Falling in love is fun, exciting and romantic. It is all the things we dream of and romance novels are made of. And of course then there is falling out of love- it is, as we know, just the opposite.
The end of a significant relationship will bring with it fear, grief and sadness and a range of other emotions that can turn even the most controlled person into a crazy person. Chances are you will find yourself moving from calm, rationale and seemingly unaffected, to overwhelmed, angry, teary and inconsolable (and back again all in the space of an hour!).
Most of us have or will have our hearts broken at some time in our lives and it is never easy but there are a few things you can do to make healing a broken heart a little easier to bare-
1. Be kind to yourself
Being kind to yourself is never as important as when your heart is breaking. Chances are your ego has taken a hit and you can only really see what is ‘not right’ about you instead of all the great bits! Don’t expect too much of yourself, allow yourself to cry and be prepared to wake up with that heavy feeling in your stomach for a good few weeks or months. All of this is normal and is a part of your heart heeling itself again.
Make the time each day to remind yourself about the great bits of ‘you’! Write them down, stick them on the fridge- whatever it takes. You may have made some mistakes (who hasn’t) the trick is to learn from them. You need to slow down, take each day at a time and throw in a few silver linings to get yourself through. Make sure you give yourself something small each day to look forward to- a walk outside, a nice cup of tea or a warm bath. Just take it one day at a time and don’t try and plan too far ahead. Be kind, keep things simple and remember it will get easier with time.
2. Look after your health-
Our health is often the first thing we neglect when it comes to a broken heart and the silly thing is, we need our health at this time more than ever before. Chances are exercising and eating will be very low on your list of things to do but you need to make both a priority.
As a part of being kind to yourself make sure you are eating well- good healthy food (with a little chocolate thrown into the mix!) and try and avoid the alcohol- it may have a short term benefit but sadly you will regret it the next day!
Exercise helps our bodies to release endorphins- natures ‘happy chemicals’ in our brains so even though the idea of putting on your running shoes and leaving the house is the last thing you feel like doing, you need to! And you will feel better for it afterwards, trust me!
3. Call on your friends
Our great friendships can be a lot like a marriage- they can be for life and come with ups and downs, good times and sad times. When a relationship comes to an end we all need our friends by our sides to help us as we take those first steps into a new future. A great friend will be there, through thick and thin with chocolate, wine or beer in hand with boxes of tissues and reassuring words. A great friend also knows when to save us from ourselves, when to quietly and calmly remind us that a decision we are about to make may not be the best or to steal that phone from our hands to prevent those late night text-a-thons!
4. Get a plan
Your heartbreak might signal the end of a marriage or significant relationship and this is where a plan will be essential. When our significant relationships come to an end, our lives are suddenly thrown into a significant state of flux. You might have to change where you live, how you see your children and sometimes even your job and all of this can fast become overwhelming. This is where a plan comes in handy and when I say plan I really mean slow down, take a breath and work out just what you need to do right now- not in a years’ time, just in this moment. If you can plan one day at a time to begin with, things will be easier. Once you feel ready start planning for a week at a time, and then a month and then before you know it you will be creating a plan for the next year. I like to think of ‘plans’ as ‘dreams’- dreams we have articulated, written down and can now chase and when it comes to the end of a significant relationship you will have a chance to dream some new exciting dreams even if that all seems too much right now.
5. Learn to let go
You can re-enact the last few months of your relationship forever if you like, but you can’t change it now. And you can be angry, hurt and frustrated but hanging onto these sorts of negative emotions will stop you moving forward with your life. Letting go of people we love, particularly if they have hurt us, is never easy to do. (why do you think there are so many love songs around!) You may never get the answers to those unanswered questions you have- the ‘why did it come to this’ so rather than going around in circles, focus on some of the learnings, be grateful for the good times and let go of those hurtful emotions as soon as you can.
6. Don’t forget to find the silver linings
Being able to find the positives when it feels like everything in your life is upside down is a real challenge. When your heart is breaking, it will seem impossible initially to find the ‘silver linings’ as chances are your life has turned upside down- your home, relationship, friendships and social circles are probably changing and it may be entirely out of your control.
Often the positives are hard to find at the end of a relationship but you can create some for your future. You don’t need to organise an around the world adventure (although I am sure that might be perfect for some!). Go for the simple things- a walk, a coffee, a dinner or night out or try something you have never done before- just something that you one can look forward to- a silver lining to help get you through the tough times. If you can train your brain to look for the good, rather than the bad even in the most difficult situations you will give yourself the best chance of moving through heartbreak and out the other side in one piece.
Relationships make and break our lives- they are by far the most significant aspect of life and it is therefore no wonder that when they come to an end we feel broken. Heartbreak is hard but like most difficult moments in life- it will be what you make of it. Give yourself time, slow down and look for the silver linings and before you know it the next of your life’s adventures will have come. Healing a broken heart takes time, courage and a lot of chocolate but like most things in life, it will heal if you let it.
Clarissa Rayward is a Divorce Lawyer & Mediator and the Owner of Brisbane Family Law Centre. Over the past 14 years, Clarissa has worked with over 2000 families during separation and divorce. She specialises in assisting her clients to experience a dignified divorce- staying away from the Court process and finding sustainable agreements for the future.
If you or someone you know needs assistance during divorce you can organise a complimentary 15 minute phone appointment with Clarissa or one of her team here.
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If you are experiencing divorce or separation and don’t know where to start, Clarissa’s book, ‘Splitsville- How to separate, stay out of Court and stay friends’ will keep you on the right path. Available in bookstores now or Order your copy here.