How To Get Over Being Dumped
I don’t know about you, but if I feel a headache coming on, I immediately pop a paracetamol.
Nowadays, that’s how most of us are. Whenever possible, we seek instant solutions to discomfort.Unfortunately, there is no ‘quick fix’ for the agony of rejection. I know this from past experience – and also because of the many heartbroken people I’ve seen in my consulting room over the years.
So, if you are distressed because you’ve been dumped, what can you do?
First you need to accept that the relationship really is over. You see, if you still think that one day he or she will turn up pleading for forgiveness, then you probably haven’t quite faced up to reality.
Unfortunately, accepting that the relationship truly is at an end is incredibly painful. So while you’re going through that phase you should treat yourself as though you’re recovering from major surgery or a car accident, and let your family and friends take care of you. Should you take anti-depressants? Frankly, in the early days it’s pretty pointless. These drugs take about a fortnight to kick in. And the harsh fact is that it’s entirely normal to suffer sadness when a relationship ends. So if you can avoid medicalising the problem, you probably should.
However, if after a fortnight you still can’t face people, or can’t stop crying, then you should definitely see your doctor. What about taking time off work? Well, you may need to – especially just after the split. Most GPs are used to signing-off patients for “stress”. And you might find it helpful – at least at first – to hide behind that diagnosis.
On the other hand, you may feel that work is the one aspect of your life that seems relevant and real – and helps you to feel needed. And this can matter a lot when you’re struggling with the concept of being unwanted by someone you thought really loved you.
Good things to do:
• Eat healthily, even if there doesn’t seem much point.
• Exercise daily to release those “happy chemicals” called endorphins in your brain.
• Talk to your friends about your feelings – even if it means a phone call at two in the morning.
• Make a list of everything about your ex that you don’t miss. This can really help – especially if you add to the list every time you think of something new.
Bad things to do:
• Excessive drinking. This solves nothing – and will make you more miserable, not less.
• Indulging in irrational thinking. It’s easy to decide that not only have you been dumped (true), but that you’re going to be miserable and alone for ever (irrational assumption). You don’t have a crystal ball, therefore you can’t know that. So don’t compound your misery in this way.
• Having sex with your ex. In fact, this is probably the very worst thing you can do – and unfortunately, it can happen all too easily. Maybe your ex will come round to clear his or her belongings from your flat. Or, if you share children, might drop in to see them. Two glasses of wine later and you could well end up in bed for “old times’ sake”. But this will put your recovery back by weeks, and leave you more upset and confused than ever.
Sadly, you can’t rush the process of mending a broken heart, but after a few weeks, the fog of rejection will start to lift, and you’ll begin to embrace singledom with more enthusiasm – then you can plan a holiday, or arrange to see old friends, or sign up for that course you’ve been meaning to do for ages.
Eventually, you’ll realise that you’ve got through a whole day without thinking of your ex at all. And then the worst will be over.
Recently, I updated my book How to Mend a Broken Heart and it has now been republished by Bloomsbury Reader as an ebook. You can buy it from Amazon here.