Mike: This is Mike Hennessy. And on behalf of the team at LoveEvolveandThrive.com, I am pleased to welcome you to today’s interview with Karla Downing. Karla Downing is a licensed marriage and family therapist and the founder of ChangeMyRelationship.com. Go to www.ChangeMyRelationship.com for more information.
Karla Downing, thank you so much for joining us today.
Karla: You are welcome. It’s great to be here.
Mike: One of the issues that our subscribers generally struggle with is healing from a breakup. When a relationship ends, there is undoubtedly a lot of pain and grief following the breakup.
Can you offer some practical tips and insights on the right way to cope with a break up and get over the ex?
Here are some practical tips on how to survive a breakup.
· Feel the emotions. Don’t tell yourself you have to be strong or that it shouldn’t hurt. In order to process the loss, you have to go through the grief process of denial, anger, bargaining, and sadness before you get to acceptance. Feeling your emotions is necessary and healthy.
· Listen to music. Music is therapeutic. It puts words to your stories, emotions, hopes, and dreams. There is a time to listen to love songs and tales of jilted lovers, but there is also a time to listen to music that lifts you up and makes you happy.
· Write in a journal. The sadness, the anger, the regrets, the fears, the rejection, the pain, the hurt, and the losses all need to be processed. Let your pen fly across the paper. Don’t put thought into it and don’t worry about grammar; just let it come naturally so that your emotions are released.
· Read books and articles about the problems in the relationship. If you can learn something about yourself, you will make good out of your time invested. People tend to pick the same type of partner, often with similar problems and dynamics. If these contributed to the relationship not working, it will improve your chances of picking someone different next time.
· Find happy memories. Remember things that you have enjoyed and can enjoy again—especially those from before your relationship. Remember people who love you and care about you. Remember the good things from this relationship, but don’t dwell on them exclusively. This will remind you that there was life before your ex and will be life after your ex.
· Exercise daily. Try to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. Exercise dispels anger and decreases depression. It releases endorphins which are pleasure hormones that put you in a better mood. Plus, it can’t hurt your prospects for a new relationship by improving your physique and confidence too!
· Stay busy. Keep yourself busy with friends and activities—even if you don’t feel like it; even if you don’t want to go; even if you are thinking about your ex; even if you don’t enjoy it as much as you would if you hadn’t had the breakup. You will still get enough out of it to make it worth it. The alternative is to sit home, pine about your ex, and feel even worse.
· Use comfort measures. All of us have certain comfort foods, activities, music, TV shows, and places that feel nurturing. You can even indulge with a spa weekend or trip you have wanted to take. Others are fairly simple like a food that is associated with good feelings (ice cream, pasta, pizza, or your favorite restaurant), your favorite TV show or videos, an album you enjoy, or a special place.
· Find something new you enjoy. Think of something that you couldn’t do while dating him. Whether it was because you didn’t have the time or because the person didn’t share your interest, engaging in something new and exciting that you enjoy will help you to find a benefit from not being in the relationship.
· Get a positive perspective. Everything in life can be used for good including pain and past experiences. It is important to process your relationship. Focus on the things you learned about yourself: the insights and awareness. You can take something positive from every relationship you have had, even if it is a lesson you don’t want to repeat.
· Disconnect social media links. If you stay connected via social media, it will make it harder to let go. If he broke up with you, seeing him post happy events and thoughts will make your pain worse. Seeing who he is dating will rub salt in your wounds. You might also want to know that what you post about yourself is private and not scrutinized by your ex.
· Reconnect to old friends. We sometimes let go of old friends when dating because our new partner’s interests don’t mesh or we just don’t have the time. Reconnecting to old friends brings some comfortable familiarity into your life and keeps you busy.
· Act as if. Even if you are hurting inside and obsessed with thoughts about your ex, pretend you are okay, put on a smile and go out. Go to work and make yourself focus on your job. Laugh at people’s jokes and make yourself have a good time. There is a time to grieve and a time to act like you are fine.
· Get emotional support for yourself. You might decide you need to go into therapy to process the relationship and the breakup. You might want to designate a “go to” friend as the one you can call any time to dump your anger, pain, and obsessive thoughts. If the breakup was related to an addiction, you might want to go to a Twelve Step group to get some insight into the dynamics that affected your relationship.
· Hope, but move on. If you still have hope that you will get back together, recognize it but move on as if it isn’t going to happen. You have to release the person and let go in order to not stay stuck in a holding pattern that will make it more difficult for you to heal.
Know that hearts heal. No matter how much you do not believe this at this time, it will happen. You won’t always feel this bad. Find other people you know that have gotten over breakups and remind yourself how well they are doing now. Picture yourself okay in the future. Give yourself the time to heal and time will do its job. It isn’t that you will forget the relationship—you will have processed it, accepted its end, and moved on with your life.
Mike: Karla Downing, thank you so much for the information today.
Karla: You are welcome.
And this is Mike Hennessy. And on behalf of the team at LoveEvolveandThrive.com, I’d like to thank you for listening to our interview and wish you the very best in your relationships.
Our guest today was Karla Downing, a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Change My Relationship at www.ChangeMyRelationship.com.
For free tips and insights on relationship advice for women from hundreds of experts and authors, please visit our website at www.LoveEvolveandThrive.com.