By Dr. José Alberto Raymondi
Couples in a relationship, whether short or long, may come to the realization that being together is no longer possible or desirable.
Sometimes, breaking up is a consented act; in other words, breaking up is accepted by both parties involved as the better option. The reasons for such break up? they can be quite a lot. Sometimes, it may be because of seemingly external reasons like moving to another country for work or study, or inconciliable life goals such as one partner not wanting kids while the other definitely wants them. Other times, these reasons aren’t so evident, because they respond to personal, intimate elements that block the relationship from continuing to grow.
When the reasons for a break up are no longer based on apparently objective reasons, the field for a unilateral decision opens up. The reasons to end the relationship are now subjective, and thus, harder to assume.
Harder to assume for the person who now realizes the relationship is no longer desirable, and even harder for the one who doesn’t know what’s yet to come. In these cases, the person who doesn’t want to be in the relationship might feel guilt. Guilt can actually be the engine that runs a relationship, but if this is the case, it’ll only create more pain and discomfort to the couple; opening up a dark and stormy cycle.
There’s not always a reason that feels good enough to end a relationship. In the choice-taking process of whether to continue or end a relationship, nonsense can be found. Meaning, the logic of reason does not rule on love matters.
Even when both parties decide that it’s best to part ways, they can still feel immense discomfort. This “discomfort” can turn into inexplicable bad mood: would I feel so upset if I really wanted to end it? That mood shift may be a response to unconscious thoughts which are the true driving force of that particular unpleasant , and sometimes unbearable, feeling.
Usually, anxiety presents itself without rhyme or reason and that’s when, someone can feel confused, uneasy and even having trouble to get a good night’s sleep.
Maybe the most common change when facing a breakup, is to not get any joy out of things that used to be pleasurable. Routines and activities that were fun are now bothersome. That feeling can be a depressive episode that is not caused by missing an ex partner, but by what was lost of ourselves during the breakup process.
Breaking up with someone, even when done peacefully, leads to self-loss; a piece of ourselves is lost through the breakup process. That piece of oneself that’s missing may leave us feeling disoriented and unable to find the meaning things used to have.
On the other hand, when the breakup is one sided, this self-loss can be lived in a more intense, stronger way. When the separation is unwanted by one partner, the discomfort can turn into a bitter experience. Feelings of abandonment or injustice might act as triggers of thoughts and emotions that, in extreme cases, lead us to make irreversible choices.
To sum things up, a breakup is really breaking something, and that which is broken can not be fixed by simply waiting. The old saying “time heals everything” isn’t true. Heartache truly does ache, and puts us into a mourning state for what has been lost. Something broke and someone left us because we ultimately lack something that’s not getting better with just the passing of time. It’s necessary to go through a mourning phase and therapy offers helpful tools for facing this process. It’s not always easy to adjust to the “life goes on” expectation. Certainly, life does go on, but for someone deep into an ignored griefing stage, life may seem colorless and pointless. The way out isn’t to find a new partner as soon as possible, nor is it to substitute an ex partner with another activity as if nothing had happened. That strategy can backfire by leading us to make precipitated choices that ultimately drive us to a new loss; when this happens repetitively, pain sets in and truly taints our capacity to enjoy things around us and move on.
Getting over a loss when a breakup has occurred, is an opportunity that allows us to find things about ourselves that used to be missing, and only from such an occasion we may rediscover.
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