Breaking up is hard to do. Whether it’s your first time experiencing a breakup or it’s your tenth time, it can still be a rough journey.
Luckily, Christine Hassler, a life coach and author of the upcoming book “Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love and Life,” is providing women everywhere with assistance in getting over one of the most difficult experiences in life.
Her book which is coming out in October, actually addresses the challenge of how to get over any kind of disappointment, including relationship disappointments.
Hassler coined the phrase “expectation hangover,” which is applicable to what women may experience during and after a breakup.
“I had so many of my own disappointments, and I realized that an expectation hangover is kind of similar to a hangover from alcohol,” Hassler said in a phone interview.
“You wake up and you have a headache from all the thinking you’re doing, you’re spinning in confusion, there’s regret, there’s lack of motivation, you ... have anxiety, your stomach may hurt, you just want to pull the covers over your eyes. It’s kind of like a similar feeling of just wanting things to be different.”
“People’s greatest suffering is when their reality doesn’t meet their expectations,” she added.
And as a result of expectations not being met during a relationship, some women might experience an emotional hangover and all the symptoms that go with it. However, this is the best time to start the learning process.
Here are Hassler’s 12 nuggets of wisdom to help women who are going through breakups, whether they are the dumper or the dumpee:
1) “I think first of all we have the expectation that a relationship is supposed to last forever, and that if it doesn’t we failed in some way, and that’s not true. Relationships are here to teach us lessons and to help us grow, and just because a relationship ends doesn’t mean that we’re a failure and it doesn’t mean the relationship failed. It just means it had, what I call in the book, an expiration date.”
2) “Instead of asking why did this happen, ask what am I learning.” You can think about what you learned about yourself, the other person and love in general.
3) Forgiveness is a big part of moving on. If women don’t forgive, and hold on to anger and resentment, it starts to impact their health. You don’t even have to meet up with your ex to forgive them. You can do it by yourself through compassionate self-forgiveness, which she explains in her book.
4) “Forgiveness doesn’t mean we condone or we agree with behavior or anything like that ... if someone cheated on us, if we forgive them that doesn’t mean we’re letting them off the hook or we condone it. When we forgive, we’re taking away the judgment. We’re taking away the judgment we’re harboring inside, that we were wrong, or they were wrong ... and we’re letting it go.”
5) Forgive yourself and get rid of the “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.” Don’t over-analyze. Think about what you learned and how you want to be in the future.
6) “A breakup is a breakup. I think the mistake that people make is they try to continue talking to their ex or having them in their life in some way. If you can stop all communication, like if you don’t share a child, I’m a big advocate of no communication.” If you do share a child, limit communication to text and email as much as possible.
7) “We need to have compassion for our human condition. There’s going to be a time of grief and there’s going to be a time of sadness and we can’t just expect that we’re just going to move on right away. We have to give ourselves some time to grieve.”
8) Stop using the term “failed relationship.” Instead, say that the relationship ended or had an expiration date. For example, you can say, “the relationship had an expiration date, and we reached it ... we completed what we needed to learn together.” Hassler adds that using the word failure is “laced with judgment that only holds people back from really being able to grow and move forward.”
9) Even though there still tends to be a stigma against being single (at least for women), don’t put a time frame on finding a new boyfriend. Avoid putting expectations on yourself. There are some things in the universe you can’t control.
10) Don’t personalize your breakups to the point where it impacts your self-esteem. Don’t let the breakup make you think you’re not worthy, because eventually that could lead to settling.
11) During her own breakups, Hassler spent time journaling, with friends, writing letters to her exes that she never actually sent to them. She also looked at qualities that she valued in her exes, like financial stability/independence, and worked toward making those traits a part of herself instead.
12) It’s also important to see a therapist or coach to get through other issues that may have been triggered though the breakup (such as childhood issues). Sometimes support from friends isn’t enough.
Hassler, Christine. Phone interview. September 13, 2014.
Reviewed September 26, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
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