Breaking My Heart Open Through Heartbreak

Heartbreak is the biggest cliche conceivable, but somehow always feels uniquely painful through the scope of our own experience. Contrary to the belief that heartache gets easier as we shed our awkward teen cocoons, the pain felt familiarly sharp with each of my “Big Three.” As I embark upon what I like to call the “Age of the Great Drought of Fucks to Give, While Simultaneously Getting One’s Business Together;” otherwise known as turning 30, I present the Saga of Three Heartbreaks.

Heartbreak #1 Gillam. My Puppy Love. Age 14.

I saw him in my step-sister’s school play and my adolescent loins that burned for Ryan Gosling twinged for him. I called him in advance of our first date from a payphone when I discovered I had won tickets to go see a very cool-by-teenage-standards rock band. Putting the cart squarely before the horse, on our first date, we sat on the edge of a slab of wood resembling a dock with no water, and he wrote me a note explaining to me that he “fell for [me] like a blind roofer” and if I ever doubted his feelings I should read the phrase “Isle of View” aloud. Pretty smooth for a gangly 16 year old. Gillam lived a half hour drive away in an entirely different province (that’s Canadian for “state”). This was my first taste of long distance romance, but certainly not my last. I visited his family and bonded with his younger sister. It was she who had to eventually break it off with me over the phone; when out of nowhere he changed his mind about the whole thing. Everything is so intense at that age, that the serotonin from a rock concert or new love was like a hit of MDMA and sent me into heavy withdrawal for a day or two afterward. When we broke up, I had lost the will to go on, like a real damsel in old days. I went catatonic and watched the portable phone spin on the floor for what felt like an eternity.

Heartbreak #2 Sam. My Delayed High School Sweetheart. Age 20.

Sam was from the same suburb as mine, but we met at a bar in the city, while he was hosting an open mic night, and I had taken a job putting up posters promoting their events. When he confided in me that his parents were going through a divorce (something that I was an old pro at dealing with by now), I felt compelled to offer support even though we barely knew one another. We met at the library in between our houses and talked until the sun came up. We eventually had to be rescued by his father when his parents’ car battery died after we had jointly decided it was a great idea to climb into the trunk and get our awkward flirt on.

As we continued to see one another, it began to feel as though were in a boat, just the two of us. Whenever we saw one another, the rest of the world would disappear, and we were alone on the water together. After several months, Sam went away for a school trip. He had been nervous about a presentation and didn’t have an outfit he felt confident enough to present in, so before dawn on the day he left, I slid my way across frozen tundra that lined the path to his house that winter, and presented a care package that I had meticulously put together of his favorite colors and prints in an outfit for his presentation. His father drove us to his pickup point where we shared a sweet goodbye and then, rather than introduce me to his group of classmates, Sam awkwardly pointed me toward the bus stop (inconveniently, 2 minutes after his father had left for our neighborhood) and then scurried over to join them.

I would later learn he was leaving me for one of the classmates he had avoided introducing me to. I was okay, I had convinced myself; until I curled up in my mother’s lap like an infant, and wept a heavy sob that squeezed every drop of moisture out of my body.

He moved across the country with his new girlfriend from school, and then eventually came back home after she cheated on him. We both happened to be back in our hometown, and ran into one another at the bar where we had both met. As we embraced for the first time in years, I felt the familiar comfort of our boat. This time, however, it was as if he had a dark cloud looming above him. He had become embittered, and I felt compelled to stay as far away as possible. Our mutual friend relayed snidely to me that Sam thought I wanted to marry him and was afraid of seeing him, lest I lose all composure. I responded matter-of-factly that I didn’t mind if I never saw him again. This felt like I was saying it as much to him as I was to myself. Somehow, the universe caught the message and seven years later, we haven’t seen each other in person since.

Heartbreak #3 Jonathan. My Rock Bottom. Age 27.

Truthfully, it was by now that I thought I had aged out of feeling this devastated. Jonathan knocked the wind right out of me. I was empowered and in my element while pursuing a life I loved and taking everything by storm; so when I met Jonathan and discovered our shared feelings, I took the bull by the horns, throwing both caution and boundaries to the wind. As I seized what felt like destiny, it occurred to me how fully engaged and attracted to him I was physically, emotionally and intellectually in an as yet undiscovered way that formed a perfect storm of vulnerability. At first, I felt charming, understood and cherished as we celebrated the prize we had both won in finding each other. A small voice inside me knew it was trouble, but I was a warrior and this felt powerful. I could handle it if things went sour, I convinced myself. This wasn’t my first rodeo and love is worth risks, I bargained. I walked a razor’s edge with Jonathan; he was every bit what you would consider to be the human equivalent of the purest, most deadly addictive drug. Even as I type this, I feel like crumbs of scar tissue are still working their way through my emotional lymphatic system.

Recovery and the Slow Burn.

After a great deal of personal reflection and time alone, I started slowly seeing a stoic man who possesses a quiet calm. He is a sleeping angel in the bed we share as I type this on our nearby couch. I never really felt any fireworks, I didn’t feel like I was in a boat. He didn’t create riddles to explain how he felt (Except for this week, when he compared the evolution of his feelings to a speedometer). When we met, I was still pulling shards out of my fragile psyche. I was not ready for anything serious, I thought. It wasn’t until several months into our relationship that it occurred to me that he was someone I had grown to cherish. I would pick fights and shut down emotionally and start exhibiting all of the traits that had hurt me and had nothing to do with him. He remained sweetly quiet, stoic and unaffected. He just wanted to get us dinner, watch movies and hang out together. He occasionally voiced some concern, but did not think much of my emotionally stunted behavior. I thought he must not really care, so I acted out— until I learned not to. Mostly. As time passed, my fuse grew longer and my sanity began to restore itself. As my head poked out of the sand, there he was, watching movies and hanging out. Without much fanfare, I grew to find myself loving, and eventually (this is an important distinction) in love with him. Little things, mostly silly mannerisms, how he laughs in his sleep, or personal reflections on life that should be a book which straddles self help and unintentional satire. What we share has developed into a cherished depth of connection I haven’t felt with anyone else before. I call it the slow burn.

I probably would not have ever seen Walker (the name I imagine he’d like me to use for him) as a potential partner even a couple of years ago, because I craved the drama, the high stakes, the boat. I needed the excitement. Relationships had to make me high otherwise they didn’t feel real. I wanted to feel the impact, even if it hurt. I couldn’t manage anything between euphoria and total collapse. As I depart the emotional roller coaster of my 20s, I’ve learned to enjoy the nuances in between.

The Reasons Why Men Suffer More After a Breakup

Throw the old stereotypes of men out the window.

Men get a bad rap in the romance department. Society has painted them as the unfeeling and detached sex — which is why lots of ears perked up when a new study about men and breakups emerged from Binghamton University and University College London this summer.

For the study, researchers surveyed 5,707 men and women, with an average age of just under 27 years old, from 96 different countries. The findings: Women experience more emotional anguish in the aftermath of a breakup, but it takes men longer to recover.

In fact, the researchers note, men never fully get over their breakups. Instead, they tend to eventually just “move on” to the next partner without resolving the issue of what went wrong in the previous relationship. Since the study explained the results from an evolutionary perspective, the researchers guessed it was because women tend to invest more in their relationships than men — because each relationship a woman enters could lead to a nine-month pregnancy and many more years raising a child. In this line of thinking, since women are wired to be choosier, the loss is more profound with the departure of a high-quality match. On the other hand, since men historically have had to compete for the attention of women, it may take them longer to realize what they’ve lost, that they aren’t finding a woman who compares to their ex, and that she’s perhaps irreplaceable.

That’s one theory, anyway. But there’s definitely more to breakups than the ancestral explanation, according to research and experts in the field. And while today’s man is still biologically wired to be the hunter-provider type, the male sex has adapted to take on a more complex role, says psychologist Karla Ivankovich, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Springfield.

“In the past, emotion did not serve a purpose in providing for the family,” she tells Yahoo Health. “It was not beneficial to getting things done. But today, men are likely to be involved in all facets of a family, engaged in their relationships, nurturing, and rearing.”

How Do We Recover From Breakups?

A lot of factors that generally influence the impact of a breakup of heterosexual couples (on which we have the most research) are not sex-specific. There is no cookie-cutter approach for how men and women each handle breakups, says Art Markman, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. “Many factors have less to do with gender than with other behavioral tendencies that are correlatedwith gender,” he tells Yahoo Health.

Take rebounding as a coping mechanism after a breakup. The success of rebounding has to do with resources and options available, says biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, the chief scientific officer at Match. “A man who is young, incredibly good-looking, with money, is going to have a lot of options and will probably recover a lot quicker than someone who doesn’t,” she tells Yahoo Health. The same concept applies to women.

Also factors: How invested you were in the relationship and how important that relationship was to other aspects of your life (say, if you really wanted children and you were hoping for that partner to be the mother or father of your child). “If a person knows they were just in it for the short term, the breakup will not be as difficult,“ notes Marisa T. Cohen, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at St. Francis College and co-founder of the Self-Awareness and Bonding Lab.

So there’s no question about it — there are many variables at play for how someone will take a breakup, regardless of gender. But there are a few reasons a man might take a split harder in the long term compared with a woman, experts say. Let’s explore the theories.

Theory No. 1: Women Initiate Most Breakups

The question of who takes it harder may be less “man versus woman” and more “dumper versus dumpee.” According to the Binghamton study, the rejected parties experienced more “post-relationship grief” (though grief was still severe for both halves).

Here’s why that matters: More often than not, women are the initiators of a breakup. This was true in the current study, and Fisher says she’s also found this to be the case in her own research. Why, exactly, is tough to say — especially since the Binghamton study notes “other” was frequently selected as the cause of a split, showing that there is no single, common reason for breaking up.

“If women are the ones doing the breaking up, then they are already taking the time they need to emotionally divest from the relationship while they’re in it,” Ivankovich tells Yahoo Health. “So it may be that men are caught off guard by breakups — and then, loss is loss. Whether it’s death or dying, the loss of a job or relationship, you still go through the stages.”

And privately coming to terms with a relationship’s inevitable end is decidedly easier when your partner is still around, something both parties don’t usually have the luxury of experiencing. “Breakups are rarely mutual,” Cohen says. “Based on Diane Vaughan’s research on the process of uncoupling, the initiator is the first person to express displeasure with the relationship and want out. He or she goes through the process of experiencing single life, and potentially finding another partner, from the secure base of the relationship.”

When the partner is finally clued in to the fact that the relationship is ending (or over), this person is forced to move on abruptly and alone. “This makes the healing process much more difficult for the partner,” says Cohen. “The initiator can enact preemptive strategies while in the current relationship to ease the transition from one partner to another, but the partner can’t.”

Cohen says there’s a good chance the initiator has already taken a look at the relationship market long before they put themselves back on it.

Theory No. 2: Men Are Wired to Handle Breakups Differently Than Women (and May Lack a Solid Support System Postsplit)

The Binghamton study took a look at breakups from the evolutionary perspective, so let’s do the same now — because men and women arewired differently. They have long had different goals for relationships and different ways of dealing with the aftermath. Some of those strategies are more or less ingrained in our psyches.

From an evolutionary perspective, Ivankovich says, the emotive woman often looks at a breakup as a problem to be solved, whereas the logic-oriented man looks at the same breakup as a problem that has already beensolved. As such, the emotional process for each is different. For men, the breakup is the end. For women, the breakup is the beginning of a larger psychological dilemma.

“If a male has no option, because she has broken up with him, the way he adapts to the situation is to move on,” Ivankovich says. “Men are not relationship analyzers, so the next relationship is seen as a do-over. Because women are emotionally tied to relationships as nurturers, any time things go awry, a woman will analyze the situation to determine what she ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ done differently, to be able to move on.”

Which brings us to the value in rehashing the relationship postsplit: It’s effective in the short term to realize personal lessons and resolve what led to the relationship’s demise, Fisher says. (Though, there will eventually come a time when talking about what went wrong in a relationship will just prevent you from moving on, Fisher adds.)

But while a common problem for women is dwelling more than they should after a split, men have the opposite problem. “Vulnerability isn’t an adaptive thing for men,” Fisher says. “They are naturally predisposed to suffer in private. Women talk too much, men probably don’t talk enough.”

Historically, men just aren’t encouraged to express their emotions to male friends like women are with their female friends. “If a man was to call his friends up, crying about the end of a relationship, he would be treated very differently than a woman,” says Cohen.

On top of that, after breaking up, men may look around for their “guy squad” and realize it doesn’t exist. Interestingly, Markman says women often have more close friends than men and are more likely to keep their friends when they are in a relationship. Men often spend less time with their pals, which could ultimately put guys, who are already less likely to communicate with their peers than women, in an even worse position.

“The stronger a person’s social network, the better that person is able to deal with the fallout of a breakup,” Markman says. “So, a big reason why men often have more difficulty recovering from a breakup than women is that it takes them longer to re-establish social ties that will allow them to deal with the emotional difficulty of the breakup.”

Breaking Up, Millennially

Millennial-age men are more emotionally intelligent than their forefathers, Ivankovich says. “They ‘feel’ like no generation before them.”

Finally acknowledging that men actually have post-relationship needs, and encouraging them to access those deep emotions rather than brush them off, is only a positive thing. “People who have trouble talking about emotional topics will have trouble really understanding what happened and what went wrong,” Markman says. “In addition to being able to ‘get over’ a particular relationship, it is important for people to learn from breakups so that their next relationships are better and stronger. Anyone who does not deal with a past relationship is likely to make the same mistakes again in a future relationship.”

How to Change Your Context for Love in 2016

Here are just three things you can do that will have an immediate impact on the quality and depth of your relationship…

2016 – a brand new year filled with hope and possibilities. And, resolutions resulting in a rather pronounced uptick in gym memberships, healthy diets, exercise goals and so on. But what about the most important relationship in your life, the one you share with your significant other? It is so interesting that at the beginning of each new year we tend to focus so much on our health and looks, yet you rarely hear about couples resolving to have an even deeper, more fulfilling relationship. I suspect it’s because most don’t know exactly what to “do” to achieve those clearly desirable results.

Well, unlike the exercise and dieting regimes you have to stick to for quite some time before seeing any effects, here are just three things you can do that will have an *immediate* positive impact on the quality and depth of your relationship – sans the sweat and kale…

#1: Change Your Context

How many times have you heard the expression: “She broke my heart!” or something similar? As if the heart can actually be “broken” –think about that for a moment. This is simply a context or belief system that only serves to put fear of abandonment and rejection into the best of relationships. And when you avoid a fear, you are much more likely to experience its manifestation and all the drama that comes with it.

The great thing about contexts is that *none* of them are true. They are merely a lens in which we see our world.

For 2016 consider another, much more empowering context where it is our ego that is fearful of being hurt or broken. And our Heart, as our true essence, can never be hurt or broken, is never needy and loves unconditionally. Within this context your only concern is a trashed ego, rather than the complete decimation of your very soul.

The great thing about contexts is that *none* of them are true. They are merely a lens in which we see our world. However, some contexts are inherently much more empowering than others. Not too long ago I had a 30-something female friend ask me for relationship advice and the conversation went something like this:

HER: “I’m afraid to tell my boyfriend how I really feel about him. What should I do?”

ME: “What are you afraid might happen?”

HER: “What if he doesn’t feel the same way?”

ME: “What would happen if he didn’t?”

HER: “I’m afraid it might break my heart.”

ME: “If your boyfriend doesn’t feel the same way, what would end up being hurt and devastated – your Heart… or your ego?”

HER: “Huh?”

ME: “What if the true essence of who you are, your Heart, cannot be hurt or broken? What if it is your ego that experiences all the pain and suffering? Within this context, the worst that could happen is that he trashes your ego, but he cannot, in any way, hurt your Heart? The next time you experience hurt or pain in your relationship imagine your Heart watching it serenely from a distance as a slow-motion train wreck that mangles your ego. If you did that, how would you feel?”

HER: “That does take away much of the fear.” she responded.

The next day she called me to say that shift in context made all the difference in the world as she was now able to be vulnerable with him without the fear of devastating pain.

Remember, a context is simply a world view –one that can be adopted *instantly* if you choose. And in so doing with an empowering one, remove much of the fear of loss and drama from your relationship.

#2: Communicate Authentically

Not too long ago I was interviewed on the radio by a female host who happened to be a relationship coach. While waiting to go live we chatted for a bit where she shared how she just entered into a new relationship and started to experience regular orgasms with her new love –something she rarely, if ever had with her previous relationships.

Once we were on the air for a while I decided to turn the interview tables around. So I asked her the following question: “What would happen if you shared with your partner what you really wanted from him in the bedroom?”

And this is where it got interesting. The initial dead-air was palpable as she struggled with her own visceral reaction to that possibility. She then blurted out: “Oh my God! That put me right back into the ‘cave’ with the ‘kids’ thinking he would be so hurt or angry that he may leave us!” Talk about genetic imprinting. Essentially, she was terrified of abandonment if she risked really sharing what worked for her sexually speaking.

And, she’s not along. A British University study shows that about 87% of women vocalize (i.e. “moan”) during intercourse primarily to: a) hurry their man up so he just gets it over with sooner rather than later, and b) to boost his self-esteem.

The problem is that when either party is not being fully authentic in expressing their feelings and desires it will inevitably lead to diminished fulfillment or even breakup.

Ladies, men aren’t mind readers. And when they get hard, their brain stops functioning as all the blood goes to their penis. From their perspective (thanks to porn), hard pounding is what you want and any false encouragement from you will not help matters.

Ladies, men aren’t mind readers. And when they get hard, their brain stops functioning as all the blood goes to their penis.

So for this new year resolve to be authentic with your man about what really works for you (and if necessary, what doesn’t). Of course this goes for men too, however I find that if a man pleases his woman in the way she wants, that becomes his ultimate sensual reward.

Now here’s a tip on how to position this to your man so he doesn’t feel like a loser in bed. You might consider saying something like this (you may want to include subtle batting of eyelashes, a purr in your voice and a smile that melts his heart):

“Sweetheart, I cannot begin to tell you how much I love you and our lovemaking. And I’ve been thinking, how would you like to explore some other ways of pleasing each other that may take us to whole new places?”

Trust me on this one, his eyes will glaze over and his tongue will be hanging out like a happy puppy dog before you even finish the last word. Then be ready to gently coach him so you both experience new heights of pleasure and fulfillment that neither of you ever thought possible.

#3: Insist on Presence Over Performance

Put a sign on your bedroom door that says “Presence”. For 2016 resolve to remove the word “performance” from your lexicon and replace it with “Presence”. Presence is simply being in the moment with full attention, no distractions, goals or agendas. Presence automatically creates a space where you both can fully flourish and share a profoundly deep, fulfilling experience with each other without the stress of trying to “perform”. Both men and women experience sexual performance anxiety, insisting on Presence instantly eliminates it for both.

Establishing Presence in the bedroom is really not that hard and here’s what my partner and I do almost every time we make love. First, you schedule a time when there will be *no* distractions whatsoever for at least an hour or so. You might want to start out by taking a shower together and gently scrubbing each other down (I recommend ladies receive first), but avoid overt sexual contact. Then you might consider giving each other a massage in the areas each of you indicate will relieve most of the stress of the day – again, avoid overt sexual stimulation.

Once you are both fully “warmed up” (especially important for the woman), the man starts to please his woman in the way she wants while holding off his own sexual release. Remember, there are no goals or agendas here –so even if she doesn’t (or chooses not to) experience a climax, respect that and take great pleasure in giving to her selflessly. Then, she will be likely ready to enthusiastically reciprocate in the way you want.

This kind of Presence-based lovemaking can last literally for hours and leave you both more energized when done than when you started.

Instant Rewards

The problem with most resolutions is that they typically take a great deal of effort and time before you realize any noticeable benefits –which is the primary reason why so many give up after only a month or two.

Not so with the ones I shared above. Each one by itself will provide an immediate positive shift in your relationship experience which only reinforces the habit. Do all three and 2016 will be the year that your relationship transformed into one beyond your most cherished dreams.

And that makes for a very Happy New Year…

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

In and Out of the Same Relationship? Here Are the Most Important Take Aways!

According to research, the majority of people have been in an on-again/off-again relationship at some point in their life.

The 2009 study published in Personal Relationships found that 60 percent of people have, at least at some point in their life, been with someone, broke up with them, then ended up with them again — and maybe again and again and again. It’s a pattern that can be difficult to wiggle out of once it becomes a habit, even if it’s quite clear that you’re completely wrong for each other.

The problem with these relationships is that they’re not just potentially unhealthy, but they can be toxic as hell. Although things may seem fine when you’re back together, all that constant breaking up and the roller coaster of it all, takes a toll, emotionally, psychologically, and even physically. There’s also the fact that, at least according to research, these types of relationships eventually end up coming to an end and not on a very pretty note either.

But while that’s the case, not all is lost. There are some things you can learn from on-again/off-again relationships, even if you don’t realize it until after the fact. Here are nine lessons these relationships have to teach us.

1. People Rarely Change

While it might not be something you want to hear, human beings are, in general, creatures of habit. It’s not that we don’t want to change or better ourselves by cleaning up some of our messy behavior, but we’re just not that great at it. It’s not a personality flaw, as much as it’s human being flaw.

2. You Don’t Know How To Feel Secure

When you’re in a relationship that is on-again/off-again, it’s hard to feel confident with not just what you have with your partner, but in how you feel about yourself. There’s a lot of second-guessing going on and it stems from the fact that your romantic relationship always feels like it’s hanging in balance and you could lose it at any given moment.

3. You Realize It’s Hard To Move On

If every time you break up with your partner, you end up with them weeks or months later, how are you supposed to move on to either someone new or give yourself time to heal? You can’t. You become to addicted to the pattern and too dependent on that person, assuming that the cycle will go on forever.

4. The Drama Isn’t It Worth

So. Not. Worth. It. Think about it: Do you really want to spend the rest of your life going through a breakup with the same person every few months for the rest of your life? You’ll look like you’re 80 when you’re only 40, because of the stress it takes on your life.

5. Old Problems Eventually Come Up

When you’re in an on-again/off-again relationship, you realize that not only do people never (or at least rarely) change, but since that’s the case, the problems that plague your relationship are likely to come up every single time you get back together. Why? Because you two haven’t changed enough to prevent them from popping up again.

6. It Really Confuses The Senses

You’re together. You’re apart. You’re crying because you’ve broken up and are sure you’ll never love again. Then you’re back together. And you’re happy. And you’re skipping through the streets. Then you break up again and you’re crying on the floor. But wait — did they just text? OK; so maybe you’ll be skipping in the streets by tomorrow again. Do you feel confused? Well, you should.

7. There’s Probably A Very Good Reason You Keep Breaking Up

The reasons why people break up runs the gamut. Sometimes love dies, sometimes you realize you’re growing in opposite directions, or maybe one of you cheated, or one of you wants to join the Peace Corps. No matter the reason for the split, you broke up for a reason, so there’s really no point and going through it all again.

8. The Makeup Sex Isn’t Worth It In The Long Run

Yes, makeup sex is great! But there’s only so many times you can break up, have makeup sex, only to break up again, for more makeup sex. It sounds good in theory, but more than anything, it’s exhausting.

9. You Don’t Have Time For This Bullsh*t

You really don’t! If someone can be with you, then be without you, then be with you again… and so on and on, that’s not what you need or deserve. You want someone who can commit and is in it to win it; not someone who thinks you’re their personal yo-yo.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

How to Move On from Your Ex in Social Media and Elsewhere

So how do you start getting over the break-up (and him)?

We totally get it: break-ups are tough. When it comes to bad break-ups, we collegiettes have all been there–curled up on the couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, moping about our (now ex-) boyfriend and browsing though the newly posted pictures of him and his new girlfriend on Facebook. Getting over a break-up with your boyfriend is hard enough, but figuring out how to stop obsessing over him can be even harder. Maybe you constantly find yourself reaching for your cell phone to text him or you can’t seem to go anywhere without hearing Adele’s “Someone Like You” on the radio, but either way, you can’t get over him.

Regardless of what caused the split between you and your boyfriend, it’s understandable when you start to have hurt feelings and a sense of loss. Sometimes, you can fall into the trap of obsessing over the break-up, or even worse–reaching back out to him. But no matter what happened between you and your ex, it’s time to move on. So how do you start getting over the break-up (and him)? We consulted founder of Pink Kisses and expert on break-ups, Ellie Scarborough, to bring you the HC-approved guide to stop obsessing over your ex.

Unsubscribe to him on Facebook… or un-friend him altogether.

We social media-savvy collegiettes like to keep connected, checking sites like Twitter and Facebook multiple times a day. But there’s nothing that’s more of a downer than seeing your ex (in a picture with his new girlfriend) pop up in your newsfeed. While stalking your ex on his Facebook wall can be tempting, this only lets you desperately obsess over him. That’s why you should block or, at the very least, unsubscribe from your ex-boyfriend on Facebook.

Annie Pei from UChicago says that for her friend, breaking up with an ex online was an important first step to moving on with her life post-break-up. “A friend of mine unsubscribed to her ex’s updates on Facebook so he wouldn’t appear in her newsfeed,” Annie says. “This basically took away a lot of the incentive to look at his profile. She still did so once in a while, but the fact that he didn’t appear on her newsfeed took away most of the temptation.”

Evelyn, a collegiette from Amherst College, says that although it can take a lot of self-discipline, going on a digital hiatus for a while can be a great way to get over him. “When my ex and I broke up, I made a pact with myself that I’m not allowed to Facebook stalk him until I can be 100 percent sure that I won’t care if I see pictures of him with another girl (which will probably be in like another 5 years),” Evelyn says. “I still haven’t gone on his profile once!”

“It’s Over!” Really?

“It’s over,” Lois, a defeated-looking woman, said to her husband as they sat in my psychotherapy office. She was more angry than sad. Tim was crestfallen.

At the moment of Lois’ definitive pronouncement a subversive doubt bubbled up in my mind. “I think there are two kinds of ‘It’s over,’ I said. “In the first, it is over—one or both people have given up on the relationship and it is not salvageable. All bridges to reconciliation have been burned and hopelessness sabotages any wish to preserve the relationship.”

Tim looked even more devastated.

“But there’s a second kind of ‘It’s over,’ “ I continued.

“It’s not really over, and the person who says it is doesn’t want it to be, but he or she is so afraid of getting burned again that hopelessness protects against additional suffering.”

Lois gently nodded her head.

“Which is it?” Tim asked.

“The second,” she said.

Declaring that the relationship is over serves various functions. Sometimes it means just what it says—the relationship cannot be resuscitated and it really is over.

At other times, a relationship that seems past salvation can and should be saved.
Here, the seemingly fatalistic declaration “it’s over” can be a self-protective strategy that shields a spouse against re-injury and pain and lessens the likelihood of shock and devastation. It also hides the deeper connection between the couple that still exists beneath the hurt and fear and hinders the pessimistic partner from trying to salvage the relationship. Once you realize this, it can restore unexpected hope.

At first Lois and Tim had little reason for optimism. They had slowly grown apart over twenty years because they each focused more on work and parenting than on each other. We examined what brought them together, what they originally shared, where they were struggling now.

I encouraged them to work on four levels:
o Self-care
o Pulling “weeds”
o Accessing shared meaning
o Dreaming together about a better future

When You are Hurting from Breaking Up…Don’t Do This!

It’s happening again. You put yourself out there, you fell for the guy, and now you’re sitting in his truck while he’s saying stuff like “I know I’m being selfish,” and “I just don’t want to hurt you anymore,” and, my personal favorite, “I’m really going to miss you.” What’s a girl supposed to do? Most of the time, we just sit there not knowing how to react. We either start crying profusely or get ridiculously angry, or both (both is fun), but mostly, we just think “Now what?” It’s the end of yet another sad love story, and different people handle breakup survival in different ways, but really, here’s what you shouldn’t do right after he says “it’s over”:

1. Don’t pretend to be okay

You’re hurting, and it’s crazy to think that, unless you’re some kind of cold-hearted siren or unless you didn’t really like him that much, you aren’t going to be in a little bit of pain for a while. It sucks to be broken up with. It’s rejection at its finest form, and it takes time to accept what has happened. Take a few days to recuperate. If that means shoving your face into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, do it. You have the freedom to take time to find your cool again.

2. Don’t go out that night

We all have those friends who say “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. He’s dumb. Let’s go out and get drunk tonight, it will make you feel better.” WRONG. Wrong wrong wrong. Alcohol is a depressant, so after you’ve downed three doubles and are staring at your phone while your buzz kicks in, you’re going to want to call him and either A. beg for him back or B. yell at him until you start crying again.

You could also be that girl who drunkenly flirts and dances all over everything with a penis right after a breakup just to fill the rejection bullet hole you’ve just experienced. Don’t be that girl. You might do something you’ll regret. Which leads me to…

3. Don’t get a Tinder right away

I know it seems like the best way to get over a breakup is to find someone new, but I can tell you from personal experience that that is not always the best route. Chances are, you are not ready to jump into bed, let alone into a relationship, with another guy for a while. You need to take the time to sort your wits, don’t be the serial rebound girl. Tinder is fun once it has been a few weeks, and you’ve had time to be emotional. Don’t do it because you’re alone and needy, do it because you’re confident and you’re ready to move on.

4. Don’t wait to get your things

Speaking of moving on, let’s also move out. You shouldn’t wait to get your stuff from his place. It’s just prolonging the inevitable moment when you will have to see him again and go through the emotional roller coaster that is exchanging and dividing your things. Do it all in one swoop; that way, although you might be in some serious emotional pain after it’s all over, you won’t have to relive everything after you have somewhat gotten over it. It’s like picking a scab after a few days. Yes, keep that mental image because that’s how horrible it will be.

Keeping a Relationship Private: When and Why

Here’s a reason why less is more when it comes to your relationship…

There was a time when relationships were sacred and served as a revered space where two people could find solace, trust, and support. Driven by a commitment to honor, love, and respect, sacred relationships require a few essential elements to maintain. At the top of the list was privacy.

People used to protect their relationship from the influence and opinions of the outside world. Times have changed.

In a society driven by cyber interactions, social media has quickly become a personal diary for many. A virtual container for our emotions, memories, and experiences, social media preserves the most precious moments of our lives. Valuable when used in moderation, the medium keeps us connected to our friends and loved ones. When abused, social media can be a stage for humiliation, exploitation, and shame.

One bad social media encounter can quickly show you that not everything needs to be shared with the World Wide Web. While social media is rapidly transforming into the primary communication source for this generation, the idea that what goes on inside of your home stays inside of your home is one rule that should still reign true, especially as it pertains to your love life.

Love is inspiring and it’s perfectly fine to share your admiration for your partner, but mindfulness is imperative. You don’t have to keep your relationship secret, but here’s why it’s important to maintain some privacy.

1) You open yourself up to the opinions of others.

How quickly we forget the lessons learned in childhood. Chances are if you grew up with African American parents, you were told to keep family business out of the streets. Our parents and grandparents knew the consequences of speaking too loosely about family affairs. By discussing your issues with outsiders, you open yourself up to the opinions of others.

If You Have Broken Up with Your Partner, Can You Get Those Feelings Back?

Is it really over?

Good news: You can rekindle love.

Researchers call it “love regulation.” A new study by psychologists at the University of Missouri—St. Louis and Erasmus University Rotterdam found that people can use thoughts to increase how much they love someone. People can also willfully decrease love, say after a breakup.

In the study, published in August in the journal PLOS One, 40 participants—half of whom were in a romantic relationship and half of whom had recently broken up with a partner—each brought 30 pictures of their beloved into a lab. First, they were instructed to look at the pictures while thinking positive thoughts about their partner, the relationship and their future together. Then, they were instructed to look at the pictures again and think negative thoughts about their partner, the relationship and their future.

Before they started and after each task, the participants were asked how attached to and infatuated with their partner they felt. Researchers also measured their brain waves, homing in on the Late Positive Potential Brainwave, which becomes stronger when people focus on something they find emotionally relevant.

When the participants had positive thoughts while looking at the pictures, they were able to “up regulate” their love—they reported feeling more attached to their partner, the researchers found. And their LPP Brainwave was stronger. When the participants had negative thoughts they “down regulated” their love, reporting less attachment and infatuation. The people in a relationship also had weaker LPP Brainwaves.

“People think they can’t control love so they might not even try,” says Sandra Langeslag, lead researcher on the study and assistant professor in the department of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri—St. Louis. “But this study shows you that you can.”

Psychologists are mixed on whether love is an emotion. Like emotions, it is complex and produces physiological and psychological changes. But it isn’t fleeting and doesn’t have a clear trigger as do anger or joy. Love may be more like a mixture of other feelings, some say.

People often feel like love is something that happens to them rather than something they can influence. It is true we can’t control love, as “control implies suppressing it and being king or queen of it,” says Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of “Emotional Agility.” But we can, and do, shape and manage our emotions every day, and love is no different, Dr. David says.

Love in Control

To regulate love, we need to use cognitive and behavioral tactics early and often:

    • Think positive thoughts.Focus on what you like about your partner and the relationship. Imagine happy future scenarios, such as dancing at your child’s wedding. And write these things down. Research shows that people who write about loving their partner improve their relationship.
    • Make small tweaks.Hug goodbye in the morning; greet your partner warmly when you come home; listen when he or she talks. Engaging with your partner is an antidote to apathy and complacency, which kill love.
    • Smile at your partner.Smiling produces neural messaging in your brain that makes you happier. Some studies have shown that when we smile our facial muscles contract, which slightly distorts the shape of the thin facial bones. This leads to an increase in blood flow into the frontal lobes of the brain and the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine. And when we smile at someone, that person tends to smile back. So we’ve created a feel-good loop.
    • Have sex.Even if neither of you really feels like it, advises Nando Pelusi, a clinical psychologist in New York. It too releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, including oxytocin, the bonding hormone. You can actually be more attracted and attractive to your partner after sex.
  • Broaden your perspective.You see your partner a certain way. But how do others see him or her? Psychologists employ an “empty chair” exercise to help clients imagine having a conversation with another person. Envision your partner’s best friend or mother sitting in a chair across from you. What would that person say your partner’s best qualities are? Why does he or she love your partner? “We get consumed by focusing on what someone didn’t do, by the qualities a person lacks,” says Dr. David. “This helps us flip the focus.”
  • Let it go.We all have the proverbial sock on the floor—the seemingly small thing our partner does that comes to represent everything wrong in the relationship. Dr. David suggests reminding yourself it is just a sock. Try to pick it up without resentment. This applies to any pet peeve you have about your partner. Your spouse didn’t leave the sock on the floor because he doesn’t love you. He’s just messy. “If he ever weren’t alive, you’d do anything to have that sock back on the floor,” Dr. David says. Remember that.
  • Try new things together. Research shows that when romantic partners try something new together they feel more attracted to each other. So explore a new part of town or take up a new hobby jointly. Bonus tip: The more exciting the new thing is—the more adrenaline producing—the more attracted you will be.
  • Ask questions. When people first meet, they talk nonstop. And researchers have learned they can foster intimacy, and even love, between two strangers simply by having them answer a set of questions that gradually become more intimate. Start talking about your hopes and dreams again. Ask each other what you’d each eat for a last meal, where you want to go before you die, what time of life were you happiest.

Curated by Timothy
Original Article

8 Adult Ways to Help You Break Up — That Won’t Make Them Hate You

Ready to be single again? Sure, we’ve all been there. The problem is: you’re also an adult. An adult who respects yourself. And you can’t just ghost someone, make a scene or even push him away. Maybe you’ve been there or had too much therapy or respect other humans in a way that makes you, my friend a good person.

If this is you, here are eight kindly ways to breakup with him or her that will make them respect you in a way that your actions truly warrant!

1.Be honest.

You must be honest with the person. But you certainly don’t have to be a brutal about it. If you don’t feel you have enough in common, tell him or her that. If his hygiene isn’t great or she’s a mess , tell them. If you think he’s a closet racist,, perhaps tell the person you don’t have enough in common.

The more honest you are with your soon-to-be ex, the more you’ll be able to help them move on.

2. Write down your thoughts.

Things can get heated during a break-up conversation. It’s important to stay focused and not be swayed by words or emotion. If you feel you can be swayed, it’s not really a break up talk at all. Writing things down will help you find some clarity and make sure you articulate what you need to in the charged arena of “the talk.”

Couple Drifting Apart

3. Ask questions.

While it’s important to stick to your points about your own thoughts and feelings, it’s equally important that you’re giving your partner the floor to express their feelings. After all, it’s a dialogue, not a monologue.

Questions like “how are you feeling right now?” “Are you okay?” and “Do you understand?” are all incredibly important pieces of the breakup puzzle in order that you be adult and mature in cutting ties. Then listen, because he or she will know if you’re not. Give your significant other time to talk it out to illustrate you truly respect his or her role in your life.

Even if the romantic portion of your relationship is over, it doesn’t mean the respect is gone.

4. Come prepared and have a game plan.

How do you see this thing going? Everyone is different, so remember, based on who your soon-to-be-ex is, make sure you go over best and worst case scenarios to prepare.

Do you think he’ll never want to see you again? If so, bring his stuff. Do you think he’ll want to remain friends? Then invite him to an event or show that you might be participating in.

It’s also important to know how you feel as you proceed, and be prepared if it doesn’t go your way. If it gets to long, for example, say you have to be somewhere. Don’t ever lose control in the wake of a breakup. it’ll be easier on both of you if you maintain some control over the event.

5. Ask how he would like to proceed.

As important as it is for you to have a game plan, it’s also crucial that you ask your ex how they see your future interactions going. Does he want to be friends? Have some space? Never see you again?

That’s his or her prerogative, and even if it’s not what you want, you must respect what they need. After all, you’re breaking up with them, so they might feel vulnerable and feel you’re at an advantage.. He or she gets to decide how he wants to move past the initial shock and beyond.

Couple breaking up

6. Be generous with your time and possessions.

It’s not all fair in love and war.. Since you’re doing the breakup, it’s incredibly important that you are willing a couple on the chin in the spirit of being kind (see #8). That’s what maturity is all about!

It means you might have to let them use your Netflix for a few more more months, or give him back your favorite sweatshirt you love. Whatever it is, it’s very important to let your ex decide on the possessions/conscious uncoupling. That way he or she can feel like is being treated with dignity and respect.

7. Create boundaries that work for both of you.

I’ve talked about communication and honesty, but it’s also very important to have boundaries so all those good things can be upheld. Boundaries are the break-up skeleton. Without it, the thing could fall apart after a few drinks or a lonely night.

Establish ground rules about communication and friends, and when in doubt, assume you won’t hang out with a fun mutual friend if you aren’t sure you should.

Be kind and give your ex some space. Don’t post something about dating on Facebook right away if you’re still connected. If you must, make a special friend group so he or she won’t see. In an age where everything can be shared, it’s important to try and be disciplined about it.

If there is something you read or see that reminds you of your ex, try and restrain yourself for their sake. Give your ex some time and err on the side of maturity.

8. Be kind.

Remember, you started dating this person for a reason, and I hope part of that reason was that they were pretty rad. Be kind to someone you’ve had fun and intimate moments with. Even if she or if he was a jerk, part of being a grown-up is being kind to people who may not necessarily deserve it. In the spirit of an adult breakup, I implore you to be kind.

Breakups are awful and we’ve probably all been there Chances are, you’ll probably be there again, so get some karmic cred by keepin’ it kind.

Read more stories like this such as, The Reasons Why Men Suffer More After a BreakupGood Times to Connect With Your Ex, and If You Have Broken Up with Your Partner, Can You Get Those Feelings Back?