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How to Mend a Broken Heart After a Breakup

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Valentine’s Day, though traditionally a day for celebrating love, can be a poignant reminder of loneliness, toxic past relationships, and profound sadness for those who are dealing with a breakup. 

Speaking with Vitabiotics, relationship expert Jess Alderson, co-founder of the personality-type dating app So Syncd shares insights on how to navigate and heal following a breakup:

Allow yourself to feel your emotions

Jess Alderson emphasises the importance of allowing yourself to feel the full spectrum of emotions after a breakup. 

It’s important to feel your emotions after a breakup. While it can feel easier in the moment, bottling up your feelings can lead to more significant problems in the long run,” she notes. 

Don’t pack your social calendar full of activities and distractions

Feeling a loss of identity post-breakup is a common phenomenon, especially after a long-term relationship. 

After a breakup, it can take time to rediscover and reconnect with your individual sense of self. It can be tempting to fill your schedule with social activities and distractions. While leaning on your support system and engaging in new activities and experiences that bring you joy is helpful, remember to spend some time alone. This will give you the headspace to reflect on who you are as an individual and what is important to you. 

Ask yourself, “What makes me happy?” or “Where do I want to be in five years?” 

Laughter is the best medicine

Amid heartbreak, Jess introduces a surprising ally: humour. Humour is an incredibly powerful tool in life, and when used correctly, it can help with coping with heartbreak. 

Laughter releases the feel-good hormone endorphins, which can help us release pent-up emotions and temporarily relieve pain. 

In the context of heartbreak, humour allows us to take a step back and see our situations from a different, more light-hearted perspective. Heartbreak often involves time spent reliving memories with your ex-partner. But incorporating humour into your healing process can help you create recent positive memories. This can be especially helpful when entering the dating scene again, as it can help you let go of the past and move forward with a positive outlook.

Just make sure to balance humour with genuine emotions and avoid using it as a way to mask or avoid dealing with your feelings.

How to reframe your negative thoughts 

As humans, we are hard-wired to create narratives about our experiences to make sense of the world, and breakups are no exception. But the story we tell ourselves can greatly impact our outlook and ability to heal from a breakup, and it might not always be objectively true. 

Furthermore, if these stories are rooted in negative self-perceptions or unhealthy thought patterns, they can be limiting and harmful.

Changing your narrative is one of the most powerful ways to promote healing and growth after a breakup. All our actions stem from our mindset, so by creating a more empowering narrative for ourselves, we can set ourselves up for the future we want.

The first step to creating a new narrative is identifying and understanding the existing one. Start by separating the facts from the assumptions and interpretations you’ve made about the relationship and its end. 

Next, focus on reframing your thoughts in a positive light. This doesn’t mean denying the pain of the breakup or ignoring the facts, but rather looking for silver linings or learning opportunities within it.

For example, instead of thinking, “I don’t know who would want to be with me,” after a breakup, you could reframe it as, “That relationship wasn’t meant to be, and I am worthy of finding someone who will love me for who I am”. This allows you to look at the situation objectively and challenge any negative self-perceptions or beliefs that may be holding you back.

Change is inevitable; use it to your advantage

Change is often feared and resisted, but it is an inevitable part of life. It’s uncomfortable because it involves leaving our comfort zones. However, understanding and accepting change as an opportunity to learn and grow will help shift your mindset from fear to acceptance. The inverse of change is stagnation, and that goes against our inherent human need for a feeling of progress in life. 

View change as a chance to learn. Every experience, positive or negative, offers opportunities for learning and discovery. By viewing change as a lesson, we can approach change with curiosity rather than fear. We can’t control other people’s actions or turn back time, but we decide how we respond and what lessons we take away from the experience. 

How quickly you return to the dating scene is entirely up to you

How quickly people return to dating after a breakup is widely disputed. However, Jess recognises the various factors that can impact this decision. 

“Finding a healthy balance between moving on and allowing yourself time for reflection can be challenging,” she admits. “How quickly you get back on the dating scene depends on you as an individual and the circumstances of the breakup

“Some breakups happen gradually over a period of many months or even years. In these situations, the individuals involved may have already largely processed the end of the relationship by the time it officially ends, and they may feel ready to date sooner. 

“However, if the breakup is sudden and unexpected, it can take some time for individuals to process their emotions and heal from the loss of the relationship. In these situations, taking time for personal growth and reflection is often beneficial before jumping into a new relationship.” 

How to tell if you’re ready to get back on the dating scene 

Understanding your emotional motivations for wanting to date again is a great first step. Ask yourself, ‘Why do I want to date again?’

It’s important to differentiate between seeking companionship for genuine connection and dating as a way to avoid loneliness or mask emotional pain.

Assessing your self-esteem and confidence levels can also provide insight into your readiness for dating. If the breakup has significantly impacted your self-worth, you may want to focus on rebuilding these aspects before dating again. You don’t have to be 100% confident all the time, by any means. Everyone has insecurities, but having a strong sense of self-worth lays a strong foundation for healthy relationships.

Last but not least, listen to your gut. If you know deep down that you aren’t ready to date, don’t push yourself. Your intuition is powerful and can guide you towards making the right decisions for your emotional well-being. So, if the thought of dating again brings about strong negative emotions, allow yourself time for personal growth and reflection until you feel somewhat positive about dating again.

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