When you go through a break-up, you will hear things like ‘You’ll laugh about this in a few years,’ and ‘You’ll find better,’ but these things are only helpful once you’ve gone through the entire experience and come out the other side. These comments also downplay the hurt and pain you are feeling in the moment. Sometimes, your identity is wrapped up in the relationship, so much so that when it ends, you lose who you are and your fear for the future increases because the safety net is no longer there. With the attachment theory, partners in a relationship generally look to each other for security, comfort, and closeness. A break-up can sometimes mean that you are completely lost and emotionally scarred, and it does not help to hear others talk about it as if it is meaningless. These people mean well and are in correct in their assumptions that you will one day laugh about it, but they do not realize they are minimizing your pain.
There is no research on the direct correlation between break-ups and suicides, but they do happen. Break-ups are serious and when they aren’t treated as such, there is a stigma around it where the person thinks they must also act like it doesn’t matter when they are crying for help internally. Many people laughed at Selena Gomez for going to therapy after her break-up to Justin Bieber, but what she did shines a light on how break-ups should be viewed. Those who scoff at these things have also gone through a break-up, but no longer remember the immediate pain that occurred, and as such, they devalue the experience of those who are currently going through it. It affects you if you admit it or not. Sometimes, a break up will devastate you and sometimes, it will free you, but either way, it is a loss that must be mourned. If we don’t take the time to mourn the death of our relationships, we will never acknowledge the depth and breadth of what it once meant to us and what it means to not have it anymore.
There is nothing that will ease the pain and the process is different for everyone, but know that whatever you experience is true and real. If it doesn’t hurt, then you weren’t investing as much as you should have into the relationship or it was already dead at that point. Even when you leave an abusive relationship, it is odd to feel sadness because you know you shouldn’t be in it, but it’s okay to mourn it. With abusive relationships, you still have the right to feel whatever you feel afterwards. If you don’t process your feelings, you may be prone to enter the same type of partnership again. Break-ups are a time for reflection: to think about who you are and what you want. It means giving yourself time to grow into the person you want to be. It also means giving yourself time to heal. Keep yourself busy. Talk to friends. Find new activities. Challenge yourself. None of these things will help with the pain, but these things will keep you busy. The key is to find a good balance between contemplation and action. Too much of just one means you are trying to avoid the hurt. Either the hurt of going through pain or the hurt of accepting the finality of what has happened.
There are no easy answers. No sayings that will make everything better. It simply hurts and it’s okay to hurt. Talk to your friends and if you need extra help, it is okay to seek out a professional. The best thing you can do is to take care of your mental health. Just take it one day at a time and don’t give up. Sometimes when we break up, we come up with ‘what if’ scenarios. What if I never find anyone else again? Face that fear. Answer that question. What if you never find anyone again? One day, you will be able to answer with ‘I’ll be okay, then,’ and you’ll know you’re on the other side, but until then, don’t let others or yourself minimize your pain.