When a relationship ends, whether it’s mutual or one sided, it can be tough to pick up the pieces. Is there a simple trick to successfully moving on after a relationship fizzles? Not really. But there are a few strategies for more effectively dealing with the inevitable pain and discomfort that follows a split. Here are 4 healthy ways to help manage grief after a relationship ends.
No. 1: Be Prepared to Experience Different Phases of Grief
Ending a relationship can be complicated. More often than not, the wave of emotions that follows is contradictory at best. However, the key to getting through the process successfully is in understanding and being prepared to take the journey. Typically, the phases of grief include:
• Denial- Even against better judgment, it’s not uncommon to try and fool ourselves into thinking things will work out.
• Anger- Feeling bitter or irritated after a break up is common. Late night texting or sharing less than flattering details about an ex fall into this phase.
• Bargaining- What if I promise to change? Is there anything I can do or could have done to change this reality?
• Depression- Sadness and despair can manifest in any number of ways, from insomnia to loss of appetite to feelings of hopelessness.
• Acceptance- Finally, despite feeling sad, acceptance occurs. This is the point when we are capable of making peace with our loss.
No. 2: Seek Out a Positive Support System
We all have that one friend or relative who stands by our side through thick or thin. Having access to a positive support system during a relationship loss is invaluable, and one of the best ways to cope with the myriad of feelings that are sure to surface. While family and close friends can offer encouragement, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out the help of a professional during uncertain times. Depression, anxiety and feelings of despair can be overwhelming, and it’s smart to recognize when a counselor or outside support group can help.
No. 3: Be Open to New Friends and Interests
Healthy relationships bloom every day, whether it’s meeting someone new at a coffee shop, sharing a conversation with a neighbor or simply chatting up a colleague at work. Don’t be afraid to explore new friends and new interests. Participate in something unusual and step outside of your regular routine. Open your eyes to the world around you and you’ll find it much easier to move forward in a positive way.
No. 4: Anticipate a New Beginning
Allow yourself to grieve a failed marriage or relationship ending, but do not allow the burden to define who you are. Leave the past where it belongs, and concentrate on building a happy, healthy new beginning. While grief can be all consuming, it’s important to realize that there is hope. Anticipating a new start makes it possible to create a way forward.The good news is, there’s power in choices – choose to create a new beginning and one will emerge.