How to Handle a Breakup

Summer is a rough time to experience a breakup because it’s the sunny season of barbecues and socializing.  Chapter Eleven of my book is Coping with Disappointment and Betrayal.  Most people who date have their heart smashed once or twice.  It’s not pleasant!

Here are a few quick tips that should help you weather the storm:

Invite Jesus into Your Cracked Heart – First and foremost, realize that a broken heart gives Jesus a big opening to enter through.  Invite him in and he will help you get through the pain.  Suffering can amplify our spiritual sensitivity and leave us more open to Christ’s love and help. 

Give Yourself Some Credit – In the hours, days and months following the breakup, you are going to wonder if there is anything you did wrong.  Could you have prevented this mess?  You may not feel so great, especially if you were the one who was broken up with.  Most times, you can at least give yourself some credit though.  You took a chance on love.  Some people don’t have that kind of courage or trust, and lead lonely lives as a result.

Take Stock – Did this breakup save you from a troubled marriage?  Can you find a silver lining or something to be grateful for?  Is there a big relationship lesson you can learn from the whole experience?  Maybe it’s to learn to read your gut instinct better or to avoid certain behaviors.  Or, to draw boundaries more effectively.  Maybe, you learn that one trait in a spouse is more important than you thought it was before.  In Chapter One of my book, I describe how one really bad breakup taught me to change my dating strategy and philosophy completely.  Breakups can be fruitful.  They can change your life and usher in learning opportunities, so take advantage of the time and reflect.

Monitor Depression – It’s completely normal to feel depressed following a break up, but monitor yourself.  Sadness can beget more sadness.  You can change your brain chemistry in a negative way or become susceptible to illness if you don’t know how to coax yourself out of a melancholic slump.  Journaling is a cheap and easy way to keep your mind moving forward.  Studies show that journaling for 20-30 minutes every morning about your innermost thoughts and emotions is like clearing the cache of a computer.  You can also do some therapy or life coaching if you want more one-on-one attention.

Move On, Even if You Still Hurt – It’s tough to know when to move on after a break up.  You’ll probably always have a scar from a painful split that will stick with you for a long time.  It’s like a tattoo.  So, be careful about waiting a super long time to date again under the premise, “I need to heal.”  You need to recover, yes, but the memory will never completely leave you.  At some point, you need to replace bad memories with good memories.  Here’s my rule of thumb: When you are at a point when you don’t need to talk about your past relationship or breakup constantly, you’re probably ready to date again. 

Remember that all things happen for a reason.  In the near-term, you should be able to learn something from your breakup that will help your future relationships succeed.  Once years go by, you’ll have better hindsight and probably mature more.  So don’t be surprised if you continue to discover things about yourself, others, and relationships in general through the memory of one breakup!

Amy Bonaccorso is a life coach, dating expert, and the award-winning author of  How to Get to ‘I Do’ – A Dating Guide for Catholic Women. Her work is regularly featured on radio, television, print and online media outlets. Before becoming a full-time coach and writer, she led a successful decade-long career as a communications professional in the federal government. Visit her at www.amybonaccorso.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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