It’s a well-documented fact that more couples break up over the Christmas and New Year period than any other time of the year.
All manner of factors collide in one perfect storm; from financial to reflection on missed opportunities and in-law resentment, to just plain horrible gifts that prove he just doesn’t get you.
The good news is there are ways to snap you out of your Bridget Jones’s Diary addiction and get you back out there where you belong.
As psychologists working in New York City, Dr. Karen Weinstein and Dr. Michael Zentman have seen their fair share of patients battling through a break up.
They don’t claim to have all the answers, but they do have general sense of how to help you heal a whole quicker.
1. Ditch the rose-coloured glasses
“Reflect on the relationship for what it was, likely it was neither all good nor all bad,” Dr.Weinstein suggests. “Resist the common tendency to idealise the relationship. It’s very common to only recall and focus on the wonderful aspects of the relationship. This makes it even harder to accept the reality that it’s over and is the equivalent of ‘denial’ in the stages of grief.”
One way to reflect would be to make a list of things you weren’t happy with in the relationship. By the end, you might realise that the separation was for the best.
2. Pick up your reading glasses
Dr. Weinstein recommends the books It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Breakup Buddy by Greg and Amiira Behrendt as well as Don’t Call That Man! by Rhonda Findling.
“The whole field of self-help books does seem to assume that only women struggle with breakups, which is far from the reality,” she admitted. “Regardless, there are some thoughtful gems of advice and support in [these books].”
3. Talk it out
“The best thing someone can do is talk about their feelings about the loss with close friends and other loved ones,” Dr. Zentman says. “Hearing yourself say how you’re feeling and having a witness can be very helpful.”
Grab drinks or dinner with a close friend who’s willing to listen for a while and see where the conversation leads you. You may even learn something about yourself.
“There will be much wisdom to gain if a person can be self-reflective and figure out what they contributed to the breakup,” Dr. Zentman adds.
4. Resist acting out
“Identify all of your feelings especially the impulsive, darker, angrier ones, but try not to act on them,” Dr. Weinstein recommends. “Acting out can include behaviours ranging from excessive drinking, overeating, shopping, to obsessively texting your ex, online stalking of your ex, [or] promiscuous sex.”
And even though getting a break up haicut may sound healing, she says you should wait.
“Even making dramatic changes to your appearance like a radically new haircut or color or a getting a tattoo is not advised. There will be time for a fresh new look once you feel more stable,” Dr. Weinstein recommends.
5. Jot it all down (in private)
“Personal journaling can be helpful for some people,” Dr. Zentman says. “I say personal because going public with these feelings on social media can often inflame the situation. It may feel good to have a bunch of people publicly attack an ex, but, in the long run, this will not contribute to healing.”
So put down the smart phone and pick up a journal. It’ll be much better for your mental health in the end.
6. Take a good hard look in the mirror
“Often, seeking the help of a professional can facilitate this process. [Use] the break up as an opportunity to learn about yourself, to reflect on choices in partners,” Dr. Weinstein says.
Find a psychologist that’s right for you and you’ll see things start to work themselves out.