on social media.’
5.Focus on the benefits
During a break-up it can be hard to think about the future, but try to keep your eyes on the horizon and consider the benefits of going solo.
💟 What to do: ‘If you can see a break-up as an opportunity to have some independence, time to yourself, and a way of finding time to pick up some hobbies that you haven’t had time to do since being with your partner – then actually it can make you a happier individual and you are going to be better suited to getting back into a good relationship when you next meet somebody,’ says Davies.