So, you just broke up with a guy and you're feeling like hell. Or, maybe it's been several months and you're still feeling like hell. Maybe you're even contemplating getting back together with him? Breakups are tough. I can state from experience that being done with a relationship, especially after spending a significant amount of time in one, is a hard pill to swallow. Subsequently, there are several age old questions regarding breaking up that will always exist. Let's examine a few shall we...
Breakup Questions #1 and #2: "Why does it hurt so bad?" and "Why am I behaving so strangely?"
Unfortunately, ending relationships is supposed to be hard. Relationships put you in a routine of sorts and it becomes a habit. Ceasing any habit is unsettling and frustrating to say the least. Also if breakups weren't the least bit difficult, then that would mean that there were no true feelings or love there to begin with. So, congratulations...you have a heart! Take note that just because it may appear to be easy for someone, it doesn't mean that it actually is easy for them. As human beings, we are quick to activate our defense mechanisms to ease trying times, which can lead to some out of character behavior. Thus, when it comes to matters of the heart vs matters of the brain, they go hand in hand. The primitive part of our brain wants to stay at a neutral/happy state by nature and, as you well know, the brain is connected to every part of the body. For example, if your back is hurting, your brain picks up on it and starts sending you messages to do something about it (i.e. take an aspirin, get a massage). If your heart is aching due to a breakup, the brain feels that too and wants to put a stop to it pronto. Only this time, there's no magic pill that can take the pain away! What's a brain to do?? Get real primitive and irrational that's what, by trying to find the quickest, easiest way to make that heartache stop such as:
- Self-medicating. Having a drink...or maybe 10 drinks because the first didn't numb you up enough.
- Finding some guy, any guy...(every guy?) to hook-up with to alleviate those twinges of loneliness and self-doubt.
- Making justifications as to why a potentially right/healthy decision to end a relationship is totally wrong, thus tempting you to get back together with your ex.
Oh, primitive brain with it's self-sabotaging ways. This is why people have such difficulty with things such as losing weight (withholding is hard and annoying so the brain justifies one more bite), budgeting (it's maddening to not be able to afford something, so the brain justifies why you simply must splurge to have it), and it is why people return to or stay in bad relationships (feeling wanted/needed/desired vs self-love--which is harder). The primitive brain may be good at basic self preservation, but it is less than useful in matters of the heart. In those pleasure seeking moments listed above, the ends seem to justify the means, but in the long run, it often leads to doing more harm than good: waking up to a nasty hangover and more than a few drunk texts to the ex, waking up next to some guy who (strangely) looks totally different in the light of day...and not in a good way, and/or rekindling a bad relationship...which leads us to our next question...
Breakup Question #3: "Should we get back together?"
Well, it depends on whose asking: Primitive brain or Rational brain? The difference? Has enough time gone by for you to really process the breakup or are you a day into it and freaking out trying to get back to some sense of normalcy no matter the cost? I'm not saying it's easy ladies, I've been there. I, too, have experienced breakups where I yearned to have back what I once had. It can seem ridiculous to let all that time and effort spent together go to waste because of a handful of issues, right? But in the end, some issues are deal breakers, and if they're not then they need to be resolved, and even if they are resolved, sometimes two people just are not right for each other.
If you are not sure whether you really want your ex back or just want the relationship back (there is a difference), it is important to figure out which is true before attempting to reconcile, otherwise it is not fair to either of you.
Think about the reasons you broke up in the first place. Ask yourself if they are still relevant, whether both of you willing to put in work to fix them, and what kind of work it would take. Remember, it takes two.
Breakup Question #4: "How do I cure a broken heart?"
I have found that in my experiences, both personal and professional, that the best medicine is time. Yes, I know...that sucks. Because no one wants to feel like crap for an extended period of time. Are there things you can do to aid in your recovery as the months go by? Sure. I'm a huge proponent of cutting off all contact with exes for awhile. Often, breakups leave us way too lonely and vulnerable to be all buddy-buddy with the ex right off the bat. Remember that good ol' primitive brain is always looking for a quick fix, ahemsexwiththeexcough, that may prove to cause more heartache than the actual breakup recovery in the long run.
Finding a support system of friends/family and getting involved in activities is a really good idea as well, but ultimately, the hardest lesson is that you will have to allow yourself to feel the pain. We can't be busy 24/7 and at some point we must feel it. It's not fun, but it is how learning takes place. If we totally avoided the pain of a breakup then we would never learn anything and we would end up in the same situations over and over again. So, go ahead...cry, bawl, stomp, scream, write, sing, let it out. Deal with the baggage. It's part of the journey. It's a rough road, but you will be okay. Remind yourself of that. People in life will come and go, but there are always new and amazing adventures yet to come if you are willing to make room for them. Remind yourself of that too.
Mucho love to you all,
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