Bouncing Back After a Bad Break Up
Breaking up is hard to do. You aren’t always the one decided it was the right idea, didn’t feel it was best for both of you, and just don’t want to call it off damnit!
We’ve all been there.
Unless there’s a kid out there that kissed the cheek of an admirer on their school playground and the two managed to be married and live happily ever after.
This is real life!
Listen, I’ve personally had good break ups and bad; Amicable ones where post-breakup friendship stays strong, and brutal ones that devastated me as a human being…
So if you are feeling hopeless after your break up, it’s time to understand why, and the strategies you will use to bounce back from your bad breakup!
Rejection Literally Hurts Our Heart
You aren’t crazy, that visceral feeling of anguish has legitimate physical effects.
There was a study conducted by the University of Amsterdam on the physical effects of unexpected rejection.
They basically performed a Tinder experiment where people would rate unfamiliar faces and predict if they would be liked by the other individual.
No surprise – finding out they were rejected by the other participant was associated with a response from your parasympathetic nervous system. [source]
Part of the parasympathetic nervous system is the Vagus nerve which wanders throughout the body and is connected to your heart, and gut.
So if your heart is aching and you feel sick to your stomach, now you know the culprit.
Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy is a sudden temporary weakening of the myocardium, similar to a heart attack. Basically stress hormones like metanephrine are released in excess and the theory goes that the massive sudden dose of hormones causes the heart some temporary dysfunction, not a heart attack per say, but a helpless heart.
You Were Probably Addicted
Partners help, it’s why they are called partners.
Certain tasks, or common comforts will be associated heavily in your brain with that partner.
This has ruined certain television series for me when I associated them strongly as only watching them with a specific partner.
Turns out that romantic rejector and cocaine craving have neural correlations in common.
Your brain is lazy and will wire itself for comfort and begin to believe that your survival actually depends upon that other human. Once again… not your fault, evolution did it.
It’s important to realize this phenomenon though, you adapted into it, you can adapt out of it.
GET OVER IT: Step By Step Guide
You broke up with your girlfriend, it was bad, you feel like a bag of human garbage.
Well that just means you’ve started on a new journey of bouncing back even better!
1. Don’t Obsess
This is the easiest thing in the world to fall into. And you are allowed this self indulgence for a short period but you can not, CAN NOT, stay here.
Running the relationship reel in your minds eye is near pointless as we’ve already established you are physiological and emotionally affected. Guaranteed you aren’t thinking about it clearly.
You’ll question yourself as a lover, a partner, a man.
The brain is designed in such a way you will internalize that type of thinking and dig yourself deeper into the gulch.
You’ll get even more depressed and you’ll be a useless bag of garbage even longer than you need to be. It’s time to re-frame the breakup!
Think it through calmly. If you dropped the ball in certain areas… and you did, we all do; Make a short list of things you now know to improve. Then go through all the awesome things you did do, the things you did right, the reasons you are a hell of a catch!
Realize that she also could have stepped up, realize she made mistakes too.
And hell, maybe there were just some innate personality traits that were never going to match up between you two.
1c. Constructive Hate
A little not so secret… is that sometimes it helps to get your hate on a little bit… You might do this naturally, you might have to force it to tear her down from relationship perfection in your mind. Either way… and this is absolutely critical: KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.
The hate-on is a temporary tactic to shift blame so you’ll stop beating yourself up, it’s not a long term strategy.
It takes too much energy and will drive you just as crazy. Don’t go posting on facebook, or whining to friends and co-workers.
Have a brief, private, mental hate on and I repeat… DO NOT tell a soul, and good lord do not put it on social media anywhere or in any way!
Then once you are feeling good about yourself again, realize that clinging to the hatred gives her just as much mental power as being her sad heart broken lover who can’t let go.
LET IT GO.
2. Avoid Her
This is the reason it sucks to date people you work with.
No matter how mature you are or how great things ended, you need some time.
There are different formulas for this, I think the classic came from Oprah, where it takes 1/2 the length of the relationship to truly be over the relationship. Your mileage may vary.
There are two different points you are looking to achieve…
1. Being ready to move forward because you aren’t feeling so damn damaged.
2. Actually being “over her”. This takes a little longer
You’ll know when you know.. or you’ll know when you run into her accidentally and feel a bubbling rage in your belly, take a breath, be polite and positive, and bang your head against the steering wheel when you are alone in your car later. You just set yourself back an extra week!
3. Get Busy
You can listen to sad albums and watch depressing movies for a minute, but it’s not constructive. Don’t sit and play video games or watch movies. It’s time to find something that feels really constructive to fill that extra time now that you are a single man!
Don’t have a hobby? Find a hobby.
Throw yourself at your work, get started with that workout plan you’ve been putting off.
Spend more time with good friends you haven’t seen in a while.
Now is a great time to travel and expand your personal bubble.
Start a new novel, writing one or reading one, either way.
Maybe upgrade your wardrobe or get a new haircut… consult someone who’s style you trust first though so you don’t buy something ridiculous or shave your head by accident.
The things that make you a fulfilled, well rounded human being are still the best things you can do for yourself, whether you are partnered up or not.
Spend more time on them!
This is not the ideal motivation to get grinding at the gym or on a project, but it might get the ball rolling.
No one knows the in’s and outs of your relationship like you did. So even if your friends do offer helpful placation, and your family is there for you, only you can work through this.
A break up is hard. A relationship ending unexpected is even harder.
So take a minute to self indulge in depression, then get constructive! Reflect on the relationship don’t obsess on it. Do not, under any circumstances, say anything negative about your ex. Avoid her and give yourself physical space, and time to heal. Fill the time with activity that makes you a better human.
There’s never been a better time to hustle and chase that crown!