Break-ups can be heart wrenching even under the best of circumstances. Emotional pain is inevitable, but prolonged suffering is not. If you steer clear of these common break-up pitfalls, you will be on much firmer ground while recovering from your loss.
Mistake #1: Staying Friends with The Ex
Breaking up with a romantic partner sometimes means you’re also saying goodbye to your closest confidant. It can feel scary and lonely to sever the emotional tie particularly when the split is amicable. But you will be unable to take the necessary steps to heal and move forward until you make a clean break.
Limit communication with your ex to practical and logistic matters such as tying up loose financial ends. If your ex continues to regularly reach out in an attempt to remain friends, respectfully communicate your needs and hold firm on the boundary. Remember that it may be possible to have a healthy friendship with your ex in the future, but you need distance and time before this can happen.
Mistake #2: Social Media Stalking
You may be tempted to keep tabs on your ex by regularly viewing their social media profiles. When this urge strikes happens, think of Nancy Reagan and “Just Say No.” Being bombarded by frequent updates of your ex’s post-break-up life can be disruptive, distracting and disturbing.
Minimize your exposure with an electronic firewall. “Unfollow,” “unfriend” or “hide” your ex from your social media feeds to make it easier to maintain a healthy distance. And if you sneak an occasional peek, take what you see with a grain of salt. Remember that most of us curate our social media with excessive positive spin. Your ex’s posts may make it appear that they are doing fine, but they are likely experiencing similar emotional pain.
Mistake #3: Holding a Grudge
Anger is a healthy part of the grief process, but excessive stewing in negative feelings about your ex is unhelpful. Holding a grudge prevents you from letting go and moving forward with your life. A wise person once said: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
It may take time, but consider what it would be like to forgive your ex. Forgiveness isn’t condoning bad behavior or forgetting past trangressions, but a process of understanding and accepting difficulties from the past in order to let go of unnecessary and unhelpful negative thoughts and feelings. And if you're feeling a lot of self-recrimination and regret for your own actions in the relationship, remember to offer some forgiveness to yourself as well.
Are you having a hard time getting over a difficult break-up? Contact me for a free phone consultation to see if psychotherapy can help you.
Like what you read? Sign up for my mailing list to receive periodic updates about new blog entries and other resources.
New subscribers will also get a free download of my assertiveness strategy guide 3 Easy Steps to Assertive Speech. I value your privacy and will never sell or share your information with anyone else.