No matter how many times we experience breaking up with someone, it can still hurt and threaten to overturn our lives.
It can be extremely frustrating when a breakup is difficult to manage – even when we know the relationship is not right for one, or both, of the parties involved. Losing a relationship can evoke multitudes of uncomfortable emotions. One may feel embarrassed or hurt and wonder if he is not “good enough”, while simultaneously missing the guy who is instigating the uncomfortable feelings. Another, sometimes overlooked, reason that breakups hurt so much is that as the relationship dissolves – our own sense of self can dissolve along with it.
It is a wonderful process when you are building closeness and trust with someone, it can also make your feelings at the end of the relationship even more confusing and painful. A 2010 research study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin finds that breakups cause a change in our self-concept, which can elicit a lack of clarity in our knowledge of ourselves. Furthermore, when we do not have a clear concept of ourselves, such as in the aftermath of a breakup, it leads to further emotional grief.
Reassessing ourselves after a breakup is a major component to finding closure and becoming healthy again for the next relationship while developing an even stronger and renewed sense of self. To begin the process of exiting one relationship and rebuilding your relationship with yourself, here are several tips.
Concentrate on yourself. Sever all ties with your ex – as much as you do not want to or think that it is not necessary. Block all electronic reminders – your ex’s number in your phone, if they are a Facebook friend or follow you on twitter, email accounts, etc. Also, clear out any other reminders around you: pictures, ticket stubs, gifts, etc. Simply putting these things away for a while will help ease the pain of a new breakup, the cliché “out of sight, out of mind” does have merit!
Strive for acceptance of the breakup. Mourning the loss of a relationship is often necessary and “moping” around a bit is okay! Remembering why the relationship did not work out and the negative aspects of your ex-boyfriend can help bring closure. Express your feelings through art, writing, dancing, singing, whatever you enjoy that helps sort and soothe your emotions. Just be sure to use this time to gain acceptance that the relationship has ended so that your mourning period can be brief and allow you to move on to reestablishing your individual sense of self.
Focus on your future. A tough breakup can also be an opportunity to reassess where you are in your life and where you want to go. Analyzing your self-concept as an individual instead of a couple can be the fresh start to revitalizing your expectations for yourself. Explore your priorities and determine if any have slipped while you were in a relationship. Perhaps you have not spent as much time with friends, exercising, participating in volunteer work or doing hobbies as you would like. Now is the time to take note of what is important to you and to DO these things you have been missing!
Utilize support from others. During a difficult breakup and after, surround yourself with friends and family who are on your side and will support you during this difficult time. Being with others can help you to realize that you are not alone and that you are valued by people besides your ex-boyfriend. Enlist others’ help to gain acceptance of your new single status as well as to assist you in gaining clarity and creating a positive new beginning.
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