How to deal with heartbreak after losing someone you loved is one of the most traumatizing and trying challenges that life throws our way. Even so, nursing a broken heart is something that everyone goes through and is an eventuality that we all have to deal with at some point. Perhaps, even several times over. That’s because people are not books, formulae, mathematics, pieces of art or music; they can be learned, understood or navigated. Instead, people are a mere bundle of thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
Simply put, people are complex, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. We like some people more than others, want to know them better and crave their attention desperately. We want to spend all our time with them and might even be infatuated with them and then soon fall in love. Just the way that two people come together as if being driven close by a magical force, they can be driven apart with a similar force.
When that happens, picking up the pieces of your life and figuring out how to heal a broken heart and move on can be a daunting proposition. It’s going to feel like your life has completely fallen apart. So if you find yourself in such a situation, we are here to help you deal with heartbreak and betrayal.
Why Does Heartbreak Hurt So Much?
If you’re asking how to deal with heartbreak, then you’re probably already all too familiar with the excruciating pain that comes with it. The loss of the love of your life, betrayal, cheating or simply growing apart from the person who you thought was your life partner can leave you physically hurting and emotionally spent. In such moments of despair, it is natural to wonder why does heartbreak hurt so much.
According to a study, your brain processes the emotional distress caused by a heartbreak the same way as it processes physical pain caused by injury or disease. If you pay attention to some common expressions used to describe the feelings of a broken heart – “my heart was ripped out of my chest”, “skinned heart”, “gut-wrenching heartbreak” – they all use physical pain to quantify emotional pain. That’s because a broken heart actually leaves you hurting physically. So it’s not all in your head.
This happens because when you have to deal with heartbreak and rejection after having been in love, the level of feel-good hormones oxytocin and dopamine drops suddenly and drastically.
As a result, the body’s fight or flight response is activated and the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, begin to rise. All the unpleasant changes in the body such as loss of appetite, nausea, weight gain or loss, acne are all an outcome of this cycle being set into motion. In some cases, the affected person may have to deal with heartbreak, depression and anxiety, owing to this phenomenon. In fact, in certain extreme cases, a heartbreak can literally break your heart.
This is known as the Broken Heart Syndrome, or Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy in medical terms, where the acute stress caused by a heart-breaking situation causes the heart’s left ventricle to be ‘stunned’ into temporary paralysis. This creates heart-attack-like symptoms. Thankfully, the condition is not fatal and resolves on its own in most cases.
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How To Deal With Heartbreak? 10 Ways
Heartbreak is inevitable when we learn that the other person is either not in love or has fallen out of love with us. But coping with heartbreak and emerging as a better, stronger person on the other side is entirely possible and feasible. You’re probably in a position where suddenly, the dreaded sleepless nights, tear-stained pillows, pangs of loneliness and an aching broken heart have become constants in your life.
But let’s turn that around once and for all. If you have recently undergone a terrible breakup or have been cheated on, well then your heart needs some love and care. How to handle heartbreak? Pay attention to these 10 ways to deal with heartbreak to free yourself from this endless loop of misery:
1. Remember that you’re not alone when coping with heartbreak
We don’t mean to take your experience away from you but we have to break it to you that you are not the first person in the world to deal with heartbreak and rejection. Millions have suffered and have come out of it and millions do suffer from it every day too. That’s the price you have to pay when you fall in love. The risk of getting hurt and falling apart.
Yes, the pain can seem unbearable while it lasts, making you feel hopeless, dejected and riddled with trust issues. However, these experiences are what add to your character, maturity and ability to understand people and handle relationships. Trust us when we tell you that no matter how glum everything seems right now, this experience is what will make you so much better in your relationships in the future. Though it is not a pleasant feeling and might take a long time to get over, it is quite normal.
2. You need a clean slate
Serious about dealing with heartbreak? Well, this is one of the most important tips for you then. And it’s very simple too. You need to have a clean state to be able to heal a broken heart and move on. If your mind is murky with memories, hopes, expectations and fantasies that are all futile, the process will only become more difficult. It’s time to move on from this.
So, do things that help prevent you from going back to the memories of time spent together with that person. Delete all the chats, emails, and photographs from the phone, tablet, laptop and computer. If you cannot gather the courage to do this, ask a friend to move them all into a hidden folder. Do away with gifts and relationship souvenirs, so that you are not reminded of the person who left you with a broken heart.
3. Stop all communication for dealing with heartbreak
The no-contact rule is your best ally when you are looking for ways to deal with heartbreak. There is no way to maneuver around it, it is just something you have to follow with all seriousness. Stop all communication with your ex or a potential love interest who has turned you down, the moment that they leave. Instruct all common friends not to pass on any information about you even if the other person asks or tell you anything about the goings-on in their life. Do whatever it takes, but don’t allow yourself to keep talking to them.
People can suspend all communication when they want to but in vulnerable moments there is a sudden urge to reconnect. Therefore, blocking communication channels helps. Block them on Insta, Facebook, Snapchat and whatever else you guys used to interact on. When you are not expecting a call or are not supposed to call, then why even have the phone number listed on your phone?
4. How to get over heartbreak? Talk openly about your feelings
Once you are in better control of yourself post the heartbreak, pat yourself on your back for getting this far. But be warned that the journey to heal a broken heart and move on isn’t exactly linear and definitely not over. After days of making progress in the right direction, there will be times when you may feel like reaching out to that lost love and that’s when it can feel as if all your progress is lost.
You may have successfully ignored them for three weeks but suddenly your mom mentions them and you find yourself digging up their number on your phone wanting to ask them to take you back. The urge, the confusion and the hope might make you take the wrong step. So in order to block this possibility, you should consider discussing your feelings with a friend or a counselor. They will remind you of what you should really do as they want only the best for you.
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5. Wallow as much as you need to
You’re not dealing with heartbreak well if you repress the feelings of sadness, despair and agony in the wake of a breakup that has quite clearly shattered you completely. Bottling up your emotions takes away the opportunity to process what you’re feeling and get it all out of your system – which can actually be quite cathartic. When you already cannot help remaining sane and normal, there is no harm in allowing yourself to feel a little sad too if that helps you in the long run.
How to get over heartbreak? Wallow as much as you need to, cry it out loud if you feel like. And yes, it is okay for men to cry too. Crying makes one feel so much better than before and there’s no such thing as crying too much. You always feel much lighter, relaxed and refreshed after an episode of crying it out. Don’t put on a brave face and instead, acknowledge your emotions.
6. Remind yourself that you can’t control someone else
How to handle heartbreak? Well, you need to be mindful of the fact that the ability to guide, manage and control someone else does not lie in your hands. Put yourself in his or her place and imagine if you would like to do what others want from you or would you like to be a person with free will and independence. Why should they behave the way you want them to?
If you once loved someone, respect her or his decision for doing the things that they did. If they want to move, let them go instead of scrutinizing every single thing they did and raising your expectations from them even more. What you can control are your own actions and reactions to their decision. So, focus on that.
Related Reading: 21 Signs You Should Break Up For Good
7. How to get over heartbreak? Move away from ‘blame game’
If a relationship has come to an end or things didn’t work out with the potential love interest the way you would have liked, you both must have played a role in it. It really can’t completely be their fault or yours. Blame shifting isn’t going to help matters at all because both of you are definitely in the wrong.
So refrain from finding faults with the other person or the circumstances and using them as an outlet for all your frustration by blaming them for everything. Instead, start accepting the current situation as it is. Once you are closer to reality it would be easier for you to distance yourself from the pain and make peace with it all.
8. Try to make new friends after the episode for coping with heartbreak
Does the breakup pain ever go away? Perhaps, not for a long time. But you have to learn to live with it and move on too. The pain may persist but you can get better at dealing with it and continuing to create a happier life for yourself. Making new beginnings is the best way to heal a broken heart and move on.
So, go out, meet new people, make friends and invest yourself in people and things that make you happy. Being happily single is real! So make full use of it.
9. Take a nice, long trip
If the loss of a loved one has impacted you severely and you’re trying to figure out how to handle heartbreak and depression, consider a change of scene for yourself. There is nothing that a nice beach and some R&R can’t fix! Don’t let this one hurdle stop you from living the best days of your life.
Plan a trip or a vacation with family or friends. Create new and happy memories which will be your new treasure trove of stories to fall back upon, when you feel lonely and sad. Spend some quality time with your loved ones. Click new pictures to feel good about yourself!
10. Extend a helping hand
Once you have learned to deal with heartbreak or at least made some progress on that front, try to help a person who is undergoing a similar trauma. Be a guide and hold their hand through this difficult phase as they are dealing with heartbreak in the similar way that you earlier did.
With what you have learned in life, you can surely share some valuable tips with the person who is suffering. They could definitely use the help. This will also help you realize the change in you and be able to witness how far you have come!
How Long Does It Take To Deal With Heartbreak?
There is no time frame for getting over a heartbreak. Some people bounce back from it more quickly than others. Some put on a brave face for years but are still internally feeling crushed and tormented by the heartbreak that was caused to them. That being said, one should stop thinking of heartbreak as such a negative thing. There is a positive side to the whole experience too.
Not only do you abundantly learn about yourself during this phase, but you also get a chance to mature and level up when it comes to your own emotions. So even if it takes six months or six years, you can use it to your own advantage and let it help you become a better person.
Heartbreak looks and lasts differently for everyone. So there’s no point in comparing your journey with others.
Once you’ve recovered from heartbreak don’t hold yourself back from getting back on the dating scene, exploring other potential love interests and taking things forward when it feels right. You don’t have to be once bitten, twice shy in love. But if you are still scared to jump back into these waters, you should consider taking help from a therapist or a counselor. They can help you start your dating journey again in a healthy and happy manner. Lucky you, because Bonobology’s skilled panel of counselors is all only a click away!
By doing your best to forget about them. You can’t hold onto them and their memories and expect to move on from the heartbreak. It’s time to finally let go of them.
It is different for everyone. Some can last years and some can last months and if it is a case of infatuation, it might only last a few weeks. It depends on how close you were to the person and how willing you are to let go of them.
It’s usually the dumpee that goes through a terrible time but that does not mean that the person who has dumped the other, is not hurt.