Tips for Growing Through Loss in Relationships

So, you just got the news that somebody that you have been interested in for a long time has entered into the “seriously considering marrying somebody else” stage with someone. Maybe you have been married for 20 years and just found out that your husband has been having an affair with someone for the last ten years of your marriage. Or, maybe you have been in a close relationship with someone and they decide that you are not who they want to be with and begin to explore other relationships.

How do you react? OR, more importantly, how do you ACT? For those reading this who are experiencing something like any of these, while you are eating your chocolate, here are some things to read over and consider before destructive emotions threaten to put you into a spiral of depression and/or anxiety, and cause you to say or do things that can make your situation even worse than it already feels like it is.

1) Guard the words. Wisdom dictates that we be slow to speak and consider our words. This in vital when it comes to being in the midst of conflict, estrangement, or facing the end of a relationship. If you are speaking to the person who has ‘wronged’ you or to others about what has happened, avoid the temptation of speaking death over the situation, i.e. saying mean, hateful, or disparaging things about the person you have been wounded by. This only stirs up more negative emotion. Your goal is to get healthy, not to wallow in your circumstances.

2) Allow some time for grief. When love relationships (or even close friendships) are on the rocks, it can be like dealing with an actual death of someone you love. Anyone that has gone through loss in relationships will tell you that the pain is very real. The emotions that are a part of loss and emotional pain take some time to work through but you will be OK even though it may feel as though your life is over at that time. It is said that time heals wounds. While this has a great deal of truth to it, there is a caviate to it if you are wanting to be healthy emotionally and to not carry baggage into your next relationship.  The important thing to remember here is not to harden your heart or become cynical about love or relationships.

3) Seek to find closure and emotional healing. When there is deep pain from failed or broken relationships, most often, you cannot get through it alone and expect to be emotionally healthy once you do. When these sorts of events happen in your life, seek out someone who is qualified to give sound counsel. Emotional healing is not your ability to stuff your emotions or compartmentalize the relationship or situation through rationalization or avoidance of addressing the reasons something has taken place. When painful times come in your life with people, especially in love relationships, it is important that you find healthy closure with that person if at all possible. Be willing to face your pain, the negative emotion, what your responsibility in the estrangement is, and even be willing to face the individual who has brought you the pain in your life.  Loss of trust, betrayal, unfaithfulness, infidelity, and abandonment are very painful realities that often find their way into relationships. Be willing to address these events in an emotionally responsible way.

4) Reach out to trusted friends. Close friends are such a source of encouragement! Be sure you only share with those who you trust implicitly with the details of your life. Ideally, your friends are those who will listen with empathy, offer wise and encouraging words, tell you the truth no matter how difficult, and pray with you. BEWARE of the temptation to turn your time with them into a bashing party of the one that you have loved or have been betrayed by. NOTHING good ever comes out of becoming flippant, hostile, belligerent, or sarcastic towards someone that has wronged you or wounded you. If you have ‘good’ friends, they will not allow you to do this sort of thing, or participate in it with you. They will listen and encourage and console without becoming emotionally involved in your pain with you.

5) Get busy with your normal routine. Self pity and negative emotions can cause us to want to shut down and lose touch with our present reality, like responsibilities that we have. One of the best ways to overcome this is to remain productive in your life. There is nothing like a full schedule to keep your mind preoccupied on productive and meaningful things in your life. Make yourself a task list of all that you need to get done in your life (besides going by your “EX’s” and slitting his car tires). Checking off our task list each day and making things happen in the areas of our lives that are ‘normal’ is a healthy way to defuse the rawness of painful emotions. Besides getting things done, you will feel better about yourself when you are being productive in the rest of your life outside of your failed or struggling relationship. It offers some empowerment to your situation as it helps you realize that you can operate without that other person by your side.

6) Take care of yourself. During times of loss or emotional trauma, we naturally seek out ways to comfort ourselves. It’s ok to allow yourself that chocolate or comfort food for a time, but be sure that you are eating healthy food and exercising. Both diet and exercise are very important in dealing with stress and emotional pain. Drink lots of water to flush out all the toxins that are produced from negative emotions. Exercising releases endorphins, which is an abbreviation of “endogenous morphine”, which literally means “morphine produced naturally in the body”. You will feel better AND look better if you make exercise a regular part of your schedule.

7) Reach out to others. When we take the focus off of ourselves and onto helping others we can’t help but feel better. Everything we walk through in our lives should be viewed as a “learning experience” that we can share with others who will eventually walk that path. Remember to journal your thoughts and feelings as you are healing and moving on. Those words may serve as somebody else’s lifeline one day.

8) Count your blessings! Having an attitude of gratitude will put your focus on what you HAVE instead of what you don’t have. It’s hard to stay in a negative mindset when you are acknowledging the good things in your life.

I hope these tips have encouraged you. Let me know if they have and share this article with a friend who could use it! Let’s pay it forward!

To your Peace,