How to move on after he leaves you
BREAK-UPS are by no means easy, and sadly, many times neither can you avoid them. So most of us at some point or the other will have to deal with this kind of parting, and the feelings can range anywhere from intense and continuous desolation morphing into murderous thoughts, to the kind of gut wrenching grief one feels when one loses a loved one.
Thoughts of 'How could he have done this to me?'; 'If he loved me he never would have done this'; 'Should I text?', 'Who is he with now?'; 'Should I call the new girl?', and promises to God to serve Him if He makes the man return will flood your mind for months, and there will be no comfort in the words of family and friends when life just doesn't seem worth living.
But the fact of the matter is that life goes on, and while it may not be easy, it is possible. It may take weeks, months, or for some, even years, but soon you will breathe again.
Psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj employs the practical approach — warning that not every relationship was meant to last forever. And if you adopt his approach, then you will, more than likely, be less devastated when your honey decides it's time to hit the road.
"It is said that people come into your life for a reason. It is rare the person comes into your life forever," Semaj said.
"It might be harder for women to cope knowing you have given the man the best years of your life and now you find that you are 35 or 36 and you were living a lie; he wasn't who he said he was, so now you have to think about starting all over again..."
Valerie said 15 years ago her fiancé sat her down for one of those talks — she was seven months pregnant with their daughter when he delivered the news. His other woman was pregnant too, and he wanted to be with her.
"We were supposed to get married. I had the dress and everything. If I didn't have the dress it wouldn't be so bad, but I had the dress and I had told everyone. I couldn't even face my friends after that. I spent months afterwards just looking at the dress," she said.
Her fiancé moved out before their daughter was born. Now 15 years later Valerie is still grieving, to the point where some people believe she is mad.
Counsellor Cathy Roberts said the healing process after a break-up is not easy.
"This process doesn't happen overnight and may take years to accomplish," Roberts said of the acceptance stage which persons have to go through at what will be the end of their grieving.
"This is when anger, sadness and mourning slowly disappear and the grieving individual simply accepts the reality of the loss."
So how do you move on after he has left your heart torn up?
1. Realise that grief is a normal reaction to a break-up. Bawl, throw things, cuss, roll in the dirt, get the emotions out.
2. Understand the process of grief — there will be denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. So don't feel so bad when you're calling him at 3:00 am to beg him to take you back; when you still call yourself Mrs Scott even though he has remarried; when you are eating the second tub of ice cream on Valentine's Day; and when you can't watch Love Actually ever again. It's a process, and you'll get through it eventually.
3. Do not shut yourself away, no matter how tempting it may be to simply give up. Instead, have a strong support group and use it.
4. Find things to occupy your time. Again, you may not have the zeal to do anything, but force yourself to do so anyway. Start a garden. Adopt a kitten. The attention you will pour into these new things will help to keep you from becoming more depressed.
5. Do not look for a new relationship until you are certain you are through with the old one and have dealt with the loss. If you mask your hurt in a new relationship and that relationship fails, it will become twice as painful for you. That's not to say you shouldn't date, but keep it light and don't get physical too early.
6. Socialise with friends. Go to the movies, preferably comedies, and find comfort in groups. Just stay away from persons who are going to make you feel worse about your situation. So don't go out with your coupled-up friends, and don't go out with people who will encourage you to find someone else quickly before all your eggs dry up.
7. Change your routine. If you are accustomed to doing things with him, change this and do them differently. Do not go to the places you visited together on a regular basis until you are sure it will not make you sad.
8. Get rid of his favourite dress, underwear, etc, as everytime you wear them you will remember him. Dump the mixed CD he made for you. Remove his special ringer from your phone. Cleanse your home and your mind of things that are a constant reminder of the good old days with him.