Faith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith will use her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the often stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life. Her Conflict Coach column appears every two weeks.
Question: Do you know what happens when you’re in a bad relationship and a pandemic forces you to hole up together for a year?
It doesn’t always get better. More often, it gets worse. I haven’t read the stats but I imagine there are a lot of folks heading for a bad breakup. Do you have any advice on how to recover when a relationship ends?
Answer: There are times in your life when it will take all your strength to dig deep and keep going. One of those times is when a relationship ends.
Heartbreak affects you on so many levels. As well as the loss of your significant other comes a hard blow to your self-esteem, lifestyle and even how you go about your day. All those little nudges we carry out in the course of our lives, with texts, calls and time spent together, come to a screeching halt. It’s no wonder this is hard.
So how do you move forward from there?
You start with a firm resolution to pick yourself up while implementing these steps to rebuild the damaged parts of your life.
Talk to others
The first thing to do with any breakup is to break the silence. Rather than wallowing in agonized silence about what just happened, turn to your friends and family, and feel free to vent about the entire experience.
It’s good to get things out, especially with people who care about you and who can offer their perspective, as well as their support.
Get out and do stuff
Staying shut indoors is the worst thing you can do. Now is the time to force yourself to go out.
Taking up a new interest is a great way to stop from having too much time to think. Discover a new trail; take up snowshoeing or invest in a new outdoor activity.
Whatever you do, do it entirely for you.
You might not be in a place to make good decisions for a while. Take a step back before deciding anything important.
Ask yourself if you’re making a choice based on emotional reasons or logical ones. If this feels like an emotional decision, ask yourself which emotion is guiding you.
When in doubt, hold off and make the decision later.
Handle the social stuff
Social media is an awful place to be after a breakup.
Here’s where you want to pay attention to your friends list. Not everyone there is going to be supportive.
If you find you’re being blasted, stalked, bullied or otherwise bothered about this breakup, be firm in your response. Mute. Unfriend. Block. Even report people if you need to.
Worst case scenario?
Get off social media for a while.
Are you mad?
Why not take up a sport where you can burn off some steam? Punching bags are great, as is anything else intensely physical.
Take care of you
Practise self-care. Take time. Do what you need to feel better.
The time will come when you’re ready to go back into the world again but it doesn’t have to be today.
Pressing on, in this case, might simply mean surviving for a bit. And that’s ok.
Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. For interview requests, click here.