After you’ve talked the situation out and both parties have had their questions answered (ideally), take a break from each other. This means no calls, texts, or emails. For many people, continuing to speak to an ex can complicate the situation and prolong the grieving process. If your goal is to get over this person, give yourself a time out from them. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never speak to them again or that you don’t care for them, it just gives you time to focus on yourself to heal – uninterrupted. Although every situation is different, I recommend taking a 30 day break. Whatever duration of time you chose be sure that it’s something you can commit to and follow through with. Make sure to tell your ex about your hiatus so they won’t misinterpret your absence as hostility, or indifference. Also, no cyber-stalking! As hard as it might be, unfriend them on Facebook and don’t follow their tweets. You’ll have urges to see what they’re doing, who they’re spending time with, etc. Don’t torture yourself by examining their every move, focus your attention on improving your life. Cyber stalking will only fuel your wild which is undoubtedly going to imagine the worst, without having all of the facts. Additionally, a breakup is hard enough, why complicate things and add more additional negative emotions?
Process the Loss
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Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship. Strategies to help you include writing down your thoughts and feelings, reading books that address loss, and reaching out to friends to digest what you’ve just gone through. If you don’t have support outside of the relationship build new relationships by volunteering, joining LGBT support groups, or taking classes as a hobby. If your emotions are too overwhelming or are taking a large toll on your social and/or occupational life- confiding in a therapist can be beneficial. The goal at this stage is to get through the loss by taking that sadness inside of you and letting that energy/emotion move through you into some healthy form. Drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or other impulsive behaviors can just delay the mourning process and can amplify the negative emotions – creating a new set of problems. Talk about your thoughts and feelings as they relate to your recent loss, so that eventually you can get to a place of resolution. This does not happen overnight so be patient with yourself. It’s normal at this stage to feel confused, have self-doubt, and question if you want to be back with your ex. Stages of loss include denial, anger, bargaining, sadness (depression), and eventually acceptance. Of note, people do not always experience every stage and many jump around the different stages of loss in no particular order.
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