I Feel Broken: Seven Ways To Cope After A Separation
The end of a relationship can be very painful, whether it’s a separation, divorce, or break-up. After losing this relationship that was likely very significant in your life, it can be difficult to adjust to your new reality and start feeling like yourself again. But while these painful feelings can be very intense, it is possible to overcome them. In this article, we’ll explore seven strategies you can try to help you cope after a separation, so you can start moving forward.
Seven Ways To Cope
1. Get Support From Your Friends And Family
You might feel like you're all alone with your emotions right now, but you don’t have to be. Your partner may have meant the world to you, but you likely still have other people around you that care about you and your well-being. In addition to family members, you may have some friends that have known you longer than you were in your relationship, and therefore understand you quite well. Try to spend some time talking about how you feel with them. There’s a chance that some of them have been in a similar situation and can offer useful advice. Either way, spending time with other people who love you can help you heal.
2. Try To Have Some Fun With Others
It can be common to want to isolate yourself from people when feeling the emotional pain of a break-up. While some alone time, to an extent, can be good and allow you to think and process all of your thoughts, too much may be unproductive or even harmful. Even though you may not feel like it, try to make an effort to have some fun with others. You could go to a concert with friends, go bowling with family, bake cookies with a loved one, or any number of other things you might enjoy. This can help lift your spirit and take your mind off of things.
3. Incorporate Healthy Habits
Just like how it's common to isolate ourselves during rough times, the same goes for getting caught in bad habits. Some people may turn to substances such as smoking and alcohol to cope with their emotions, but this can be a slippery slope, and it doesn't offer a solution to the problem. In fact, this can lead to chronic issues that are more severe. Beyond smoking and alcohol, it can also be common to resort to more comfort foods or junk food and to neglect other healthy habits like good sleep and exercise. Instead, try to commit to making healthy decisions like a balanced diet, regular exercise, and plenty of quality sleep. Research has found exercise to have a variety of health benefits, including improved sleep, stress relief, improvement in mood, and more.
4. Minimize Contact With Your Ex
If you're feeling very hurt or even what you think of as “broken” after parting ways with your now-ex, it may be wise to minimize contact with them if possible. Keeping in close touch with them may exacerbate your pain, cause further conflict, and make you feel worse. Seeing them often could also cause feelings to resurface, making it more difficult to move on. That said, there are some situations—such as when you have kids together—where it is not possible to go fully no-contact, but even still, you can set boundaries around what you talk about when you do see each other, for example.
5. Revisit Or Find New Hobbies
After a separation, you may have more free time for yourself, and this can present a great opportunity for you to get back in touch with things you enjoy or pick up new activities you have always wanted to try. This can be an excellent time to explore and find things that enrich your life. Have you wanted to start learning an instrument, take up a visual art like drawing and painting, or even travel a bit but couldn't because you were so busy in your old relationship? Now could be a great time to do those things.
6. Try Dating New People When You’re Ready
Putting yourself out there and trying to find someone new can be a helpful part of moving forward, but only if you feel ready to do it. If you try to date before you’re ready, you may end up getting involved in a relationship you don’t actually want or are not emotionally available for. But, if you have realized that you are ready and interested in dating, putting yourself out there and meeting new people could allow you to feel more excitement about the possibilities ahead.
7. Consider Therapy
If you're having a hard time after your separation, you're not alone. Figuring out how to move forward and cope with the pain of a relationship ending can be very difficult. In addition to your family and friends, professional help is available, and it can give you further support and guidance in coping with your emotions, processing the separation, and figuring out how to move forward with your life. In fact, research has shown online interventions to be effective in “reducing adverse mental health related effects of divorce.”
If you are feeling hurt and “broken” after your separation, the thought of seeking help in person may feel daunting. With online therapy, you can meet with your therapist wherever you have internet—so you don’t even have to leave the house if you don’t want to.
If the thought "I feel broken" has been running through your mind since the end of your last relationship, you can try some of the coping strategies detailed above. For instance, you can get support from friends and family, incorporate healthy habits, find new hobbies, and date when you’re ready. For additional support in coping with a separation, online therapy can help.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Does It Mean When Someone Says They Are Broken?
Often, when someone says that they feel “broken,” they refer to the state of their emotions or their heart. This is a common way to express hurt, especially if it feels difficult to move past and get over. They may feel low-energy or demotivated, like they cannot do the things they usually enjoy doing. Or, they may express a feeling of emptiness, even when around the people, hobbies, and activities that used to give them purpose and joy.
Why Do I Feel Broken-hearted?
It is common to feel broken-hearted after the end of a relationship. You could also feel broken-hearted if someone has broken your trust, betrayed you, or otherwise hurt you in some way. You could also feel broken-hearted after losing someone close to you, whether due to a disagreement, a move, or even death.
How Long Does A Broken Heart Last?
There is no set time for how long a “broken heart” can last. It can vary widely depending on the person and the relationship. It could last days, weeks, months, or even longer for some people. If you are experiencing a broken heart, it can be helpful to seek support through friends, family, and therapy.
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