Why Your Breakup Hurts SO Much (And How To Start Healing)

Woman on couch in blue blanket crying while looking at photograph

Knowing WHY you’re hurting can be your first step to getting over it.

Heartbroken. Sometimes that’s the only way to describe the tidal waves of grief that come with a breakup.

Ending a relationship with someone or, worse, having someone break up with you causes incredibly painful feelings because of all the losses. You grieve the lost connection with that person. After all, you loved them so much. But let’s get real about that. Are you sad because you’re not with the person you had a relationship with? OR are you really upset because you’re not with the person who you thought your partner was?

If you’re like most of us, you’re upset to have lost who you thought your partner was. Because, let’s face it, if they really were the ideal person for you, you’d still have a relationship.

Being heartbroken also means grieving lost couplehood. It feels good being connected to someone else — to not have to face the world on your own. Yet, breaking up with someone means you’re suddenly alone. It’s no longer two against the world. It’s just you, feeling naked, isolated and afraid.

There’s another reason for your fear of being alone. Being alone means that before too long you’ll have to look for another someone — someone to love and to love you, and someone who just might break your heart too.

Grieving the loss of your ideal mate and couplehood are the more obvious reasons for being heartbroken, but there are others.

You’re probably despairing your lost dreams of the future and “happily ever after.” Regardless of how long you’re in a relationship with someone, you’ve dreamed of the future with them. Those dreams are part of what brought the two of you together. But now, those dreams are lost forever.

The end of a relationship can also leave you feeling shattered and unsure of who you are without the relationship or your former partner. In the midst of grieving the losses, it seems nearly impossible to recreate and redefine yourself too. Yet, that’s what you need to do because you’re not their other half any more. You’re you.

Finally, what if you’re anguished because of broken trust?

Your former love broke your trust, but you broke it too. You broke your own trust by convincing yourself that the relationship was the right one for you, and by all the little ways you gave yourself away to make the relationship work. Now you’re left wondering if you’re capable of trusting yourself to enter into another relationship and not give yourself away. You’re also wondering if you can trust yourself to choose a better person next time.

Heartbreak is a complicated issue, and so is dealing with all the grief all at once. There are just so many things lost when a relationship ends. However, the more you know about what specifically is causing you to feel heartbroken, the easier it is for you to get over it and choose a better relationship next time.

I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach helping people just like you who are dealing with the stress and pain of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly adviceAnd, if you’re ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

Feeling Heartbroken? 3 Ways to FINALLY Get Over Your Ex

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.