How To Turn Your Breakup Nightmare Into A Fairy Tale Romance


Heartbreak & Longing After A Breakup
Does it feel like you'll never meet your prince?

Heartbreak and longing: Who wants to feel these painful emotions? But here's another interesting question: What princess ever wanted to kiss a frog? What beauty ever wanted to get close to a beast? Everyone, from the frog to the beast to Snow White and Cinderella, want and deserve a happily ever after. Fairy tales teach us that the way to love, and to the castle of our dreams, is paved with feelings and experiences the princesses don't want to have.

Feelings are our basic responses to the world. Scientific and medical technicians now have the ability to measure how quickly our bodies respond to emotional cues: a tone of voice or an expression, for example. Often, we're not as aware of our bodies as we are of the more conscious and painful ways that the feelings surface; you thought you were OK after a breakup and all of a sudden you're filled with longing. The sound of a familiar song can bring it up, or a smell, or the sight of someone with the same gait, or perhaps just a sudden memory. Whatever triggers it, you are filled with heartbreak and you long to reach out to the he or she who has left.


Or, maybe, you were the one to have left, only to find out later that you were with the person you wanted all along. A lot of people will tell you to "get over it", "move on", or "distract yourself": Go out with a friend, go shopping, think about all the things you didn't like about him or her, have a glass of wine.

Really? Ignore the frog? Ignore the beast? The frog and beast don't ask to be indulged. They ask for very specific things: to be known and cared for and only once that is done, can they reveal themselves for who they are.

You’ll do no good indulging your heartbreak and longing by getting into a funk, blaming yourself for everything you think you did wrong, insisting that this is the only person you could ever love. Or, if you try to block the pain, you'll be more likely to go to your next relationship dishonestly. You may keep comparing to the person you never got over.

You can't go backwards. Life isn't perfect (and not all princes are good guys). But despite how obvious those truths are, people try to deny them all the time.Your ex has moved on or moved out. To move on yourself, you need to do a few basic things:

  1. Be honest about your pain, and be as caring with yourself as you would be with a good friend. Allow yourself to cry. It's the body and heart's natural expression of sadness. Few people would tell a good friend to look at everything she or he had done wrong to cause the sadness, yet many people do that to themselves.
  2. Don't belittle yourself. Sadness and pain are natural when you lose someone. Work on feeling, not obsessing. Emotion moves through you; it happens in your heart and body, and helps you strengthen. Obsessions happen in your brain when you're trying to figure everything out and you keep looping around the same ideas again and again.
  3. Every relationship has something special: You can't get this person back but you can know who you loved, what was special between you, and what you long for. Longing is natural and it can tell you what you want; what really matters to you. If you can be open enough to what is inside of you, even though it is painful, you will know more about who you are, and about what is essential  to you.
  4. Be kind. You don't want to drown in your feelings; you want to learn to swim in rough waters. Then you will be stronger. You will be strong enough know which frogs to kiss, which beasts to be nice to, which pains and hurts you need to go through and respect to be able to love with more success the next time.

And the best part? There will be a next time.

More breakup advice from YourTango:

Article contributed by

Carol Freund


Carol L. Freund, LCSW

Holistic Psychotherapy with a Relational Approach

Location: Flemington, NJ
Credentials: LCSW, MA
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