Romantic relationship breakups are a huge stressor and an emotionally painful experience most people go through at least a couple times in their lives. The act of analyzing and reflecting on the relationship is a way of coping. It’s important to reflect back on the relationship and allow yourself to feel everything you want to feel. This period of reflection about who you were as a person when you were with that person or why you broke up is perfectly healthy. Avoiding those feelings and not allowing yourself to dwell on the details can really prevent you from quickly moving on. Perhaps it’s binging on rom coms, spilling your guts to your best friend, or meeting with a therapist and/or dating coach to help you move on. We are only human. A recent study published in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science (Study of Breakup Recovery) investigated whether consistent discussion about the breakup helped with recovery. The participants were young adults who have been through a non-marital breakup within the past six months. Researchers had two groups; one group of participants reflected on the breakup through interviews with researchers and privately spoke about their relationship through a voice recorder, the other group just completed questionnaires before and after the study.
The researchers found that the sample of participants who had reflected more on their relationship and the breakup felt better by the end of the study. Some people think that dwelling on the details of a breakup prevents you from moving on or letting go, but reflecting on the breakup was found to be quite the coping strategy. The researchers found that the group who felt better by the end of the study was due to reflecting on their “self-concept,” who they are outside of that relationship. So focusing on who you are apart from a couple should empower you to feel better.
If you have recently gone through a breakup I suggest you consider why you broke up and what you want your next relationship to look like. Imagine all the possibilities.