The term ‘recovering from a broken heart’ usually means that there are still strong feelings and attachments to the person you once loved and whom you depended on. It also may tend to imply that the breakup was not the outcome you desired, leaving you feeling some form of powerlessness. There is probably some underlying message that somehow you’ve failed or that you may not have been good enough in some way. Those who have faced an ending to an important relationship with someone they loved, and perhaps still love very much, can certainly relate to an aftermath of sadness, grief, disorientation, self-doubt, and often a temporary feeling of depression and despair. It takes time for your heart to mend, which usually involves a time of thinking through and reliving all the shared experiences. It takes time to re-evaluate your choices from beginning to end, to look for clues that may not have been apparent at the time. This can mean weeks or months and even years for some, of feeling waves of emotion as your mind revisits experiences that keep getting triggered by your daily activities. One of the most difficult parts of breaking up is getting through the initial shock, sadness and loss. Even those who feel that it was their choice to end the relationship go through a period of feeling lost and confused without their former partner. After all, life has changed drastically and quickly! It’s important not to misinterpret the pain you’re feeling as a sign that you did something wrong when the relationship came to an end. Most people tend to feel that they are in more pain than the other person. It’s a natural part of the healing process to feel this and it means that you are now focused on yourself and what you need, instead of thinking in terms of the other person’s needs. Allow yourself time to engage in recognition of your pain and your loss. The deepness and dependence on the relationship is often rooted in unfulfilled needs from childhood. What seems like a brief relationship may take a year to heal, where a long-term relationship may end and be processed in a relatively short time. There are no real rules for how much time it takes, but it’s a good idea to seek help if the time seems extensive and protracted, beyond what would seem a normal time to each person, or if there seems to be no progress in the healing. From an article by Dr. Judith L. Allen http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/articles/recover-a-broken-heart/
You will lose someone you can’t live without,
and your heart will be badly broken,
and the bad news is that you never completely
get over the loss of your beloved.
But this is also the good news.
They live forever in your broken heart
that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through.
It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly;
that still hurts when the weather gets cold,
but you learn to dance with the limp.
Maturity is being able to move from environmental support to more internal self-support. People who won’t leave a bad marriage because it scares them too much are afraid of independence. Dwelling in a bad marriage is a form of need wrapped up in resentments, which can get very ugly. Remember that drama always obscures the real issues. It is important to learn to stop the drama and learn to soothe yourself. It is too often true that the work and struggle of solving relationship problems is avoided. Ask yourself: What are new ways to give yourself comfort? As difficult as it can be to make new friends reach out and build up your support system. Don’t tally up the rejections while licking your wounds, but instead learn how to be able to be alone. Try going to a bargain matinée or eating lunch by yourself; tolerate the anxiety that this may provoke by knowing no one is really paying much attention to you. Learn what your triggers are for anxiety, the ones that make you lurch into retreat and old patterns of hiding. Remember that transitions are the hardest parts of life and that they must be faced in order to grow. One thing to keep in mind is that people will often get angry as a way to avoid saying goodbye. That is how hard transitions can be. From “Anxiety, Control & Codependency” by Rhoda Mills Sommer, L.C.S.W. http://therapyideas.net/anxiety.htm
In a consumer society
there are inevitably
two kinds of slaves:
the prisoners of addiction
and the prisoners of envy.
A divorce is a highly stressful, life-changing event. When you’re going through the emotional wringer and dealing with major life changes, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The strain and upset of a major breakup can leave you psychologically and physically vulnerable. Treat yourself like you’re getting over the flu. Get plenty of rest, minimize other sources of stress in your life, and reduce your workload if possible. Learning to take care of yourself can be one of the most valuable lessons you learn following a divorce or breakup. As you feel the emotions of your loss and begin learning from your experience, you can resolve to take better care of yourself and make positive choices going forward. Pay attention to what you need in any given moment and speak up to express your needs. Honor what you believe to be right and best for you even though it may be different from what your ex or others want. Say “no” without guilt or angst as a way of honoring what is right for you. A divorce or relationship breakup can disrupt almost every area of your life, amplifying feelings of stress, uncertainty, and chaos. Getting back to a regular routine can provide a comforting sense of structure and normalcy. Try not to make any major decisions in the first few months after a separation or divorce, like starting a new job or moving to a new city. If you can, wait until you’re feeling less emotional so that you can make better decisions. Avoid using alcohol, drugs, or food to cope. When you’re in the middle of a breakup, you may be tempted to do anything to relieve your feelings of pain and loneliness. But using alcohol, drugs, or food as an escape is unhealthy and destructive in the long run. It’s essential to find healthier ways of coping with painful feelings. A divorce or breakup is a beginning as well as an end. Take the opportunity to explore new interests and activities. Pursuing fun, new activities gives you a chance to enjoy life in the here-and-now, rather than dwelling on the past. When you’re going through the stress of a divorce or breakup, healthy habits easily fall by the wayside. You might find yourself not eating at all or overeating your favorite junk foods. Exercise might be harder to fit in because of the added pressures at home and sleep might be elusive. But all of the work you are doing to move forward in a positive way will be pointless if you don’t make long-term healthy lifestyle choices. Source: Mental Health America http://www.helpguide.org/mental/coping_divorce_relationship_breakup.htm
Forgiveness is not the misguided act
of condoning irresponsible, hurtful behavior.
Nor is it a superficial turning of the other cheek
that leaves us feeling victimized and martyred.
Rather it is the finishing of old business
that allows us to experience the present,
free of contamination from the past.
Grief is a natural reaction to loss, and the breakup or divorce of a love relationship involves multiple losses: #1) Loss of companionship and shared experiences (which may or may not have been consistently pleasurable). #2) Loss of support, be it financial, intellectual, social, or emotional. #3) Loss of hopes, plans, and dreams (can be even more painful than practical losses). Allowing yourself to feel the pain of these losses may be scary. You may fear that your emotions will be too intense to bear, or that you’ll be stuck in a dark place forever. Just remember that grieving is essential to the healing process. The pain of grief is precisely what helps you let go of the old relationship and move on. And no matter how strong your grief, it won’t last forever. Don’t fight your feelings – It’s normal to have lots of ups and downs, and feel many conflicting emotions, including anger, resentment, sadness, relief, fear, and confusion. It’s important to identify and acknowledge these feelings. While these emotions will often be painful, trying to suppress or ignore them will only prolong the grieving process. Talk about how you’re feeling – Even if it is difficult for you to talk about your feelings with other people, it is very important to find a way to do so when you are grieving. Knowing that others are aware of your feelings will make you feel less alone with your pain and will help you heal. Remember that moving on is the end goal – Expressing your feelings will liberate you in a way, but it is important not to dwell on the negative feelings or to over-analyze the situation. Getting stuck in hurtful feelings like blame, anger, and resentment will rob you of valuable energy and prevent you from healing and moving forward. Remind yourself that you still have a future – When you commit to another person, you create many hopes and dreams. It’s hard to let these dreams go. As you grieve the loss of the future you once envisioned, be encouraged by the fact that new hopes and dreams will eventually replace your old ones. Know the difference between a normal reaction to a breakup and depression – Grief can be paralyzing after a breakup, but after a while, the sadness begins to lift. Day by day, and little by little, you start moving on. However, if you don’t feel any forward momentum, you may be suffering from depression. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/coping_divorce_relationship_breakup.htm
No, the divorce
It was the marriage
Why do breakups hurt so much, even when the relationship is no longer good? A divorce or breakup is painful because it represents the loss, not just of the relationship, but also of shared dreams and commitments. Romantic relationships begin on a high note of excitement and hope for the future. When these relationships fail, we experience profound disappointment, stress, and grief. A breakup or divorce launches us into uncharted territory. Everything is disrupted: your routine and responsibilities, your home, your relationships with extended family and friends, and even your identity. A breakup brings uncertainty about the future. What will life be like without your partner? Will you find someone else? Will you end up alone? These unknowns often seem worse than an unhappy relationship. Recovering from a breakup or divorce is difficult. However, it’s important to know (and to keep reminding yourself) that you can and will move on. But healing takes time, so be patient with yourself. Recognize that it’s OK to have different feelings. It’s normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated, and confused—and these feelings can be intense. You also may feel anxious about the future. Accept that reactions like these will lessen over time. Even if the marriage was unhealthy, venturing into the unknown is frightening. Give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time. You may not be able to be quite as productive on the job or care for others in exactly the way you’re accustomed to for a little while. No one is superman or superwoman; take time to heal, regroup, and re-energize. Don’t go through this alone. Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help you get through this period. Consider joining a support group where you can talk to others in similar situations. Isolating yourself can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration, and get in the way of your work, relationships, and overall health. Don’t be afraid to get outside help if you need it. Source: Mental Health America http://www.helpguide.org/mental/coping_divorce_relationship_breakup.htm
Divorce isn’t such a tragedy.
A tragedy’s staying in
an unhappy marriage,
teaching your children
the wrong things
died of divorce.
Relationship experts don’t necessarily see problems with dating someone who has been divorced more than once, but it depends on circumstances. “If you are thinking about casually dating someone who has had multiple marriages, then there is likely no issue,” says psychologist Holly Parker, who teaches a course called “The Psychology of Close Relationships” at Harvard University. But if you want to progress to a committed relationship, there’s more to think about, she says. First, consider why the person has been married three or four times, Parker says. And ask yourself: Does this person acknowledge the mistakes he or she made that contributed to the divorces? Research does suggest that people who marry multiple times are more likely to have personality traits and issues with emotional health that make it difficult to maintain satisfying, long-term relationships, Parker says. So be keenly aware of the pot you’ve jumped into and why. Marcy Miller, author of “Rebooting in Beverly Hills: A Wise and Wild Path for Navigating the Dating World” (Bancroft Press), has been married four times. She contends it’s “absurdly judgmental” to assume anything from the fact that someone has had multiple marriages. Still, she allows that catching white lies should be “red flags” and believes you should Google your date, even after the first get-together, just to have more information. “Integrity and trust are essential elements to any relationship, business or personal,” she says. “There are a million reasons marriages fail, and the particulars will be discovered during dating.” Taken From “Dating In an Age of Multiple Divorces” By Richard Asa http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-16/features/sc-fam-0115-dating-divorced-20130115_1_divorce-rates-relationship-coach-multiple-times
Those who divorce
the most unhappy,
just those neatly able
to believe their misery
is caused by one other person.
Alain de Botton
The divorced individuals in the study who blamed ex-spouses, or even themselves, had more anxiety, depression and sleep disorders than individuals who blamed the way that they and their partners interacted. Those who held on to anger were less likely to move on, build a strong new relationship and address future problems in a positive, proactive manner. It’s hard not to blame. In the study, 65% of divorced individuals blamed their ex-spouses, with more women blaming an ex-husband (80%) than men blaming an ex-wife (47%). And 16% of men blamed themselves, compared with only 4% of women. Dr. Orbuch (Dr. Terri Orbuch (psychologist the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research) says the men may simply accept their ex’s view of the breakup. More men than women admitted to an extramarital affair. How do you blame in a healthy way? Say “we,” not “you” or “I.” Say, “We are both so tired lately,” not “You are so crabby.” When you remove blame, it’s easier to come up with a solution. Ask your partner for his or her view of a problem. Say, “Why do you think we aren’t getting along?” “There are multiple ways of seeing a problem,” Dr. Orbuch says. “By getting your partner’s perspective, and marrying it with your perspective, you get the relationship perspective.” From “Divorcé’s Guide to Marriage” by Elizabeth Bernstein http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444025204577544951717564114.html
People do not get married
planning to divorce.
Divorce is the result
of a lack of preparation
for marriage and the failure
to learn the skills of working
together as teammates
in an intimate relationship.
The marriage rate is at a record low in this country, and a new study from Cornell University might have found the reason why. According to the study, two-thirds of cohabitating couples report that they fear divorce and the financial, legal, and emotional ramifications of a failed marriage. Fears such as these might prevent couples from tying the knot, particularly for younger generations who might have experienced the pain of divorce firsthand within their own childhood homes. Operating out of fear is never a good way to make a decision. While marriage should never be entered into lightly, an overwhelming fear of divorce can actually impede your happiness or serve to block your commitment to your partner — especially if your partner wants to take your relationship to the next level. Examine your past. As mentioned above, many children who witnessed their parents’ painful divorces might later become hesitant about marriage. A front-row seat to the deterioration of a relationship can be very traumatic, even more so if the situation involved infidelity, abuse, screaming, arguments, and the like. Overcoming this kind of a background can be very difficult, especially if you never worked through those emotions or addressed your lack of trust and fear of love. Marriage certainly isn’t always happy and fulfilling or even long-term, and it’s not for everyone. However, if your resistance to marriage is fear-based, you have to wake up to the fact that those nagging fears and “what if’s” can ruin your chance at happiness. Until you are willing to open your heart to all possibilities and trust that you will always be okay, you will never live your fullest life or enjoy the love and intimacy you deserve. By Dr. Laura Berman http://www.drlauraberman.com/sexual-health/afraid-of-marriage
The truest form of love
is how you behave
not how you
feel about them.
Men often convey feelings via actions, not words. Divorce often represents the loss of the one person a man feels comfortable verbalizing his emotions to. This may contribute to the fact that during a divorce men are less likely to seek emotional support from family members or a mental health professional, and are more likely than women to act on their feelings about divorce instead of verbalizing them. For example, loneliness may be expressed by increased social activity and avoiding an empty apartment at the end of the day. Other common external expressions of grief include working too much, having casual sexual relationships and even developing physical ailments. In the United States, societal expectations that men will quietly “tough it out” might also contribute to the tendency for men to express emotions non-verbally. Men, if you find your self developing strange physical symptoms or acting in a way that is unusual for you, stop and ask yourself, “is it possible that this is how I’m grieving?” Get professional help if you start expressing your grief through drug use or drinking. Having a delayed, less-direct means of expressing emotion does not equate to a lack of mourning. Though men seem to convey their feelings differently than women, they still need to process painful emotions in order to heal, grow, and move on after a divorce. While it may feel like going-against-the-cultural-grain for a man, seeking professional help can ease the grieving process and provide a confidential setting. From “For Men: Mourning the Divorce?” by Dr. Tom Rogat http://www.divorce360.com/divorce-articles/effects/emotional/for-men-mourning-the-divorce.aspx?artid=394
The only thing more unthinkable
than leaving was staying;
he only thing more impossible
than staying was leaving.
Recovering from any major loss requires a mourning period, and divorce is no exception. Grieving a divorce is an intensely personal process and is different for everyone depending on unique situational and personal factors. A healthy mourning process is typically thought to include recognizing and verbalizing the meaning of a loss and its associated feelings. However, men deal with relationships and stress differently than women, and often are not as verbally expressive. Should men really be expected to mourn in the same way as women? The answer appears to be ‘no’ according to Dr. Nehami Baum’s 2003 article, “The Male Way of Mourning Divorce: When, What and How. ” In fact, Dr. Baum found that men generally appear to mourn the end of a marriage quite differently than women. Men tend to start the grieving process later than women, sometimes even after a physical separation has taken place. This might reflect the fact that women are more likely to initiate the divorce process, giving them a head start on processing the emotions associated with it. Men also tend to recognize that a marriage is in trouble later than women, and they might prefer to wait until after they, or their wife, have actually moved out to address the emotional reality of divorce. Men might not feel that their ex-wife is the greatest loss during a divorce. For a divorced father, losing his family life (owning a home, having a set routine, a sense of identity and security) and daily interaction with the kids can feel like greater losses than the relationship with his wife. Men might need to deal with the anger and other powerful emotions that often accompany a loss of custody before they can mourn a spouse. They also might need to address the immediate task of adjusting to a very different lifestyle first. Some men never grieve the loss of a spouse directly; expressing it via the feelings of loss they have toward their children instead. From “For Men: Mourning the Divorce?” by Dr. Tom Rogat http://www.divorce360.com/divorce-articles/effects/emotional/for-men-mourning-the-divorce.aspx?artid=394
A divorce is like
but there’s less of you.