It seems that this season to be merry is also a season of broken hearts. While we think in terms of gift-giving and partying, for many singles it will be a time of heartbreak. There have been reports over the past five years — ranging from colleges to Facebook gurus — telling us that all the love that was once in the air has a way of evaporating in December and January. For some it will be a time of weeping and depression. For others their broken heart will result in a trip to the emergency room, with what is known as stress cardiomyopathy, the broken-heart syndrome. Still others will rebound.
Ending a relationship is rarely easy. “Some women mourn the relationship even before saying or hearing the words, “It’s over.” Why is this so? When a relationship is ending, women know intuitively as Yale physicist Henry Morganeau pointed out to us many years ago in Einstein's Space and Van Gogh's Sky: Physical Reality and Beyond.
Before the ending, women often try to analyze or fix the problem. Then there comes the realization, you are being dumped. Is there any way to mitigate the sadness?
Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., a psychologist at Monmouth University, has reported on coping strategies to promote positive outcomes. He believes in the gratitude journal. Researchers found:
. . .that those who focused their writing on the positive aspects of their break-up (factors leading up to the break-up, the actual break-up, and the time right after the break-up) reported experiencing more positive emotions regarding their relationship's end and did not experience an increase in negative emotions. The increased positive emotions included feelings such as: comfort, confidence, empowerment, energy, happiness, optimism, relief, satisfaction, thankfulness, and wisdom. (Lewarndowski 2009)
But sometimes, you need to go through a process of mourning and then recovery.
“Analyses indicated that people in new relationships were more confident in their desirability and had more resolution over their ex-partner. Among those in new relationships, the speed with which they began their relationship was associated with greater psychological and relational health. Overall, these findings suggest that rebound relationships may be more beneficial than typically believed.”
One of the most important actions you can take to heal after a break-up is to maintain a positive attitude while you make an effort to reach out to new people, challenges, and experiences. By looking forward instead of back, you open yourself to moments of serenity that can be life-changing.
Copyright 2016 Rita Watson
Brumbaugh, C.C. and Fraley, R.C., Too fast, too soon? (2014) An empirical investigation into rebound relationships," The Journal of Social Relationships.
LeShan, L. and Margenau, H. (1982). Einstein's Space and Van Gogh's Sky: Physical Reality and Beyond. Macmillan.
Lewandowski, G. (2009). Promoting positive emotions following relationship dissolution through writing. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(1), 21-31.
O'Dougherty, M., Hearst, M. O., Syed, M., Kurzer, M. S., & Schmitz, K. H. (2012). Life events, perceived stress and depressive symptoms in a physical activity intervention with young adult women. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 5, 148-154.
Sbarra, D. A., & Emery, R. E. (2005). The emotional sequelae of nonmarital relationship dissolution: Analysis of change and intraindividual variability over time. Personal Relationships, 12, 213-232