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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina Sturmer

Coping with a relationship breakup

Regardless of the circumstances of our breakup, it can feel strange and unsettling to be newly single. I spoke to Yahoo News all about coping with a relationship breakup, and being new single. Click here to read the full article, and read on to learn what I had to say.

There’s a practical side to coping with a relationship breakup.  Maybe you’ve been living together, or you have shared friendships or shared hobbies that leave you feeling awkward.  But when we unpeel the layers, we notice that there’s also a deep emotional element.  We might be feeling sad, angry, frustrated, embarrassed, guilty or a whole range of other emotions.  And we also might feel a sense of grief or loss.  As if a part of our identity is missing.  When we are in a relationship, we get used to negotiation and compromise.  We get used to taking the other people into account when we make choices and decisions.  So when the relationship ends and we find ourselves single again, it can feel strange to make choices and decisions for ourself.  We might even struggle to remember what it feels like to follow our own likes and dislikes without our ex-partner’s point of view.  

An opportunity ... When we are coming to terms with a relationship breakup, it does actually present a real sense of opportunity. An opportunity to take stock.  To think about what you enjoyed from your previous relationship, and what you’re sad to lose.  This can help you to figure out what you might need in your life, without rushing into a new relationship.  Equally, it’s a moment to consider what you didn’t like about your previous relationship.  This can help you to keep an eye out for potential red flags in the future, and to embrace the freedom of being single.   There are lots of different ways to do this.  It might just emerge in dribs and drabs as you’re thinking about the relationship.  Or perhaps you could plan to write about it in a journal, or talk it all through with a trusted friend.

Notice your coping strategies. If we are feeling unhappy or unsettled or bored or depressed after a breakup, we are likely to turn to our default coping strategies.  This might involve seeing our friends, getting some good sleep, exercising and getting out in the fresh air.  But it’s also possible that we will turn to less healthy coping strategies.  This might involve excess alcohol consumption or putting ourselves at risk in some way.  Keep an eye on whether you are looking out for yourself, and make sure that you lean on your support network.  

We also might find ourselves craving attention or affection, and this can lead us to think about contacting an ex.  Remember to keep in mind the reasons why the relationship ended.  There’s nothing wrong with getting back together with someone, but it’s important that you’re doing so for the right reasons.  Festivities and milestone events in particular can be a real trigger for contacting an ex.  If in doubt, force yourself to wait a few days and see if the craving has passed.  

What about starting dating? There’s no right answer as to when we should start dating again after a breakup.  It’s more about considering our motivation.  Remember that when we choose to start dating again, it should be a proactive choice that feels like the beginning of a new chapter.  Not just a way of coping with grief and sadness from a breakup.  If we’re still processing the end of our previous relationship, then we might not be in the right frame of mind to meet a new partner. If you are thinking about starting dating, check out this article in iNews. It's all about rebuilding your confidence in order to start dating, and it includes some of my tips.

Keen to explore more? In counselling we can take a deeper look at how you feel about yourself and your relationships. Click here to contact me, or click here to book a 30-minute introductory call.

Coping with a relationship breakup


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