These mistakes will get you if you don't watch for them.
Ending a romantic relationship is painful whether it is you who is ending it or the other person.
You may feel stuck in a situation where you can’t live with them or without them. Maybe cheating, neglect, abuse, or a simple lack of compatibility brought you or the other person to this decision.
Now, you are at war with your heart and brain.
You find yourself fixating on your former partner, unable let go. The need to see, feel, or talk to your ex in order to find out if they are as miserable as you are is normal. However, when you act on these desires, it only makes your healing process much longer and much more difficult.
Below are 7 breakup mistakes you MUST avoid after ending a romantic relationship.
1. Avoiding feeling your pain.
MRI studies indicate the emotional pain we feel after a breakup stimulates the same pathways in the brain as physical pain. This is why breakups trigger such powerful feelings of being hurt.
Even though our natural instinct is to avoid pain, we must learn to face it, as growth is only achieved when we make it to the other side. As Zara Green said "Growth happens during the storms of life."
2. Withdrawing from friends and family.
The loss of an intimate relationship makes you feel a deep sense of disconnection from the world. When you feel something is missing from your life, you feel totally lonely. The natural impulse to withdraw after a breakup can be strong.
Even if you don’t feel the desire to connect, it’s important to push yourself to engage with people who care about you, support you, and love you. Satisfying our fundamental need to be social ultimately helps us recover from the breakup.
Share your feelings with your close friends and family. Letting it out is better than keeping it bottled up inside, and represents an active step towards moving on.
3. Rushing into another relationship.
The worst thing you can do is rush into a rebound relationship. You need to give yourself time to lick your wounds, feel the pain, and deal with the mistakes of your past relationship before you move on to a new one. You need to clear your heart and head in order to leave the baggage of this most recent relationship in the past.
A new romantic relationship — not a rebound — will be a great way to move on and find new love when entered into consciously, slowly and for the right reasons. So don’t rush into anything, but if a new love comes knocking on your door, don’t go slamming it shut either.
4. Over-analyzing the situation
Dealing with a breakup doesn’t mean you have to think back and analyze whose fault it was. To brood and ruminate about why the relationship failed isn’t helpful.
Give yourself a break and avoid over-analyzing. Stop thinking about what your ex may or may not be going through, whether or not they found someone else or whether or not they miss you. It will only make you feel worse and delay your recovery.
5. Blaming and not forgiving.
Blaming your ex and being angry with them may seem to provide short-term relief. However, you and your ex each have your own responsibility for your decisions and your situation.
The fact is, there no one to blame. Each party was doing their best. This is why it is important to forgive. Forgiveness allows you to get unstuck from your past, releases the pain and anger, and allows you to move on.
6. Stopping activities you enjoy.
After a breakup, most people feel sad, down and unmotivated. It’s important to push yourself to re-engage in things you liked to do - even when you don’t feel like it.
Engaging in activities you used to enjoy helps you reconnect to your core self, the person you were before the breakup. It also provides you moments of happiness and changes your focus from a miserable breakup to a fun, meaningful life.
7. Demanding closure.
Many people want to understand why their breakup happened. They say something along the lines of, "I just need closure." Sometimes closure may be helpful, but when you demand it, you’re more likely to over think the “if only” to every situation you discover that led to the break up.
This acts as a hurdle, halting your forward momentum towards healing, and stops you from facing the bitter reality that this relationship is over and there is no chance of getting it back.
Romantic relationships can feel like addiction, and breaking up means stopping the intake of the drug you so badly crave. This is why it is so important to find the courage to embrace the situation and move beyond your pain to see the possibilities that still lie in your future.
It’s not an easy process, as it means dealing with the undeniable pain of broken dreams, but if you can save yourself from the above mistakes, healing will definitely be achieved.
Moshe Ratson is a relationship expert in New York City. Contact Moshe Ratson (Licensed Marriage Family Therapist) to get the counseling you need to overcome breakup and divorce to ultimately emerge stronger and wiser.