Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Breaking Up Means Letting Go Too

I’m a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and I’ve worked with relationships from all angles. Here’s what I have to say about breaking up:

First, I always ask a patient, “Is it better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all?” Even in the midst of pain, 99% of my patients say, “yes, of course.” Although we may sometimes lose it, that wonderful feeling of love was still experienced at some point. No matter how much it hurts, we all want to love. It’s just unfortunate that it doesn’t always work out. Secondly, when someone breaks up with you, you’re in shock, you’re in denial, and you’re in pain. But ultimately, you’re grieving and grief has a natural course to it. You’re going to feel hurt, you’re going to want to try to make it work again, and you’re going to slip into states of anger and depression. It’s just something you have to work through.

To deal with grief and the end of love, that strong love that you once knew, you must come to terms with a simple truth. The opposite of love is not hate - it is indifference. When you break up with somebody you may put a new picture on facebook in order to make your ex want you back, or perhaps you focus on looking sad to make them feel guilty. These picture and status updates are not helping yourself, but instead they are proof that you’re still hung up on your ex. You have to let go and move on.

You’re trying too hard to gain something that needs to be put in the past. You need to move towards indifference and away from what this person may think. As difficult as it may be, I wouldn’t email, call, text, or ask his friend what he’s thinking. Turn to your friends, find a good shoulder to cry on, and prepare yourself for the next relationship. Don’t prolong the grief of a break-up by caring what he thinks about you.

You may have had love. You now have lost it. Grieve what’s gone and know that something good may just come your way when you least expect it.