Save the drama for your mamas.
Going through a breakup can make you feel terrible.
Suddenly, you’re living in a soap opera. You’re gossiping, he’s gossiping. Angry texts are sent. You find yourself having knock-down, drag-out fights about who gets to keep the couch pillows you’ve always hated. It can get crazy, and that’s the last thing you need at such a vulnerable moment in your life.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can stop breakup drama before it ever starts.
In our latest Expert video, Senior VP of YourTango Experts Melanie Gorman asked a group of our relationship Experts — How can you reduce the drama during a painful relationship breakup?
You can see their full conversation in the above video, but here are 7 things that women can do to confidently reject the drama when they’re working to recover from a recent breakup.
1. Check your ego at the door.
This is SO hard because, when you’re in messy split with someone, it injures your pride. You want to attack, you want to prove that you’re not at fault, but, ultimately, that kind of response just creates way more turmoil for everyone.
Ask yourself — who’s calling the shots? Your brain or your ego? Because pride and an inflated sense of self-worth doesn’t really have a place in the healing process.
2. Press pause.
This may feel like retreating, but, in reality, you’re just allowing yourself a moment to take a breath. Step back from the pain for a moment. Let yourself recover. Get yourself back to feeling like a normal person and then re-engage with the breakup (if you must).
3. Take some ownership of the breakup.
This doesn’t mean you have to declare “It’s all my fault!”, but there is something truly empowering about owning aspects of your split. Because you don’t want to be a victim. This breakup isn’t something that’s happening to you, it’s something you’re taking an active role in.
Take an honest look at what happened, find the areas where you could’ve done something better, and OWN THEM. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s actually a sign of strength and it will make you feel so much less victimized in the long run.
4. Treat it like an addiction.
Expert Helen Fisher has done extensive research on how breakups can affect the human brain, and one of her findings was that the end of emotional relationships cause an increase of activity in the regions of our brain that deal with addiction.
Basically, to our brains, we have to treat the breakup like a person going through serious withdrawal symptoms. You have to remove yourself from the memories (don’t have pictures lying around), you need to replace the brain chemicals with something else (try exercise to increase your dopamine levels), and don’t sit alone in the dark and brood about it. Be active and work at kicking the habit.
5. Don’t over-talk it.
But don’t under-talk it either. Women and men have very different responses to breakups normally. Men get quiet and retreat into themselves, video games, drinking, etc. But women talk about it. A lot. Sometimes too much.
Talking through your emotions at the beginning of a breakup can be a really effective way to cope, but, at a certain point, you’re just rehashing the same points and raising ghosts that should’ve been long buried.
6. Realize that breakups can be good things.
It can be difficult to wrap your mind around this — because breakups can hurt SO much — but, for many of us, when a relationship ends, it’s a sign of success. Because relationships are developmental stages in our lives. They help us learn and grow and individuate ourselves as human beings.
However, sometimes, all that growth we achieve during a relationship shows us that we’ve actually outgrown it. It’s a good thing because, without that relationship, we might never have evolved to that point. So, even though it hurts, we need to realize that breaking up with someone might just be validating that we’ve successfully gotten what we needed from each other and it’s time to move on.
7. Remember that you’re in control.
In the video, one of our experts, Clara Wisner, makes a great point. She says that people who are going through breakups need to tell themselves, “Nothing I experience is created by anything outside of me.”
It’s a complex concept to grasp, but it’s so true. During a breakup, you have to stop giving away control to other people. You can’t think that your ex has the power to make you feel or do certain things. You control yourself.
The breakup isn’t happening to you — you’re an active participant in it.
Just try to remember that you have agency, you have the ability to choose how you’re going to let your ex make you feel, and, once you realize that, it becomes so much easier to cope. Because you know you’re in the driver’s seat and no one is going to tell you how you’re going to life your life.