How do you deal with loneliness after breaking up? Need help overcoming feeling lonely after a breakup?
The feeling of profound loneliness and depression after the end of romantic relationships is familiar to many of us. And the stronger our emotional bonds with the other person, the more agony we have after we break up.
This experience of isolation, emptiness, separation, and loneliness can impact your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Especially, if you went from living together to now living alone. Even worse if you feel like you have no friends or family to support you at this time.
In this newfound single life, you have to allow yourself time to grieve and heal. You can’t force the process, you can’t skip the steps to mentally recovering from a bad breakup.
In this regard, we can even compare the pain of loneliness with rehabilitation from drug addiction. Going from spending time in love with a partner, to all this silent time in loneliness can feel like withdrawal.
Simply put, it takes time to get over. And to help you recover, we’ll provide you with some advice on the best ways you can deal with feeling lonely after a breakup.
Is It Normal to Feel Lonely After a Breakup?
Feeling empty after a breakup is perfectly normal for emotionally healthy human beings. And whether it was you who ended the relationship or it was a collective decision, you will still find it challenging to cope with the stress.
Additionally, guilt and doubt about your decision will accompany you many more days and nights. And if you were against the decision to separate, it would be twice as hard for you to come around.
Roughly, people feeling lonely after a breakup can be divided into groups with different behavior – victims and aggressors.
- Common feelings in the first group are resentment, confusion, and discouragement.
- The second group of people becomes bitter, irritated, and vengeful.
Each type of behavior is normal if it lasts for a short period and then slowly returns to the usual one. Eventually, most people recover from loneliness. It just takes more time for some individuals than for others.
Is Feeling Lonely After a Breakup Good or Bad for Us?
Many people get nervous if they must be alone for a long time. Nonetheless, sometimes it is helpful for the psyche and restoration of emotional balance.
For example, being alone will help you reinvent your identity if you have adopted your partner’s worldview during a relationship and sacrificed your beliefs. So you might benefit from temporary loneliness and learn to listen to yourself before anyone else.
Staying alone also helps regulate emotions, eliminate negative ones, and calm down, according to the 2017 study on solitude and self-regulation.
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Other perks of staying alone for some time include:
- an opportunity to organize thoughts
- more time for recreation and hobbies
- rest from other people’s opinions and rules
- fewer responsibilities
- more freedom to plan whatever you want
So, you see – loneliness is not always an absolute evil. Instead, take it as an opportunity to look at yourself and your life more broadly. Give yourself the opportunity to take a personal growth journey in this time. Imagine looking back on this saying that, “after we broke up, I found myself.”.
How Long Does It Take To Mentally Recover From a Breakup?
A breakup is a harrowing event for both parties. However, the severity of the consequences for the mental state depends on many things:
- the initiator of the breakup
- the number of years the couple was together
- the emotional connection between the partners
Let’s consider the physiological side of the issue. When people break up, their body experiences a severe shock caused by stress hormones. Our adrenal glands produce them in response to strong negative emotions. So, for some time after separation, you may experience anxiety and dissatisfaction.
And the longer these emotions occupy your brain, the faster your body will wear out, leading to depression and apathy. These conditions are challenging to treat over a short time.
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Different studies, such as a 2007 survey on distress levels after romantic breakups, suggest that the recovery period lasts 10-11 weeks on average.
Naturally, the healing rate depends on many factors. And one of them is gender. So let’s look at this factor closer.
Do Guys Feel Lonely After a Breakup?
Contrary to what most people believe, women are not the only ones feeling lonely after a breakup. Yet, it might look otherwise, mainly because men are prone to more active ways of dealing with the end of romantic relationships, such as partying, promiscuous sexual connections, and substance abuse.
From the first look, a man’s behavior may not explicitly reflect the fact that he broke up with his wife or girlfriend. A man can treat the breakup as liberation from relationships that have already outlived themselves. So at first, men may even see a breakup as a new opportunity and perspective.
But after a while, a man may feel empty as he realizes he has lost a loved one. He understands that short-term relationships with other women do not give him the comfort and emotional connection he had with his partner. It is especially true for relationships that have lasted for many years.
There is another completely opposite reaction. A man might become too scared to start the next relationship if the breakup was traumatic. He fears the situation will repeat itself, so he avoids creating new bonds. Some men continue to live all alone, fearing that a new partner will cheat and lie.
How Do Women Cope With a Breakup?
Women are more emotional than men and experience a broader range of negative emotions, feeling lonely months after a breakup. In addition, they must deal with public opinion, where they receive the label of the “abandoned woman” while men return to bachelor status.
If the initiator of the breakup is a man, the woman will develop intense feelings of uselessness and loneliness. In addition, she may blame herself for what happened, which reduces her self-esteem and motivation to seek a new partner.
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Consequently, women develop two polar fears: getting into a new relationship and remaining alone for the rest of their lives. The latter is stronger because they worry about growing old all alone more than men. As a result, it makes them even more insecure than before.
Over time, however, a woman begins to find the advantages of her position and realizes she has more free time for rest and care for herself. So, while a woman feeling lonely after a breakup eventually improves, the man may move on a downward trajectory from euphoria to devastation.
How to Deal With the Feeling of Loneliness After a Breakup?
There is no universal way to deal with a breakup, but almost every person has a recipe for healing from heartache based on personal experience. Each case is strictly individual,
and applying the same pattern in different situations is impossible. But you can explore and use some of them that appeal to you the most.
Below you will find some tips to stop feeling lonely after a breakup and not get depressed. Here’s what you should do to improve yourself after a breakup:
#1. Let Go of Negative Feelings and Emotions
If you decide that hard work or study will help you cope with feelings of loneliness, don’t rush to become a workaholic. First of all, you need to let off steam.
Parting with a loved one can be figuratively compared to an illness, the treatment of which should take some time. So, cry into your pillow or on a friend’s shoulder, watch a tearful movie, or listen to the music of your choice. If crying is not an option, go to the gym or choose any other physical activity.
If you try to distract yourself with various activities before you get rid of negative emotions, they will constantly accumulate and cause more severe suffering.
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#2. Work on Improving Your Self-esteem
Feeling lonely after a breakup can lower your self-esteem. You begin doubting your attractiveness, but at the same time, you try to prove to others that you are worth something. All these scary thoughts make you vulnerable. So, you rush into a new relationship with the wrong person and feel even worse than before.
You need to understand that the fear of being alone is often irrational. If one partner does not suit you, it does not mean no one will. Thus, rewire your thoughts to the fact that you will definitely meet the right person and build a new, more satisfying relationship very soon. Even if it seems a lie at first, you’ll get used to the thought and overcome loneliness more easily.
#3. Throw Away All Things That Remind You of Your Ex
How can you stop feeling lonely after a breakup if every little thing reminds you of your ex? There’s no way to recover until you get rid of them. Return or throw away all things (clothing, photographs, etc.) and gifts that remind you of past relationships and drive you into depression.
It’s a good idea to delete all messages from your ex-partner and throw out other things that cause negative emotions. Don’t forget to cleanse your social media accounts, unfriend or unfollow your ex-partner, and consider hiding or deleting photos of you together to avoid being triggered.
#4. Look for Sources of Positivity Every Day
Love truly makes miracles with a person’s mind and soul. As long as we love someone and are loved, it is easier to cope with daily difficulties. But as soon as our romantic relationship collapses, the world around us becomes gray and meaningless. And there is nothing or no one around to fill the void in our souls.
Changes bring fear and sometimes cause depression and acute loneliness. Therefore, try to fill every day with positive emotions. For example, donate to charity, help a friend renovate the garage, or do any other good deed. It will help you distract from sad thoughts and cheer you up.
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#5. Rethink Your Plans for the Future
Remember, when you were a couple, you had to plan for the future by considering both parties’ opinions. Perhaps you had the idea to travel together; now, it is not destined to happen. Feeling lonely after a breakup is often associated with such outdated plans.
Thus, it’s time to rewrite a scenario for the future and cross out your ex from all planned activities. Even more, forget about ideas you used to have and be bold in your dreams.
Having tried something new, you’ll soon realize that when your relationship ends, it doesn’t mark the end of the world but only another life stage. And it will be as positive as you let it.
#6. Do Not Dwell on the Problem for Too Long
Accept the breakup and your feelings, and don’t focus too much on them. Also, try not to conflict with your ex and be neutral about them, whether in your thoughts or when you meet.
If you stop analyzing and overthinking your past as a couple, it will be easier for you to stop feeling lonely after a breakup. Think of loneliness as a short break in your romantic life or as temporary difficulties that will end sooner or later. Remember that getting through this emotional turmoil is just another step towards changing your life for the better.
#7. Spend Time with Friendly People
If you have an exciting job, good-natured colleagues, true friends, and a loving family, the absence of a romantic partner won’t be so frustrating. Support of your nearest and dearest means a lot for your mental state, so reach for it whenever you feel down.
What if you don’t have many good acquaintances and your family lives far away? Then, feeling lonely after a breakup with no friends might become a problem. In this case, try meeting new like-minded people and attending social events, concerts, etc. You’ll definitely find someone in a friendly crowd of people.
You could even join a support group for singles or divorcees. No matter where you live, from New York to New Delhi, there are so many ways to meet new people and make friends.
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What You Shouldn’t Do After Breakup:
#1. Blame Yourself
A widespread mistake that many people make is blaming themselves for the breakup. If you spend hours and days trying to understand why your loved one has left you, you’ll never get better. So don’t take full responsibility for what happened and stop looking for flaws in yourself that might have pushed your partner away.
If you manage to avoid unfair self-criticism, you’ll have the opportunity to learn important lessons that will become the basis for future growth and improvement.
#2. Generalization of Negative Qualities
Another dangerous mistake is to generalize the characters of people and situations. So, analyze your thoughts. For example, has there been a time recently when it seemed to you that all men or women are the same and cannot be trusted? Or maybe you have the idea in your head that you are too old/fat/unattractive and will not be able to find a decent partner.
Such beliefs give you a reason to avoid new acquaintances, eliminating the risk that someone will break your heart. However, this tactic will definitely not help you stop feeling lonely after a breakup.
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Any breakup is a life lesson. Left alone, you can regain your independence and redefine your goals and plans for the future. But your main task is to stop regretting the past. So, enjoy every day, gain new experiences, and meet new people.
Printable Self-Love Quotes
This download comes with high-resolution, graphic quotes that are ready to print and post in your home or office.
If you radiate optimism and confidence, you will attract the right partner into your life faster.
In the meantime, love yourself during this time.Wondering, is it normal to feel empty after a breakup and how long will it last? Click here for how to move on from feeling lonely after breakup by @Online_Divorce_. #BreakUp #RelationshipAdvice #Single #BreakUp #Lonely
How do you stop feeling lonely after breakup?
More About Guest Contributor
Natalie Maximets is a certified life transformation & relationship coach and a freelance writer at OnlineDivorce.com with expertise in mindfulness, sustainability, and building healthy relationships. She is a published author focused on the most progressive solutions in the field of Psychology. Natalie is proficient in CBT, REBT, Trauma Recovery, Mindfulness Meditation, Storytelling, and Wilderness Therapy.
Last Updated on October 12, 2022