As the cold face of January sets in, many relationships break down after living through the pressure to be happy at Christmas. In fact, the first Monday in January is now known as Divorce Day as it sees the biggest peak in divorce enquiries.
Whether you have been married or not, were in a relationship for a few months, years or even decades, the loss of a partner can be incredibly difficult to cope with.
As a counsellor having worked with a lot of people going through break-ups, I’ve put together some tips to help you survive this time.
1) Let your emotions out
The loss of a relationship is like grieving. You may be in shock, angry or sad. You may be afraid to start crying for fear of never stopping, but you will. Try and find a way to process your emotions that works for you.
Some examples of ways that people find helpful:
· emotive music/films (enables you to connect with your emotions/memories if you are finding it hard to feel emotion)
· exercise (allows your body to move pent-up emotion)
· clenching your whole body then letting go (allows you to feel the tension in your body and control releasing it)
· meditating/mindfulness (creates space for you to be aware in the present moment)
· journaling (helps vent emotion privately without the worry of what other people think)
2) Learn to enjoy your time alone
Perhaps when you were in a relationship you spent less time alone, so it could feel a shock to suddenly have bags of time alone. Maybe you can remember other periods in your life when you have been single and reflect on what you enjoyed doing just for you.
Try to relearn the benefits of spending time alone where you make all the choices and don’t have to compromise. So if you want to go to the cinema in the middle of the afternoon or spend all day shopping, then do it!
Our society likes to stigmatise single life, but if you think about it it’s actually a lot healthier than staying in an unhappy relationship.
3) Self care
This doesn’t have to be the usual bubble baths and staring into a candle. If these don’t work for you, think of what you really love doing and try and do at least one thing you enjoy every day. It is important to treat yourself when you are feeling low.
4) Don’t try to cope alone
Breaking up can feel an isolating time, particularly if you used to spend a big part of your time with your ex. They may have been the person you confided in the most. However, although you may have more time alone it is important to try not to cope alone.
Try to talk to people you trust. If it feels too difficult to open up to family or friends remember that there are lots of support groups and helplines out there to help.
Counselling may also be an option to consider as it allows you the space to reflect on the relationship and share how you feel.
It can be very healing to allow others to support you, but only you will know when you are ready to reach out for help.
5) Be patient
It takes time to recover from a breakup and for you to adjust to living without your relationship. Try not to rush and give yourself time to heal.
This can be a very difficult time and you may feel that the whole world around you is happy and you are missing out. However, try to remember that most people have experienced a loss of a relationship and trust that you will not suffer forever.
Love will come again.