Grief is a natural response to any type of loss, including romantic breakups. It can be especially difficult when you lose a significant other, even if that person is alive and well.
It’s common to hear people say that breaking up is like dying.
And in some ways, it is.
Like death, a relationship breakup can be sudden and unexpected. Or it can come after a long period of decline, much like a terminal illness. Either way, it can bring on intense feelings of sadness, loss, and grief.
According to Adam Borland, PsyD, “Both experiences may create feelings of shock. You may feel a sense of disbelief immediately afterward. You are likely to feel a range of emotions — fear, anger, confusion and loneliness. Plans and goals you thought were set in stone may become uncertain, which can create anxiety. Both kinds of loss may raise questions regarding identity and self-worth. You may question who you are or doubt your ability to move forward alone. You may wonder if you’ll ever find love again.”
Obviously, there are some key differences between grieving a breakup and grieving the death of a loved one.
One big difference is that when you lose a loved one, you are usually given some time to mourn and say goodbye. With a breakup, there is often no warning and no chance for closure. There is no funeral, nobody brings you casseroles, and you don’t get time away from work.
Another difference is that you might feel ashamed and embarrassed about grieving a breakup and comparing it to death. You might feel like you’re being dramatic or that you should be over it by now.
It’s important to understand that the pain of a breakup is just as real as the pain of death. It’s also healthy to grieve the end of a relationship.
In the end, grieving a breakup is a personal process that looks different for everyone. But know that you are not alone in your pain and that, like death, there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
For men, it can be hard to know how to cope with the pain and sadness that come along with a breakup.
Here are several tips that can help:
Give Yourself Time to Grieve
Don’t try to force yourself to “get over it” quickly. It’s okay to take your time and mourn the loss of the relationship.
Grief can be a long and difficult process, but there is no timeline for how long it takes. Everyone grieves in their own way and at their own pace. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
Some people may find that they can move on relatively quickly, while others may find the process to be more difficult and take longer. Grief can also resurface at different times after the loss has occurred. There is no set time frame for grieving, and it is important to allow yourself the time you need to mourn your loss.
It is often said that the five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, it is important to remember that these stages are not linear. You may move back and forth between them, and you may not experience all of them. Grief is a unique experience, and there is no single way to grieve.
Momentum Helps Healing
Staying occupied – once you feel up to it – helps you move forward and avoid self judgement or self pity. Enjoying activity keeps you occupied and helps take your mind off of the breakup.
Additionally, keeping yourself occupied helps you avoid contact with your ex, which can be helpful if you’re trying to move on.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
It’s important to continue interacting with people, even if you don’t feel like it. This helps you stay connected to the world and not dwell on your breakup.
When you go through a breakup, it’s natural to feel like you want to be alone. You might feel like you don’t want to see your friends or talk to anyone. But it’s important not to isolate yourself after a breakup.
Staying isolated makes you feel worse. It leads to loneliness and depression. It also makes it harder to move on from the relationship.
Talking to your friends and family can help you feel better. They can provide support and listening ears. They can also give you advice and help you get through this tough time. Lean on your friends and family for support. They can be a great source of comfort during this difficult time.
How Can Friends and Family Help You through the Grief of a Breakup?
There is no right or wrong way to deal with the aftermath of a breakup, but seeking support from your loved ones can be incredibly helpful. Here are some ways that they can help you through this tough time:
Listen to you without judgment. It can be really helpful to talk about your feelings and experiences after a breakup. Let your loved ones know that you just need to vent and be heard, without any pressure to “fix” the situation.
Offer practical help. If you’re struggling to take care of yourself after a breakup, your loved ones can pitch in with things like cooking, cleaning, or running errands.
Help you stay distracted. Spending time with your loved ones can help take your mind off of the breakup. Whether you go out for coffee, watch a movie, or just catch up on old conversations, it can be really helpful to have that support.
Hold you accountable. If you’re tempted to slide into self-pity after a breakup, your loved ones can help keep you on track. They can help you make positive changes in your life and stay motivated to move on.
Seek Professional Help If Needed
If the pain of the breakup is too much to handle on your own, seek out professional counseling. There is no shame in getting help when you need it. Don’t be embarrassed or feel uncomfortable. A therapist or counselor can help you process your pain and move forward with your romantic life.