Now that the flurry of romance that is Valentine’s Day is past us, we will look at the down side of relationships. The break-up. How to deal with the break-up of a long-term relationship of years or even the end of a marriage? What if you’re the party that is resistant to the break-up because you’re still in love. For people struggling with anguish, angst and even anger that comes from ending relationships comes from a cocktail of chemicals in the brain, most likely dropping dopamine and serotonin levels, which result in depression and anxiety. Rejection will also result in low self-esteem, feelings of deprivation and a desire to get back what was lost. The latter is the cause of temptations to text, call or stalk the ex on Facebook.
The following is of ways to come through the ordeal as reported in Psychology Today. A goal of the author was to not only make it through the pain, but to emerge “better and brighter.” Change the pronouns per your own situation and find among the following the affirmations that work best for you.
When I’m feeling anxious, insecure, and upset, I’m experiencing a drop in my brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels. These drops undermine my feelings of optimism and confidence, and drive me to seek out the false reward of reassurance and closeness with my ex-lover.
I shall boost my confidence and restore calm by remembering the following:
- My distress is a result of brain chemistry and I’m not crazy. Just temporarily off balance.
- My anxieties and insecurities don’t necessarily reflect what’s really going on or what he’s thinking or feeling.
- Just because he broke up with me doesn’t mean that what we had wasn’t real. It’s simply not real any more.
- I shall respectfully honour his request for space.
- Seeking contact (stalking, pleading) does not bring relief, it only brings shame.
- Instead of thinking, I have to get him to tell me the truth, change his mind, stop cheating, etc., I shall stop caring what he does or how he feels.
- It is a mistake to heed the voice inside my head that urges me to seek him out. That voice comes from pain, insecurity, and fear and is not the BEST me.
- When that voice is triggered, I shall turn toward myself or a good friend for reassurance, not him.
- When I am triggered, I shall mindfully observe my physiology and let it wane without trying to fix it. Rather than thinking I have to see him and recapture what was, I shall think, Oh, look at that. I’m having an anxious moment. This too shall pass. Also try un-furrowing your brow. A calm face leads to a calm mind.
- When triggered, I shall give myself a 90-second timeout (link is external) for my physiology to calm down—and I shall not renew my distress by focusing on what’s upsetting to me.
- I shall not measure my worth by his attitude toward me. His attitude is a reflection on him, not me.
- He’s just not that into me (link is external), and I shall spend my time with people who appreciate me. Life is too short to do otherwise.
- Distance from him is what heals me. Whenever I try to get close again, it’s like picking off a scab and making it bleed. I’m only forcing myself to go through the agony of withdrawal all over again. When a scab has formed, I shall let it heal over completely.
- I shall not justify seeking closeness as an attempt to keep my lover as a friend. I cannot afford a friendship until I’m completely over him and no longer even remotely triggered. And it’s okay if we don’t remain friends. Moving on is a sign of personal growth.
- It’s okay for me to feel sad that this relationship has ended. As I grieve, I am moving toward healing.
- I am a growing, changing person and can learn from this experience.
- I shall take the high road and behave in ways that have dignity and restore my self-respect.
- I shall do what nurtures my health and wholeness. (Natural serotonin (link is external)and dopamine boosters (link is external) include physical activity, sunshine on my skin, smiling, and good nutrition including plenty of protein, vegetables, B vitamins, and bananas.)
- When I take care of myself, I feel confident, optimistic, attractive, and authentic.
- The more I behave like a sane person, the more I’ll feel like a sane person.
- To resist focusing on a dead relationship, I shall focus on living my BEST life.
- I shall seek out what energises me, not what drains me.
We hope this list is something that helps those of you who are feeling the pain of relationship anxiety to cope and come out the other side in one piece. Following are two videos looking at how the different sexes deal with the heartbreak of break-ups. Pretty much it sucks for all involved. However, love is the exploding cigar we willingly smoke.