When you break up but you can’t move on

A breakup can be debilitatingly painful, and often our preferred response is to try to get through it as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, like most grief experiences, it takes time to process the loss and trying to speed this bit up is futile. Some people are mystified as to why one break up hurts them more than another.  Others get stuck and struggle to move on, so it can be useful to explore what is really going on:

You’re trying to fast track the healing process

As tempting as this may be, it just doesn’t work. Although our impulse is to press fast forward and rush through this bit, it really is better to try to process the pain of the break up. This might involve talking to friends or a therapist, and often requires a lot of self care. Crying, anger, upset and confusion are all normal things to experience at this time.

You’re still following them on social media

Ouch. Did you really need to see them out enjoying themselves on Saturday night? This is the equivalent of rubbing salt in a wound. They look like they’ve forgotten about you…and what did you really mean to them anyway? STOP. Be honest, what are you hoping for…if they change their mind or want to open up conversations, they know how to get in touch with you. And if so, then you need to decide if this is helpful for you.

You felt they were the one/your soulmate

Watch yourself here. The idea of ‘the one’ is something a lot of us became exposed to thanks to Hollywood romcom movies. In reality, there are a lot of people out there that might be a good fit for us. Even if the connection with your ex felt particularly special, it is useful to consider why this was and what was going on in your life at the time; chances are there were other factors operating too.

You have become consumed with obtaining ‘closure’

I say this gently – the sooner you can let this one go, the better for you. The reality is that you will probably never really know exactly why he or she broke it off. When we are faced with this intense pain, our brain goes into problem solving mode to try to work out why. Unfortunately, as we are experiencing a normal, emotional response to loss, this doesn’t really work. So try to avoid getting into painful, roundabout conversations with your ex and look to yourself to alleviate your suffering, by beginning to accept the way it is.

You have overly focused on the positives of the relationship

No relationship is perfect. Sometimes though when we are grieving, our mind paints a picture of all the good moments and conveniently omits the not so good times. It can be useful to remind ourselves of occasions where they annoyed us or it felt like they weren’t there for us. The relationship didn’t work for a reason, try not to romanticise it.

The break up has triggered previous unresolved losses

If you have experienced a childhood or a previous relationship where you felt abandoned or misunderstood, this can make you a little more vulnerable to loss. It can become complicated, where you struggle to separate the current loss from previous ones. Try to be aware of patterns and be curious about where you felt this before. Talking to a therapist can be helpful.

Remember, you are mourning not only the loss of the relationship, but the loss of its future. Be kind to yourself, and if you feel like getting in touch, please do 😊













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