Breaking up is hard to do


The easiest way to get over a breakup is to go "no contact" with the ex. In order to truly move on from a relationship, you need to sever all communication. This allows you to heal emotionally, physically, and psychologically because there is less information to process. Going no contact (NC)

is difficult because the relationship probably took up a big part of your life. There will be urges and compulsions to reach out when the grief becomes too painful. The emotional mind is very good at making up reasons to do something that the rational mind advises not to do. Here are some popular excuses that keep you stuck in a relationship.

1. Wanting to stay friends. There needs to be time for a bond to break and lose the identity that came from being in the relationship. As a couple, you may have developed habits that are no longer sensible as a single person. There are different sensitivities and expectations when you're in a couple versus in a friendship and those boundaries are not clear when there has not been enough space and time.

2. Needing closure. Sudden breakups leave people full of questions. Closure does not come from getting a good reason for the breakup. Closure comes from within. Most often, answers do not satisfy your unending questions and apologies do not heal a broken heart.

3. Keeping lines of communication open for possible reconciliation. You may feel guilty for ignoring phone calls and you may hope that your ex will change. However, a successful reconciliation requires deep structural changes that happen in therapy. Reconciliations usually fail because things regress back to the mean (statistics terminology). Old habits die hard and personalities do not change. Behaviors do.

4. I'm just in it for the sex. Breakup sex adds to the confusion and emotions will always be part of the interaction. You can't have clear boundaries especially when there is a strong emotional connection. Friends with benefits are difficult because your perspective on the relationship is skewed.

So how do you achieve NC? You have to decide to not contact your ex no matter the circumstances. You must delete all social media, phone number, and email addresses. You cannot run into him/her at their local spots. Mark down on a piece of paper when you have the urge to contact the ex. If you feel a dying urge to seek contact, ask yourself a few questions. Am I trying to change the past? What is my intention? What need am I trying to fulfill? Also, make a list of actions you are willing to do before reaching out to the ex. You may be surprised how much the urge will alleviate once a little bit of time passes. Ultimately, getting support from friends will be the most effective method to deal with a breakup.


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Natalie A. Ma, PhD

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