4 tips for the broken-hearted

When I broke up with my boyfriend of five years, I cried so hard that the skin on my nose started peeling from blowing it so much. I didn't cry on Valentine's Day, his birthday, or the other "big" occasions when I thought loneliness would set in. I cried at the tiniest things -- when I saw a monkey on TV that I knew he'd laugh at, or when I smelled a whiff of his sporty deodorant at Duane Reade. Of course people told me it would get easier with time -- and it did -- but what they didn't tell me was that it would get harder with time before it got easier.

Every day that passed was marked. I'd think, "I can't believe this is the first Saturday without him as my date", or "How could 4 months have passed without us talking?"

Breaking up is more than hard to do... it feels totally unnatural, counter-intuitive, and down-right unfair to stop talking to someone you're used to talking to daily.

Of course, if the breakup was fueled by something lousy that your partner did -- or something hurtful that you did -- anger and guilt can transform the mourning process. More often than not, however, people break up when they still have feelings for their partner.

While you're blowing your nose, here are a few tips to consider:

1. Write down a list of your five 'must-haves' and five 'can't-stands' for your future partner. It can be as silly as wanting to date someone who loves to dance or as serious as wanting to be with somebody of the same faith. If it is important to you, include it in your list.

2. Make new relationship resolutions.
Try to identify how certain fears influenced your last relationship, and decide whether you're prepared to take steps to face those fears. For instance, if you feared losing your independence in your last relationship, how will you cope in your next one so that you don't feel you have lost yourself while in a partnership?

3. Ask yourself, "Why did you stay as long as you did?" Were there moments when you knew it wasn't working? How did you deal with it? What would you do differently if you did it again?

4. Allow yourself to grieve in a way that's comfortable to you. For some, playing sad love songs and spending many nights inside with Ben and Jerry feels best. For others, jumping into the dating game in a casual way and having fun is a good way to cope.

My friend Dan always says that breakups happen twice -- once in your heart, and once out loud. By the time the breakup is done, no doubt that there were sleepless nights or resolutions made to change the situation. Once you get to the point where a relationship just isn't working, or if the other person has terminated something you thought had more potential, don't beat yourself up. It's easier to say with distance and time -- but usually these things are a blessing in disguise. When we start to date again, we often realize how wonderful it feels to be appreciated for some of the quirks that annoyed or upset our ex, or how amazing it is to be fulfilled and fully present with someone else.

By Andrea Syrtash, ONDating
Special to Yahoo! Personals

No comments