Because it takes more than booze and ice cream to truly heal.
It doesn’t matter if this is the first time or the hundredth time — break ups suck.
Logically, you know you’d never want a relationship with someone who doesn’t want you.
But logic isn’t where you go when you get the news that it’s over.
It’s just too shocking! Unbelievable!
How could they dump you after all you’ve done for them? Don’t they realize how much you love them?
In a short span of time, you’ve already experienced the first two steps of dealing with grief after a breakup — shock and anger.
But then something happens — you want to understand why it ended.
You quickly jump to the conclusion it ended because of you. You start thinking that maybe you aren’t good enough, or that you’re unlovable, or that there’s something else fundamentally WRONG with you. It’s the only thing that makes sense — somehow YOU must have screwed up for this amazing person to call it quits.
You start obsessing and over-analyzing your potential faults.
Maybe you ask your ex to tell you what you did to make them dump you so you can change and get the relationship back. Maybe you just start beating yourself up as you try to figure out exactly what you did to make them stop loving you and leave.
Dealing with grief after a breakup is a process and isn’t really solved with a pint of ice cream (or several shots of tequila).
You have to go through all of the pain before you’re ready for your next relationship.
But that doesn’t mean you have to wander in a sugar — or alcohol — laden wilderness of depression. There is a definite path you can follow to make your recovery process a whole lot easier.
Here are five steps on that path, to help you move past the grief and finally move on after your breakup.
Step 1: Know that it’s OK to feel sad.
It’s normal to grieve the loss of love. So let yourself experience the sadness.
That doesn’t mean you’re going to allow yourself to drown in it. It just means that you’ll allow yourself to experience the emotion instead of trying to lock it away and ignore it.
Step 2: Comfort yourself.
Yeah, this is when Ben & Jerry and Patrón enter the picture, but so do your favorite songs, pillow and anything else that helps you to feel better.
Do things that comfort you, so that you know you’re OK despite the sadness you’re feeling after your breakup.
But comforting yourself doesn’t mean that you do it until you forget about your grief, just that you take the edge of it in the beginning.
Step 3: Shift your perspective.
After you’re feeling safer and calmer, it’s time to start bringing a bit of logic back to the situation and remember that you really don’t want a relationship with someone who doesn’t love you to the same extent that you love them.
You deserve a whole lot more than that.
And you know, the reason your ex broke up with you really is all about them. They made the decision to end things. You can let them own that decision as you own your decision to get over them.
Step 4: Spend time with your friends.
Reach out to your friends. These are the people who know how great you really are. They’ll know how to keep you from feeling too lonely and how to help you feel happy again.
Step 5: Build your self-confidence back up.
Now is when you begin accepting that despite what’s happened, you really are a fabulous and lovable person.
You might start by doing some Stuart Smalley stuff — corny, but it works at shutting down those negative comments that have been running through your head since the break up.
You might get back out there and start casually dating again. Or you might choose to do something between these two extremes as you finish getting your mojo back.
Getting over your grief after a break up doesn’t usually happen overnight, because getting dumped is horrible and heartbreaking.
But by going through these five steps, you’ll be on the quickest path to feeling better again.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce coach. She works with clients who are struggling with divorce and not sure how to stop the pain and move forward with their lives. You can join her anonymous newsletter group for free advice or schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation with Karen directly in her Time Trade calendar.