Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.
Do you suspect (or know) that a supposedly monogamous partner has cheated on you? You are not alone. Between a fourth and half of all attached partners will cheat (or have cheated) at one time or another. Knowing others are affected too, however, does not lessen the hurt. Take a look at these steps and use them to help you get through the trauma. This can be an exceptional painful issue and the emotions are very intense so use this as a checklist to help yourself get through the event.
1. First and foremost – take a deep breath and some time. Do not let yourself have a knee-jerk response. Think! This is especially important in long-term relationships. Sudden reactions without thought can lead to consequences you might regret. Give yourself some mental space before you take any action.
2. Talk to someone. You are not alone. Statistics are sketchy and vary widely, but many surveys have been done on cheating and they indicate that between a fourth and half of all married people will or have cheated at one time or another.
3. Do not blame yourself. It’s easy for people to start looking at themselves for reasons why their partner cheated… nothing good will come of that. Issues that lead to cheating sometimes involve both people, but that’s certainly not always the case. However, it would help, at a later date look inwards too to find out why your partner looked elsewhere for comfort. There could be certain gray areas in your behavior which could have led to such actions. You have to remember that most humans like a monogamous lifestyle, as it brings about so much of happiness & security. However, there are a few who would not conform to this.
4. Determine whether you were actually cheated on. Ask yourself these questions: Were you officially boyfriend and girlfriend at the time this “cheating” occurred? Were you officially monogamous? If not, you cannot be sure that your significant other knew what he or she was doing would offend you, in which case you might want to consider less confrontational options.
5. Talk to your partner. Let your concerns and fears be known. It might come out that nothing at all happened, or perhaps something did happen and coercion was involved (workplace sexual harassment, for example, which needs to be discussed openly and immediately to ward off future occurrences). There could be a substance abuse or psychological issue that needs to be addressed (sex addiction is very real). If help is warranted, you might want to support your partner in getting help – that could prove therapeutic for both of you. However, substance abuse is not a valid “excuse” for inappropriate behavior and you absolutely must not permit the “yeah but I was drunk so it doesn’t matter” argument – stand very firm on that.
6. Ask yourself if you will ever be able to look at your partner the same way. Infidelity doesn’t mean much for some, and some people have more than one physical relationship and it doesn’t suggest a shortcoming in their relationship with their steady partner, but this is rare. Infidelity often indicates boredom and dissatisfaction with the present relationships. Dealing with a partner who doesn’t want you in the first place, or one who doesn’t mind hurting you, is ridiculous. Dump him/her if this is the case.
7. If you decide this is irreconcilable, don’t break up with your partner and later take him/her back. This will only give you more emotional stress. If you break up, make it a clean break. However, a trial separation is a valid option. If you do make a break of any kind (permanent or trial) don’t talk to your ex after breaking up with him/her immediately. Give yourself some cooling off time first. If there are children or critical financial issues this might not be possible. In that case, set specific ground rules (time frames, meeting places, etc). This can be difficult, but it’s important.
8. If you are married and pretty sure a more-than-casual relationship is happening, you might need to consider an attorney or a reputable detective in the area that specializes in domestic cases.
9. If you do use an investigator, do not confront or accuse your partner. Let the investigator do his/her job first (if you confront them they may continue in an even more cautious way, which will make the investigation more expensive).
10. Get tested for STD’s as soon as possible. Not knowing will cause you extreme stress. Early treatment is critical.
11. If you can, collect evidence (receipts, emails, photographs, etc.) of the paramour. Keep this information at a friend or family member’s house. This will be less work the investigator will need to do later on your dollar.
12. Don’t start rumors. Share your suspicions with more than one close friend is likely to create gossip that can have very negative results in many areas. If there is an investigation underway, that kind of talk can hamper the case.
13. Look at your own personal actions, too. If you are also cheating, then it might be time to have an open discussion with your partner and clear the air. Perhaps couples counseling is in order. If divorce is the chosen option, remember it can get very ugly, very quickly, and your indiscretions will be brought into the limelight as well.
14. Turnabout is not fair play. Don’t start a relationship just because your spouse has done so. This is pure revenge and nothing good will come of it.
• Get out if the incident has hurt you too much.
• Being honest with yourself is important. If you don’t end the relationship, can you live with the thought that it might happen again?
• Get counseling! It’s not a particularly bad idea to do this even if there’s nothing wrong in your life, but when you are hurt it can definitely help to talk to someone professional.
• It always helps to forgive and put it behind you and not dwell on the past if you want to move forward.
• Do you want to invest the energy to “monitor” the relationship?
No matter how hectic or stressful our days are, whether we’re sitting at our desks or waiting in line, we have the opportunity to pause and adjust our perspective.
We have the opportunity to be kinder — both to ourselves and others. We have the opportunity to relax and slow down. And we have the opportunity to refocus. Even if it’s for a minute or two.
In her book Self-Meditation: 3,299 Mantras, Tips, Quotes and Koans for Peace and Serenity, bestselling author Barbara Ann Kipfer offers a wealth of inspiration for practicing kindness and breathing in the beauty of daily moments and the miracles that are our lives.
Here are 20 of my favorite suggestions from her book.
1. Let small chores act as a stop sign to “breathe, relax and experience peace.”
2. Sit down and “become a human still life.” Don’t do anything. Just breathe.
3. When you’re driving, focus solely on that experience. “Feel the steering wheel, the pedals, the seat.”
4. “Listen for the quietest sound.”
5. Focus on your sense of smell. Take something you’d like to smell, such as a flower or food, and put it up close to your nose. Notice the changes in the aroma. Focus on the sensations in your body as you inhale and exhale. Then try to focus on other fragrances around you throughout the day.
6. Focus on your sense of touch. Focus on the sensation of your hands touching each other, “your clothes brushing against your skin, and the air moving across your face.”
7. In the beginning of the week, pick an activity you normally do on autopilot, such as washing your hands, applying makeup or getting into your car. Pause for several seconds before starting the activity. Then perform it with your full attention.
8. “Imagine that you are a kite soaring in the sky. Surrender to the wind, but be aware of the string that anchors you to the ground and keeps you safe.”
9. When you’re performing a chore, focus your full attention on your hands. “Note all the sensations in your fingers, your palms, and your wrists.”
10. Send yourself some loving-kindness (or “meta”). Focus your attention on an aspect of your mind or body that you feel separated from. Acknowledge this. You might say something like: “May I accept this. May I be filled with loving-kindness toward this. May I use the pain of this experience for the welfare of all.”
11. As you’re trying to fall asleep, “imagine that with each breath you are melting into an ocean of light and space.”
12. When you turn on the faucet, focus on the bigger picture. “See the water flowing down from the glaciers and mountains, running deep into the earth, sustaining you and all life.”
13. When you wake up, feel your feet touch the floor. “Be aware of their weight, the floor supporting your body, and the motion of your feet and legs as you begin to walk.”
14. When you get home from work, every day, stand in front of your door and appreciate the moment. Rejoice in it. “Breathe in and out three times.”
15. Set an alarm to ring every hour to remind yourself to “wake up and appreciate the miracle of every moment. Say, ‘[Your name], wake up!”
16. Picture your thoughts as balloons floating by.
17. Visualize a mountain lake with a smooth, glassy surface. A breeze sends ripples across the water. As the breeze quiets down, so do the ripples, and the water returns to being smooth. When something ruffles you, return to this visualization. “Feel the ripples and then let them settle.”
18. Think of your mind as a swinging door. “Thoughts and feelings come in and out, like people. Be the door, not the doorman.”
19. Picture a person or pet you love greatly. Imagine they’re “giving you a look that melts your heart.” Think about the things you love most about them. With each breath you take, let your heart fill with love. “Imagine your two souls connected by the caring you have for each other.”
20. “See yourself as a small child, fragile and vulnerable, and breathe in. Smile with love to this small child within yourself, and breathe out.”
When the holiday season comes to an end and all the festivities are over, you’re left with a new year. It can be a time to set in place new things to learn and do or it can be a time of consolidation of things you’re already passionately pursuing. Another alternative might be to simply contemplate where you’ve reached in life so far. Whatever your preferred approach to the New Year, it’s nice to start feeling refreshed and focused, ready to get back into things you’re working on or to get started on new things. Here are a few ideas to give you a boost.
1. Put away the holiday decorations in a timely manner. When the holiday festivities are over, the decorations, ornaments, and other festive trappings can be popped back into their boxes and bags. If you leave this too long, it can feel like a chore and can also have the effect of holding you back from moving into the next experiences. Don’t feel like you have to get rid of it all in one day. Remove things little by little, ideally between Christmas and New Year’s.
• Ask family and friends to help tidy away the seasonal decorations to make it easier.
2. Look over your New Year’s Resolution list. (If you haven’t made one, skip this step.) Write the list out on a planner, chart or calendar where you can make notes. In order to get your resolutions underway, it’s probable that you’ll need to do some planning and organizing, and perhaps even some purchasing. It helps your focus to make notes and lists to direct your efforts in starting new habits. For example:
• Is there any gear, equipment, food, clothing, etc. needed to start your new fitness/eating/exercise regime? Or perhaps you need new hobby or craft materials or new sports gear. Write down the needed items so that you can work out whether you already have what’s needed or need to buy, beg, borrow or freecycle it.
• Do you need to book memberships, travel, subscriptions or any other service to aid the resolution? If so, write this down too.
• Write down anything else of relevance, alongside those resolutions.
• In some cases, breaking the goals into short term and long term milestones is necessary to ensure you don’t flag in your willpower. Write down any milestones you think will work for you.
3. Focus on the organization. If you’re already wonderfully organized, skip this step. But many people aren’t and this can inhibit feeling like the New Year is a fresh start.
• Are there piles of papers and books on the desk and floor? Clean them up in short bursts here and there (stealth cleaning!).
• Do you have trouble finding things, from keys to socks? Look for simple solutions, such as hanging up a key holder and setting up a special lost sock basket. One method is about training, the other is about acceptance––for example, you can train yourself to put things away but you can’t account for missing socks until the mate turns up, so have a safe-keeping zone for such items.
• Hate cleaning? You could try to convince yourself its exercise, a moment of Zen or a chance to throw out your mate’s junk but it’s better to find help. Delegate the cleaning jobs to others as much as possible and try to arrange it so that you’re doing what you’re best at. It’s overwhelming to be the person responsible for it all, so stop trying.
• Take decluttering in gradual steps. Perhaps, the first sort through your desk on Monday, organize your closet on Tuesday and Wednesday, go through your bookshelf on Thursday, vacuum on Friday, dust on Saturday, and organize whatever else needs to be organized on Sunday. Once you’ve organized specific high-use areas, you will realize it’s much easier to concentrate and find what you need with a clean room.
4. Relax more. If you’re not in the habit of relaxing, start the New Year with a resolution to add this important activity (or lack of activity) to your life from now on.
• Spend a little time browsing through books and websites devoted to relaxation ideas. What sorts of relaxing opportunities appeal to you? Not everyone agrees that the same things are relaxing––some people find adrenalin-packed activities relaxing while others would rather slump in the hammock with a good book. It’s your choice, just so long as it relaxes you.
• Almost everyone finds spa-style activities relaxing. This might mean a weekly bath by candlelight with big bubbles (and maybe some bubbly), a massage (at home with a loved one or paid for at a spa), yoga, meditation and the like.
• When you get a chance, take a relaxation break on Saturday or some other appropriate free day or afternoon. Get your rest, have some friends over for a spa party if you want, or just be alone. You can give yourself an oil treatment, manicure/pedicure, and whatever else will make you feel good and look good.
5. Clean your work or study space. Going back to work or college/school after the holiday break can leave you feeling a little out of sorts. Tidying up your desk, locker, backpack, or whatever else you have where stuff accumulates can help you to feel refreshed for the New Year. Throw out last year’s junk, file away important information where it belongs and give everything a good dust or wipe down. Refill anything that you’re running out of and if you can, place a pretty plant or photo on your desk to cheer yourself up.
• For backpacks, satchels, handbags, laptop carriers and other bags: Don’t carry around unnecessary items! Things you don’t need in the bag are clutter that increases the bulk and weight and might scratch items like laptops, phones, and valuables.
6. Reflect over the past year. Think about things you’d like to do better this year, new things you’d like to try to people you’d like to make amends with or start over with. Have you achieved the things you wanted to in the past year? What specific things would you like to change or redirect? Asking yourself questions about progress, change and where you want to be right now can help to keep your perspective fresh, giving you new motivation to make this year a more fulfilling one.
• Anything you regret saying? Anyone you wish you could apologize to? If there are people that you owe an apology to, apologize and make things right with them. You don’t want to worry or regret anything when you start the New Year.
• Was this past year so great you don’t want it to be a new year? Great, make a scrapbook or diary entry about how great this year has been. But tell yourself the New Year will be even better. Build on the lessons you’ve learned and keep the good things coming.
• Was this past year such a terrible year for you, that you worry the New Year will be more of the same or even worse? Thinking that way may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nobody expects you to fly when your wings feel broken, but it’s important for your own well-being to start finding small ways to mend your dreams. Treat yourself with greater compassion and hang out more with folks who have kind hearts. Focus on making this coming year a much gentler, kinder one. This might include letting go of things that are causing you anxiety––scary at first, but really liberating when you finally do it.
• Do men and women react differently after trauma? Yes.
• Does it mean one suffers more than the other? No.
• Do the differences confuse and often create tension for couples? Too often.
What we find across cultures is that in the face of traumatic loss, women need to speak about what has happened and men need to do something about what has happened. In one scene from the devastation of the Tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2005, the women gathered, crying for their lost children while the men rebuilt the homes.
In their 2006 review of 25 years of research on sex differences in trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder in the Psychological Bulletin, David Tolin, and Edna Foa reported that although men have a higher risk for traumatic events, women suffer from higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. In their analysis, they suggest that the different rates of PTSD may actually be a function of the fact that men and women manifest their emotional pain in different ways.
In the aftermath of a traumatic event, women are more likely to have feelings of anxiety and depression, while men are more likely to express distress and depression in terms of irritability, anger and increased alcohol consumption.
Caught in the physical and emotional pain from a traumatic loss or event, couples often have very little patience for differences. It is hard for them to believe that their partner could feel different. It is even more difficult to believe that their partner could feel the same and react so differently.
When she suffered a miscarriage in the beginning of her fifth month, Claire was devastated. Then in her late 30’s, she was worried that this might have been her only chance to have a child. Even when she regained her strength, she was often unable to concentrate or sleep. She would ruminate and blame herself for waiting until her career was set before starting a family.
Claire was further upset by her husband John’s reaction. He was upset by the loss, but he seemed confident that there would be other chances. Claire wondered why he wasn’t blaming himself for their decision to wait to have kids. When she questioned him about this, he felt judged and blamed her for making it worse. They would end up fighting.
According to Dr. John Gray of Mars and Venus Starting Over, in the aftermath of the loss, both men and women need time to grieve. As such, it is often more common for women to blame themselves and for men to blame others.
Differences Don’t Equate to Lack of Love
If you find yourself struggling with your partner in the aftermath of a traumatic event, it does not mean that you don’t have a good relationship, or that you were never truly in love.
• Traumatic events are beyond what we ever expect. No one is prepared to respond.
• Differences in response don’t mean that as a couple you won’t cope or can’t heal.
If you take your time and give yourself and your partner a chance to grieve, cope and regulate stress in your own way and different ways, you will be able to use your relationship as an asset for coping.
• She joins a bereavement group at the church.
• He increases his workout schedule.
• She doesn’t want to socialize on the weekends, but he needs to get out—they settle on a movie date together.
Couple Considerations for Coping
• Everyone deals with trauma in their own way and in their own time – there is no right way.
• When in doubt don’t assume the worst about your partner – assume you don’t know.
• Interest and acceptance of your partner’s reactions invite sharing and empathy, which enhance healing.
• Being physically next to someone you love is a natural buffer for stress and emotional pain.
• Talking about the pain at times for her, valuing the shared silence for him—reflects the resilience of connection.
Sometimes the best-traveling companion in life is someone who sees and reacts to things in a way you would never have considered.
Going through heartbreak can feel like being underwater when you need to breathe. We build our lives with someone we trust and care for, and then, in the blink of an eye, it’s all gone. This can leave people with sorrow, anger, and some serious questions — about ourselves and the future. If you’re dealing with heartbreak and want to heal, try these suggestions to find the new you.
Method 1 of 3: Making Time For Yourself.
1. Give yourself some me time.
You’ve probably been in a relationship for a while, or maybe you’ve been thinking about that person non-stop for months. Now is the time to take a step back, look at your life, and move on to the next challenge. Everyone falls down. It’s how you get back up that defines you.
- Take a weekend to do whatever it is you love most. Whether it’s surfing, hiking, cooking, or simply being around your friends, use the opportunity to surround yourself with happy people and do the things that make you happy.
- Start a journal to record how you feel. Writing things down can be a powerful release. It’s called “catharsis,” where you purify your mind through expression. Write about whatever you want to write about. You’ll feel a lot better after you do.
- Don’t be afraid to feel sad. It’s normal to feel sad. Don’t feel inferior or stupid if you cry or get upset — these things are normal. Going through grief is just another step along the path to recovery. Let yourself grieve.
2. Remove all the memories of the person from your everyday life.
You’re not trying to pretend like the person never existed, just temporarily forget how much they meant to you and how they broke your heart.
- Go through your room and remove all pictures of, letters from, references to the person you’re trying to stop obsessing over. If you have a journal in which you write about the person, begin a completely new one. It’s a symbolic new beginning, but an important one.
- Removing is different from destroying. Don’t burn or destroy any objects associated with the person, unless you’re sure that you never want them to be any part of your life in the future. When you’re old and completely in love with someone who loves you just as much back, the memories will be a record of all that you went through to get to where you are now.
3. Disconnect the person from all the social networks you use.
Nowadays, we have our regular lives and our online lives. Unsubscribe from the person on Facebook, unfollow them on Twitter, and work so that your online network doesn’t remind you of the person who broke your heart.
- If you feel like writing them, create a fake email account (for example, a Gmail account) and send the emails to that account. That way you can put all your hurt and pain into words and get it off your chest, but there is no chance your ex will actually see it.
4. Exercise and eat right.
Go the gym or get outside and sweat. Physical activity increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, which acts like a natural antidepressant, improving your mood. It’s okay to eat ice cream and milkshakes every once in a while (who doesn’t do that?!) but it’s best to continue to eat a diet rich in fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and water. These will not only make you look fantastic, but feel fantastic as well.
5. Try not to be in the same place as the person, if possible.
This is hard to do, obviously: The other person has probably been an important part of your life for some time, and your body and brain are used to having them around. But giving the other person up, like cold turkey is a good way to tell your body and mind that there are plenty of other people in the world who deserve your attention. Why not give them a chance?
- If you go to school with the person, avoid the person as much as possible. Don’t sit with them at lunch; don’t participate in the same voluntary projects. Take the classes that you finally want to take. As much as possible, make yourself scarce when that person is around.
- Don’t put yourself in situations where you could bump into one another. You know what places the person goes to because you used to share love. If the person loves going to the gym early Saturday, only go during the weekday. If the person loves going to the local farmer’s market, try to go really late or early if you have to go. (Best would be to avoid altogether.)
- Be courteous if/when you bump into the person. There’s no use being mean, angry, and boastful if you run into the person. Say “hi” the way you would to a friend, have a short, impersonal chat, and say goodbye. The best payback that you can give the other person is to live a full, happy, meaningful life without them.
6. Stay optimistic.
This is easier said than done, but whenever you feel yourself being overly negative, dwelling on the past, or just looking at the glass as half-empty, try to snap out of it. Remind yourself of everything you have and how lucky you are.
- Smile as much as possible. It’ll help you feel better and look great. Watch funny movies, read funny books, or hang with funny friends.
Method 2 of 3: Understanding and Forgiving.
1. Figure out what went wrong in your relationship.
Every relationship has its strengths and weaknesses. Figure out what went wrong in your relationship, or what wasn’t so great about the other person. This way you can grow in the future, or look for better traits in your next partner. There are a bunch of things that can normally go wrong in a relationship, but here are just a few:
- I never felt loved/I always felt put down. A relationship is all about love, and if you didn’t feel that in the relationship, that’s a big problem. Your partner doesn’t have to show love the same way that you do, but they should be able to show it somehow. It’s the least you deserve.
- I felt manipulated/used/lied to. Honesty and honest intentions should be a cornerstone of every relationship. True love is doing something for someone else without expecting anything back. Someone who manipulates, uses, or lies is only really looking out for themselves, not you.
- The love just wore off after a little while. The early part of a relationship, when you fall for one another, is when you’re infatuated. This means you’re completely carried away with the person, mainly because they’re new. After a while, this feeling naturally wears off for some. If the other person is no longer in love with you, try to feel lucky for the time you did have.
- I was cheated on. Trust is huge ingredient in a relationship. If you don’t have trust, you’re constantly second-guessing yourself or feeling jealous. If your partner cheated on you, that trust is probably gone. Let someone earn your trust in the future, and pay them back in kind.
2. Don’t obsess over whose fault it was.
You probably have room for growing, too, so try not to pin all the blame on just the other person. Focus on the issues, not the actors.
- For example, if you were part of a manipulative relationship, don’t just say “He manipulated me and I didn’t deserve that.” Instead, tell yourself, “I’m not going to let someone manipulate me the way this person did because I’m going to look out for all the signs in the future.”
- There are probably some things you wish you could change or take back. Focus on fixing those issues for your next relationship. It will give you extra motivation.
3. Learn from your mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you learn from them that defines you as a person. Learn from what went wrong in your last relationship — what caused you to be heartbroken — and make sure that doesn’t happen in the future.
4. Once you’re ready, forgive the other person.
Forgiveness is an important part of healing your broken heart. In order to move on, you need to forgive the other person, or you’ll constantly be thinking about them or wondering why they hurt you.
- Forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight. It can take a long time to be able to forgive someone, so be sure you’re actually ready to forgive. Usually, finding someone who truly loves you is a great way to forgive the other person.
- How do you forgive someone? Recognize that everyone makes mistakes. Try to find their intentions, and understand why they were doing what they did. Try putting yourself in their shoes. You don’t have to come up with an answer, but try to come up with an idea.
- You don’t have to tell the other person you forgive them, but it helps. You can forgive them silently in your heart, if that’s the way you want to do it. But you may want to have a friendship with them in the future; telling them you forgive them will make that friendship easier.
5. Don’t argue with the other person.
Sometimes you give the other person a chance to speak their mind, or to talk about an issue that went wrong. We do this to get closure. If you are discussing things with the person who broke your heart, be a little guarded and don’t let the conversation turn into an argument.
- If the person tries to defend what happened in the relationship and gets angry, you can say: “I didn’t come here to argue. I respect you as a person and your opinions, but the time for arguing has passed. If we’re going to continue to talk, let’s talk like adults or not talk at all.”
- Don’t let the other person manipulate you. The other person might try to get you angry or provoke you with something hurtful or mean. Don’t give them the satisfaction of letting it hurt you. Stay calm, collected, and serene.
Method 3 of 3: Turning Your Life Around.
1. Lean on your friends.
Your friends are there to help you, to comfort you when you’re feeling bad, and inspire you to feel good. Deep down, your friends love you. It’s not unreasonable to lean on your friends as you deal with a broken heart. They’re maybe the ones who will help you out of it.
- Do everyday activities with your plans. Plan a movie night by buying tickets in advance. Go to the zoo, to the beach, or out to dinner. Remember the fun you used to have doing all the silly things. Try to recapture that part of your life.
- Have a talk with your best friend about your heartbreak. Confide in them. Give yourself a chance to vent to someone who completely has your back. You’ll feel a whole lot better.
2. Channel your energy into new activities.
What we miss when a relationship ends is that we can’t express our love anymore. We can’t express our excitement to someone who’s interested because they’re interested in you. You can continue this form of heartfelt expression, however, by writing poetry, painting, singing, dancing, etc. Do whatever it takes to allow you to transform your pain into something productive!
- Pick up a new skill. Try doing something you know little about, so it forces you to engage in the world in a different way. Try glass-blowing, ceramics, a new instrument, or cave diving. Be adventurous and open to new possibilities.
- Volunteer. Learn to give back to your community, however big or small it is. Volunteering will help you see the real impact you have on people’s lives, and should show you how fortunate you are to have everything you do.
3. Go on a trip.
It doesn’t need to be far, but it should be far enough to give you a little bit of perspective. The world is such a big, beautiful place; you should take advantage of it. Bring some camping supplies or bunk it with that friend you haven’t seen in a while. A little bit of distance can do wonders for your broken heart.
4. Tap your imagination.
Nothing makes getting over a broken heart harder than feeling trapped. And it may be cheesy or cliché, but your imagination will let you go places you’ve never been and experience things you might never see. Use it. You’ll feel better.
- Read a book every night before you go to sleep. You might never have read books, but nothing moves you outside of yourself better than a book. It will help you heal.
- Fantasize about your future. Leave the person who broke your heart out of it. Fantasize about your career, your home, your family, and your travels. You should feel inspired to realize them. Focus on the potential of the good.
- Stretch your goals. Your goals will give you motivation to get off your butt and do something. Ask yourself, what are my goals? If you don’t have any, make some. Be ambitious and shoot for the stars. You won’t regret failing, but you will regret not trying.
5. Once you feel ready, start dating other people again.
After two or three months, many people feel ready to date again. Be sure you’ve fixed some of the issues you had in your previous relation, and try not to make the same mistake twice!
- If you’re not ready to jump back into a serious relationship, tell the person you’re dating that you just got out of a relationship and want to take things slow. Hopefully, the person understands. If they don’t, they’re not a good fit for you.
- Don’t look for perfection right away. A lot of times, we keep ourselves from entering into relationships because we want to find the perfect man/woman. If you’re looking for Mr/Ms Perfect, you won’t have much luck. Look for someone who’s kind, sharing, funny, smart, and relatable. The rest will take care of itself.
- Don’t be afraid to love. You have to open yourself up to possible heartbreak if you want to love again. But it’s worth it. The love wouldn’t mean as much if it didn’t hurt when it is ripped away. Give your heart to the right person and they’ll reward you infinitely.
6. Remember the two-year rule.
It takes two years to learn a new job, two years to get accustomed to a new town, and two years to completely heal a broken heart. If you expect to be completely healed in a day after a three-year relationship, you could be sorely disappointed. Real results are obtainable when realistic expectations are set.
- Take a moment to lie back and breathe. The stress can block your brain from thinking clearly.
- It really helps if you have good friends who can watch over you and prevent you from doing and/or saying something that you will end up regretting!
- Reflect on all the other types of “love” you have in your life and not on the love you’ve lost.
- Do not go on any dates with the person from whom you are trying to heal. This is not productive and will not lead to healing. There is no more closure. There is only healing. Think of it as cutting a wound open that has stopped bleeding and started closing.
- Show confidence to yourself.
- Stop obsessing over the person!
- Just take a breather. It’s going to hurt for a while. Try not to hook up because it’s just not healthy.
- Focus on you. Do things that make you happy.
- Know that everything happens for a reason; maybe it happened to let you know that you are brave or that you should not repeat the mistake again.
- Think of the bad things that caused the relationship to end rather than the good because it will help you to move on.
- Act happy and confident around that person, so it shows you have moved on!
- Do not have contact with the person you are trying to forget.
- At first it may help you to write down all of the bad things about your ex and re read them when you feel weak. However, after a few weeks you should be writing down all of the great things about yourself and concentrating on that. Then, think about all the great things you can do now.
- For a quick fix in the aftermath of the heartbreak – eat something delicious. Chocolate is the number one heartbreak food because it genuinely helps just that little bit. It doesn’t fix anything but it lifts your spirits a little because chances are they will be crushed on the floor and need all the lifting they can.
- Don’t put the person down to lift yourself up!
- If you need to tell a friend about your heart-breaking loss, do it one time only. You will need your friend later, so best to not wear out your welcome with him/her.
- Find a new friend who is going through the same thing. This allows you to focus on someone else besides yourself.
- Nostalgia will last for a long time after you heal.
- Once you feel comfortable talking to them again, try to build a friendship. Maybe you can start over but it’s not guaranteed.
A New Study Says, “YES.”
There’s a saying that no one ever died from a broken heart, but findings from a new study at Johns Hopkins (published in The New England Journal of Medicine) suggest it can do a lot more damage than you think.
The clinical research showed that some people may respond to sudden, overwhelming emotional stress such as unexpected breakup or severe grief by releasing large amounts of “catecholamines” into the blood stream, along with their breakdown products and the small proteins produced by an over-excited nervous system. These chemicals can be temporarily toxic to the heart, effectively stunning the muscle and producing symptoms similar to a typical heart attack, including chest pain, fluid in the lungs, shortness of breath and heart failure.
In other words, these broken heart syndrome (BHS) symptoms can cause a seemingly healthy heart to stop working normally–all due to the emotional stress brought on by something like an unexpected breakup. The physical symptoms of depressed patients, have experienced after a breakup or divorce include loss of appetite, inability to sleep, tightening in the chest, and nausea; while emotional problems include everything from depression to uncontrolled crying and loss of self-esteem.
Doctors estimate 1 to 2 percent of patients who are diagnosed with a heart attack in the U.S. are actually suffering broken heart syndrome. The vast majority of sufferers are “women” (studies suggest that 90 to 95 percent of patients are female).
If identified quickly and treated appropriately, BHS can resolve in a few days and leave the patient with no lasting physical damage.
Emotionally, though, the stress of a breakup may linger. Some tips on how to minimize stress and keep your body and mind in balance as you go through a breakup or divorce include:
- Stay active and try to maintain a balance of a healthy diet with equal amounts of sleep and exercise.
- Talking about the heartbreak can sometimes speed the recovery process. Many people seek out a therapist; however, talking to others going through similar situations can help.
- Try not to isolate yourself. Use this time to expand your horizons.
- Engage in social activities with friends and family in order to keep your mind off your loss and to focus on moving on with your life.
- Allow time to heal the wounds. While there’s no set formula to how long it takes to get over a heartbreak. Everyone has the potential to bounce back to life and move forward.