Drowning your sorrows in Häagen-Dazs and Kleenex isn’t the only way to get over your ex.
Feeling heartbroken over the loss of a relationship colors the whole world a shade of gloomy gray. Misery and grief are all you can recognize. And although this is normal, it sure doesn’t feel that way. Most of us want to get over heartbreak as quickly as possible.
The key to getting through the gloomy, tear-stained grayness of your heartbroken existence is to go through it, to feel what you're feeling, and to see your ex differently. Yeah, I know it's much easier for me to say that than it is to do, so here are 3 steps you can take (and why you should take them) to get over your ex.
- Talk about your feelings; express yourself. The Huffington Post recently reported on some research Grace Larson did at Northwestern University. It turns out that it's a good idea to talk about your ex.
Specifically, she found that people who talked in an interview setting about their emotions made more progress than those who didn't. It's important to note that this talking wasn't focused on problem-solving or blaming, but on perspectives. They would discuss things like when they first realized their relationship was going south and how the whole thing affected their views on romance.
- Accept that your ex isn't the person you fell in love with. Life has a way of changing people over time. Maybe he didn't change at all, but is just finally showing you who he really is. The person he has hidden from you. Either way, he's not the same.
It's just a bit easier to let go of someone when you realize they're not really who you fell in love with.
- Forgive your ex. OK, yeah, I know, this isn't exactly what you want to hear, but there's some pretty good research to indicate that this is one of the most important things you can do.
The Atlantic's Olga Kazan wrote a piece called The Forgiveness Boost. The article suggests that making amends with those who trespass against us can yield both physical and mental benefits. For example, forgiveness can...
- reduce one's depression and anxiety levels
- reduce negative emotions and stress
- reduce negative physical symptoms associated with stress
- reduce the number of medications used
- improve sleep quality
But just HOW do you forgive someone? In the same article, Everett Worthington, a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, suggests a 5-step process called "REACH" — Recall, Empathize, Altruistic Gift, Commit, Hold.
- The first step is to recall your breakup including all of the emotions that go along with it.
- The next is to empathize with your ex which is usually accomplished by realizing that they're a fallible human being.
- Then, you decide that you will forgive them and give them this altruistic gift of forgiveness.
- After you make your decision, you commit to it by telling someone what you've decided.
- Finally, you hold onto forgiveness by reminding yourself that you've forgiven them every time your feelings of hurt and anger resurface.
Most people approach heartbreak with a box of tissues and a gallon of ice cream. But, if you'll give these three steps a try too, you'll heal your broken heart much more quickly.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who are dealing with the stress and pain of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And if you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.