The end was inevitable. I’m not sure what it was: His black tie, the grey clouds. I left his apartment knowing it would be the last time. In the days after, I told myself it was the best decision. I couldn’t change him – he wasn’t ever going to be the partner I needed. And no matter how many times I tried to edit my demands; my mind wouldn’t budge. I felt emotionally stable and ready to start a new chapter.
But some weeks later, I came across a voice note he sent as I laid in bed feeling ill. It triggered confusion, anger, sadness, fear. Why wasn’t I enough? What if I don’t feel that happy with another guy again, how could he let me go? There were days I’d wake up and pray to hear from him. My mornings swayed between hopelessness, to pain spiralling into disgust at how our situation unfolded.
It’s difficult trying to be emotionally stable after a break up when your reactions simmer and boil at any given moment. Alone at night: Upset. With friends the next day: Grateful it ended. On a third date: Annoyed he’s making me go on dates again.
A friend of mine tells me to wait for time to pass. Most problems can be solved by me ageing, apparently. But I don’t trust this opinion. I know too many people who have waited for time to heal, and they’re still waiting. When you avoid dealing with your emotions post break-up, they’ll likely fester. They can trickle to other relationships and your outlook on love could weaken. I find, certain steps can help me gain the emotional clarity needed to process a relationship’s demise.
1 Acknowledge Your Feelings
Ignoring your feelings can prolong your grieving process and hold you hostage for years to come. One of the biggest obstacles involves getting over your break up expectations. Growing up in an unemotional household, I hated the idea of being a weeping victim. I envied girls who briefly cry post-breakup before partying, not long drinking matcha tea and working out.
We each have our own way of dealing with things. A healthy coping process includes self-permission – accepting and identifying your feelings without judgment. While it’s impossible to avoid the pangs of loss, by letting our thoughts out, we can let the pangs hurt a little less.
The initial stages of grieving are characterised by shock, anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance. Negative feelings associated with a break up can be intensified when:
- You didn’t want a break up to happen
- You didn’t see a break up coming
- You’re aware your ex has quickly moved on with someone else
- Your ex is your closest friend (maybe one of your only friends)
- You keep running into your ex
- You’re convinced you can’t find someone else
- You feel your ex has slept with other people since
When rejection is involved, you can feel like you’re dealing with two losses: Your ego and your heart.
2 Find ‘You’ Again
In my relationship, I knew my ex held more cards. He was the confident, successful, more outgoing one. I found myself drowning in destruction – wanting to rebuild parts of my personality to match his. He had my attention and became the priority. When it was over, it felt as though I didn’t recognise myself: Negative feelings coerced with insecurity.
It took a while to figure it was me all along – I held the most cards. I was the talented one, the funny one and most important, the kind one. As a single girl, I went back to my vision board and jotted down new aspirations. Funnily enough, one goal was to blog more openly about relationships and dating – the topic I hid from.
Considering the time given to a relationship, it makes sense some aspects of our lives are shelved to enjoy a partner’s company. Eventually, you can stop being a priority, losing yourself in a relationship. To go back to feeling emotionally stable, you can begin by focusing on the dreams and goals you now have more freedom to fulfil.
- Going to a luxurious restaurant for dinner – not for an anniversary or date, booking simply because you fancy it.
- A new fitness regime – easier when you’re less likely to go out for meals and not follow someone else’s eating habits.
- Booking a trip, you assumed you would someday plan with your ex.
- Taking a class in the evening, whether a business course or a yoga class.
- Meeting up with that friend you always say you’ll one day meet.
Finding you equally means accepting your weaknesses and allowing yourself to make mistakes. Accept that you can’t function at full capacity at all times due to the stress you’re facing. So, while you may make some new plans, you might additionally give yourself a break from others. You may heal better from taking a pause on social media and after work hobbies.
3 Rearrange Your Living Conditions
If you’re living in a shared space with your ex, consider moving out if it’s possible. You may need to consider financial support and possibly reach out to friends and family for temporary housing (do not feel ashamed). The first few months could mean cutting down on expenses until you’re on your feet again.
4 Remain Socially Active
It’s common to socially withdraw post heartbreak. A weekend indulging in ice-cream and movies can turn into a week. During my first big heartache, I kept telling a good friend I wanted to stay home and relax. She pushed me to go out and look forward.
Strengthening your social relationships can help you to be more stable in your future romantic relationships. Experts have found a link between social relationships and decreased depression. Importantly, try to not rely on one friend for analysis. People can only give you feedback and advice based on their own experiences. You want your friends to act as support, and not as decision makers. Even with this blog post, it’s aim is to provide suggestion – not to prescribe your exact remedy.
Think before you follow a friend’s opinion to reconcile, delete, block, sleep with someone new, stay home and wait.
5 Focus on Long-Term Recovery
To be emotionally stable post break-up, it’s helpful to focus on post heartache. A wise woman once advised me, “Always ask, what’s the most loving thing I can do right now for Laura”. When I ask this question to myself out loud, I gain huge clarity. Suddenly, my urge to run back or survive on chocolate doesn’t seem appealing. It’s easy to make quick emotional decisions that don’t offer long-term value. But it’s the long-term you want to pursue.
6 Seek Professional Support
If you’re able, scheduling talk therapy sessions with a psychotherapist can help you come to terms with your emotions. A therapist has a crucial role to play, both for emotional health and mental stability. Depending on how affected you are, a specialist can suggest medications to help you stay calm. CBD gummies, for instance, can be useful in calming down nerves and decreasing the effects of depression.
7 Focus on Long-Term Self-Care Techniques
When you invest time in long-term self-care, you create a healthy relationship with your inner self. To become more emotionally stable, resist the urge to self-blame and feel angry at any mistakes you made which contributed to a break up. Learn to make a connection between your behaviour and its source so you can work through it. Identifying your triggers, reactions, and patterns will put you in control of the situation.
How to be emotionally stable after a breakup
At some stage, we’re all going to feel the dagger of a heart cut in half (probably). We each have our own time scale to process a relationship’s end. Figuring how to be alone again, editing future plans and going day-to-day without the person you love. By taking steps to look after yourself and not give in to quick pain relief (fast sex, alcohol, food), you can hopefully feel more emotional stable and separate your vulnerability from your rational thinking.
Ultimately, don’t let a break up negatively define your perception of love.
Suggested next read: Getting Rejected: Are Men Better At Handling
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