What Strategies can be Helpful During a Breakup?
When Huffington Post Relationships reached out to ask about tips for getting through a breakup, Spencer and Elisabeth both weighed in:
It’s okay to be the one who is hurting more:
First of all, it’s not a comparison game. And in many breakups both parties are experiencing similar intensities of hurt, though they may be experiencing it differently. Those differences, in fact, may be one of the reasons you are breaking up. But sometimes there really is one person who is hurting more than the other. It is okay to be that person. You don’t “win” the breakup by being the one who experienced less caring, less attachment, and less vulnerability. It is okay to lean in to the loss of someone who was important to you. Recognizing the value of what you lost in the breakup will help clarify what you want when you are ready to date and be in a relationship again.
Give yourself time and space before the final closure talk:
Unless there is a safety issue, it is often helpful and healing to have a final closure talk once the dust has settled from the breakup. This is a sort of relationship “exit interview” where you can ask some burning questions and get some feedback that may be helpful for moving on in future relationships. Do not rush having this talk! My rule is that it can happen any time between a month to a year. No sooner than a month because emotions and thoughts need time to clear.
Admit, Acknowledge, Accept
As painful as a breakup feels, it can be liberating to admit the reasons you are better off without your ex. Even if you thought they were “the one”, there were surely some obstacles and flaws in your relationship, and it frees up emotional energy to admit these shortcomings.
It is also liberating to acknowledge your role in the relationship’s demise. Even if your ex is ninety percent to blame, owning your part in the process is a way to make sure you learn from the relationship and position yourself for a healthier romantic future.
Endings can feel painful and difficult to accept. Smartphones and social media make it easier than ever to track your ex and reach out in moments of weakness. Impulsive communication does not reflect your best version of yourself and increases the likelihood of spontaneous hookups with your ex that can compromise whatever positive memories and feelings remain between the two of you. Impulsive trolling of your ex is equally unproductive and unsettling. Accepting that the relationship has ended is a necessary stage in the grieving process.
(There is an exception to this advice about accepting that the relationship is over. If you are the one who broke things off, and the time apart has helped you discover the need to admit that you are not better off and to acknowledge ways that you sincerely would like to change and to give things another try, it is worth letting your ex know that you have some observations to share.)