How to navigate a relationship breakdown
Ending a relationship is never an easy thing to do – but sometimes it’s necessary. And if the first weeks of January weren’t bad enough, it’s also the time when relationships are more likely to come to an end. In fact, one of the UK’s biggest relationship charities, Relate, sees a peak in calls during January as issues within long-term relationships come to a head after the New Year.
Although getting over a break-up is tough and there are no quick fixes to take away the pain, moving on from a relationship that’s ended begins with you. Relate counsellor Rachel Davies suggests five ways to navigate a break-up…
1. Be kind to yourself
All too often it’s easy to beat yourself up about what you did or didn’t do in your failed relationship. But being kind to yourself could help cope with a broken heart. “Find the time to nurture yourself,” says Rachel.
“Take the support and offers of help from others – it’s not the time to strike out by yourself. For example, if someone was looking for a new job at the same time as a relationship break-up, you probably don’t want to be going for job interviews in the first few days afterwards, as you will be feeling a bit more vulnerable – so you need to look after yourself a bit.”
Rachel recommends doing whatever works for you – this may mean pampering yourself, doing more exercise, eating the right foods, or seeing the friends who can help you and not the friends who are going to make you feel worse and challenge you about it.
2. Avoid making big decisions and be realistic with your expectations
Break-ups can be a confusing time and your decision-making skills can often be compromised. Avoid making major decisions straight after your break-up while emotions are running high. Rachel says:
“What I come across quite often is people saying things like, ‘I can no way stay living in this city as my ex is still living here’, and things like that… And I don’t think the couple of weeks after a break-up are the times to make big decisions because the emotions are too strong.”
“Don’t change your life, don’t resign from your job, don’t sign up to a very expensive new course – don’t do anything like that in the first two weeks after a break-up.”
3. Limit the contact you have with your ex-partner as much as possible
Asking questions about your ex to mutual friends and stalking on Facebook can be so temping, but ultimately it can make you feel worse, according to Rachel.
“Checking up on your ex on social media and quizzing joint friends are the kinds of things we see quite often, and most of the time it just makes you feel a lot worse. You may be asking if they’ve met anybody else or if they’re upset – and if you hear that they’re actually okay, it can make you feel worse.”
“Social media, of course, is such a problem for this because you can always find out what everybody else is doing. So, the best thing you can do is withdraw from too much contact with the people who know that person. What you have got to ask yourself is if this is going to make you feel better – and most people will probably admit that it makes them feel worse.”