Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.
- W.S. Merwin
The aftermath of the breakup is worse than the breakup itself. People experience many conflicting emotions in a short span of time. Overwhelmed, hurting, and directionless, they are engulfed by profound loneliness. But what can be done in such a situation? How can one deal with loneliness after a breakup and find support?
While this is a battle that has to be fought by your lonesome heart, there are a few ways that can help you reach the promised land of peace and joy. We’re putting things in perspective for you with these 11 tips to deal with loneliness post-breakup. Who’s we, you ask? I have an expert on board who knows just what you’re going through.
Clinical psychologist Devaleena Ghosh (M.Res, Manchester University), founder of Kornash: The Lifestyle Management School, who specializes in couples counseling and family therapy, shares some insights to help you beat the blues. Time to get started.
11 Tips To Deal With Loneliness After Breakup And Find Support
There has been a steady rise in people experiencing loneliness after a breakup. Devaleena explains the phenomenon, “In this day and age, we’re trying to find fulfillment through relationships. There’s a very defocused approach toward one’s self. But finding substance or meaning through another person is not healthy or sustainable. When a breakup inevitably happens, the solitude returns by a hundredfold. This is why people report trying to deal with loneliness in a relationship.”
Fixing such a tendency is paramount. But to get to a place where you can rectify your patterns, you have to ride out the woeful wave a breakup brings. But is it that easy? And are the rules different for everyone? How can you deal with loneliness as a man? Is it in any way different from dealing with post-breakup loneliness as a woman? And is it possible to deal with loneliness without friends? So many questions. Let’s take a look at the answers.
Here’s a list of strategies that will have your back as you deal with loneliness.
1. Acknowledge your pain to deal with loneliness
Devaleena says, “Getting a makeover or hitting the gym for a perfect body are not solutions to post-breakup blues. Do yourself a favor and ignore pop culture for a month or more. Feel your pain, address it, and know that it’s okay to wallow in your emotions for a while. Take this opportunity to reflect on your choices, the relationship, and the ex. Sit with yourself.”
Breakups bring the best of us down to our knees. Even Dwight Schrute was a sobbing mess when Angela left him. It’s okay to want to lie in your bed all day or eat seven brownies in one go. In the early stages, purge your system of all the crying and anger and frustration. In a world where feeling isolated in a relationship is becoming common, you need not conceal your post-breakup woe.
Related Reading: Why Do Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others?
2. Find solace in the company of friends
We underestimate just how much we need our friends. But here is your reminder to reach out to the old friend you’ve been meaning to see. You’ll be surprised at the relief that follows. During a relationship, the partner becomes our priority and we tend to cancel plans with friends. It is the very same friends who’ll be there for us when we’re trying to deal with loneliness after a breakup.
But what exactly can a friend do? Devaleena explains, “Being heard is a great way of coping with depression after a breakup. A friend who hears you out without passing judgment or objectively sees your mistakes without being harsh is a true blessing. They can be a source of comfort, and a means of correction too – just reach out to a kind friend.”
3. Look after yourself
Be your own housekeeper and nutritionist. No need to be a woman/man on a mission, but please look after your basic needs. Make sure you’re well-fed and clean. Tidy up your surroundings too. Living in a dirty environment will not help your case – unwashed sheets, smelly and wrinkled clothes, stale food, and consuming junk are all no-nos. You ought to adhere to the breakup dos and don’ts!
Open the curtains and windows, make your bed, and have a veggie-loaded sandwich with some coffee. Take a shower and wash your hair. Finally, change into a pair of fresh clothes. There will be a marked difference in how you feel. Unclean environments amplify negative feelings of loneliness. Remember the adage, cleanliness is godliness?
4. When you deal with loneliness, don’t let your self-esteem take a hit
As difficult as it is to believe, your breakup is not the end of the world, and neither does it define your whole being. You should resist the urge to personalize your loss. Devaleena says, “Children are brought up in very competitive environments. Since their formative years, they are shaped to ‘win’. As a result, each loss becomes deeply connected to their own selves.”
“My advice to you is this: don’t construe a breakup as a personal defect or failure. They are a part and parcel of life/relationships. Your self-esteem should not suffer during this phase. Don’t entertain thoughts like ‘I am not good enough’or ‘I could have been better’. A relationship is not a competition you win.”
5. Steer clear of social media
Because it’s just a gateway to mind games and heartache. It all starts with a story you post for your ex specifically. You wait for them to see it, stalk them meanwhile, frown at the picture with a new (and attractive) person, and get anxious. Maybe they reply to your post and you start chatting. What’s the harm with innocent small talk, right? Wrong.
Falling into a toxic pattern of communication with an ex is a huge mistake. It will leave you feeling worse than before. In a few cases, a conversation with the ex leads to manipulation and gaslighting phrases that leave you riddled with conflicted emotions. And you don’t need this drama in your life – you don’t want to deal with loneliness all over again. Block your ex on social media right away; you’re not going to get any support there.
And social media is largely responsible for today’s loneliness epidemic. People are feeling isolated in a relationship despite being a power couple online. The internet is largely superficial; best to take a break from the screen.
6. Seek professional help to deal with loneliness after a breakup
While being a one-person army is great, taking some help every now and then is a good idea. Especially when you are trying to deal with loneliness without friends. A counselor or therapist can help you analyze your situation better; you aren’t your most objective self when a breakup has you hit rock bottom. There are many proven benefits of counseling.
Devaleena talks about the nature of this therapy, “It doesn’t take many sessions for a person to get back on their feet. A little hand-holding helps them see things in a different light. This is exactly why a mental health professional should be approached. If you think your emotions are getting out of hand, or that they’re persistent over a long period of time, seek help.”
Online therapy from Bonobology counselors has aided many people after they’ve emerged from a bad breakup. You can count on us to have your back while you navigate this rough patch in your life. Healing is just a click away.
Related Reading: 10 Ways To Deal With Heartbreak
7. Get back on track
Faraaz Kazi astutely said, “No matter how hard your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.” I know that dealing with loneliness after a breakup is hard and the mundane tasks of adulting seem like a drag. But going back to some form of routine is the best way to find a semblance of normalcy in your life.
Go to work on time, join the gym, eat three meals a day, and follow a timetable. This will keep you a little distracted – dwelling on negative emotions endlessly is not ideal. And you can channel your frustration or anger into work. But most importantly, establishing a routine will make sure that you don’t compromise on yourself anymore. This is definitely the best way of surviving heartbreak. As we say, the show must go on.
8. Visit your parents
Mom and Dad know best; spending some time back home can be an excellent way of coping with a harsh breakup. Become the child of the house and let yourself be taken care of. A heart-to-heart with the favorite parent might lead you to answer an important question – why do I feel so lonely and isolated after my breakup?
It is widely known that our relationship with our parents impacts our adult romantic bonds. Hence, the crass terms ‘mommy/daddy issues.’ If there are any unresolved issues between you and your parents, work on them with patience. Try to cultivate a better connection with them. This will soothe your troubled mind as it endeavors to deal with loneliness, and also prevent you from falling into the same patterns in the future.
9. Close the chapter once and for all
I don’t care what you believe but being friends with your ex is a terrible, horrible, awful idea. It NEVER works, and you WILL end up getting back together. What’s more, you’ll reconcile for all the wrong reasons. Namely, desperation, habit, insecurities, or sex. There’s a strong possibility that your ‘friendship’ will lead to an on-again-off-again relationship.
Stick to the reason behind your breakup; you parted ways for a reason, right? Things will always seem rosy in retrospect and you will miss your ex a lot. Just know that if you get back together, the real issues will be brushed under the carpet. Don’t reconcile with them to avoid dealing with loneliness.
10. Why do I feel so lonely and isolated? Be easy on yourself
Treat yourself like you would your BFF. Devaleena says, “Cut yourself some slack. Lend yourself the same empathy that you would extend to a friend in a similar situation. Keep realistic expectations from yourself; frustration is the result of wanting more than what’s feasible. Healing takes time and patience. You’re allowed to make mistakes…”
A very close friend of mine went through a bad breakup last year. Three days after she parted ways with her ex, she resumed work and took on more projects. A week into her hectic schedule, she ran out of fuel and broke down at my kitchen counter. “I’m doing everything I can to keep it together. Why am I still feeling empty?” I’ll tell you what I told her, “You can’t possibly have it together all the time, you’ll explode. Just breathe, will you?”
A special note if you’re doing your best to deal with loneliness as a man: You don’t have to be tough or reticent through this phase. Feel your feelings, cry your sadness. Learn how to love yourself and ignore anyone who tries to impose crappy notions of what a man should be like.
11. Make rational choices when you’re dealing with loneliness
Emotionalizing a breakup to an unhealthy extent is a recipe for disaster. Don’t make the breakup the be-all-and-end-all of your life at any cost. This will only lead you to make poor choices like excessive drinking, smoking, drugs, binge-eating, etc. Think critically as far as you can. Your actions after a breakup should be directed toward yourself, not in memory of a failed relationship.
Devaleena says, “Look out for yourself, and focus on yourself only. The term I’ll use is ‘self-investment.’ All your decisions should aid your emotional growth when you are attempting to deal with loneliness.” No drunk-dialing the exes, please.
That was so much food for thought, you might just have to parcel some and take it home. Jokes apart, sit with what you’ve read. Implement these in your capacity at your own time. I’m convinced of their potency to make you feel better. Be sure to tell us how you’re doing – we’re always glad to hear from you. You’re never going to be lonely with Bonobology around.