Like all relationships, each breakup is unique and challenging in its own way. No matter how long the relationship lasted or how serious it was, every loss hurts, and there are times when it seems as though your heart will never recover. Yet, somehow, it always does. As difficult as a breakup may be, the heart is a resilient muscle capable of regaining strength and loving again. But if you’re not quite there yet, that’s okay.
Why Are Breakups So Difficult?
Simply put, “the more important a relationship is to us, the more painful the breakup is likely to be,” says Benton. The more time and emotion you invest in a partner, the more challenging it can be to move on and learn to be single again. Additionally, Benton points out that it tends to be more difficult when the breakup was not entirely your own decision. “It is much more painful to be the breakup recipient than the breakup initiator,” she says. However, no matter the cause, all breakups can be challenging.
What’s the Difference Between Sadness and Depression?
“It’s important to distinguish grief and depression,” according to Benton. While both emotional states can cause sadness, insomnia, and loss of appetite, a person who is experiencing grief will feel these symptoms alleviate over time. On the other hand, depression is more complicated. “The feelings are constant and overwhelming,” Benton explains. Additionally, there are often feelings of guilt and shame attached to depression that may be about more than just the relationship loss.
When Should I Seek Additional Mental Health Support?
Grief takes time to work through, but if you don’t feel your mood and thoughts improving over time, seeking additional support from a mental health professional may help. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), if your sadness is interfering with everyday life, something more than just “feeling blue” may be going on.
How Do You Move On?
The good news is that these challenging emotions typically are not permanent and there are plenty of ways to move through them. “Accept the process you’re going through and be good to yourself,” Benton states. As with most things in life, the best approach is to be kind and patient with yourself no matter what you’re going through.
Is There a Silver Lining?
“There are those rare occasions when someone finds their soul mate early in life, but most people experience a whole series of relationships and friendships before we find one satisfying for the long term,” she says. This is one aspect of a breakup to focus on in order to shift your mindset and view the loss as a positive situation.