Break ups happen when two people who were in a romantic relationship decide to call the relationship off. It may be a mutual decision or solely decided by the person leaving his/her partner.
Signs to Break up
It happens both to long-term relationships and (summer flings) short-lived ones.
Before the break-up happens, there are red flags to watch out for. These are the things that signal when a relationship is falling apart:
Increase in frequency of arguments.
The #1 sign you know you’re headed to split-vile is when you constantly fight about almost anything.
The smallest things seem to annoy the other party. You pick on your partner’s habit. You often scrutinize them.
Physical & Emotional Distancing.
When you or your partner’s schedule suddenly changes, one of you no longer makes the effort to workout your schedule.
Emotional distancing is when a person is physically present with you, but his/her mind is somewhere else. They avoid eye contact or intimate conversations. Their emotional investment is rapidly decreasing, like they no longer care.
Absence of disagreements.
Lack of arguments and conversations is another sign to be wary of. The moment either one of the involved parties in a relationship stops arguing, and seems to let things just pass might mean he/she has lost interest. He/she might no longer care and is aware that a break-up is around the corner.
Flirtation with other people.
When you or your partner is more comfortably socializing with other people. Or when one goes to a party without informing his/her partner about it.
The moment when one party has noticeably decreased his/her communication with his/her partner, less calls or texts and dates are often cancelled. This is one sure sign that the relationship is headed for a break-up. It’s not about having time, but finding time for a person who matters.
You may have seen the signs, or was totally surprised by the breakup. But you have to remember that in any relationship, the possibility of a breakup is always there. There is no assurance, establishing a romantic relationship is about taking risks.
Stages of Break Up
Break ups are difficult both for the dumper, the one who initiated the break up or for the dumpee, the person who was dumped and left behind. There is no formula or medication to help you get through and heal from broken relationship fast. But there are stages that every person whose heart was broken goes through. If only you would be honest to yourself and you would help yourself, you may heal your broken heart just a little faster.
1. Shock & Denial
Whether you knew the break-up was coming or not, you’re initial reaction will be a state of shock and denial. You will feel a sharp pain in your chest, like a stabbing pain. It’s normal to feel this after a break-up. Then comes denial, you knew it happened but somehow you are hoping it was just a bad dream. It could last for days or weeks. You find yourself saying, “This can’t be real, we were each other’s best”.
2. Pain & Guilt
This stage is one of the hardest. You know that your partner is not coming back. Reconciliation is not happening. You have mixed emotions such as hurt, betrayal, accompanied with a lot of questions in your mind. You have questions such as “Why did this happen?” or “What did I do to deserve this?”
You feel hateful, like the whole world has turned its back against you. You are angry towards your ex and you seem easily annoyed with anything. It’s a normal stage every person under a breakup goes through. Find a healthy way to vent out your feelings, talk to a friend, go for a run or write yourself a letter. But never try to contact your ex during this time, you might say nasty or violent words to him/her.
You look for possibilities on how to make your ex get back with you. You ask for the help of your ex’s friends, to try talk some sense into him/her to give you another chance. In some cases, people swallow their pride and ‘beg’ their ex to come back and try to make things work. At times, it is during this stage that people get interested and would try fortune telling, tarot cards or other forms of voodoo just to get their ex back. Whatever form you choose, never try to blackmail an ex by saying you will commit suicide. It won’t help, and it’ll scare them.
The longest stage you will find yourself in after a break up, it could take weeks or months. You feel disconnected to the world. You don’t know what to do next and can’t imagine life without your ex-partner. A person who is depressed may want to stay in bed the whole day, forgets about his/her grooming skills and does not want to socialize with friends or family. They want to be alone, replaying the memories of their relationship in their mind.
This is the stage where people become sentimental, and the slight reminder of their ex-partner can bring him/her into tears or a breakdown.
It’s a period you can’t imagine yourself being happy again and have somebody new in your life.
6. Turning Point
After a long state of depression, comes a turning point, the time you accept the relationship is over and you are fine about it. You can’t tell what things led you to finally accept the breakup, but somehow you feel peace and there’s no stabbing pain in your heart anymore. You no longer feel anything towards your ex, you’re not angry but you still don’t want to reconnect with him/her.
Whatever stage you’re going through right now, it’s normal and you are not alone. Remember everything happens gradually, there’s no time limit or a need to rush things. The pain is normal, and it will eventually pass. One day, you’ll look back at the break up and you can smile about it and you’ll see how strong you’ve become after a break up.
Types of Person after a Break Up
People handle break ups differently. Below are the common types of person and their behavior, after a break up:
• The Party Goer
He/she goes to parties or bars to have fun and forget about the pain of the break up. It is nice to unwind and go out with your friends, but don’t overdo it. Too much alcohol and lack of sleep could harm your health and make you look stressed out in the long run.
• The Silent One
This person wants to be left alone. He/she does not want to go out and just stays at home. He/she does not feel like socializing. And when they open up to their friends, they talk about their ex and the good times they had. They love to reminisce the past.
• The Spiritual
These people search for answer by discovering a new religion or consulting a spiritual adviser. Their path to healing consists of meditation and encouragement from their adviser and support group.
• The Shopper
People who use retail therapy as a means to drown their sadness and forget about their broken relationship. As long as you have the money and don’t overspend, it’s a healthy and fun way to move on.
• The Traveler
People who resort to traveling and discovering new places. Their way of coping with pain is by going to new places, meeting new people and experiencing a different culture.
Keeping yourself busy and in the company of good friends, will make it easier for you to move on. If you choose to party or try retail therapy as your way to cope up, keep it in moderation. Too much of anything might cause you problems in the future.
How Men & Women Handle Break Ups
They often just shrug their shoulders. They find it awkward to speak to their guy friends about the relationship.
They have difficulty expressing their emotions.
They hang out with guy friends and drink.
They confide to their girlfriends.
They cry it out.
Often left feeling devastated.
They don’t want to go out or socialize.
Men have a lot of colleagues, but often they have fewer friends to whom they feel comfortable confiding to. The tendency is their feelings (pain) are suppressed.
Women are known to have a support system from close friends and their family. That’s why it’s easier for women to move on because they can express what they feel.
Men initially think of the freedom they have gained from the breakup. They go on dates only to realize it isn’t fun at all. They miss the emotional intimacy and comfort they had with their ex.
Most women don’t want to date after a break up. It may take months before they agree to go on dates again. Their way of coping with the break up is to hang out with girlfriends or by improving themselves.
A few months after the break up, most men have a tendency to drunk dial their exes because they miss the emotional security they had.
A few months after the break up, most women have already moved on and started to see the bright side of life.
In most break ups, men don’t have difficulty moving on a few weeks after it. They entertain themselves by drinking, hanging out with guy friends and going on casual dates.
Women on the other hand, find it difficult to move on in the first few weeks of the break up. But since women are more emotional and vocal, the pain eases out faster because they are able to express themselves. Men on the hand, find it difficult to express their emotions.
They’re lost for words and their feelings are suppressed.
12 Things You Shouldn’t Do
Break ups are never easy, one moment you think you are fine, the next you are planning to do things you might regret later on. The following are reminders of what you shouldn’t be caught doing after a break up:
1. Don’t think you’ll be fine overnight.
Don’t expect to heal with one night of crying. Prepare yourself that you’ll be going through a rollercoaster ride of emotions, there are certain days you’ll feel positive and there will be nights you’ll feel lonely. It’s a normal process.
2. Don’t pretend you’re fine.
When somebody asks how you’re doing or how you feel. It’s better to be honest with how you truly feel. Don’t try to suppress your emotions.
The pain and hurt would get deeper, if you won’t express it. Talk with people you trust and relay your emotions to them.
3. Don’t communicate with your ex.
It is never a good idea to be friends with an ex immediately after a break up. Distance yourself from your ex. Neither of you would be able to think properly and move on, if you treat each other as friends.
What both parties need now is space and zero communication from each other. You don’t need a friend who exactly looks like the person who broke your heart or left you.
4. Don’t beg for reconciliation.
If you have questions for your ex-partner, like why it ended or what have you done wrong, save it. Instead look for a friend to whom you can confide about things that bother you. If your ex left you, he/she probably doesn’t want to talk or see you anymore. Think of the added pain and humiliation if you begged for another chance and he/she rejects you the second time. There are things better kept unsaid.
5. Don’t seek revenge.
It is tempting to get even with someone who did you wrong and has hurt you. Revenge sounds appealing if the person left you with no explanation, and you have done nothing wrong to them. Don’t try to inflict pain or physical injury to your ex; it could get you into legal trouble. Though it’s difficult, try to forgive and forget. If you can’t forgive your ex at the moment, think of other things you can focus your attention to. Don’t make permanent decisions out of your temporary pain.
6. Don’t be a stalker.
Restrict yourself from viewing your ex’s social media accounts to check whether he/she is living a miserable life or worse, he/she is enjoying the breakup. Whatever you see, it would only hurt you. It’s also a big no-no to secretly follow or spy on your ex’s activity. It’s creepy and a restraining order can be filed against you.
7. Don’t ask about him/her.
Stop yourself from constantly asking about your ex from your common friends, it’s less harmful than personally stalking your ex but it’s quite the same. You might end up being obsessed with your ex and you’ll have difficulty moving on.
8. Don’t bad-mouth your ex.
Refrain yourself from saying anything bad about your ex, keep the cause of your break up private. If the need to talk about your ex arises, talk to someone you trust. Intimate moments between you and your ex shouldn’t be used as an emotional blackmail.
9. Don’t be too eager to be in a relationship again.
Thinking that a new relationship will take away the pain from your break up, is wrong. Allow yourself first to heal on your own before deciding to be in a relationship again. It’s fine to date, but don’t be too excited to find a new partner just because your ex has already found someone new.
10. Don’t get a haircut or tattoo instantly.
Haircuts and tattoo should be well thought. If you really want to get one, think about it in a few weeks or a month. A bad haircut takes time to grow, while a tattoo you might regret later on, is costly to have it removed.
11. Don’t overeat.
It’s fine to indulge in your comfort foods such as ice cream, a box of pizza or chocolates once in a while. But don’t turn it to a habit or a lifestyle where you eat anything you want and you gain unwanted weight. Nothing is more depressing than be broken hearted and to become obese.
12. Don’t give-up.
Never lose hope because a relationship has ended. Don’t try to kill yourself. Think of the breakup as a new opportunity to focus on yourself, rethink your goals and the potential to meet your best match.
Relationships are like that, it may lasts but often, they end till you find the right one.
The Things You Should Do
After containing yourself from not doing things that you might regret later and might haunt you, these are the things you should do to cope up with your broken heart and emotional baggage.
Cry it out.
A few days after your break up, it helps to cry out the emotions you’re feeling. It’s normal, and researches show that people who cry heal faster from the pain they’re experiencing. Don’t overdo it and cry about almost anything that reminds you of your ex. Do not be a drama queen.
Though you may not feel like talking to anyone. Reach out to your friends and family. They’re willing to help you get through such a difficult situation.
Talk to the people whom you trust.
A breakup is the right time to go to the spa, have a massage or get a manicure/pedicure treatment. If you have the means, visit a hair stylist/colorist and update your hairstyle. Check out the beauty department in the malls and get a free makeover. Update your wardrobe, shop for new clothes. Now is the best time to treat yourself. Going through a breakup maybe inevitable but go through it looking good.
Keep moving and keep busy.
Try to find things you can work on, like clean your house or try to cook something new. If you wake up early, go for a run or walk. It’ll burn the extra energy you feel and you’ll feel better after.
Enroll in a class.
If you can afford it, enroll yourself in a short course that interests you, it can be about baking, crafts or the master degree you’ve been dreaming of. There are also free online classes that you can look up to, some sites offer them. Or try doing voluntary work in your community, it’ll keep you busy and you’ll meet new people.
Keep a journal.
Write your emotions. Compose letters for your self in the future. Write down how you feel at the moment and what you want to do in the future. One day you can look at this journal and see how far you’ve come.
If you can afford it, travel on your own. Pick your dream destination. Or you can ask your friends if they want to come along. You have all the time in the world and there are no restrictions to where you can go. Explore the world around you, as you find healing.
Decide to be happy.
Watch comedy films. Go to comedy bars with your friends. Try to laugh on the silliest things you see on the street.
Find some quiet time in the morning or evening. Think about what you’ve been through and try to view those painful situations as a learning experience.
Count the breakup as a lesson learned the hard way.
Clear the clutter.
Collect your ex’s stuff that is in your place, include the things (letters, gifts) he/she gave you. Put them in a storage box and hide it where you won’t frequently see it.
Collect your stuff.
This would depend if you’re in speaking terms with your ex. If yes, ask a friend to get your stuff from him/her. If not, don’t bother getting your stuff anymore unless he/she insists it.
Have a closure ritual.
This is the last and important thing you need to do. Once you have accepted the breakup and the pain no longer bothers you, get the things you’ve kept and burn the letters/photos. For things that can still be used, you have the option of donating them to charities. The key here is to dispose and have nothing to physically remind you of your previous relationship.
Natural Healing & Professional Help
In the previous chapter, a checklist of things you can do to heal and let you cope up with a breakup faster has been presented. If you’ve done all and nothing seems to help you, try these natural remedies or seek professional help.
It’s a great mood enhancer. It calms your mind and body. It’s a healthy outlet to free you from the pain of heartbreak, and you can incorporate it to your lifestyle.
Go on a retreat
It will give you a different perspective towards your situation. A retreat master will also be there to talk to you and help you let go of your emotional baggage. There are activities and rituals during the retreat that aim to free you from things that are holding you back.
Eat mood food
It’s normal for people to eat comfort foods after a breakup, but there are actual comfort foods with healthy benefits. Check the list below:
- Chocolates, #1 on the list. It helps release seratonin, a feel good hormone. Opt for dark chocolates which is also known to lower blood cholesterol and reduce cardiovascular diseases.
- Turkey, it has a relaxing effect. It’s also a building block of the neuro-transmitter, seratonin.
- Red Wine contains antioxidants plus it lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Indulge in a glass or two of red wine.
- Oranges & Papaya, these are called happy fruits. They are rich in vitamin B6 and folic acid, which tend to be lower in depressed people.
- Walnuts, is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids that is good for the brain. It fights depression. If you are allergic to nuts, you can also eat fish and flaxseed and get the same benefit.
- Saffron, incorporating this spice to your favorite paella, Mexican fried rice and burrito is a delicious way to reap its mood uplifting benefits.
- Tea, choose lavender, green tea or red tea. It has been traditionally used to calm the nervous system and relieve the drinker from headaches, insomnia and even mild depression.
For people who find it difficult to move on from a break up, and have a tendency to endanger themselves by inflicting pain in their bodies or overdosing on medicines, it’s advisable to consult with a psychiatrist. There’s nothing wrong in seeking professional help. These psychiatrists or counselors are well trained in helping people move on with their life. They can provide proper counseling and medication, if needed.
Regardless of the methods you choose, whether you go with the natural remedies or you decide to seek professional help, may you find inner healing from the pain you’ve felt. And may you see life from an optimist’s point of view again.
Remember, the pain you felt is a temporary one. Use it to make yourself a better person.