3. Remove the drug.
Like any addiction, the first line of treatment, when possible, is to remove the substance, which in this case would be the person or the relationship from which we are withdrawing. Winch suggests that when it comes to love addiction, it is best to go “cold turkey.” Remaining friends immediately after a breakup will likely prolong the grieving process.
This is not to say that you cannot be friends with an ex-partner at some point in the future. But when you are going through the initial grieving process, to do so immediately would be counterproductive.
He suggests cutting off all contact, deleting their contact information, and blocking them on social media. When “cold turkey” is not possible, then harm reduction is the next best step. Try to limit contact as much as possible, discard or set aside all physical reminders, such as gifts or pictures, and avoid social media.
4. Beware of idealizing.
Often, when you lose something or someone important, there is a tendency to romanticize or idealize the lost object—in this case, the relationship. You tend to remember only the good and forget the flaws and the many reasons it did not work out. For instance, you may obsessively replay the passionate moments while conveniently forgetting the constant arguing or all of the ways they let you down.
In these moments, it is important to do a reality check. One way is by checking in with friends or a therapist, asking them to remind you of all the reasons the relationship did not work. Or you can make an emergency reminder list, writing down three—or 20—qualities about the person or the relationship that annoyed you or made you unhappy.
This is not to demonize anyone. Rather, by reminding yourself of the negatives, you are balancing out your perceptions and avoiding the trap of believing you will “never find anyone or any relationship as perfect ever again.” It is far easier to get over something real and imperfect than something perfectly idealized.
5. Be mindful of self-blame, self-doubts, self-criticism.
When you have been rejected, the tendency for many is to personalize. Although the rational mind knows that the breakup is not representative of any inadequacy on your part, the other, more vulnerable part of yourself fiercely believes otherwise. This is where self-flagellation often begins: “Why wasn’t I good enough? What’s wrong with me? If only I were smarter, or more athletic, or more (fill in the blank), then they would have stayed.”
This can then morph into, “Will I ever be good enough? Will anyone ever want me?” And on and on go the voices of the inner gremlins, further and further down the rabbit hole of self-loathing and despair. It is easy to remain stuck in the addictive cycle of self-blame, especially when you are in the throes of grief. But this will not serve you. Mindfulness is imperative during this time.
Though hard to fathom when in the midst of a breakup, the pangs of lost love will eventually subside. No feeling lasts forever—regardless of how relentless and excruciating. Pain ebbs and flows, and its intensity decreases with time.
Each relationship teaches us something about ourselves. It teaches us what we want or do not want in a partner. With the ending of each wrong relationship, we are getting closer to the right one.
Healing from heartbreak takes a lot of time, so be patient and don’t be too hard on yourself. Hold on, because love and happiness are just around the corner.
If you want to know more about healing from heartbreak, you can watch this video below:
Written By Allison Abrams, LCSW-R
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today