Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Coping with a Breakup

Sometimes, it comes at you like a freight train, and other times it's comes completely unexpected.

A breakup in a relationship.

It may be your significant other, a friend, even a work relationship.  

Regardless of what the relationship is, it is now a "was" in your life.

Emotions are expected to be all over the place when it comes to a break up, depending on the circumstances.  There is no one perfect emotion that you are supposed to feel during this time.

Why does a breakup hurt so badly when you know in your head that it was for the best?  Simply because it signifies a loss - of commitment, hopes, aspirations and plans for the future.  

Someone coming out of an abusive relationship may lean towards the "when things were good they were great" times, and may not be able to see past the abuse, whether it was physical, mental, emotional or sexual.

A younger person may find heartache in losing the first person they truly cared for, or loved.  As parents, or older friends, we may tend to the "You're so young, you don't really know what love is".  That one person may have loved in their own way, that relationship, the person and the times together.  Love is a unique and wonderful experience, and is different for each person.

A couple that has been married for a number of years, were blessed with good fortune, children and that cliche "white picket fence", may find themselves at the end of their romance, and having just stayed together for their family's sake.  A split may be amicable, however, there is still the feeling of loss that can come through.

A work relationship may end on good or bad terms as well.  Something that you perhaps once saw yourself doing for a long time suddenly comes to a screeching halt, and you're left dazed.  Perhaps you decided to leave something behind and are walking away proud and feeling validated on your choices.

Someone may be completely blindsided in a breakup, not expecting their significant other to end things or walk away.  There maybe was another man/woman, an illness, an argument, or simply the person was not ready to honor their commitment.

As mentioned above, there are many emotions that can come through a breakup, including but not exclusive to:


  • Anger
  • Hurt
  • Resentment
  • Relief
  • Grateful
  • Happy
  • Confused
  • Depressed
  • Liberated
  • Sad
One person may experience all of these emotions, while another may only experience one or two.  It all depends on the person, the situation and the relationship itself.

So how can someone cope with a breakup?

In the age old way: time.

There is no magic spell to make going through a break up easier, whatever the case may be, even if you are the person doing the breaking up.

Be true to yourself during this time.  Do what makes your soul happy.  Love to dance?  Have a dance party with your closest friends.  Are you an outdoor-sy type?  Go skiing or snowshoeing or even for a long walk.

Share you feeling with your family or friends.  You're not alone - the majority of us have also gone through a break up or two in our lifetime and can be a great resource to lean on.

Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion comes your way, but please recognize if it starts to become dark thoughts, depression, thoughts of self harm or suicide come your way, please reach out and talk to someone.  If you aren't comfortable talking to someone you know the Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region is always there for you, 24 hours a day.  

You aren't alone, and we'll listen to anything you want to talk about, even if it's just a memory of the relationship.

613-238-3311 any time of day or night.

Be well.


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