How to cope with a relationship break up?

A sad woman.

Renee had this to say about her failed relationship:

He made me feel so very special. I had feelings I’d never felt before. But then he said that he didn't think it would work. I thought my life had ended. I cried all day and all night. I didn't eat, I didn't sleep, I lost 30 pounds [15 kg] in a couple of months, and I even developed bronchitis. Life had no meaning for me.”

If you have been hurt by a failed romantic relationship, this lament may sound familiar.

You know well what it means to feel deeply for someone, only to have your hopes dashed to pieces.

The feeling of rejection is intense, humiliating.

As you struggle to get over the pain, you may wonder, ‘Why can’t I just let go—forget the person and get on with my life?’ It is rarely that simple.

Why is it so hard?

The bond of romantic affection can be strong.

It has even been compared to the parent-child bond.

While it would doubtless take a long time for romantic love to grow that strong, still, the emotions may be deeply felt from the outset.

You can’t just turn them on and off as you might flick a light switch.

That makes the loss of a boyfriend or a girlfriend especially hard to take.

A tendency to fantasize may play a role as well.

One study by researchers explains:

Many people are more vulnerable to loss because when they enter a romantic relationship, they tend to fantasize about the future with their partner. This fantasy may include dreams of getting married, having children, and being together for the rest of their lives.”

Such dreams can be hard to abandon, even when they have little basis in reality.

You are still loved

The loss of a romantic partner can lead to feelings of personal failure and inadequacy.

Jeanette recalls: 

You feel depressed, as if nobody’s there for you. You don’t care anymore. You feel rejected.”

Like her, many feel depressed, guilty, worthless, unable to concentrate. Some have even committed suicide.

So this can be a dangerous time for you.

A measure of self-love is needed and proper. 

The fact that one person failed to return your romantic love does not mean that you are unlovable, does it?

You can’t really assume that no one else will ever find you desirable or attractive, can you?

Do you not have family members and friends who love you?

You are not unlovable, and you are certainly not worthless.

When a breakup is really a blessing

You may feel that this breakup is one of the worst things that has ever happened to you, but it may be just the opposite.

Hard as it may be to believe, it is quite likely that the end of your romance is a blessing.

How so?

Most infatuated romantic relationships hold no real promise of success.

People are susceptible to fleeting desires and mistaken loves.

Every year thousands of people marry, only to find out too late that doing so was a mistake.

One newspaper executive stated after her divorce:

It was a real mistake to marry him. I didn't really understand we had very different values and backgrounds.”

Rushed marriages have a horrendously high failure rate.

So as bad as you may feel right now, be assured of one thing—you would feel a lot worse trapped in an unhappy marriage.

Ask yourself if you really were ready for a lifelong marriage, with all its responsibilities, including child rearing.

And was the one you loved really ready?

Remember, breakup of a courtship is infinitely less painful than breakup of a marriage.

So you may be able to view the breakup as a learning experience.

Will this experience make you more shrewd, so as to avoid trouble in the future?

Coping with breakup feelings

However, even if the breakup was the best thing for you, that still does not make it painless.

How can you handle the feelings that just don’t seem to go away?

For one thing, it will not help to pretend that you don’t feel anything.

Feelings aren’t things that you can run from or hide from.

Eventually, they’ll find you.

It is quite natural for you to feel provoked, deeply upset over this.

But don’t bottle it up, going to bed distraught night after night.

Express yourself to a trusted friend or confidant.

Your parents or friends can be very helpful in these situations.

You may find that they went through similar painful experience.

Another aid in coping with your feelings is keeping busy.

You may tend to withdraw, isolate yourself, daydream, and lose interest in life.

Jeanette recalls:

You don’t feel like doing anything. You just sleep a lot. Get right back into group association with those who will encourage you in the right course.

Remember, too, that for a while you will experience good days and bad days.

On bad days you may feel that you will never get over this.

But the truth is, you will get better. Healing a wound—any wound—takes time. Do not delay the process by wallowing in romantic or sentimental music and daydreaming about your lost love.

One of your great blessings is time.

There is so much time ahead of you to learn and gain experience.

So use this precious asset wisely; develop qualities that will help you to become a stable and secure. 

That way you will be able to make wise decisions about courtship and marriage in the future.