The end of a serious and long-term relationship is hard, regardless of whether you were officially married. A messy breakup can be hard to move past. You may have feelings of anger, guilt, or worthlessness that last long after the relationship is over. However, if you take advantage of short-term therapy after a breakup it can help you process your feelings, get a new perspective, and set goals for the next phase of your life.
Breakups Are a Big Deal for Mental Health
A breakup is one of the most stressful things you can go through. On the Homes and Rahe Stress Scale, it is the third most stressful life events, after only divorce and the death of a spouse or child. That scale connected stressful life events with visits to medical doctors for stress-related illnesses. As more couples live together without the formalities of marriage, breakups are becoming more and more like divorce every day, closing that gap even further.
In addition, breakups can be a hurdle for those who suffer existing mental health challenges, from anger management to anxiety or depression. If you have a mental illness, the end of a relationship can trigger those symptoms and overcome your normal coping mechanisms, setting you into a spiral that can quickly become overwhelming.
Get Help After a Breakup
Talk to a psychotherapist today about managing stress and grief after the end of a relationship.
Short-Term Therapy Can Help You Spring Back After a Breakup
It can take time to feel like yourself after a breakup. Especially when a long-term relationship ends, you may find yourself questioning your identity, or your self-worth, while you are trying to find somewhere new to live, breaking the news to friends and family, and maybe still sorting out who will take key pieces of furniture or pets. With that much upheaval in your life all at once, it can be hard to spring back after a breakup.
Therapy can help. Even if you don’t have a relationship with a therapist for a mental health condition, working with someone to work through the grief, anger, fear, and anxiety that comes with a breakup can help you by giving you:
Space to Explore Your Feelings
You may not want to impose upon friends to go through the hurt and pain caused by a breakup. Hiring a therapist can provide a listening ear, as well as setting aside time for you to acknowledge your feelings and process what they mean for your future.
A Neutral Perspective on the Causes of the Breakup
Often, breakups come with a lot of blame. You might be angry at your former partner for what they did to you. You might also blame yourself for the loss of a good relationship. Sometimes the feelings of guilt and blame can get confused or become all-consuming. Working with a short-term therapist can keep you from romanticizing your ex or assuming blame for things beyond your control.
Coping Strategies for Grief
A breakup is a loss, and that means it is natural to grieve. But sadness, depression, or loneliness can interfere with day-to-day living. When that happens, short-term therapy can give you new coping mechanisms and skills to help you move through a sad and stressful period of your life.
A Plan for Future Relationships
Sometimes there are good reasons why relationships end. Recognizing your former partner’s flaws, or your own role in the breakup can be important to making changes for future relationships. This is especially true if your last partner was abusive or codependent. A therapist can help you understand and internalize what a healthy relationship looks like. That way you can set boundaries for future partners and develop a plan to find someone new who will treat you well.
Any major life change can trigger stress and mental health challenges. Breakups are especially disruptive because they touch on every area of your life. If you recognize that your mental health is suffering because of a breakup, a short period of therapy can help you move through the loss and look ahead to the next chapter as a single adult.
David Stanislaw is a psychotherapist with over 30 years of experience. He helps adults and couples with life changes like breakups and grief through short-term therapy or ongoing counseling. Contact David Stanislaw to get help today.