The end of any relationship just sucks! But, the end of a romantic one, whether it be a marriage, or someone you were dating, seems to hurt the most. It feels like your heart was, “ripped out”, and that takes time to repair. It may not take the same amount of time as the relationship was, but it will take time.
There was intimacy between you and the other person. Most likely, your life changed to accommodate for them being in it. You probably had hopes or dreams for a future with this person. You also may not have had the chance to get closure that your hopes or dreams with the person now are not going to happen, which can leave you feeling even more lost. You may even end up feeling so stuck in feelings of depression that you have suicidal thoughts, or attempt suicide. If you are feeling that now, or have been suicidal in the past, please call or save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number at: 1-800-273-8255.
You may have heard of the stages of grief and loss. They can be explained here, as found on Wikipedia @: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model#Grieving_a_lost_serious_relationship
Grieving a lost serious relationship:
Denial: The person left behind is unable to admit that the relationship is over and may continue to seek the former partner's attention.
Anger: The partner left behind may blame the departing partner, or themself.
Bargaining: The partner left behind may plead with a departing partner that the stimulus that provoked the breakup shall not be repeated. Example: "I can change. Please give me a chance." Alternatively, they may attempt to renegotiate the terms of the relationship.
Depression: The partner left behind might feel discouraged that their bargaining plea did not convince the former partner to stay.
Acceptance: Lastly, the partner abandons all efforts toward renewal of the relationship and look towards a new relationship
It may help to understand these stages, so you know that the feelings you are having are indeed normal. The feelings you have may not go in the order they are listed, and you may go back and forth between them, or not experience all of them.
Grieving is a process, and you are allowed. You just went through a loss. It is important to give yourself the benefit of your feelings, and take the time you need to heal. Once you allow yourself to fully feel, you give yourself the permission to start moving through those feelings--even though you may feel like you will stay stuck in them forever. Remember, you cannot set a clock as to how long you will feel.
Do not blame yourself. A good friend once said to me at the end of a relationship I had, “It does not make you a bad person, and it does not make them a bad person. The two of you just did not work together.” Whatever happened to end the relationship, it is an interaction between two people. You cannot take on all of the blame. We tend to blame ourselves, or maybe the other person, when a loss of any kind happens. We also cannot get stuck in the, “what if’s”. It will not help you heal.
Seek out positive support. If you feel you need support, you may decide to seek myself or another counselor in the St. Petersburg area out. You may seek to gain the support of friends or family. You may need someone to just listen. Make sure to go to someone who can. Maybe being around positive, encouraging friends that make you smile is the only help you need. Distractions can help you to move forward.
Find the lessons, and be grateful for them. This may not sound like any kind of possibility for you right now. Yet, I can tell you on a personal note, I went back and forth, all around, and finally through all of the stages listed above. The last relationship I had was one of the toughest to recover from. But, it was the one I learned the most from, so far. If I did not go through that great time in the beginning, that turned into a harsh time, and then ended, I would not be as appreciative of all life has to offer. I made sure to not allow anything to be taken away from ME. In moving through my own grief in my own way, I found my way back to myself, and then some. I still follow my heart, and have no regrets for being open and vulnerable for the greater good of the possibility of a healthy, happy relationship.
One thing you may want to try, is to do something to purge the idea of that relationship. For me, it meant going to a place that I felt was ours, that I had been avoiding. I just sat there and took it in. I realized there that this place that I loved is still there for me, even though the other person introduced me to it. I knew I had reached the last stage of acceptance. You can do something like this when it feels like the right time for you. It does not mean your feelings are going to be completely erased, but I can say that I felt better after doing that, and was able to move forward more smoothly.
If this was helpful in giving you permission to feel, and understand how to start moving through something painful, please feel free to share it with someone else who you feel could use it too.
1. Allow yourself to grieve.
2. Do not blame yourself.
3. Seek out support.
4. Find the lessons.