Tatler’s POV is our column where we give you our take on hot societal issues of the moment.
About a year ago, my four-year relationship came to an end somewhat suddenly and traumatically. At that point, it felt out of the blue to me. Looking back, the signs were there all along. I simply chose, as many do in love, to ignore it.
When it first happened, I was numb. I had a good understanding of why things happened the way they did and simply wanted to push ahead. Of course, that’s never how things work.
Today, after shedding lots of tears, multiple sessions with my therapist and conversations with close friends and family, I am still, well, healing. However, I have also grown immensely, learned how to love myself and other people and also had very revealing private moments with myself where I had to acknowledge my own shortcomings.
With Covid-19, the increased stressors of life, the blurred lines between work and personal lives, travel restrictions and more, relationships are truly under more stress than they have ever been under.
In fact, the number of people seeing help for difficult breakups or for failing relationships is extremely high at the moment.
“Before, we could see couples going to therapy in the quest of better communicating, or getting more connection on an intimate level. But now, couples are seeking more help on the verge of relational breakdowns and even divorces,” Rebecca Versolato, a psychoanalyst and family therapist from White Canvas Therapy said. She added that she estimated that 75 per cent of her clients were there for help coping after losing a meaningful relationship.
If you are going through a hard time (and it doesn't help that Valentine’s Day just came and went) or if you are still healing from a traumatic breakup, here’s what I learned from my own breakup that might help you turn the experience into one that is truly life-changing.
Forgiving yourself is an important step
One of the first things I needed to do after the breakup was to get past the anger stage. However, that really only happened when I began forgiving myself.
It’s important to forgive yourself for staying longer than you should have, for what you did in the relationship, for how you are dealing with the breakup and more. It’s also important to understand that as a result of Covid-19, life is very different and we cannot expect our relationships to function the same way it has always been.
“I see among the younger population a higher fear and even avoidance of breaking up as it is harder to meet new people when we are in and out of restricted activities. So there is a toxic dependency going on, extending situations that should not be there anymore,” explained Versolato.
You should also keep in mind that there is no time frame for healing and that you do not have to push yourself to feel okay before you actually are.
“Being scared to run into the person on the street, checking your surroundings while outdoors, feeling upset when you get a phone message thinking it’s them, disturbed sleep, low mood, fantasising getting back together, or re-living the past are all common lasting issues we see with clients when it comes to breakups,” said Claudia Doig, a clinical psychologist from Psychology Blossom. She continued by saying that it can take anywhere from three months to well over a year to heal from a breakup.
Once you understand that we are living in extraordinary times and that how you feel is normal, it gets easier to begin forgiving yourself which will eventually begin your healing. This is relevant no matter if you are dealing with a breakup or any other traumatic event and you should remember to be compassionate to yourself.