Ending a long-term relationship can feel traumatic. You may encounter some emotional hurdles before you can relax and enjoy the single life.
When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, even if it didn’t end well, you’ll probably experience a sense of loss: Loss of companionship, intimacy, routines, rituals, and shared pleasures. Suddenly you have more time than you know what to do with. There’s no one to talk to about the ordinary day-to-day concerns, and you have to start inventing things to do on a Saturday night.
Remember Why You’re Separating
The emotional intimacy is something you can’t immediately replace. If you initiated the break up, you may start to have a creeping sense of regret as the benefits of companionship come to light. If it was your partner who initiated it, you may feel a sting of painful emotion whenever you’re reminded of things you’ll miss.
While you’re in that period of adjustment, you need to come up with ways to see this as a positive time in your life. Don’t wallow in thoughts of what you miss; concentrate instead on all the things about the relationship that led you to leave.
Even if your partner initiated the break up, you should realize that it’s for the best: You deserve someone who wholeheartedly wants to be with you. And regardless of whether you wanted a separation, there’s a good chance that your relationship was strained in the end – you probably feel as if a burden has lifted. Try to fixate more on that feeling of freedom that any sense of loss.
A New Beginning
It’s important to look at the emptiness of the post-break weeks and months as the germination period for a brand new beginning. You’re free to explore the social world and seek some of the things you missed in the relationship.
The time after a break up of a long relationship is the chance to investigate who you are as an individual, what you love, and how you enjoy spending your time. In as many ways as you can, surround yourself with things that give you pleasure and people who share your passions.
It’s also important that you spend time with yourself during the post-break-up time, and not rush desperately into finding a replacement. Rebound relationships rarely work (unless they’ve been simmering for a long time already) because they are undertaken to fill a void.
Whether you’re open to a new sexual relationship may depend on how vulnerable and emotionally stable you feel (as well as whether you prefer to save sex for a committed relationship). But if you’re seeking a substantial relationship before you’re recovered, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Confidence in the Future
You might feel anxious about your future prospects, and be filled with doubt over whether you’ll ever be happy, especially if this is your first major relationship. Just realize that anxiety and painful emotions are fleeting, and keep the phrase “this too will pass” as your mantra. Life often works like this: You experience some hardship, but then your future brings unexpected people and events that make you grateful for the experience. Take pleasure in imagining a future that’s much more fulfilling than your recent past.