Posted by: silverliningsblog | September 30, 2020

What to do (and not to do) when a relationship ends

When a relationship ends, it can be excruciatingly painful, regardless of the reason…

Maybe the person cheated on you and chose someone else, causing you to feel like you weren’t good/young/pretty/sexy enough to make him stay.

Or perhaps you were with a toxic partner, someone who beat you down and drained you of your positive energy, leaving you feeling like a shell of the person you once were.

Maybe he told you he didn’t love you anymore, causing you to wonder if all those years of effort you put in really meant anything.

Or maybe it was you who decided to leave, after years of growing apart and wanting different things. And while it was your choice, you still feel the guilt of breaking up your family.

No matter why your relationship ended, one thing is for sure…it hurts and it’s hard.

The impact of loss

Going through a break-up can send us reeling. It takes a toll on many areas of our life, like our:

  • Kids – Children can really struggle with the loss of security and stability they once knew.

  • Extended family – Relationships with in-laws and even our own family can become strained.

  • Friends – Sometimes friends pick sides, or because they’re still married they stop including us.

  • Home – Often we have to sell or move out of the home we spent years building.

  • Finances – Splitting assets and paying for bills and lawyers can be quite costly.

  • Self-esteem – Especially if the other person left, we may doubt our lovability and desirability.

  • Physical health – We may feel exhausted from the stress, and suffer from an illness as a result.

  • Mental health – Prolonged stress can lead to disorders like depression and anxiety.

Make no mistake, recovering from a break-up isn’t easy. They say on average, it takes 7 years to grieve and recover from the end of a relationship!

Typical coping strategies (and why they don’t work)

I believe a big part of why it takes so long to recover from heartbreak is that people use the wrong strategies to deal with their pain.

The most common ways people cope with a break-up include:

  1. Keeping busy – Working too much, socializing so much they’re rarely home, constantly cleaning or fixing things around the house, over-focusing on their kids (instead of themselves).  

  2. Zoning out – Numbing their feelings with drugs, alcohol, TV, gaming, social media, shopping, etc.

  3. Dating too soon – Running right back out to find someone new in the hopes that they’ll make them feel better.

  4. Obsessing about their ex – Getting angry and blaming their ex (or feeling sad and missing them), and obsessing about what they’re doing day and night.

  5. Giving up – Dwelling on the pain, feeling hopeless and depressed, shutting down and shutting people out.

The reason why these strategies don’t work well is because they involve either avoiding pain or dwelling on pain, instead of learning how to properly process, release and heal difficult emotions.

What we focus on expands (dwelling on pain), and what we resist, persists (avoiding pain). So the pain never really goes away when we use these strategies. And contrary to popular belief, time does not heal all wounds (I’ve worked with many people who decades later have still not healed).

A better strategy for healing and moving on

So instead of avoiding or dwelling on your pain, what should you do?

These 5 steps will help you to feel better faster:

  1. Focus on healing. Your first step should be to practice self-care and give yourself time to heal in a healthy way. There is a lot we can learn from our relationships, including the ones that didn’t work out…if we give ourselves time to heal and grow.

  2. Understand your role. It takes two to tango…you’ve made choices and decisions that contributed to whatever happened, and the sooner you figure out what your role was, the faster you will grow and move on to something better (instead of constantly repeating the lesson/mistake). 

  3. Learn who to avoid. If you’ve been in unhealthy relationships, it pays to learn more about your relationship patterns and toxic people…so you know who you don’t want to attract.

  4. Raise your standards. If you’ve been choosing people who can’t (or won’t) meet your needs, who take instead of give, who are abusive or unkind…it’s time to raise your standards for love, and learn what a healthy relationship looks like.

  5. Get on the fast track to love. Once you’ve done your healing work, it’s time to learn how to attract a great partner…one who will treat you with love and respect and be capable of creating a joyful, harmonious partnership with you.

With some concerted effort and the right advice and support, you can heal after heartbreak and lead a joyful, fulfilling life (either on your own or with a new partner).

If you need more help…

If this all makes sense but you need some help with the healing process, I have great news for you…I have two FREE online workshops coming up that will really help you move the needle:

And if you’re really wanting to dive deep and heal your pain faster, I invite you to attend my 1-day virtual workshop (the cost is very low, and all proceeds go to charity):

Finally, if you’d like to be in a community of other single women around the world who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

About the author

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free resources and workshops at

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