Just get over him! Get into the dating scene. Throw his gifts away. Get involved in a new activity.
We’ve all heard virtually the same advice, and some if it can be helpful, but breakups suck no matter what.
Breakups from any type of relationship can cause sadness, grief or depression whether a woman initiates the breakup or not.
Susan Heitler, a clinical psychologist in Denver, Colo., says that there is a difference between grief and depression after a breakup.
“Grieving is the sadness that comes with any loss, but depression adds a level of powerlessness and negative thoughts,” Heitler said.
She said that powerlessness comes from feeling “that a breakup has been done to us, not that it was a mutual decision.”
Although it depends on how long you’ve been with the person and how deep the feeling of loss is, grieving over a lost relationship usually should last only a little over a week, she said.
After a week, if the woman is still getting “lots of negative self-thoughts,” it might be depression.
“If someone feels like there’s a negative dark cloud hanging over them, then they’ve shifted from grieving into depression,” Heitler said.
When there’s depression involved, it’s best to see a therapist or psychologist, but there are some actions you can do to ease some pain.
Heitler suggests trying to communicate with an ex-partner.
“To be able to say your own thoughts, to share your view, is empowering, so then it doesn’t feel like there’s something done to you, but rather like you’ve had input also,” she said.
When an ex is unwilling to talk over the phone or in-person, an e-mail or letter can help.
Although throwing out gifts and memories of an ex can be cliché, it can also help in certain cases.
“It’s a way to say, ‘Okay, I’m ending that era of my life and readying myself to go onto something new,’” Heitler said. “It gives you a feeling of, ‘I’m taking charge now, I’m in the driver’s seat.’ It’s not essential but it can be helpful.”
However, many people have the opposite reaction and want to keep everything and put it in a safe place.
“They want to take all the memories of that person and treasure them because that was a period of their lives and they can still move on,” Heitler said.
One thing to keep in mind is that thoughts of an ex can interfere with your life if you let them.
“Each time those thoughts come up, distract yourself,” Heitler said. “You can’t block them from coming up, but you can stop yourself from dwelling on that person. What you need to do is weaken the ties with them, so you don’t want to be dwelling on them because that reinforces the ties.”
One of the best ways to move on is to “build something new,” she said.
“Build new friendships, take on new activities, get a new puppy, take a trip,” Heitler said. “New is good.”
In a Psychology Today blog, the author suggested five ways to get over a breakup: sharing your feelings with others, meditate, sleep, exercise and have “imaginary conversations with the ex.”
A website, www.ahealthyme.com, which is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, said that taking care of yourself is important, including watching your diet and maintaining a normal energy level. Volunteering, taking a class or doing something creative (music, art, writing, etc.) can all help you improve yourself and meet new friends.
Heitler’s websites: www.Therapyhelp.com, www.Po2.com