Relationship breakup is an issue that often comes up in my therapy sessions with patients. Breakups—whether it be a brief courtship, a long dating relationship, a committed marriage—can bring on a mix of emotions that may fluctuate. But somewhere, somehow, many of us have internalized this notion that life events should be experienced one emotion at a time, and that it’s not okay to feel conflicted. In reality, having mixed emotions after a breakup is normal and part of being human with intricate parts.
Even in cases where there may be a firm intellectual belief or acceptance that the relationship needed to end, breakups can bring about a grieving process, a sense of mourning and emptiness. And just like any type of loss, it varies from person to person in how long it takes to move forward from the breakup. You may feel sad, angry, confused, betrayed, lonely, but you also may feel relieved, empowered, or even fortunate. It’s okay to be all-over-the-place. As time goes on, if you find that you continue to be stuck, it may be helpful to reach out to a therapist for help to work it through. Therapy can help you mourn what was lost, regenerate who you are, and feel supported in making present and future choices in your life.