Friday, July 1, 2011
Friday, October 23, 2009
So you want to do something special for your beloved, but you're stumped for ideas. Whether you want a gesture that's creative, outrageous, affordable, quick or classic, we've got the answer.
Looking for some fun ways to add romance to your relationship? Try these creative romance tips:
Give your lover a dozen roses -- and do it with a creative twist. Give eleven red roses and one white rose. Attach a note that reads: "In every bunch there's one who stands out -- and you are that one."
Fake a power outage at home. (Loosen the fuses or throw the breaker switches.) With no TV to tempt you . . . with no computer to occupy you . . . with no furnace to heat you . . . you pretty much have no choice but to get out the candles, huddle around the fireplace and be romantic!
Get your partner a wristwatch. Inscribe it with: "I always have time for you."
Attach a $100 bill to a Victoria's Secret catalog, along with a note to him saying, "You choose."
Identify that one pivotal event that brought the two of you together. Celebrate that event every year.
Practice even-day/odd-day romance: On even days it's your turn to be romantic, and on odd days it's your partner's turn.
Following a bubble bath you've prepared for her, wrap her in a towel that you've warmed up in the dryer.
Write your partner a love letter or poem on one sheet of paper. Glue it to thin cardboard, cut it up into puzzle-shaped pieces, then mail all the pieces. Or, mail one puzzle piece per day!
Remove all the paper strips (that say "Kisses" on them) from a couple hundred Hershey's Kisses. Fill a jewelry box with them. Wrap 'em up and present them to your partner. Write a certificate explaining that the slips are coupons redeemable for one kiss each.
Doesn't your partner deserve a trophy for being the "World's Best Lover"? Trophy shops have a wealth of ideas waiting for you. Just think of the romantic possibilities of plaques, medals, ribbons, nameplates, certificates and banners. And they all can be personalized, engraved, lettered or monogrammed.
To make a big impression, consider these outrageous romance tips:
Visit a karaoke bar and surprise your lover by getting up and singing "your song" to him/her.
Kidnap her! Blindfold her. Drive her around town until she's thoroughly lost. Then reveal your destination: Her favorite restaurant, or maybe a romantic inn.
Make a GIANT greeting card out of a big cardboard box, (such as the type used to pack a refrigerator).
Does your partner love M&M's? Fill a one-gallon glass jar with them as a gift.
Want to jazz up the presentation of a special meal? Buy a little hunk of dry ice from a local ice house. Put it in a bowl of water and place it on your serving tray. You'll create wondrous, billowing white clouds!
Call your partner from work, every-hour-on-the-hour, just to say "I love you."
Slow-dance at a restaurant -- when there's no music playing.
It's romantic -- but commonplace -- to eat dinner by candlelight. So here's a change of pace: Eat breakfast by candlelight.
Take your lover on a surprise two-week vacation to Paris.
Many couples have "His" and "Hers" matching towels, but here are some other ideas: "His" and "Hers" matching silk pajamas, motorcycles, T-shirts, overnight bags (have them packed at all times), jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween, rocking chairs, Porsches (millionaires need love, too), heart-shaped tattoos, Christmas tree ornaments, tennis rackets, beach towels.
Short on cash but big on love? Try these affordable romance tips:
Spend the entire day watching romantic movies.
If you'd like to spend a romantic summer night making wishes on falling stars, mark the second week in August on your calendar. The earth passes through the Perseid meteor belt around August 12 every year, which usually results in spectacular meteor showers for two to three nights.
Buy a lottery ticket. Give it to your partner with a little note attached: "I hit the jackpot when I married you!"
Pick flowers for your partner from the side of the road.
Write a short note to your lover that's spread out over several postcards, then mail the cards one at a time. You'll build anticipation for the romantic conclusion on the final postcard. (Maybe deliver that last one in person.)
If you're not much of a writer, create an audio love letter. Sit down with a tape recorder and just talk to her for ten minutes. Then giftwrap it and mail it to her.
Don't just go out to a movie on Saturday, like always. Call your partner from work on Wednesday and formally ask for a date.
Call a local radio station and request a special love song to be dedicated to your partner. Make sure he or she is listening!
Make a custom certificate for your lover. (You can get blank certificate forms at a stationery or paper store.) Here are some suggestions: A certificate "For Putting Up With Me Over the Years," an award for "The World's Best Wife," a ribbon "For Hugs & Kisses Above and Beyond the Call of Duty."
Mail your partner a Rolodex card with your name and number on it. Write on it: "Your instant resource for love. Call when lonely."
If you don't have as much time as you'd like for love, try these swift but sweet romance tips:
Write "I love you" on the bathroom mirror with a piece of soap.
Place a little love note or poem under the driver's-side windshield wiper of his or her car.
Every once in a while, kiss her hand with a flourish. Note: The proper way to kiss a woman's hand is to lower your lips to her hand. You don't raise her hand to your lips.
Have "your song" playing on the stereo when your partner returns home from work.
When out together in public, wink at your partner from across the room.
On your partner's birthday, send a thank-you card to his/her mother.
Unplug the TV. Put a note on the screen saying, "Turn me on instead."
Make a toast to one another every time you hold a wineglass. Make eye contact. Take turns making the toast. Whisper it.
Get the whole "family of products" in the fragrance of her favorite perfume (bath powder, soaps, cremes, candles, etc.)
Call your partner from work for no other reason than to say, "I love you."
Looking for a tried-and-true method for declaring your love? Consider these classic romance tips:
Spread rose petals all over the bedroom.
What could be more classic than a fine gold locket with your photo inside? (Maybe a photo of the two of you.)
Bring home one small, unexpected gift each week.
Write a classic, romantic, passionate, handwritten, heartfelt love letter. Most adults haven't written a love letter since high school. (Why not? Have we lost our youthful idealism, or have we just gotten lazy?)
When traveling, give your partner a bouquet of roses; one rose for each day that you'll be away. Attach a note that says something like this: "These three roses represent the three days I'll be away from you. They also symbolize the love, joy, and laughter we share together."
Say "I love you" at least three times a day.
Guys: Surprise her by performing one of her chores for her. (And not something easy like carrying the groceries in from the car, but something that requires some time and effort -- like cooking all the meals over a weekend, or cleaning the entire house.)
Ladies: Send him a letter sealed with a kiss. (Use your reddest lipstick.)
On your yearly romantic checklist, make plans for Valentine's Day -- well in advance!
He says he loves you in that dress, but should you believe him?
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, love's predictably on everyones minds. The topic of trust is an important factor in all matters of the heart -- and here's why. Men lie to women. Women lie to men. And most people agree that some lying is even necessary -- to avoid petty squabbles and to grease the wheels of a relationship.
But there are crucial differences in the lies women and men tell. A study by psychologist Bella M. DePaulo of the University of Virginia found that when women lie, they tend to focus on making others feel better -- such as the woman who tells her hostess that dinner is "simply delicious" even as she cringes with every mouthful.
At the heart of many men's lies, however, is the male ego. Men lie to build themselves up or to conceal something, DePaulo says. According to psychologist Michael Lewis in the book Lying and Deception in Everyday Life, men are more likely to lie to enhance themselves than women are.
But consistent lying -- even about minor matters -- can unglue a marriage. Women need to know what kind of lies to watch for, when to accept the lies and when to call a partner's bluff. Here, from my own experience and surveys, are some of the most common lies men tell women:
"Me? I graduated top of my class."
This is a classic case of the runaway male ego, designed to present a man in the best light and impress a woman. When the lies continue into marriage, it's not long before the truth will out.
Playwright Neil Simon recalls what happened after his first hit play, Come Blow Your Horn. Every morning he'd leave for his office, telling his wife he was writing his next play. In fact, Simon had become so engrossed in a dart game he'd devised that he had not written a word. "For two months I lied to Joan," he wrote later. "I told her the new play I was feverishly working on was coming along nicely."
Men have a hard time admitting failure. How our culture defines success is important to a man, so he assumes it's important to his partner.
Normally, as trust builds, a man drops these types of lies. If he doesn't, his spouse needs to be careful. A man who can't be honest about his failures -- at work or elsewhere -- may end up blaming his wife when the going gets tough in their marriage.
"Of course I like your friends!"
The lies to make a woman fall in love or stay in love account for many truth-stretchers. In one study, psychologist William Tooke and an assistant at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh asked 110 students at the university to look at 88 deceptive tactics -- such as inflating one's accomplishments and wearing designer clothes to appear wealthy -- and reveal how often they were used in their own relationships. Men were significantly more likely than women to use such deceptions.
A man I know told his girlfriend, "You're a great cook -- much better than my mother." In fact, his mother is a chef at a well-known New York restaurant. Fortunately for him, by the time his girlfriend discovered the truth -- when they dined at his mother's restaurant -- she was so in love that she forgave his overzealous compliment.
Women sometimes aren't as cautious as they should be when flattered. If a man insists that his wife's parents are wonderful, she should observe whether he actually wants to spend time with them. The same applies for her dog, her kids or anything else he says he's crazy about.
Ego-stroking statements that turn out to be total lies may be designed to cover up opposite feelings -- for instance, when a man says he values his wife's work but actually doesn't consider it important. Such lies can signal serious problems ahead, whether it's dealing with child care, vacation plans or career moves.
"Honey, you're the best."
One of the most lied-about subjects has to be sex. Perhaps that's because it's the area where we are most vulnerable. Here again men are likely to lie.
In the first rush of romance it makes sense for a man to engage in exaggerated praise of a woman's beauty and sexuality. But "you're the best" lies can paralyze a relationship.
A male colleague once confided to me that there were things he hated about his wife's lovemaking. But he couldn't bring them up because he'd spent years telling her she was "the greatest" in bed. By continually lying to her, he had placed real limitations on their love life -- and their marriage.
If a woman feels her man is holding back on his true sexual feelings, she needs to encourage him to be open. Talking about her own preferences is a good way to begin. Real intimacy depends on truth -- lovingly told -- especially in the bedroom.
"No, I can't call you. I don't even know where I'll be."
These are the sad lies, the ones he tells because he's falling out of love. The more quickly a woman seeks the truth behind these lies, the sooner she can remedy the relationship -- or, if necessary, end it. As one friend puts it, "I'd rather have the ax fall than slip down the endless slope of uncertainty and frustration."
A wife may not be sure that what her husband is saying means "the end." She should listen closely, not only to what he says, but also to how he says it. According to DePaulo, changes in voice can be significant. She has found that people's voices often get higher or shakier when they lie, and they are more likely to stumble over words.
"That dress isn't too tight. It looks great!"
By and large, these are the good lies -- the ones that show he cares. But kind lies can be too much of a good thing if a man habitually says only what his partner wants to hear. It sets the woman up for rude awakenings.
After all, if the dress she's wearing really is too tight, has he done her a favor? Far better is the tactful truth: "I usually love what you wear, honey, but it just doesn't look quite as good this time."
Of course, the woman has to mean it when she says she wants the truth. A woman once told sociologist Annette Lawson, "I made him swear always to tell the truth. I promised him I would never resent it, no matter how unbearable, how harsh, how cruel. How could he think I meant it?"
"They're downsizing at work. But don't worry. They won't get me."
Many men still feel paternalistic about the women they love, so they lie to spare them worry. But these lies can destroy the very sense of confidence that the man hoped to create. And they can make a woman feel she is not a respected partner in the relationship.
She can demand a halt to these lies only if she isn't engaging in them herself. One couple, both midlevel executives, were worried about losing their jobs, but neither wanted to worry the other. She waited until her husband was asleep to write job applications. He bought a second copy of the newspaper so he could circle employment ads. But the secrecy exacted a price. Eventually the wife began to wonder if her husband was having an affair.
Then one day the husband arrived ahead of schedule for an appointment with a headhunter. "There's another candidate with her now," the receptionist said. It was his wife.
Learning the truth helped the couple begin supporting instead of "protecting" each other. The burden lifted, and their marriage stayed on track. Incidentally, neither of them was fired.
"Sure, I'll mow the lawn -- as soon as this crick in my back goes away."
There are few things that trouble a man more than a woman's anger -- or nagging, as he calls it -- so he lies to avoid a scene. It is in "hassle-prevention lying" that men can demonstrate their greatest versatility.
"I'll take the kids to the park -- when the weather gets nicer," he says as he goes out the door with golf clubs. "I would have scrubbed the pots, but I couldn't find the scouring pads" -- never looking under the sink.
I know of a young man in New York City who forgot his girlfriend's birthday. When she confronted him, he claimed he'd planned a surprise all along. He grabbed the phone, called a home-shopping network and berated the representative for not sending the expensive gift he'd ordered. "If you can't do better than this, I'll tear up my membership card!" he shouted. Of course, the man didn't have a card and had never ordered a gift.
If hassle-prevention lies are occasional, the woman can ignore them. But if they form a pattern, she needs to look at what the real problems are.
In his book The Varnished Truth, David Nyberg, professor of education at State University of New York at Buffalo, states, "Occasionally there is a lot to lose by telling the truth, and something to be gained by not telling the truth." Still, it's important to remember that lies are at heart deceptions, and repeated deceptions destroy intimacy.
Real intimacy is only possible to the degree that we can be honest about what we are doing and feeling. When lying comes to predominate in a marriage, the relationship begins to deteriorate. A husband and wife can sense the trust erode, and feel their hearts growing colder.
The healing oxygen is truth. A woman who is hearing too many lies needs to have a serious discussion with her husband. She should stress she's ready to listen, and ask him to present his thoughts in a caring manner.
Men, for their part, need to develop the courage to drop the defense mechanisms that bolster their egos and pride, and search for true intimacy with their mates. Telling the truth to a spouse is the first step toward showing that love is more important than lies.
Growing up across the street from each other in Twin Falls, Idaho, Lisa Fry and Paula Turner never doubted their friendship would last forever. But after Fry married, moved to New York City and had a baby, her letters to Turner suddenly went unanswered. "Do you think I've somehow offended her?" Fry asked her husband.
Turner, meanwhile, had convinced herself she was no longer important to Fry. "She's got a family now," she told herself. "We're just too different to be close like before."
Finally, Fry summoned the courage to call her old friend. At first, the conversation was awkward, yet soon they both admitted that they missed each other. A month later, they got together and quickly fell into their old habit of laughing and sharing confidences.
"Thank goodness I finally took action," Fry says. "We both realized we were as important to each other as ever."
There are good reasons to cherish our friendships. Some years ago a public-opinion research firm, Roper Starch Worldwide, asked 2007 people to identify one or two things that said the most about themselves. Friends far outranked homes, jobs, clothes and cars.
"A well-established friendship carries a long history of experience and interaction that defines who we are and keeps us connected," says Donald Pannen, executive officer of the Western Psychological Association. "It is a heritage we should protect."
Ironically, says Brant R. Burleson, professor of communication at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., "the better friends you are, the more likely you'll face conflicts." And the outcome can be precisely what you don't want -- an end to the relationship.
The good news is that most troubled friendships can be mended. Here's what experts suggest:
Swallow your pride. It wasn't easy, but that's what Denise Moreland of Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii did when a friendship turned sour. For nearly four months, Moreland, 45, had watched over Nora Huizenga's two young daughters, who were living with their father on the base, while Huizenga, 40, completed training as a dental hygienist in Nevada. "I felt honored to be asked to step in," Moreland says.
When Huizenga returned at Christmas, Moreland recalls, "I had so much to tell her, but she never called." One daughter had a birthday party, but Moreland wasn't invited. "I felt like I'd been used," she says.
At first, Moreland vowed to avoid Huizenga. Then she decided to swallow her pride and let her friend know how she felt. Huizenga admitted that she'd been so worried about being separated from her family that she'd been blind to what her friend had done to help her. Today she says, "I would never have figured out what happened if Denise hadn't called me on it."
When a friend hurts you, your instinct is to protect yourself. But that makes it harder to patch up problems, explains William Wilmot, author of Relational Communication. "Most of us are relieved when differences are brought out in the open."
Consider Other Points of View
Apologize when you're wrong--even if you've also been wronged. No one should allow himself to be emotionally abused by anyone. But over the course of a friendship, even the best people make mistakes. "A relationship can grind to a standstill if the offender refuses to make the first move at reconciliation," Wilmot explains. "Under these circumstances, it may be best if the wronged person takes the initiative and apologizes -- for getting upset, for not understanding the friend's circumstances. When you apologize, give your friend the opportunity to admit that he'd screwed up."
That's what happened to a 29-year-old salesman from Deerfield, Ill., when a dispute over unpaid rent threatened his friendship with a college pal. Because the salesman and two roommates all signed the lease, each was responsible for the debt. After graduation, the salesman tried to cajole his friend into paying up. Finally, when the landlord threatened to sue for the arrears, the salesman called his friend, yelling, "This is no joke! You're ruining my credit."
Later he regretted his outburst. He knew his friend was not trying to hurt him -- he was just being irresponsible. "Even though my friend should have apologized first for the aggravation he had caused me, I shouldn't have lost my temper. I didn't want this to destroy our friendship," he says. When the salesman called to apologize, the friend admitted he was wrong. He apologized and paid the debt.
Experts agree that one of the worst things you can do when you're upset is to start a fight. "We don't think clearly when we're arguing," says Michael Lang, a professional mediator in Pittsburgh. Instead, says Lang, ask: "What's going on? This doesn't make sense."
See things from your friend's point of view. Sociologist Rebecca Adams of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Rosemary Blieszner, professor of gerontology and family studies at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, interviewed 53 adults who each had many friendships lasting decades. "We were curious how these people managed to sustain strong friendships for so long," says Blieszner.
Tolerance is key, the researchers learned. The subjects also didn't let problems get blown out of proportion. "It's surprising how often a dispute results from a simple misunderstanding," adds psychotherapist Anne Frenkel.
Jan Yager, author of Friendshifts: The Power of Friendship and How It Shapes Our Lives, recalls what happened after her father died and a close friend didn't attend the funeral. "I felt hurt and disappointed," she says.
Later Yager learned that her friend hadn't come to the service because she was still distraught over her own father's death. "My perspective changed entirely," says Yager. "Rather than feeling slighted, I empathized with her."
Accept that friendships change. A few years ago, Cindy Lawson, 34, of Chicago, and a close friend decided to co-host a friend's bridal shower. The two women agreed to share the work and the cost. Then the friend, an attorney, took a new, more demanding job. Total responsibility for the shower fell to Lawson.
On the Saturday of the shower, Lawson did all the party decorating, then prepared dinner for 35 guests. Her co-host did not arrive from her office until shortly before the event. Later her friend complained about the cost.
Lawson was furious. But deep down, she did not want to break off ties. The two women were in a book club together, had many common friends and enjoyed dinners out together with their husbands. Instead, Lawson decided to remain friends -- but not close friends.
"Friendships change as our needs and lifestyles change," Wilmot observes. "It's healthy to have a host of friends and to sometimes shift the status of one or another."
Making friends can sometimes seem easy, says Yager. The hard part is keeping the connections strong during the natural ups and downs that affect all relationships. Her suggestion: Consider friendship an honor and a gift, and worth the effort to treasure and nurture.
Table of Contents
1-Stages to mending a broken heart
2-What is Grief?
3-Three Pronged Emotions
4-How to Survive One Day at a Time
5-It is Okay to Mourn
6-Congratulate Yourself on Being Human
7-Surviving the Immediate Future
8-Can You Get Your Ex Back?
9-Can You Still Be Friends?
“And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend a broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.”
How do You Mend a Broken Heart
Stages to mending a broken heart
You didn’t fall in love overnight, and you definitely won’t fall out of love overnight. That is why we call the process of falling out of love “mending a broken heart.”
There are though several stages to mending a broken heart.
Stage 1: The Hurting Stage
First, there is the hurting stage. During this stage, the pain can feel so bad that you may want to die rather than experience it. People often try to drown their symptoms by drinking, taking drugs, or cutting themselves.
There are other, less severe symptoms as well. For instance, crying often accompanies the painful period after a break up.
Some people use this time to “stalk” their ex. Whether it is making midnight phone calls, millions of texts, or going over to their home to monitor their behavior, stalking is a way of keeping tabs on an ex.
Others lean on friends during this period. Good friends can give you the emotional support you need to move on.
During this initial period of hurting, it is important to develop strong coping skills. For instance, it is good to rekindle friendships that you didn’t have time for when the relationship was going strong.
Talking to other people about how they dealt with a break up is another excellent way to cope. Not only will you get survival strategies, it will confirm your belief that other people have gone through the same thing - and lived to tell the tale.
It is important at this stage of the game to think happy thoughts. Just remembering that there are pleasant things in the world will help you live through this tough stage in your life.
Finally, you should begin to focus on you. Breaking up means taking the “I” out of the “We.” So, now is a good time to begin looking at how you can meet your needs - especially the needs that were not met in the relationship itself.
Stage 2: Getting Even
The next stage of the break up is “getting even.” During this time, you want to repay your ex with all of the misery they doled out on you. Getting even is not a healthy phase of getting over a relationship, and you should do everything you can to minimize the time you spend in this place.
During this time, you may try to make your ex’s life a living hell. This can involve things like crank calling them dozens of times, sending them a computer virus, and threatening them. All of these are bad ideas. Not only can they get you in trouble within your own social group and potentially in trouble with the law, they also delay your own recovery.
Another way people try to get even after a break up is to enter into a rebound relationship. Some people try to replace their ex right away as a way of getting over the ex. These relationships almost always fail and a person is hurt a second time.
A more productive thing to do with your time is to finalize the end of the relationship. For instance, exchange all of the “things” that you have of the other’s. If there are “things” that you don’t necessarily need to exchange (i.e. his toothbrush), then throw them away. Get rid of any of the things that remind you of them.
And, as you reach the end of the “getting even” phase, you can begin to see the whole event as a learning experience. Maybe you have learned that there is a specific type of person that you want to avoid in the future. Maybe you have learned some things about yourself that will make you a better partner in the future.
Stage 3: Don’t Give a Damn
Eventually, you will reach the final stage which is not giving a damn. You will start to wonder what you saw in your ex in the first place. Perhaps you will always have a special place in your heart for your ex, but seeing them with someone else won’t be the end of the world. At this stage, it is possible to move back into a friendship relationship with your ex.
You will also be ready to move into a new relationship yourself. If you still have strong feelings (even negative ones) towards your ex, it’s a rebound relationship. But, if you don’t give a damn about them, you can develop strong positive feelings toward a new partner.
What is Grief?
The reason you feel so terrible after a break up is that you are going through a normal human emotional reaction known as grief. What is grief? Grief is the specific process of letting go of an attachment to a person.
When we think of grief, we usually associate it with the death of a loved one. But, sometimes, the grief is actually stronger with a break up. One woman’s first husband died suddenly. Some time later, she remarried and that relationship ended in divorce.
The woman related that the divorce was more emotionally devastating than the death of her husband. That’s because there was a normal mechanism for dealing with grief when someone dies, but when you break up with a person you loved, people tend to tell you to “get over it.” There’s no support for breaking up grief.
Whether the grief is over someone who died or over someone you lost through a break up, it goes through four stages.
4 Stages of Grief
Stage 1: Denial
The first stage of grief is denial. You may be saying to yourself “I can’t believe that he left me” or “I can’t believe that she likes him better.” These are normal reactions.
Stage 2: Anger
Next, you will move on to an acceptance of the situation that is infused with anger. You believe that the person has really broken your heart and you are angry with them for doing that.
Stage 3: Sadness
In time, you will be able to acknowledge your sadness without the strong emotional response of anger. During this time, you need to take care of yourself and your needs.
Stage 4: Acceptance
Finally, you will eventually be in a place where you can accept your loss. While you may still feel sad from time to time, you will move to a new place in your life where new relationships of all sorts begin to fill the void left when your ex dumped you.
You should know that there is not a linear progression of grief lessening. That means that some times you will feel grief more intensely than others and while it will gradually get better over time, there will be spikes of intense emotional pain. This is normal and if you are prepared for it, you will be able to handle it better.
The process of mourning is how we cope with grief. Mourning binds up the torn places where love was and gives you a chance to heal.
Three Pronged Emotions
There are three important parts of you that have to be addressed when you are getting over someone: the conscious mind, the unconscious mind, and the physical dimension.
You will probably be most aware of your conscious mind; after all, this is where you create meaning. This is the center of your thinking and awareness.
You have more control over your conscious mind than over the other two dimensions. When you have a negative thought, you can actively replace it with a positive thought. You can create a new positive reality if you really try.
That is not to say that it is easy to control your conscious mind. Only that it is possible.
The next level is your unconscious mind. This is the area of your brain that stores and runs the programs of automatic behavior. You don’t consciously think about breathing most of the time, your brain just runs the “breathe” program in the background while your conscious mind is dreaming of cupcakes (or revenge).
Your unconscious mind works by carrying out tasks without your deliberate intention. It does this through the mechanism of association.
That is why you will be calmly walking along a street and start crying for no apparent reason. Perhaps you see a discarded candy wrapper of your ex’s favorite candy. That makes an unconscious trigger to think about them. You may not have even processed the candy wrapper in your conscious mind, but your unconscious mind has started the grieve mechanism.
Dealing with the unconscious mind means reprogramming the circuits. For most people, this happens naturally over time. But, if you want to speed things along, you should try guided imagery, meditation, and prayer to reprogram your unconscious mind.
Finally, almost all intimate relationships have some level of physical contact, even if it is not a sexual relationship. You hold hands, kiss, and do other non-verbal affectionate communication.
If you had a sexual relationship, you will notice your ex’s absence even more as you are no longer having your sexual needs fulfilled.
How to Survive One Day at a Time
The most important day in surviving a break up is today. Get through today and tomorrow will be easier. Get through tomorrow and all of your tomorrows will be easier. The key is to survive one day at a time.
Although your relationship has ended, your life has not. In fact, you may have more time now to do the things you love.
There are several strategies you can employ to survive today.
One is to meditate. Another is to pray. In either case, you are using your mind to heal your heart.
Some people turn to food to help them get through the day. In moderation, this isn’t necessarily a bad idea.
Many people eat ice cream when they are depressed. This may be because of a chemical in the body known as ghrelin which increases your appetite when you are depressed. People are especially prone to eat ice cream when ghrelin is produced in the brain and stomach.
Others turn to chocolate. This may be because the chemicals in chocolate replicate the feeling in the brain of being in love. Chocolate’s key ingredient is phenylethylamine (PEA).
A non-calorie indulgence for people who are trying to heal a broken heart is herbal tea. Tea is soothing and warm. Herbal tea helps you to sleep, improves your immune system, and has a calming effect overall.
On the theme of indulgence, you might want to go out of your way to focus on you. Get a massage or a manicure. Treating your body to an indulgence may help you get over the physical nature of the relationship.
You should also look for a distraction. It’s a good time to read that thick novel that you have been saving for a rainy day. Getting into the plot of someone else’s life (even a fictional character) is good for getting over an ex.
Another distraction is to watch a movie. You don’t want to watch a romantic comedy or drama, but most other movies are good for the soul at this time.
Some people recommend watching a comedy which will encourage you to laugh again. Perhaps the sillier the movie, the better this strategy is.
Other people encourage you to watch a movie that will make you cry. Being prompted to cry at someone else’s sorrows may help you let out your own emotions for the first time. The tears could be cathartic.
A final distraction is shopping. For some people, the act of buying something new helps them get on with life. Remember that if you buy something on credit, you will be paying for it for a long time, so purchase responsibly.
It is Okay to Mourn
Grief requires mourning. Give yourself permission to get over the relationship. Call in sick to work if you need to.
Write a letter to your ex spilling out all of the hurt you have. It is okay for this letter to run pages and pages long. But don’t send it. Instead, when you have poured out your heart on paper, burn it. This will help you bring closure to the relationship.
You may also want to create a “divorce ceremony” to help you bring closure to the relationship. Just as the bride and groom take two separately lit candles and together light a unity candle to signify their new union at a wedding, you can create a divorce ceremony that signifies your new single state. Your ex may wish to join you in this ceremony or you can do it yourself.
Congratulate Yourself on Being Human
Part of being human is experiencing the hurts of everyday life. Life hurts - but there are great parts too. Acknowledging that there is both pain and joy in life will help you appreciate the human experience more.
You may want to develop a helpful mantra to help you get through this stage in your life. A mantra is a mind tool which is used like a barbell for the mind. You repeat a short phrase frequently to help you develop that mindset. You might say “I am a lovable person” to yourself with a great frequency - especially when you are feeling unlovable.
During this time, you should reach out to a close friend or family member for support. Your ex was a big part of your support system prior to the break up. Because they are no longer there, you need to strengthen the other facets of the support system you have in place.
You also need to remember what is good about you. Make a list of the things you offer a potential partner. If you are loving, giving, and an easy conversationalist, dwell on these things rather than the fact that your ex didn’t want you anymore.
Also, remember that it’s not always about you. Your ex had other things going on in their life that were independent of whatever you brought to the relationship. When they said “it’s not you, it’s me,” maybe it was.
Finally, honor how you are feeling. Don’t dismiss your emotions quickly just because they are uncomfortable. Part of being human is to have these hard emotions. They help you grow.
Surviving the Immediate Future!
Once you get past the initial shock of the break up, you will still have a period of mourning. During this time, you have to toughen up. While you may have been able to indulge your self for a short time, now it is time to adjust to the new reality.
Take good care of yourself. While having a pint of beer felt good right after the break up, developing good eating habits is important now. You should also be exercising regularly. The endorphins that your body produces when you exercise will help improve your mood.
Don’t be afraid to cry when the mood strikes you. You are going to have ups and downs. But, don’t give in to a chronic state of depression.
Forgive your ex. At some point, you will have to forgive your ex for breaking your heart. You will also have to forgive them for any actions they took during the relationship which hurt you. The longer you hold anger toward your ex, the longer it will be before you can exit the break up mentality.
You should also ask your ex for forgiveness for any of the hurt you caused in the relationship. This will allow you to cleanse.
Go out - even when you don’t feel like it. This can mean going out with your friends for social things. But it can also mean going out on dates with a new person. While you don’t want to enter into a hot and heavy rebound relationship, going out on dates will allow you to see yourself as an attractive catch. It will boost your self esteem at a time when you really need it. Go out on a date with someone you are not likely to fall in love with.
Socialize with your friends and reconnect with people who you have let go of. Many times, a relationship dominates our lives and our other friends get squeezed out without us even knowing it. Go through your address book or email list and find people you haven’t talked to in a few months. Set up a time to go out for coffee.
Take up a new hobby or interest. If you always wanted to try toll painting, take a class. If your ex was a couch potato but you like the great outdoors, join a hiking group. Not only will your new activity take up some of the time left vacant from the termination of the relationship, you will also have the chance to meet new people.
Think about getting out of town for a few days. The change in scenery could be good for your soul.
You can also get a new hairstyle or do a wardrobe makeover. You don’t have to consider your ex’s preferences any more. It may be a good time to reinvent yourself.
Remember that healing takes time. You are going to have good days and bad.
Figure out what you were supposed to have learned from the relationship and then apply that to your life in the future.
Finally, believe that your ex did you a favor in the long term when they called it off. Your true soul mate is still out there waiting for you.
In the long term, you will begin to compartmentalize the experience. Your ex will become just another boyfriend or girlfriend. That will be one part of your life, but you will have many other parts.
Can You Get Your Ex Back?
One of the big questions people have when they have been dumped is whether they can get their ex back. There are any number of tricks and techniques to use to ensnare your ex, but the question is whether you want to. Even if it hurts, is this a good time to let go and move on?
If you do decide you want your ex, there are three paths to take, only one of which is truly effective.
The one most people choose is to act needy. They write long letters to their ex pouring out their heart (and they actually send them rather than burn them which I suggested earlier.) They make midnight phone calls or send multiple text messages. They send friends as emissaries to “feel out” whether their ex would want them back.
This tends to be a turn off for many exes. They will feel hunted and go out of their way to shy away from you.
A second route is recommended by many of the “get your ex back” products and it involves playing games. Show up where they hang out and then talk to everyone but your ex. Flirt with your ex’s friends. Even date the best friend.
In the long run, these tricks cannot repair a broken relationship - even if they get your ex back short term.
If you really are determined to get your ex back, you need to take control of yourself. Become the person they fell in love with all over again. Do a makeover and take better care of yourself. It’s okay to start dating again because this will let them know that you are an attractive person to other people.
If you take control of yourself, there is some hope that they will fall in love with you again. You haven’t hounded your ex into coming back and you haven’t played any games. You’ve simply moved on with your life while being open to your ex maybe returning.
In this way, you can start to move on while leaving the door open which is probably the best way to leave things if you want to get your ex back.
Can You Still Be Friends?
One of the standard lines in a break up is “I just want to be friends.” Is it possible to just be friends with someone who you have previously had an intimate relationship with?
Although being friends after the split offers temporary relief, it may block the slow but necessary passage from loss to restoration of independence.
You need to give each other space to heal and to move on with life. If you see each other frequently, you may try to hold on to some thoughts of getting back together.
If you do want to be friends in the long run, give yourself some space in the short term. Take a 30 day “vacation” from each other. During this time, you should not have any contact with each other including phone calls, meetings, or emails. Go out of your way to not be present where the other one is.
If you do decide to remain friends after this 30 day period, the feeling must be mutual. If one person decides that they do not want to pursue a friendship, then it is not possible.
If you still want to be friends, there must be some ground rules. Understand the feelings each of you have for each other. You should also understand each of your motivations for wanting to stay in contact.
When you talk, ask neutral questions rather than emotionally laden ones. Avoid hurtful confrontations or questions.
You should also establish boundaries. For instance, how often do you want to see or call each other? What kinds of gifts are appropriate for the new friendship?
The best piece of advice I have for you is “this too shall pass.” No, it’s not easy. But, life isn’t easy. Instead, life is filled with sorrows and joys. Rejoice in the fact that you are human and that you will find your soul mate in the future.