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Jumping the Hurdles - Breakups

Are you facing personal difficulties after a breakup? Various factors can influence how we "jump the hurdles" after such a transition, but we want to address what might help.


One of the difficult transitions we often face in life centers on overcoming relationship loss. Emotionally, this can create a dramatic shift in the way we view ourselves or how we place relationships as a priority in our lives. Generally speaking, studies from various researchers have conveyed the message that, "couples who stay together longer have less of a chance of breaking up." In an online study from 2018 (YouGov), 62% of women and 55% of men who responded to the survey noted that breakups were most often dramatic or messy.

In a study completed in 2007, 155 undergraduate students reported the length of time it took to overcome a breakup. Majority of participants (71%) reported the average length of time was 3 months. Looking outside of statistics, there are various studies that center on relationship loss, and I only wanted to bring to light these examples, because each of our experiences are different, and various components play a role in how we "jump the hurdles" when we're transitioning after a breakup.

Cultural background, society, abuse, religion, familial or relational supports, and other factors can influence what helps us overcome a breakup. For example, an individual in a 3 year relationship started enduring intense emotional and physical abuse one year after the relationship began. Hearing their perspective, they invested so much into the home and relationship with their partner, and due to previous relationship abuse, became accustomed to such treatment. As counselors working with victims of abuse, there are various scenarios where partner's who leave their abuser spend months, even years, trying to overcome the trauma, even PTSD, that resulted from extended periods of mistreatment.

When we look at these factors listed above, and we start to ponder on what helps us overcome the hurdles of abuse, we want to draw your attention to the value of processing emotion and building secure attachment. For many of us, it's likely secure attachment, an ongoingly accessible, engaging, and responsive partner or family, felt inexistent throughout our lives. To be attuned to others needs or emotions, let alone our own, was rather difficult and led to longer periods of disconnect, or emotional numbness.

Here are some questions we believe are important to consider when you're trying to jump the hurdles and move past grief over losing a relationship:

  1. Are you isolating yourself? We can get the message, whether from the most current or past attachments, that our emotions or needs are invaluable. In the aftermath of a failing relationship, we may be told, "you're going to be okay," "they didn't deserve you," etc. In these responses, what loses value is the emotion that you're still experiencing. When you feel that instinct of, "I need closure," and others might perpetuate that disregarding message, it's important to remember You're Not Alone -- This serves more than just an affirmation; it also reminds you to reach for the empathic support you need.

  2. Do you feel pressure? Oftentimes, there are various influences (as mentioned above) that push us in either or direction when it comes to breakups. It can be difficult for people to truly understand the emotional damage or sense of grief you're feeling after a breakup. When we talk about pressure, it's important to remember who is trying to pinpoint the emotions you're going through, as well as the needs that are unmet when you feel pressure to overcome or even continue to pursue an abusive relationship.

  3. Do you feel guilt or shame? The longer we might be caught in an insecure cycle with our partners, the more we may also experience immense guilt around sharing our emotions or managing our needs. As couples counselors, we've watched individuals in relationships start to shut down when their partners pursue and address their own emotions or needs. They've started to see that only one person's emotions or needs are priority, and having their own emotional needs is "bad." If you're overcoming a breakup, check-in to see if you feel bad reaching out for support, or if you're telling yourself, "It happened because of who I am" (shame).

  4. Are you angry? It's okay to be angry after a breakup. There are times when losing our partner also meant no emotional resolve. There are cases where individuals, after a breakup, start to ponder on needing closure; but, even within the relationship, closure was hard to find when they were working through emotional struggles together. This is where you can do the emotional processing in a safe space with a counselor, and you can start to unravel the cycle that happened with your partner. When you can find validation in your anger, and you start to piece together the underlying emotions that were felt in these moments, you can build resiliency.

  5. Is there anything holding you back? We hear that many couples move past breakups with questions surrounding their home, finances, their children, or divorce proceedings. In these cases, it's important to ask yourself this question, because you want to make sure that, if your partner is emotionally disconnecting themselves from supporting you in these efforts, you can find someone who will work through the difficulties with you. Whether this is a best friend, another family member, or some of the resource for support, make sure you're not alone in the weight of it all.

There are many other questions or scenarios that individuals face after breakups, and you may not be pondering on these particular questions either. We want to hear what your struggles are, and that's why we provide a space to empathically approach what's going on in your transitions. We get that there can be grief after losing someone, and even with anger, there are emotions underneath that can be processed as well.

Reach out and schedule an appointment with us here. Let's talk about overcoming and building resiliency in yourself after a breakup.

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