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Let’s Talk About... Breakups

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It is not easy when a significant relationship ends. For some it can be utterly devastating, for others it can be more of a positive adjustment for the future. Regardless of how you are impacted, breakups can be painful because you experience the loss not only of the relationship, but also of shared dreams, hopes for the future, your sense of self, daily routines and, at times, your mutual support system. Let’s hope you do not have to experience painful heartache, but just in case, here are a few ideas that may help you get through your 
next breakup. As humans, we have the tendency to do everything we can to avoid pain. We are generally rewarded for “seeing the bright side” of a situation and we are often shunned when we appear hurt or sad. Therefore, we may think things will be better if we can somehow find the magic formula for stopping the pain. We think if we find the right way to distract ourselves and push down our feelings, we may make it through the breakup unscathed. The problem with this is that the hurt does not go away, it just hides from view and finds ways to pop up at the most inopportune times. 
When a relationship ends it can be normal to experience a wide range of conflicting emotions, such as disappointment, sadness, anger, hurt, jealousy, fear and stress. Allow yourself to feel all the feels, all of the many conflicting emotions; ignoring them will only make the grieving process harder and longer. Approach, rather than avoid, your emotions. In the long run you will be more prepared for a healthier and happier relationship that awaits you. Coming to the end of anything, good or bad, means that it is time to actively cope with the loss. It can be challenging and painful to take a break from talking with your ex-partner or from looking at their Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter feeds. Yet, avoiding contact with your ex-partner immediately following the breakup can be helpful to provide the necessary space to start the process of coping with the loss. 
While it is important to experience and express your feelings, getting stuck and over-analyzing the past and resenting your ex-partner(s) can make it hard to move forward. Progressively work toward feeling hopeful about your future by surrounding yourself with people who have hope for you and remember there will be future opportunities to replace hopes and dreams you might have had with your ex-partner. Your biggest growth can occur in the face of heartache, so use your emotions and energy to re-evaluate your life goals and the healthy and unhealthy patterns in previous relationships to become the person and partner you have always wanted to be. You deserve it. 
The following are some quick and simple tips that you might employ in your own life in the wake of a breakup.
Try to schedule a time each day to do something calming and self-soothing. Attempt to get back into a routine since at such times structure in your life can be comforting. Remember to reach out to family and friends who are supportive so that you do not feel alone in your pain. If you lost friends when the partnership ended, work on starting new friendships. Try to avoid using alcohol, drugs, or food to cope with your emotions and instead find healthier ways to cope with your distress. Get involved and do activities that you love, to re-discover and re-invent yourself. Engage in self-expression to explore your feelings and thoughts. Be sure to eat well, sleep well and exercise to feel healthy and restore energy. And remind yourself of all of the wonderful aspects of your life. Be patient with yourself. Remember that recovering from heartbreak is not easy and it can take quite some time to fully heal so be patient with yourself and remember you can and will be able to heal and move on. If you need additional support navigating the coping process, seek support from friends, family, loved ones, or consider individual or group counseling from the Student Counseling Center. We are here for you.
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