Getting dumped is something that will happen to most of us at least once in our lives. Relationships do not always work out. A breakup can be unexpected, and make you have feelings of being not good enough. It is natural to feel upset and a sense of loss but there are positive ways to help you move forward and get on with life.
Coping with a breakup
When a relationship ends, especially if it’s your first one, it can seem like the end of the world. Even when you know you had nothing in common and your relationship was completely toxic, you can still feel intense grief.
You’re not pathetic
Human beings are designed to be connected to other people (it ensured our survival), so when we are suddenly abandoned by someone we thought we could trust, it can set off a deep stress response, leaving us exhausted, sleepless and emotional.
If we are also prone to negative thinking (‘I’m ugly/fat/dumb/stupid’, ‘It was my fault’, ‘I’ll never find anyone else’) these thoughts can create even more sadness and anxiety, trapping us in a negative feedback loop.
Reframe the story
Some people will try to be ‘supportive’ by saying, ‘He/she wasn’t right for you anyway’ or ‘They’re all bastards/bitches’, but buying into hate or blame will just keep you stuck in negativity.
Make a list of all the good things about your relationship: the fun you had, and what you learned. Now visualise yourself having those good times again with a new partner.
Look after yourself
- Eat regularly and avoid sugary carbs as they mess with your energy and moods.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs, as they amplify whatever emotions you’re feeling.
- Hang out with friends and do things that make you feel happy
Talk to someone about how you are feeling
Call or send a message to a family member, a friend, a professional or a counsellor at Lifeline 13 11 14, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 or Youth Beyondblue 1300 224 636. The Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 has 24/7 telephone and online counselling and support, including up to 6 free sessions with the same counsellor.
Put it on paper
Write down your thoughts or draw something to express how you feel.
Soothe your senses
Have a warm bath; lie in a hammock or beanbag; burn some aromatic oil; cuddle or stroke a pet.
Breathe and Relax your Body Bit by Bit
Lie down on your back somewhere comfortable, and take slow, deep breaths. Focus your attention on your toes, feeling the muscles relax. Then move your attention to your arches, heels, ankles, calves and so on, all the way up to the top of your head. By bringing your awareness to your body, your mind can shift away from its negative thoughts.
Stay safe – Moving Forward after Getting Dumped
- Get a friend or relative to come over, or go to stay with them. Do not be alone if you are having suicidal thoughts.
- Get rid of any items that you could use to hurt yourself.
- Go to sleep. If you have been prescribed sleeping tablets, take a safe dose of these; even if you do not sleep, they will lessen your emotional pain. Doctors give people painkillers when they have bad physical pain; it’s the same for psychological pain.
- When you wake up, things will often seem very different, and you can access help from family, friends and professionals.
Life changes all the time. HOLD ON!