5 Important Things You Should Not Do 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 eff 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 the 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.
Knowing that our systems are trying to recover is really important. It helps us remember that we probably shouldn’t be taking a whole lotta action during that time because we can’t really trust ourselves to make the best decisions. After all, we're not functioning at our best.
But still….we do things. We do crazy things. After breakups we do things we end up regretting. We act a fool. Acting a fool isn’t always a bad thing, but in my experience when acting a fool stems from heartbreak it never ends up pretty.
If you’re in the muck of it here are five things you definitely should not do after your breakup:
- Do not believe everything can be solved.
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. Sometimes we can’t even remember what those problems actually were. We are biologically wired to become attached for our survival sake. So this forgetting is a part of the breakup experience. We believe everything can be perfect. Love will save the day.
On one hand this is true. Love does save the day. I remember feeling so clear that one of my breakups was literally ludicrous. We love each other. That’s all that matters. Except for the fact that we wanted different things in life and weren’t willing to compromise to be together.
So instead of cutting clean, healing, and moving on with our lives, we did the whole breakup and get back together thing a few times before learning our lesson and calling it quits for good.
- 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. Usually way too much.
In our abandonment state we become desperate to be acknowledged by our former partner. In our attempt to receive the compassion we so deeply crave, we often say hurtful things or portray ourselves as a victim (and sometimes justly so).
None of these emails, in any of my breakups, has served me. Not once. Typically the person will ignore you or respond in a way that makes you feel even more abandoned. Both of these results create even more pain for yourself.
Trust me here. Don’t do it.
- Don’t start dating again.
This includes former flames. We will do anything to avoid our pain, and one of the most common ways to do that post breakup is by believing that dating is helping us heal.
We sign up for Tinder and OKCupid along with any other new dating apps to “see who’s out there,” which is actually code for a desperate attempt to feel better.
The problem with this is that you get another person involved in your mess. I don’t care if you tell them up front they are your rebound. Netflix and Chill or even real deal chillin' gets all kinda of messy real fast.
Beware if you don’t take this advice. You may find yourself, like I did, swiping left to find yourself staring at a photo of your ex—the very photo you took of him at your house. Nothin’ like seeing the so-called love of your life virtually calling in their new partner to bring you crashing back down into your heartache all over again.
Dating too soon is an attempt to avoid the unavoidable. You gotta face your pain sometime. My advice? Do it with as few side casualties as possible.
- Do not look at your ex’s social media.
My last breakup was the gnarliest one I’ve ever gone through. About a month after 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 this could have been much worse I'm aware, but at the time we had been planning on moving in together. This news smacked the hard reality of the relationship demise right across my face (because in our fragile states reality just keeps on slipping away).
I fell right back into a deep depressions, 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? This is often spoken about in the sense that when we’re in pain we unconsciously hurt those around us. That’s likely what happened to you with your ex.
We’re all walking around hurting one another, and the majority of us don’t do so intentionally. So when you’re in this broken-down state post breakup do your best to remember that make other people hurt will not make your pain go away. Punishing yourself will also not make your pain go away.
Inflicting pain on others, consciously or unconsciously, ends up creating so much more suffering for everyone.
If you choose not to act recklessly post breakup you can get on with the process of healing. When you focus on supporting yourself and giving yourself what someone else was incapable of giving you, you begin to heal. 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. All of the above tips are attempts at saving you from running away from your pain because you have to get on with facing it if you want to truly love again.
You can not avoid it, my friend. It just hurts to lose love.