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How to Fix a Broken Heart

Breaking up is never easy, but there are ways to make it more bearable.
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Reasons Hearts May Break continued...

Cirillo says she agrees, but adds that if the reason for the breakup is that the person is physically or emotionally abusive, you should be the dumper for sure. "Mutual agreement is best," she says. "Each person should feel he or she got something from the relationship." But, she adds, "The dumpee can usually negotiate more and get more from the breakup."

Savage says that your past history and age can be a gauge of how much a breakup hurts and how long the recovery period will be. "Hurts stockpile over the years," she says. "You feel victimized if you are the dumpee," she adds. "It hurts more if you are the victim."

But, "Just because two people can't get along, Cirillo says, "doesn't mean there is anything wrong with either of them."

How to Cope

"When a relationship ends, it is a death of sorts," Reishus reminds us. "You need to be gentle with yourself. Gather all the insights you can: What would you do differently next time?"

Brothers thinks the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) do come into play but that these can be switched around or some stages skipped.

"These stages don't cut in so slickly," Savage concurs. "Some people stay in anger for years."

After all, you cannot bring a deceased person back to life, but you do have the option of finding another "body" right away after a breakup. "Men replace, women grieve," sums up Cirillo, although she does not recommend this jump-back-in-the-pool approach.

"Don't jump on the Internet the next day," sighs Savage. "Let it be for awhile. "You have to be able to put it in some context, say good-bye and move on."

Some approaches:

  • Music. Aids thinking. "Your song" as a couple is not recommended.
  • Writing or journaling. Savage says for some this might sound like an assignment, for others a release. Some people even take to poetry.
  • Sharing with others. "Hearing yourself say the words out loud can be a help." Savage says. "If you are suffering all the old hurts all over again, you must not have taken care of them at the time." As for the advice of friends, you need to let them know what comments are helpful and what are not. "If a friend says, 'He didn't deserve you' or 'I always thought she was a witch,' it means they weren't honest at the time. No one knows what goes on between two people. Such comments are usually not helpful. You can say, 'That isn't helping.'" Cirillo also says each half of the couple has to accept half the blame when talking about the breakup.
  • Get out. Call someone and go to a movie, Savage advises.
  • Touch. Replace sex with massages.

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