It happens in any type of relationship, whether it’s monogamous or non monogamous. And the type of relationship you’re in doesn’t make it any easier on you. Breaking up with someone while you are still in the “honeymoon” of the relationship can make it feel torturous to move on. And it can leave you questioning so many things about yourself and your relationships. So what could help you get through this challenge and not lose faith?
Well, first of all, I would advise that you take the word of every therapist everywhere, ever, and just feel what you are feeling. I can hear you thinking it: what the hell does that even mean? I know it, because that was my reaction the first time I heard the “feel your feelings” mantra. What it actually means is not running away from your emotions and just admitting to yourself that you are sad/ disappointed/ that you miss this person who is no longer in your life. Accept that it is what you are feeling and try to resist the temptation to do something else to cover up your emotions. That means feeling it in the body: where is the sadness located. It means staying with the grief: need to sob for three hours aided by melancholic pop songs? Do it!
Acknowledging your emotions and giving yourself time to accept that this is happening to you can be tremendously helpful. This does not mean that you should wallow in your emotions or ruminate over the “hows” and the “whys”. It just means seeing that you are feeling difficult things and that is OK and appropriate in this situation.
Try, as much as possible, to keep to your regular schedule and not stalk your former partners on social media. This will only help in making you more miserable and disappointed, especially if they seem to be moving on faster than you are.
Regular tools might not work
In regular break ups, you are usually told to focus on the things that were not working in your relationship. This puts everything in perspective and it’s a good tool for preventing you from idealizing your former partner and the relationship. You broke up because some things were really not working in your relationship. But if you broke up in NRE, you have no such thoughts to hang onto. Nothing had the chance to go wrong. You were happy and in love, everything was perfect and then you broke up.
The one thing that has helped me get through this has been to view the break up as an amazing gift of a perfect memory. You have been given the gift of fairytale love. In your heart, your former partner will always remain wonderful and your relationship will be without blemish. You can always look back and think of how beautiful it all was. You can revisit moments that you lived together like your own private fantasy. And you will be the same to your former partner. A moment frozen in time, a movie-like love story.
Yes, it is frustrating. Yes, you miss this person. Yes, you wanted more and they probably wanted more and more would have been amazing. But more would have also meant running into problems at some point and losing the butterflies of this wonderful beginning. This consolation has been the only one I have found, but cherishing the past and thinking of my former partner fondly has been a huge step for me. I always visualise a small part of my heart that will always be reserved for them and when I think of that place, I always smile.
Grief is normal
The process of grieving for this loss will take as long as it takes. Accepting that this is happening to you is the first step. Do not forget that you always have people who can help. I have been lucky enough to have friends and partners who were there for me. Being able to say: “I miss this person and I am sad” has provided a lot of relief.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself. And try not to take any major decisions about relationships or life, in general, after such a loss. It will probably affect the way you see things and that might change once you get to the end of the grieving process. If you feel stuck grieving your lost love and feel that you cannot move on, don’t forget that therapy is always an option.
I hope you all find the light at the end of the tunnel and that you may not have to experience this again. Hugs from me!