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It just kind of got worse, particularly because they moved on first and then got married! Super quickly! It was awful. And all my friends got invitations. The first step to helping someone with a breakup is acknowledging that the process is similar to, well, any other kind of loss.
Supporting somebody through that grieving process can be multi-faceted and sometimes a bit counter-intuitive. Not everybody needs the day-spa-and-red-lipstick treatment; sometimes giving them space, or filling their freezer with food, is the most helpful way to help a heartbroken friend move forward, therapists say. Feeling low after a breakup is very common; a study in PLoS One found that people who were heartbroken were likely to develop symptoms of depression. It can be hard to figure out how to help someone through a breakup without tripping over your words.
But that has a tendency to backfire. Silver Lining and using statements like "You get to be single now! This will be awesome! But I truly believe something exciting for you is on the other side of this. You might want to save this for the period when they have more time and space away from the initial hurt and pain, McBain says.
One way to provide some assistance? Blocking their ex on social media for them. So focusing on the good parts of the relationship — or at least not emphasizing the bad — may help your friend to adjust. If you live far apart, one of the best things you can do is to let your friend know you will help pay for their gas or ticket to visit you. If you're lucky enough to be in the same city, offering to take them on a daytrip over the weekend can also work. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that people who were novelty-seeking — as in, they actively looked for new things — were less likely to experience stress, anxiety, or depression.
If you live nearby, let them know your home is open for them to come and vent. If they need a couch to crash on for the night, or just to come over, you can also make it explicit that they aren't imposing. Of course, you have to set the boundaries that are right for you and the people you live withbut a place for them to escape can be very helpful. It can be tempting to get them back on the horse, so to speak, but it may end up being counter-productive, experts say. And Catchings adds that encouraging them into a rebound or a new relationship too quickly could make them feel rushed, or like their feelings are going unheard.
Take cues from your friend's responses, but text and call whenever you feel like it might be welcomed. If you're worried you're checking in too much, ask — but chances are, they appreciate the extra support. According to a study published in Families, Relationships and Societies inrelationship breakdowns can often challenge friendships, too, as everybody adjusts to the new dynamic.
And expect some zigzags. Some dates post-breakup will hurt a lot more than others: anniversaries, How to help someone through a breakup kisses, birthdays. If you live nearby enough, offer to help your friend redecorate their space, clear out their closet, get a haircut, or otherwise get their fresh start. A study published in Personal Relationships found that people who felt confused about their identity after a breakup had a harder time getting over it emotionally. Reinvention might give them more clarity about who they really are and what they love about themselves without their ex.
Not sure how to help your friend through a breakup? Sometimes the healthiest thing you can do, as a friend, is simply be the person who listens to all their painful feelings, while handing them fresh cups of tea. Nab a bunch of their favorite flowersqueue up a Spotify of their most-loved guilty tunes, and give them the recovery time they need. Online narratives of dealing with changes in friendship networks following relationship breakdown.
Families, Relationships and Societies, 8 3pp. Kuria, M. ISRN psychiatry, Li, W. How to help someone through a breakup in psychology11 Lukacs, V. Romantic breakups on Facebook: New scales for studying post-breakup behaviors, digital distress, and surveillance. Marchetti, I. Specificity and overlap of attention and memory biases in depression.
Journal of affective disorders, — Mason, A. Facing a breakup: Electromyographic responses moderate self-concept recovery following a romantic separation. Personal Relationships19 3— Rhoades, G. Breaking up is hard to do: the impact of unmarried relationship dissolution on mental health and life satisfaction.
Slotter, E. Who Am I Without You? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36 2— Verhallen, A. Romantic relationship breakup: An experimental model to study effects of stress on depression -like symptoms. PloS one14 5e This article was originally published on Dec. Updated: July 22, Originally Published: Dec. Here's a list of potential ideas on how to help a friend through a breakup. Remind Them They Haven't "Failed" Feeling low after a breakup is very common; a study in PLoS One found that people who were heartbroken were likely to develop symptoms of depression.How to help someone through a breakup
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The 7 things I did to get over a big breakup — and why research says they work