How do we bounce back after a devastating break-up? Sometimes letting go makes us stronger.
Can a break up relieve stress? In some cases, yes. For example, a friend of mine was unhappy in her relationship. She complained about it being difficult for her to experience the emotional and sexual intimacy she once had. She had only been married five years and she and her husband had demanding careers. She was feeling stressed both at home and at work. She felt the strain of her obligations as the role of ‘wife’ became difficult for her to fulfill. She sought counseling to address her deteriorating marriage.
What she found was that a committed intimate relationship is marked by the investment of resources such as self-disclosures, mutual friends, and shared possessions. And by virtue of the passage of time, longer relationships tend to include more investments. As time passes, an emotional investment is made, more memories are made, intimate knowledge is exchanged, activities and friends are shared; lives become more intertwined. We know that there are psychological and physiological benefits to an intimate relationship, especially marriage.
It is no different when you are in a cohabiting relationship as it is a greater investment than a dating relationship. For example, cohabiting couples often pool resources, such as money for rent, utilities, and groceries. And, because couples who live together invest more in their relationships than they do dating couples, they are often more impacted by a break-up. After all, they often have made plans to marry and this can possibly lead to a decline in their mental health and well-being.
As in any relationship, after a break-up, individuals who have invested more time can be more distressed than those who dated their partners for less time. But put another way, having been rejected seems to be associated with more distress after a break-up. When there is the termination of a relationship it may provide some relief, particularly for the person who initiated the break-up.
So how do you bounce back from a break Up? The old saying that time heals all wounds applies to break ups, too. Your first priority should be to take care of yourself. Surround yourself with family and friends, seek professional counseling, or do things you like doing. Stay busy and remember these words by Herman Hesse, “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”
“Broken Relationship” Photographer unknown