Breaking up with someone you love (or used to love) can be a challenging, heart-wrenching experience. Just knowing that you liked (or even loved) each other once is enough to make any breakup an emotional experience. And when you're the one who caused the breakup, it can be even harder and much more complicated. But why does it hurt so much? Since you made the breakup happen, shouldn't it hurt less? I'm guessing you're here because you want to learn how to get over a breakup you caused.
Even though you may have had your reasons for ending the relationship, it's actually quite common to feel heartbroken after a breakup that you initiated. Let's break down why this might be happening and how to cope with it.
Why Are You Heartbroken Over a Breakup You Caused?
So, exactly why do you feel heartbroken? Is it dumper's remorse? Or unresolved issues? Or perhaps it's a natural coping process that everyone has to go through? Let's look at what we know.
It's normal to feel pain after a breakup
It is perfectly normal to feel pain after a breakup—even if you were the one who caused it. It's the body's coping mechanism, and your body and mind will go through natural grief processes to deal with the relationship's loss.
The time you need to cope can vary depending on several factors. How serious was your relationship? How long were you together? And was the relationship rocky long before you called things off?
These factors can add to the time you need before you naturally move on. It helps to be patient, focus on self-care, and meet other women to facilitate recovery.
You may have had an unhealthy attachment style
That said, your heartbreak may be due to the attachment style you had during your relationship. In a 2016 study, scientists looked for the most common causes of lingering distress after a breakup, and the "fearful" and "dismissing" attachment styles were found to be strong causes.
What are attachment styles—particularly the fearful and dismissing types?
- You have a fearful attachment style when you want a relationship but fear rejection and deep commitment. You're also vulnerable to depression, negative emotions, and anxiety.
- You have a dismissing attachment style when you want a relationship, but you're afraid of (and even feel stifled by) emotional intimacy. You think you don't need others and try to be independent, which gets in the way of your love life.
If you relate to either of these attachment styles, it's likely a contributing reason to your current heartbreak.
You may have been betrayed
Betrayal is probably one of the worst hurts you can ever experience. You placed your trust in someone, only to have it utterly broken. It's like someone pulled the rug out from under you, and because of it, you feel like the victim of a serious crime.
In 2009, scientists studied breakup distress in 192 University students who had recently been in a breakup. They found betrayal—or, more specifically, the feeling of being betrayed—one of the leading causes of breakup distress.
Did she cheat on you? Did she lie to you about something important? Did you tell her something in confidence, only to spread your secret to others? If she betrayed your trust in such ways, it's likely that you're still not over the breakup even after you showed her the door.
The relationship may have been quite good
The same study found another leading cause of breakup distress: a higher rating of the relationship before breaking up. This is common for "first love" situations among young people, but older adults can also feel a sense of loss after leaving a good relationship.
Did your relationship start out really well with her and stay that way for a while... only to turn sour quickly, forcing you to end it? If this sounds like your situation, then it's another likely reason you're still bummed over the whole thing. It may have been a great relationship ruined by a shallow reason.
It's even worse if the breakup recently happened—such as only a few days or weeks ago. The sense of loss is much more significant in the beginning, so it's normal to feel heartbroken at this point.
You may be depressive
Lastly, the same study established depression as another significant cause of post-breakup heartache. Individuals with depression tend to feel more distraught after a breakup than those who don't suffer from it.
Here's the thing: The study covered individuals who broke up with their partners and those on the receiving end of the breakup. If you're a depressive individual and ended your relationship yourself, it's another contributing cause to the pain you're feeling right now.
It's tough, and you don't know what to do about it. Now that you know all the leading reasons for your current heartbreak, how do you cope? Let's find out.
How to Get Over a Breakup You Caused
Luckily, many studies have also been made on recovering from breakup distress. Some of the best ways to cope with the pain, get over the breakup, and move on with your life are listed in this section.
In no particular order, here's how to get over a breakup you caused:
Talk about what happened with someone you trust
It can be helpful to talk about their experiences with someone you trust. Conversations have long been known to help people overcome all sorts of distress. If you have someone you can talk to, hit them up for a chat as soon as possible.
You can chat with a trusted friend or a family member and get a much-needed cathartic release. It's even better if you have access to a professional specializing in cases like yours. They're equipped with the tools and strategies to help you sort things out much more quickly.
Talking about your breakup can provide some perspective and insight into why things ended the way they did. That way, you can ensure you avoid making the same mistakes in future relationships.
Sort your emotional baggage
Did any emotional baggage on your part contribute to the breakup? Emotional baggage is any negative experience still hounding you today, hurting your ability to lead a happy, productive relationship with a woman. And it can come from many different sources:
- A parent who was absent or you were overly attached to, which gave you separation anxiety or neediness.
- Friends who betrayed you, which gave you trust issues.
- An ex who was toxic or unfaithful, making you tired of the whole dating thing.
Emotional baggage leads to issues with anger, trust, commitment, or shame. These toxic emotions can and will sabotage your relationships, even those that start out well. And they may very well have led to you causing your last breakup.
Reflection is critical, but it shouldn't be done in an unhealthy way (e.g., ruminating or dwelling on negative thoughts). Instead, try taking an honest look at what happened and ask yourself questions such as: "Is there something in my past I need to work through before I can hope to handle a successful relationship?"
Try other proven coping mechanisms
Naturally, reflection alone isn't enough. You'll also need to get your body involved in the healing process. And that means carrying out proven coping mechanisms to get over someone fast after a tough breakup. That includes:
- Disconnect from your ex entirely for at least a month. This includes removing any reminders of her in your house and devices.
- Go ahead with that vacation you've been planning for years. A change of environment is often enough to get your mind off the breakup for good.
- Spend more time with friends, pick up a new sport or hobby, or chill—anything to help you escape mentally. (If movies help you unplug, here are 22 of the best breakup movies ever.)
- Meet and date other women. Whatever your preference, there's a dating app out there for you. (For instance: Are you into curvy women? Check out BBW Match on Android and iOS.)
A coping strategy works when it helps fix your attention on something besides your breakup for extended periods. In a way, you're displacing the breakup in your mind-space with something more positive and productive.
Learn from your mistakes
Lastly, it may be tempting to shrug off the responsibility for ending the relationship. But owning up to your actions can help move you towards closure, and taking responsibility also lets you make better decisions in future relationships.
Breakups often provide valuable lessons about ourselves and our relationships. For example, this breakup may have taught you about your needs in a relationship and made you realize what kind of woman you want. For example, you may want her to have values compatible with your own.
Ultimately, remember that if you're not happy when you're single, you likely won't be satisfied in a relationship. (Or at least, not for long.) Before you jump into the next relationship, you should train yourself to become a happy single guy first.
That's how to get over a breakup you caused. Here's to hoping you do precisely that very soon. Good luck!