After nearly two years of being in an amazing relationship, the dream suddenly ended. What was supposed to become a wedding, became nothing. A variety of circumstances, mistakes, and challenges led to a big heartache as our love story disappeared. How could I recover from a break up?
I hope we can still be friends.
I love you, but I’m just not in love with you.
This just isn’t working.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Break ups. If you’re a good guy, you’ve got a big heart, which just results in a bigger gut punch when the relationship stops dead in its tracks.
A heart broken from love lost rates among the most stressful life events a person can experience,
says David Buss, Ph.D., the author of The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating.”It’s exceeded in psychological pain only by horrific events, such as the loss of a child.” There’s no easy way around it, everyone goes through the prison sentence of pain. However, there are some things you can do which may help with the breakup pain.
The following tools are reflections on what I’ve learned over the years to help with recovering from heartache. It’s a reflective guide on how I am moving myself forward to find healing. I learned many things during the hollow seasons.
7 Tools to Recover from a Break Up:
1. Do what makes you come alive
Make the most of this time. Rediscover your passions and desires. I pursued creative pursuits in business, playing sports, going to conferences, and vacationing/traveling with good friends. Spend time with people that encourage you and that you genuinely enjoy being around.
2. Serve others
Us guys employ a host of distractions when life sucks, and most of these leave us feeling more empty. Drinking, hooking up, porn, and extreme cases of destruction just don’t seem to help. Why not use a distraction that will yield some positive results like helping someone out? Help a friend move. Help your brother clean up. Serve your co-workers, your family, and random people you encounter. Serve a non-profit you like. Take a trip to serve somewhere with a church or relief organization if you’d like an even greater perspective shift. There is something about serving that makes you realize things aren’t so bad after all.
While it may seem like something only girls do, studies show journaling can help fellas out too.
Did you know journaling can even help heal the body? Joshua M. Smyth, Ph.D. published a study in JAMA, or Journal of the American Medical Association, which showed “Patients with mild to moderately severe asthma or rheumatoid arthritis who wrote about stressful life experiences had clinically relevant changes in health status at 4 months.” Share your struggles with safe people in your life, seek counseling, read, and pray.
4. Date (when you are ready)
This isn’t the rebound cliché. Dating can make things pretty good if done right. It keeps you out of the darkness, out of the cave. It can show you have what it takes, and it’s good to connect with women.
Spending time with women can give you hope. Your life didn’t hinge on this one relationship. Hope helps you move on.
5. Be creative
Some of the best music albums came through heartbreak. Consider it a gifted moment. Get any bitterness out on paper. Release the pain. Compose German death metal if you need to. Then, forgive your ex, even if she doesn’t return the favor. For me, I got an idea for a new business, and the creation of my first product came out of this moment. Behind every setback, every heartache, there’s the silver lining of an equal or greater opportunity.
6. Rewrite your story, keep your mind strong
Get off the sob story merry go round. Focus on something you’ve learned, and how you’ve grown. You must’ve gained something positive from the relationship. While in prison, Paul wrote in Phillipians:
… whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
While suffering for years in a horrible environment (some people say it was spent in sewage), Paul realized he could shape his circumstance based on his perspective.
You can rebound from this. Find the meaning and purpose to the struggle and to the relationship. Find it, identify it, and craft a new future and a new story from that.
7. Hit the gym or a punching bag
Not only will exercise help produce endorphins to help you feel better, spending an hour in the gym will help you look better too. Join a gym, a beach volleyball camp, or sign up for a basketball league.
Last week, I was hanging out with a buddy who has been dealing with a break up. Even though she is the one who broke up with him, she continues to text and call him. His counselor had some good advice: make a clean break. Get rid of the pictures, stop calling or texting, and any other form of communication. Don’t be checking up on Facebook or Instagram either. In some sense, you’re breaking an addiction too.
What once was will never be again. It’s ok to miss her. As trying as it has been, it’s time to grab hold of the new reality and season that’s around the corner with the potential for something even more. I have to believe there is another woman out there who will be a better fit for me, so I’m starting with myself now. Even at this moment, I can say my life is better for what I went through, both the good and bad. I know I can recover from a break up. I’m grateful for her now and even the heartache we experienced.
This article was written by Mike Zeller and Kris Wolfe. Mike is a talented social entrepreneur based in Nashville. His fraternity experience in college helped develop him into the leader he is today.