"The ending of a relationship, for whatever reason, can be one of the most painful experiences that we can go through."
Additional Healing Tips & Strategies:
·Provide a daily structure for yourself to keep grounded. Stay busy, but not too busy that you get distracted from your emotional work.
·Get connected with others. Surround yourself with positive, supportive friends and get engaged with life, no matter how hard it is. Join a grief support group in your area to be with others who can share similar circumstances with you and normalize your grief.
·Find a renewed sense of purpose and passion. Join an organization or a cause you care about, take a class, cultivate a new hobby, get involved! Bring healthy pleasure into your life.
·Learn to be comfortable being alone. Do some self-soothing and nurturing activities. Find value in self-renewal.
·Take this opportunity to learn more about yourself. Work with a life coach to help you learn about healthy relationships and crafting a new vision for your future. Recognize patterns in your relationships and identify areas where you can improve your relationship skills.
·Challenge negative self-talk by replacing with more enhancing, affirming, coping thoughts. Identify your strengths and value to boost your self-esteem. Use the power of affirmations and write them on index cards for quick reference.
·Remove items that remind you of your ex-lover and tuck them away somewhere so they’re not a constant visual trigger for you. There will come a time when they won’t be so jarring to you.
·Create a ritual of closure for your relationship (eg. throw a “I’m moving on” party with close friends, etc.) Find a way to commemorate the relationship and what it meant to you to aid in “letting go.”
·Create a scrapbook or collage of memories of your relationship when you’re ready.
·Release your feelings productively. Take out several sheets of paper and at the top of each write an emotion you feel (sad, angry, hurt, resentful, etc.). Then down the side of the full length of the paper, write “I feel…” and fill in the blank about that particular emotion to release all the feelings you have regarding that as it pertains to your relationship grief. Do some self-soothing afterwards.
·Keep a journal or write your ex-lover a letter sharing your feelings and what the relationship meant to you, etc. DO NOT SEND THIS TO YOUR EX! This is for your therapeutic benefit only. Or talk to an empty chair pretending your ex is sitting there and practice processing your emotions this way. This can be extremely cathartic.
Conclusion - Breaking up is hard to do, as an old song once put it. Realize that your pain is a tribute to the significance that this relationship held for you and that you are a survivor. How you choose to deal with the breakup will impact the direction of your life and how soon you will be able to rebuild your life. Identify healthy outlets that you can channel your feelings toward, pinpoint potential blocks that could get in the way of your healing process, and allow yourself to be open to love again when you’re ready.
A new beginning with opportunity and possibility awaits you on the other side of the rainbow.
Reference: Carroll, Nancy Joy. Healing A Broken Heart: A Recovery Handbook for Relationship Loss. Brentwood, TN: Life Skills Publications, 1997.
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com