Don't Do These 5 Things After A Breakup
Unwanted breakups, regardless of circumstances, are not only emotionally devastating, but they also affect us physiologically. Our brains become wired to our partners, and when they leave deep fears of abandonment resurface that cause serious emotional, mental, and even physical pain.
I knew this during my last breakup. I knew that my heart physically hurt because stress hormones were narrowing my arteries. I knew cortisol was being released in dangerous heaps turning me into an insomniac. I knew that my hypothalamus was stressed the f*** out so it decided to send out a hormone to suppress my appetite.
I knew that my brain, my body, and my emotions were working together to help me survive after that breakup, and that meant I was a wreck. Moment-to-moment decisions were extremely challenging. Making sense of what was happening to my life felt close to impossible.
As our systems are trying to recover, we're fragile, disoriented, and heavily stressed. During this delicate time we shouldn’t be taking a whole lot of action. We're not functioning at our full capacity, and our souls are yearning for healing.
Instead, most of us attempt to lessen the pain by doing things, and the things we choose to do end up hurting us more than healing us.
Here are 5 things you should not do after a breakup:
- Do not believe everything can be solved.
When a breakup has been prolonged (think the same fight on repeat), when it’s finally over we forget all the ways it wasn’t working. Suddenly, in one swift Eureka! moment, we realize that there is, in fact, a solution to every single problem we've ever had.
That solution is love.
On one hand this is true, love saves the day. I remember being utterly convinced that one of my breakups was ludicrous because we loved each other. That’s all that matters. Except for that tiny little fact that we wanted completely different things from life and weren’t willing to compromise to be together. Because we didn't trust our decision, we created a lot more suffering for ourselves by being on-again, off-again.
Humans are biologically wired to become attached to one another for survival sake. Forgetting all of the painful moments and focusing on the love is a part of the breakup experience. Trust that you broke up for a reason and focus on healing.
- Do not send that email.
This has always been the greatest regret of any of my breakups. I have sent an email or a series of emails that said too much. Sometimes way too much.
We will often say hurtful things or express our victimhood in an attempt to be acknowledged. None of these emails, in any of my breakups, has served me. Not once.
We typically convince ourselves we're sending the email to "speak our truth" or just "get it out." Almost always, we want a response from them, and the deepest truth is we want them to give us hope that there's a chance.
- Do not use other people to numb your pain.
I know very few people who Netflix & Chill without drama going down eventually, swiping through profiles online is a fantastic waste of time and also a quick way to get depressed by your options fast, and binge-dating isn't fair to anyone going out with you.
When you're not ready to date yet, you're just not ready. Own it.
You will know when it's time to start dating, and the best time is usually once you've done a good bit of reflecting and healed some of the relationship patterns that keep you heartbroken. It's not cool to use other people to numb your pain.
Dating too soon is an attempt to avoid the unavoidable. You gotta face your pain sometime. My advice? Do it with as few casualties as possible.
- Do not look at your ex’s social media. I mean it.
My last breakup was the worst of the worst, and it's not even a horrendous breakup story. It just opened up a valve of grief I'd held closed for a very long time.
After About a month of radio silence I chose to look at his Facebook page.
I saw a post on his wall with a mention about moving into a new place with friends. Now, I'm aware this could have been much worse, but at the time we had been planning on moving in together. This news smacked the hard reality of the relationship's demise right across my face (because in our fragile states reality just keeps on slipping away).
I fell right back into a deep depression, one in which I had just begun coming out of. Not worth it.
- Do not say or do anything to harm yourself or your ex.
Hurt people hurt people. You’ve heard that, right? We’re all a bunch of living creatures, walking around hurting one another. Most of us don’t do so intentionally, but we do it because we don't want to face our own pain.
I made a commitment to myself in my last breakup not to say or think anything damaging to myself or my ex. I did a pretty good job sans that email (don't do it). When you’re in this post-breakup state post do your best to remember that making other people hurt or making them wrong or bad will not make your pain go away. Punishing yourself will also not make your pain go away.
If you're looking to heal after a breakup, start by giving yourself what that person was incapable of giving you.
Self love breaks the cycle of unhealthy relationship patterns. You have the choice to do what’s best for you and create more healing so you can experience the love you deserve, or you can choose to create more suffering and more pain for yourself in the future.
You can not avoid it, my friend. It just hurts to lose love.