One of the most painful things in life is to experience the breakup of a deeply felt romantic love, whether a long-term relationship or marriage. Fortunately, there are some keys to help you recover and get your life back after ending a relationship with someone you truly loved. Here are 4 research-proven tips to help you get through the heartache:
- MAKE A CLEAR BREAK: You may be tempted to go back—to call, text, see, or engage in intimacy with the ex-partner. This is a mistake because doing so keeps reinforcing your desire to be with that person, while ignoring the reasons you separated—incompatibility, infidelity, or other deal-breakers. In psychological terms, you need to go through a process of “extinction”; in other words, you need to go “cold turkey”—to stop thinking about all the pleasure you could have with your ex in the future if you got back together. If you don’t interact with them, you will see that, over time, your desire for the imagined pleasure they provide will decrease, and you will be able to move on emotionally and physically.
- USE THE HEDONIC TREADMILL EFFECT IN YOUR FAVOR: In positive psychology, an important term is Hedonic Treadmill, i.e. the concept that extreme emotions (high or low) even out. In other words, great pleasure doesn’t last forever, and neither does pain. People who win the lottery usually return to their baseline level of happiness after the thrill of the win wears off. Similarly people who experience a life-changing catastrophe (eg. Losing their limbs) usually find a baseline of happiness after the initial shock and sadness of the loss wears off. When you are in the throes of a painful love loss, realize that this is only a temporary state; soon you will ride the wave of hope and expectation as you embark on a new love journey. Give yourself some time to heal, while understanding that you are about to switch emotional gears and elevate yourself to a better you.
- CREATE A NEW LOVE MANTRA: A love mantra is an affirmation or phrase that you repeat to yourself regarding your romantic life. It could be a lesson you have learned from the relationship, such as “When one Love Door Closes, A Better One Opens.” “The Best Love Is When We Can Create Light Together.” By mentally repeating your Love Mantra to yourself daily, you will find yourself developing more enthusiasm, confidence, and motivation to pursue your love dreams and find a partner who can inspire your best.
- PRACTICE LOVE TRANSFORMATION: One of the greatest concepts in psychological growth is to transform pain into power. Get out a notebook and label it the “Love Transformation” Journal. In that journal, you can analyze each of your love relationships, including the latest one, and write down the lessons you have learned from them, and how you can become a better person from your experiences. Write down what you are grateful for as a result of being in the relationship (even if it was a bad one, maybe you learned something useful). And, most importantly of all, realize the truth of this statement: “Each love I experience, even if not returned in equal measure, strengthens my capacity to love.” Think of loving as a muscle that becomes stronger with exercise; although there is pain and discomfort, your love muscles will continue to grow until you have enough strength to love, and be loved, with the right partner.
If you practice these four tips, you will be on your way to curing your love heartache. Soon, you will begin your journey to lasting love with the partner who truly fulfills you.