Romantic relationships are undoubtedly one of the most interesting facets to life.
When they're going well, they have the potential to uplift us to levels of contentment we once thought to never be possible. This is especially true at the beginning of a new relationship, when both partners find themselves in what many label as the "honeymoon stage" -where neither can seemingly do wrong in the eyes of the other.
However, when a romantic relationship is either going poorly or is non-existent in our life, we can quite easily find ourselves locked into states of anger and/or sadness because of it. Seeing as though you've been "click-baited" into reading this article, I'm willing to bet that the second scenario currently applies to either you or someone close to you.
As someone who has been through my fair share of breakups over the years -a number that easily doubles in size if I also count the number of friends and family members I've helped navigate through theirs -here's my take on what we can all do to more rapidly process the end of a relationship in a healthy way.
(Disclaimer: Of course there are always extremes and extraneous factors that complicate this process in some instances, but this advice is designed to tackle solely the mental and emotional side of things for those who know they can move on but are struggling to do so.)
If You Feel Sad Because You Still Love Them
If you find yourself feeling this way, chances are that you were either the recipient of an unexpected breakup or a circumstance forced you to end something you previously felt secure in. Regardless of what triggers you into feeling this way, the strongest step to overcoming it is to assess the quality of the thoughts you're having about the relationship that was.
For you to be feeling this way, you're likely looking back on the relationship with rose-colored glasses.
A great illustration of what I mean by this can be found in the movie 500 Days of Summer [SPOILER ALERT] when the main character Tom -played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt -finds himself reeling after being broken up with. It isn't until his younger sister Rachel -played by Chloë Grace Moretz -unexpectedly reminds him of not only many of the not so shiny moments to the relationship, but also shows him a different perspective where the couple's doom could be more easily understood.
It's not to say that you and your ex didn't share a lot of wonderful things together, it's just that solely focusing on those moments rather than seeing the bigger picture is likely keeping you trapped in love.
If You Feel Angry Because They Ruined Everything
If you find yourself feeling this way, chances are that in your mind the other half to this now failed partnership is largely to blame. And while that may be true, dwelling on that fact isn't doing you any favors, nor is it going to change the past.
Rather than continuing to be angry at them for what they did or failed to do, mentally shift yourself to focusing on what you no longer have to deal with. If necessary, even write it down. If they were capable of triggering a breakup, chances are they have a number of qualities and behaviours that you now won't have to deal with.
If You Feel Alone Because You Miss Having Someone
Take whatever time you need to process what's happened, but when you find yourself dwelling, fill the voids that your relationship used to fill with the things that YOU genuinely love.
All relationships -no matter how perfectly compatible you and your partner's interests were -require some give and take. With that being the case, chances are that there is a passion or two or twenty you either put in the rear view mirror or barely engaged with while in your relationship.
Instead of staying in and sulking while binge watching a rom-com that perpetuates a relationship ideal we all know isn't really possible, push yourself to do what you know you love to do deep down. It may feel incredibly uncomfortable at first, but the more you get yourself back into it, the quicker your love for that activity is likely to take over and help you move on.
If You Feel Justified Because Your Friends Say You Should
Realize that despite their best intentions, you've likely turned to the wrong friends for support at this stage. While your dramatic and reactive friends can be incredibly helpful upon first impact of the breakup happening, there naturally comes a point where you instead need to turn to those that you know are going to give you the tough love and honesty you require to move on.
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