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Grieving the Loss of Your Relationship

This blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Cindy Nigro, MFTi.

Why do breakups hurt so much, even when the relationship is no longer healthy? A divorce or breakup is painful because it represents the loss, not just of the relationship, but also of shared dreams. Romantic relationships begin on a high note of excitement and hope for the future. When these relationships fail, we experience profound disappointment, stress, and grief.

A breakup or divorce launches us into uncharted territory. Everything is disrupted: your routine, possibly your home, your relationships with extended family and friends, and even your identity. A breakup brings uncertainty about the future. What will life be like without your partner? Will you find someone else? Will you end up alone? These unknowns often seem worse than an unhappy relationship.

Grief is a natural reaction to loss, but allowing yourself to feel the pain may be scary. You may fear that your emotions will be too intense or that you’ll be stuck in a dark place forever. Just remember that grieving is essential to the healing process. The pain of grief is precisely what helps you let go of the old relationship and move on. And no matter how strong your grief, it won’t last forever.

Here are some tips for grieving a breakup or divorce:

Don’t fight or judge your feelings – It’s normal to have many ups and downs, and feel conflicting emotions, including anger, resentment, sadness, relief, fear, and confusion. It’s important to identify and acknowledge these feelings. While these emotions will be painful, trying to suppress or ignore them will only prolong the grieving process.

Talk about how you’re feeling – Even if it is difficult for you to talk about your feelings with other people, it is very important to find a way to do so when you are grieving. Knowing that others are aware of your feelings will make you feel less alone with your pain and will help you heal. Journaling can also be a helpful outlet.

Remember that moving on is the end goal – Expressing your feelings will liberate you, but it is important not to dwell on the negative feelings or to over-analyze the situation. Getting stuck in hurtful feelings like blame, anger, and resentment will rob you of valuable energy and prevent you from healing and moving forward.

Remind yourself that you still have a future – When you commit to another person, you create many hopes and dreams. It’s hard to let these dreams go. As you grieve the loss of the future you once envisioned, be encouraged by the fact that new hopes and dreams will eventually replace your old ones.

Have you survived a break-up?  Please share what helped you to grieve your loss and move forward.

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