Moving on After the Loss of a Relationship

Moving on After the Loss of a RelationshipI had no idea how pow­er­ful the grief and loss of going through a divorce can be and how debil­i­tat­ing it is to try to put your life back togeth­er again after such a pro­found loss,” says Richard after his recent divorce.

Who am I now? What went wrong? What will my life be like now with­out my part­ner? These are com­mon­ly felt ques­tions that arise as a result of the con­fu­sion and uncer­tain­ty of a rela­tion­ship loss.

Almost half of all mar­riages end in divorce, and whether you are mar­ried or not, the end­ing of a love rela­tion­ship can be one of the most stress­ful and dif­fi­cult expe­ri­ences you’ll ever have. Many peo­ple enter into mar­riage or a rela­tion­ship with the idea that their life will be bet­ter as a result. The dis­ap­point­ment of it not turn­ing out this way can feel dev­as­tat­ing. It launch­es us into unchart­ed ter­ri­to­ry and deep emo­tion­al feel­ings of despair, lone­li­ness, grief, revenge, hope­less­ness, and help­less­ness — to name a few.

Recovering from the end of a rela­tion­ship is always dif­fi­cult and takes time. You will, how­ev­er, move on and can even use this stress­ful time to gain in com­pas­sion, wis­dom, and strength.

Suggestions to help you adjust to and cope with your changed cir­cum­stances:

Allow Yourself to Grieve. The loss is more than just of the rela­tion­ship but of shared dreams, com­pan­ion­ship, and sup­port: finan­cial, social, and emo­tion­al. Grief is a nat­ur­al human reac­tion to loss, and it won’t last for­ev­er. Allowing your­self to feel grief will help you begin to move on. You should also real­ize it can take time — from sev­er­al months to sev­er­al years.

If You Can Feel It, You Can Heal It. Identify and acknowl­edge all your feel­ings and know that they all are okay. It’s nor­mal to have many con­flict­ing emo­tions and lots of ups and downs. Even though your emo­tions may be painful, try­ing to sup­press them may actu­al­ly pro­long the griev­ing process. Give your­self some breaks — you don’t always have to be on task the way you were before and should allow your­self some down­time.

Share Your Feelings with Others. Do not try to go through this expe­ri­ence alone. Let oth­ers know how you feel. Surround your­self with peo­ple who sup­port and val­ue you. Join a sup­port group such as Mindful Transitions to get the sup­port and friend­ship from oth­ers in the same sit­u­a­tion who real­ly under­stand.

Learn to Take Care of Yourself. Make time every­day to nur­ture your­self. Schedule time for heal­ing or sooth­ing activ­i­ties. Honor your own needs.

Develop a Routine. Divorce can dis­rupt almost every area of your life. Creating struc­ture can be com­fort­ing and pro­vide a sense of nor­mal­cy.

Deal with Your Feelings of Being Overwhelmed. This is a time of enhanced stress. There is often an extra­or­di­nar­i­ly long list of tasks that you need to do dur­ing this tran­si­tion. Make a list, pri­or­i­tize, and break down what needs to be done, then check things off. Only do what is rea­son­able and be gen­tle with your­self.

Chose to Begin to Move Forward

Even though grief can be immo­bi­liz­ing, after a while, you will feel like begin­ning to move on with your life. This can hap­pen even while con­tin­u­ing to grieve. Know that you can use this painful sit­u­a­tion to learn and grow.

Some sug­ges­tions for mov­ing for­ward after the end of a rela­tion­ship:

Learn from Your Mistakes. Separate what was and wasn’t your respon­si­bil­i­ty in the prob­lems of the rela­tion­ship. Be hon­est with your­self with­out beat­ing your­self up. Begin to look at the part the choic­es you made played and then how you can avoid repeat­ing the same mis­takes and make bet­ter choic­es in the future. This is a help­ful time to con­sid­er ther­a­py or find­ing some­one who can be an objec­tive sup­port for you.

Connect with Others. When you’re ready, begin to explore new inter­ests and activ­i­ties. Most impor­tant­ly, cul­ti­vate new friend­ships of sup­port­ive peo­ple with whom you can talk and spend time and try new things. Keep your rela­tion­ships on a friend­ship, not roman­tic, basis.

Clean out Reminders of Your Former Life. Put old pic­tures away and begin to han­dle the tasks your spouse used to do. Limit your con­tact with your spouse. As you do, you will find your­self becom­ing more inde­pen­dent and self-sufficient.

As you allow your­self day by day to have the free­dom to grieve, learn from your mis­takes, and begin to explore new parts of your­self, you will dis­cov­er that you can move on. You’ll see that you are stronger than you pre­vi­ous­ly thought and new hopes and dreams begin to take the place of those you lost.

Support Program: Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends

Jennifer Downs, a licensed pro­fes­sion­al coun­selor, facil­i­tates a trans­for­ma­tion­al pro­gram that can help you adjust to the end of a love rela­tion­ship.

Call 541 – 488-4872 or con­tact me for more infor­ma­tion.