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Don't worry - breakups can actually make your life better

Posted October 27

Breakups are a common part of the dating life. In fact, some daters sift through person after person, relationship after relationship, before they find the desired one.

But no relationship ends without the weighty scenario of a breakup.

There are times of the year when breakups are more prevalent, and there are different reasons for breakups depending on the season, holiday or day of the week. The holidays, reports say, are the most likely time for breakups.

Of course, not everyone goes through a breakup. Some — about 54 percent of couples, according to Slate — end up with their high school sweethearts, for example.

But with a divorce rate of nearly half of all couples, breakups for both marriages and everyday relationships are still prevalent, and it’s something people are continually trying to work through.

What happens after a breakup

Men and women differ when it comes to the emotional after effects of a breakup. The Telegraph cited a survey that found men feel more emotional pain from a failed romance than women do.

One of the experts involved with the survey, professor Melanie Bartley of University College London, told The Telegraph that women are more likely to seek counsel from family and friends, whereas men are more likely to isolate themselves from the world and won’t be nurtured.

Depression, loneliness and distress are also highly likely outcomes from a breakup, too, according to the American Psychological Association. In some instances, this can lead to people hurting themselves through heavy alcohol or drug use, or even hiding out in isolation.

But sadness and concern from a breakup isn’t the only path to head down. There are actually some benefits to come out of breakups. Although the pain may foster and stay for a brief period, inspiration, motivation and satisfaction will all come out from a failed romantic venture.

How people can cope

The APA explained that people are often heading into dark territory once there’s a breakup, but that’s not the end-all. Thinking positively is one of the coping strategies the APA suggests people use.

“An ideal coping strategy should encourage those who have experienced a romantic relationship's end to purposefully focus on the positive aspects of their experience while simultaneously minimizing negative emotions,” the APA reported.

The nonprofit organization Help Guide outlined additional coping strategies people have found successful, like recognizing that a former romantic partner had different feelings than you did. Help Guide also explained that a breakup is a good time to take a break.

“Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time,” the organization advised. “You may not be able to be quite as productive on the job or care for others in exactly the way you’re accustomed to for a little while. No one is Superman or Superwoman; take time to heal, regroup and re-energize.”

Healing and regrouping may include finding faith, too. BeliefNet offered inspiring quotes from the Bible that have helped people get over and deal with breakups. Because breakups can be “one of the toughest times of your life,” finding faith and religion may offer some inspiration and positivity to your life, BeliefNet explained.

Finding faith would allow people to find counsel in someone other than themselves — whether it be a pastor, fellow churchgoer or God. And that’s something that Help Guide said is important for breakups — not going through it alone. Even though a relationship has ended, it doesn’t mean people should alienate themselves from society and keep to themselves.

Talking about the broken relationship can be best for all parties.

“Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help you get through this period,” Help Guide explained. “Consider joining a support group where you can talk to others in similar situations. Isolating yourself can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration and get in the way of your work, relationships and overall health. Don’t be afraid to get outside help if you need it.”

Some benefits will come one's way

Once help has been found, benefits start to seep into people’s lives.

Many health and wellness websites have outlined how people can take the negative emotions associated with a breakup and turn them around to make life a little more bright and sunny.

For example, She Knows, an online resource for women, reported that people should turn their negative emotions into fuel to do better in life, jobs and social scenes.

And the women’s information and news organization She Now said it’s important for people to find their inner power after a breakup. Writer Jenn Clark explained that her breakup led her to find confidence in her ability to overcome problems she often faced beforehand.

“I remember the feeling I had when I left the yoga studio that night. It was like I could take over the world,” Clark wrote. “If I could make it through the trauma of losing the man I’d spent four years with — and that class — I could accomplish anything. It was a turning point in my breakup recovery and the beginning of truly moving on.”

And, as Examiner noted in a 2013 article, breakups allow people to see what they’re truly good at in life, allowing them to move on and grow in ways they might not have anticipated.

“The bottom line is that a relationship ending isn’t really the end, but a new beginning for you,” according to Examiner. “You’ll be able to have the chance to grow, understand who you really are and figure out what you truly want. Take the time at the end of a breakup to look at what makes you happy, what you deserve and what you can bring to a relationship rather than what you may have just lost.”

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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