Dealing with Divorce (or the end of a partnership)
What to do and how to cope with the end of a relationship
Any time a relationship ends you stand a good chance of feeling angry, hurt, bereft - or even worse. There's no such thing as a broken heart, but it can sure feel like your heart is wounded beyond repair, especially if your lover leaves and you thought the relationship was working well. Here is some advice on the ways in which you might find it easier to cope with this situation.
Step 1: Admit that it really is over. There's a real tendency in the human to believe that things will work out, that our lover will come back (perhaps when he or she has seen the error of his or her ways!). But the reality is probably rather different: you need to accept that things are over between you, and focus on moving on to another emotional place and perhaps another relationship.
You will need to grieve the loss of this relationship, and the first step in doing that is to accept the reality of what has happened. Feel your emotions, whatever they may be - rage, anger, hurt, jealously, loss, depression.....but don't let your emotions interfere with your thinking. You need to keep that clear, to help you accept that your loss really has happened, and to work out how you can move on.
Step 2: So, feel your emotions. Loss can be very hurtful; and the emotions that go with it are no exception: depression, rage, insecurity, hopelessness and despair. All of these reflect the power that attachments have over us - we bond with our partners very deeply, and the breaking of those bonds is a cause of much emotional turmoil. Let yourself feel the emotions fully, and see if you can describe them or give them a name. To know that you are depressed, say, can actually be helpful.
It makes sense of your feelings. And so does talking to others, or writing in a journal. To hear others reflect back your feelings and experience empathy from them can be very helpful in coming to terms with your loss. For one thing, you can make more sense of the experience you have gone through. For another, releasing the emotions by talking about them will help you feel them less intensely: and so will any other way you can release the motional energy, for example by running, shouting, screaming, exercising, punching a punchbag or cushion, and so on.
Don't let sex in a future relationship be tainted by the residual guilt,
anger or sadness around your past relationships. You may find that you
suddenly develop premature ejaculation, or perhaps experience erectile
dysfunction, or maybe even delayed ejaculation - see
www.retardedejaculationtreatment.org for treatment for delayed ejaculation - in a way you never have before. But the truth is that, while sex is
subject to emotional influences, it is entirely possible for you to enjoy
great sex with a new lover without dysfunction due to the impact of a
To think or
feel that your world has come to an end, or that you are worth nothing
without the loved one, is mere catastrophizing.
Others will tell you the truth - and though you may not believe them, in
the end the positive reinforcement they offer will help you come to terms
with the loss. Look after yourself, with plenty of food and exercise. To
do otherwise is a sign of a lack of self-care, perhaps even an indication
that your self-esteem depended on the presence of your lover in your
life. If that's true for you, then work on raising your self-esteem,
perhaps consider seeing a therapist or counsellor to get an objective view
of the situation.
Moreover, being able to be "in the moment" while you process your
relationship grief will slow down the racing emotions that go through your
mind. You can help to anchor yourself to the moment of your life that is
happening now, buy taking some clear, firm action: for example, stamp your
foot hard on the ground, shout out loud "I'm alive and I'm surviving!" or
something equally powerful. As you really
attend to what is happening around you right here, right now, you may find
you reconnect with the miracle of your life and existence on the planet -
even though it may be painful! Most of all, try and let go of the
bitterness that can corrupt your enjoyment of the moment.
You will of
course have to devote some time and effort to this process, including
taking the risks that come with meeting new people and perhaps engaging in
sexual relationships with a new lover again. Think of it as though
you've moved to a new country, where you have to put in effort to meet new
people and make new friends. Do what you want to do! This is your time again, you are single
and you don't need to live with compromises any more.