You’ve gone around and around in your head, talked to friends, listened to podcasts, and now you’ve decided that you want to end it. The talk is just as difficult as you had imagined and it does not go very well. You still want to be seen, heard, and cared for, but now you are all alone. Your friends and family say that they are here for you and you know that they can’t quite be there for you in the way that your primary partner was. Let’s be honest. We’ve all been here. It really sucks!
Your body is a super-intelligent system that instinctually knows how to take care of itself. When a body realizes that it is in danger, it immediately goes into shock and restricts blood from the less important parts of the body and directs it back into the heart. This is what you need to do directly after a break up. Direct your attention back into your heart and take care of yourself. Cease trying to manage the less important parts of your life and don’t bother making big life decisions. If you need to take a day away from work, cancel that commitment, or ask for help taking care of the kids, do what you need to do heal.
It may be tempting to curl up on the couch, turn on the TV, and block out the world, but that’s not what is going to be best for you in the long run. Just like a soldier who has been wounded in battle, you need a team, a medic, and a safe place to rest. This may look like calling a few friends to come check up on you for the first week, working with a therapist/coach, or staying at a friend’s house for a few days. Get the idea out of your head that you don’t deserve other’s care and attention. This can be ultra-healing for them, too.
Once the shock begins to wear off and you’re ready to face the world again, take baby steps. It is probably not the best idea to start dating within a month of a big break up. If you do, there’s a good chance that you will roll your old baggage, that hasn’t been dealt with, into the new relationship and crash and burn all over again. If rebounds are a pattern for you, then consider doing something different and intentionally place the focus on yourself for a period of time. Think health, community, family, self-development, and passion. The more secure you are within yourself, the more likely you are to draw someone into your life that is also secure in themselves.
When you’re ready, take complete ownership of the part you played in the relationship and dig deep to understand. This is the part that will really set you free. If you drew someone into your life that was emotionally unavailable, unable to commit, narcissistic, or co-dependent…why? What did you do or not do that allowed this person to enter into your life and affect you the way they did? Or, why did you choose to stay with them for so long once you knew how they operated? This doesn’t mean that it’s your fault that you were lied to, cheated on, or abused. The purpose of asking these questions is to empower you in your relational life.
Once you’ve designed your life in a way that you feel good about yourself and you understand your patterns, it’s time to open your heart again and trust. If you don’t fully open yourself to the possibility of love, the fantasy that someone will come swoop in and open it for you may never come true. You are totally, completely, and entirely deserving of the love you want and it’s important that you continue your search with this in mind. You’ve been hurt, but you’re not broken. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Be you. Life is inherently trustworthy and it will continue to provide lessons in all the areas that you have to grow.