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How to Get Over a Severe Heartbreak

by Maura Banar

Individuals typically go through a process of grieving following a broken heart, regardless of whether there has been a physical loss. This process is as unique as the individual in terms of the length of time and the order of the stages of grief experienced. Severe heartbreak can prevent you from moving forward in your life. Yet, the process is both necessary for healing and to facilitate change in you as a person that you can carry into future relationships.

Reach out to your social supports, such as friends, family and coworkers. In "Relationship Breakup," Villanova University notes that coping with a severe heartbreak -- or any heartbreak for that matter -- is facilitated by the support and encouragement of the people around you. Even though you may not feel compelled to reach out for human contact after a particularly difficult breakup, making the effort to do so in small, emotionally manageable increments can be beneficial. Explain your hesitation to engage fully with your supports so that they are aware that you may not be the one carrying on conversations. Even if you have difficulty interacting verbally, the emotional benefit provided by social supports will affect your mood in a positive way.

Avoid contact or communication with your ex. Part of getting past the strong feelings caused when a relationship ends in heartbreak is removing yourself physically and emotionally from your ex. In the article "10 Tips to Survive a Break-up," Dr. Barton Goldsmith explains that it's important to detach from your previous relationship while avoiding being alone. Avoid common forms of communication with your ex, such as emails, texts and phone calls. At the same time, reach out and spend time with your social supports to distract yourself.

Express your feelings with your social supports or with a counselor or therapist. Processing strong feelings associated with a severe heartbreak means talking them through with people who are objective, nonjudgmental and supportive. In some cases, writing down your thoughts and feelings and using therapeutic techniques such as writing a letter of closure can help move you through the grieving process. Part of getting over a severe heartbreak includes discarding reminders of the relationship. If you aren't able to commit to destroying these items immediately, consider giving them to a friend or family member, out of your reach.

Pursue your life independently, including current interests and those that you have considered pursuing in the past. Now is the time to begin to live again. Make a list of activities and interests that you haven't had the time, money or encouragement to pursue. Choose one or several of these activities and ask a friend or family member to join you in exploring something new. Engaging in activities distracts you from the heartbreak, encourages higher levels of confidence and opens opportunities for you to expand your social circles.

About the Author

Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.

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