women sitting alone by the window sill

Relationship Break-Up: Am I Actually Coping?

Relationship break-ups can be a difficult experience: they can hurt, leave you feeling empty, and can lead to complications. We all cope differently with relationship endings; we may grieve and miss our loved one and/or feel angry and hurt. However, sometimes relationship break-ups can impact mental health, which may indicate you are struggling to cope. Some of the signs that you may be struggling to cope with a relationship ending, include:

  • Drinking alcohol more often
  • Believing you may never be happy again
  • Chronic stress over the financial or legal aspects of separation
  • Over-compensating socially and/or excessive dating and sex
  • Difficulty being alone
  • Dieting excessively as a way to either regain control or lose weight
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Believing you are worthless or “not good enough” for your ex-partner
  • Refusing to date other people despite breaking up 6 months ago
  • Moving into a new relationship quickly
  • Continued hope that you can rekindle the relationship
  • Inappropriate contact with your ex, perhaps calling often or sleeping with them.

Why do you react badly to a relationship break-up?

There are a few main reasons you may react adversely to a relationship break-up:

1. Relationship Insecurity

You may have felt insecure in your relationship, unsure of your partner’s dedication to you. You may have felt anxious and fearful of your partner losing interest or cheating on you. Insecurity can also cause a couple to become co-dependent, whereby they spend excessive time together and lack independence. There are several reasons you may feel insecure in your relationship, which we discuss in Three Reasons You may Feel Insecure in Your Relationship.

Low self-esteem

If you experience low self-esteem you may have felt inadequate or “not good enough” for your partner (also read How Low Self-esteem Affects Relationships). This may leave you blaming yourself for the break-up or wishing you were more “easy going”, “interesting”, “attractive”, etc. Your self-esteem may plummet after a break-up, causing to you seek validation in other ways.

Poor social support

If your partner was one of your main supports, you may be left with little support after a break-up. Social connections are what help us get through adversity. Therefore, little support means it can be difficult to cope with a break-up: you may feel lonely, struggle to find your purpose and meaning in life, or feel low in mood.

Complicated circumstances

Difficult circumstances can cause stress in a relationship break-up. For example, it is common to emotionally struggle when you go through legal proceedings regarding either the financial split or custody of children.

What shall I do if I’m struggling to cope with a break-up?

It is worth seeking help to address any mental health issues that are affecting your ability to cope with a relationship ending. For instance, a psychologist can help improve your self-esteem using Cognitive-behavioural Therapy or CBT. A psychologist can also improve your relationship functioning and social network using a therapy called Interpersonal Psychotherapy or IPT.

If you are dealing with stressful circumstances during a separation, it may be helpful to talk to someone who can build your resilience and help you problem solve.

How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?

We are passionate about helping our clients achieve peace and happiness in their relationships. We are a team of psychologists who are well trained and experienced in therapies, such as CBT and IPT, which have been proven by research to be effective in improving self-esteem and functioning in relationships.  If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.