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Home > Breakups > Is It Grief Or Obsession: Understanding Your Reaction To The End Of A Relationship

Is It Grief Or Obsession: Understanding Your Reaction To The End Of A Relationship

It’s common to feel loss, when a relationship ends. This happens with long-term relationships and marriages but can also happen with short term relationships as well.

The effect of a breakup depends on many things: who did the breaking up, the state of the relationship beforehand, how good the communication was, etc.

No matter how things shake out, usually both parties grieve. Most people have a support network of friends and family to help shoulder the burden, and if you do, it’s important to use it.

People that don’t have this support setup usually struggle more after a hard break. If you have codependency or love addiction issues, it’ll be even worse. It’s important to make sure you’re grieving without healthy habits. What-ifs and should-haves won’t get you anywhere. I’ve broken down, some of the best grief habits to build, and what to look out for if you think you might be obsessing over love.

Healthy Responses
A healthy response to the end of a relationship is to experience your sadness, sorrow, or regret, as it comes. This may last a few weeks or many months. Grief can manifest any number of ways, but most people go through some form of the five stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance).

It’s okay to feel your emotions. It’s even okay to be overwhelmed, but when you can try to carry on. Find time to do things you enjoy. See friends and family. And, when the time is right, give dating another shot.

Unhealthy Obsessing
If you feel grief and nostalgia taking over your entire life, that’s when your feelings cross the line into obsession and codependency. It’s common to be upset and even depressed following a breakup, but it’s important to recognize when the breakup hinders your day-to-day functioning.

If you find that you’re spiraling into these negative patterns, try some of these strategies to get you out of your rut.

Journal Your Thoughts: Write down all thoughts you have about the relationship. Acknowledge that your feelings are real, even if you don’t want them to persist. Relive the feelings, make peace, then let them go. 

Talk To Friends and Family: Reach out to your friends and family. Ask them to listen. Talk is one of the best therapies. It’s essential in the healing process and it always helps good to get feelings off your chest.

Do Something You Enjoy: Commit to doing at least one thing a day that for yourself. This will help you rebuild your sense of self. You are more than your relationship. You were before the breakup and you are now. Let yourself be it.

Get Into a Routine: Wake up. Go to work. Exercise regularly. See friends. Setting a consistent routine is a great way to build self esteem. Even on bad days, do your routine. It’s okay to slip up, but whenever you can make sure you keep to it. You can do things on your own. This is proof.

See a Therapist or Counselor: Professional resources can provide you with more techniques to deal with your behavior or an unbiased outlet to talk when you don’t have one. Everyone needs help sometimes.

Breakups are never easy, and everyone handles them at their own pace. Don’t shame yourself, but do try to do the things you need to move on. It may not seem like it now, but you will recover. It takes time and effort.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW
Psychotherapist and Life Coach
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