Being dumped hits people much harder than we expect it to. It can leave you feeling angry, hurt, devastated, confused, sad and lonely. It can feel like the rug has just been completely pulled out from under you. Even if you know that there were some problems in the relationship, it doesn’t stop you from wishing-like-crazy that your ex-boyfriend, or your ex-girlfriend would call you and tell you they want you back. Each time our phone rings or we receive a text there’s a part of most of us that secretly hopes it’s them calling to tell us that they’ve made a terrible mistake.
The good news is that most people get dumped at some point in their life, so you’re not alone. But yes I know that right now that doesn’t really sound much like “good news” does it? In fact, if you’re like most people, there’s probably nothing (other than your ex wanting you back) that would sound much like good news to you at the moment… And that’s understandable because the loss of the person you love leaves you feeling broken, incomplete and empty.
The Healing Process to Mend Your Broken Heart
As a Psychotherapist in private practice, I’ve helped many people who have been dumped to move past it. I’ve helped some get their ex-lover back into their arms and I’ve helped others to let go and really move on with their lives.
The first key element of the healing process is time. There are definitely things you can do to help you feel better… But be kind to yourself and remember that it will take time to move past the hurt and the pain. And, even if you’ve been hurting for quite some time, there are some things you can do to help you move the process forward now:
- First you need to be kind to yourself and, as much as you’d like your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend back, you need to really accept that it’s over (even if just for now). You may have a chance to create a NEW relationship with them later, but not right now… Now is a time to grieve and let it just be over for a while.
- Ask some good friends to support you by letting you be really honest and telling them when you’re feeling sad and how sad you are. Ask them not to try to “fix” your sadness, just be willing to listen to you when you need to talk. (Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a chance to criticize, judge and blame your ex, even though you may be feeling angry. It’s not a time to even think about them.) Think of this as a time to express your own feelings about how sad, hurt, lonely, (etc) you are from deep down.
- Schedule some time to really grieve the losses. Think of it as similar to a work meeting. Plan a 20 minute spot when you are not working or driving to actively and consciously allow yourself to feel the pain that you feel and remember the losses that you’re feeling. Remember, you haven’t just lost your relationship or lover, but you’ve also potentially lost (even if only for a while) a friend, the vision you had for a future together, a companion, a support person, and more… So take the time to really let yourself feel sad and feel the loss of these parts of your relationship. During the day, when you find yourself feeling sad, remind yourself that you have a grieving session scheduled for later, so try to “park” the sadness till then if you can.
- Often the pain of the losses that we’re experiencing is so strong that all we can think of is that we want our ex back. It’s as if the only way we can fill the emptiness that we feel is to have things back the way they were. Despite how strong that pull is, the best thing right now is to give yourself time and space away from your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. That way you’ll really be able to know for sure what you want. So resist the urge to call your ex or check with others what they’re up to. Think of this as your time to “re-group” and work out your feelings. There will be a time to focus on getting them back later on, if that’s what you want to do.
- After you’ve spent some time grieving and given yourself some “time off”, allow yourself to start getting back out there; back into life. Expect that as you venture back out, you’ll experience pangs of pain, jealousy and hurt, so make sure that you enroll the support of good friends who understand where you’re at. Don’t get angry or surprised when you find that things trigger you to feel painful feelings. That’s normal and completely expected.
Don’t push yourself too hard for now. Once people allow themselves to really accept where they’re at and let go of the “old” relationship, then, and only then, can they really decide if they want to think about getting an ex back or if they’re ready to start dating others and moving on with their life. For now, be kind to yourself and remember, it takes time and you need to let yourself feel the sad feelings (for a little while anyway) so you can let them out and not hold onto them.