This post is about coping with a particular feeling you may experience after a breakup. Whether you’ve ended a long-term relationship, a month-long dating “thing”, or even a weekend fling - the breakup and heartbreak they leave you with suck. It’s not uncommon to feel a wide spectrum of emotions: relief, disbelief, joy, anger, and certainly not least of all: disappointment.
Disappointment creeps up on you.
Once you manage to come to terms with your situation it makes its move. You realize that the things you had hoped for are less likely to come true than you might have thought - or the recognition that the person you loved is not capable of providing for your needs. You become disappointment at the person you thought you knew, you’re disappointment at yourself for thinking everything was going right, and worse, you feel disappointment about being alone.
Now you’re faced with the sticky, gross, emotional gunk of disappointment.
Sound familiar? We have you covered.
We’ve collected proven methods to help you accelerate the healing process and cope with your disappointment in a healthy way:
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You must express your feelings right way, and to the right people. FEEL your feelings. Let it out! Cry it out! Draw, write, sing, dance, paint, speak, rap, etc- whatever you are feeling in your body is valid just because you feel it. Avoid labeling your emotions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and acknowledge that they just ‘are’. Journaling is an excellent and effective way to create a safe space for your emotional journey - not only does it let you vent, but you can go back and re-read the situation in your own words, which can provide meaningful opportunities for reflection and growth going forward.
If the breakup involved an emotional exchange, chances are your ex isn’t ready to hear from you anyway, and it might lead to more disappointment if you don’t get a reply. Also, DON’T blast your ex online or air dirty laundry from the relationship or breakup. It’s an immature, unbecoming, and ineffective tactic - and more often than not, it won't turn people to “your side”, it will just give the impression that you are willing to spill the beans after a breakup, which can impact your friendships and your potential future relationships.
Lean on your social support network and seek out interactions with people who will leave you feeling more positive - or if nothing else, neutral. Avoid interactions that leave you feeling drained or frustrated. If needed, talk with a professional (like a therapist or relationship coach) to get an unbiased, informed perspective.
Instead of wallowing in disappointment or sadness, dedicate time to pursuing hobbies, furthering your education or career goals, or spending time with friends, family, and pets. Post-breakup, you might have a lot of extra free time on your hands, which is the perfect excuse to get back to (or start!) healthy habits like regular exercise, playing sports, or interacting socially. Allow yourself a set amount of time (20-30 minutes) for ‘feeling bad’ every day, or every week. Then, spend the rest of your time taking care of you! Nurture your body and your mind, and your spirit and heart will follow.
These are habits, activities, or substances that allow you to avoid the negative feelings of disappointment after your break up. They can look different for every person - it might be drinking too much, excessive shopping, spacing out with video games or binging television series online - anything that keeps you numb and allows you to ‘check out’ of your emotions doesn’t help you - in fact, it just delays the inevitable moment that you’ll have to face the disappointment you feel. If you allow things to silently snowball in the background while you’re distracted, it can hit you all at once- which might make navigating it 10x harder.
Strong feelings of disappointment after a breakup are a signal of becoming over-invested in the person, their potential, or the ‘dream’ that you previously developed. Just like grieving a loved one, breaking up and moving forward is a process with progress that isn’t always linear. You’ll have to allow yourself to accept the reality of your current situation, the end of the old relationship, before you can embrace the new potential that might be right around the corner. Frame this in your mind as an opportunity to grow, learn, and understand relationships more deeply. Practice forgiveness, patience, and respect toward others, but ultimately, toward yourself. Once you do these things, you can begin brushing yourself off and picking up the pieces. Adjust to your new normal, take a look at your surroundings, and set your sights on the next goal of your life - whether that will be with a partner or on your own.