When a relationship is over, suffering is part of the package. For both those who have initiated the separation and those who have been left behind, things are never emotionally simple. You experience a moment of necessary “mourning” that you need to know how to deal with if you want to overcome it as best you can. Here are six tips that can help, following a separation, to overcome this difficult moment that, sooner or later, involves us, directly or indirectly. We talked about it with Dr. Agnese Rossi, psychotherapist at Humanitas Gavazzeni.
1. Do not avoid the process of mourning but let off steam
Left, whether it’s an engagement or a long-standing marriage, means having to face a real mourning, that is to process the loss of a part of us. That is why we are faced with the same steps that accompany this psychological process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Avoiding to face pain, denying it or removing it, will not help the natural process of overcoming mourning, but will only delay it or even hinder the inner process of elaboration, which can sometimes manifest itself with further discomforts and somatizations. Instead, it is useful to listen to one’s emotions, express them, share them and even let off steam with tears: tears contain cortisol, a hormone that we must get rid of in order to feel better.
2. Physically” relieving pain
Relational pain is not only metaphorical: it is a real pain, endowed with physicality, that involves our body and manifests itself through our corporeity. Listening to the signals that the body sends us and giving them an emotional meaning, as well as purely physical, means being able to deal in depth with the suffering related to the end of a relationship. Undergoing massages and relaxation techniques can visibly reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone (cortisol) linked to the experience of pain. In addition, a massage is a form of positive, intimate, compassionate contact that can really help you feel better. Physical activity also helps to reduce anxiety and tension and is a concrete way of taking care of yourself and spending healthy time.
3. Looking for the family and friends’ company
In addition to listening to cries and lamentations, the right people, those who are really close and friends, know how to keep company with those who have a broken heart. It is therefore good not to close and stay in touch with those who can make us feel better and listen to us actively, without giving advice on what is right or wrong to do or give judgmental opinions. If, on the other hand, the problem is revealing one’s vulnerability to one’s friends, starting a path of psychotherapy could be the best solution to not live alone with one’s own pain and instead succeed, through therapy, in getting to know one another more deeply and rebuild one’s own inner balance, investing the resources that we have at our disposal and which are sometimes hidden by the conflicts and suffering that fill the days when a relationship is at its end.
4. Avoid too frequent contacts with the ex
It can be particularly difficult to overcome the end of a relationship with someone if you are forced to see them every day, perhaps for work, or because of mutual friends. It is therefore useful to set limits that redefine and thin out the possible meetings. This does not mean that disappearing from the life of the other is the solution. Very often, in fact, this is not possible because of relationships in common or if there are children. Limiting the use of social media can be another very useful way to detach oneself, find one’s own spaces and build new relational modalities: spying on the profile of the former on social networks is certainly not the best way to distance oneself and start over. On the contrary, it is a mode that reinforces emotions such as suffering, anger, resentment, disappointment that hinder the healing of emotional wounds.
5. Distracting yourself
Not focusing all the attention on the end of the sentimental story but looking for spaces and activities that help to rediscover oneself, is a good way to face and overcome the pain of separation. Cinema, dinners, theatre, going out with friends and family in this period should not be reduced, but increased. This means asking ourselves what we really like now, reviewing habits acquired some time ago, sometimes not related to our well-being, but to the repetitiveness sometimes reassuring and unsatisfying. This allows us to get back into the game and reinvest the potential that opens up a broader view of reality, enriched by the experience that has made us suffer and that we can gradually transform into new possibilities, new horizons, new challenges and new projects. It allows us to really get back into our lives and actively manage our time.