Are you having a difficult time getting over your ex girlfriend? Are you unsure as to want to do to recover and heal from the relationship you had with your ex girlfriend? To help understand common thoughts and feelings a guy may experience when he is trying to get over his ex girlfriend and for tips on what you can do to get over your ex girlfriend, I have interviewed therapist Jenny Grace Shaw, M.ED, LMHC, CPT, CWS.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
"I hold a Masters degree in Education and Counseling, a Bachelors degree in Psychology, Minor in Sociology, and am Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I have a passion for people, listening to and understanding their life journeys, advocating for their needs, educating and supporting them through trials and tribulations, and guiding them towards long term emotional, physical, and spiritual health; their authentic self."
What are common thoughts and feelings a guy may experience when he is trying to get over his ex-girlfriend?
"We have all heard the song, 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do,' sung by Neil Sedaka back in the 70's; well, if there was ever a song speaking the truth, that's the one.
It is difficult breaking up no matter what the reason because it's not just the actual act of ending the relationship, it's the time afterwards. There are many questions, feelings, thoughts, and confusion to face. Some may believe that it is easier for men versus women to dissolve their relationships. However, it's been my experience that such termination holds no 'easiness' for either gender.
For this purposes of this article I will be speaking to the difficulty men experience when trying to get over an ex-girlfriend and how he might better work through the break up, but I would feel amiss if I didn't acknowledge how both sexes could benefit from the following discussion.
Anger would most likely be the primary feeling expressed by men. It's very common for the anger to be noticed as well as felt since shame, hurt, fear, and sadness tend to be too intense to acknowledge.
Through medial, parental, educational, cultural, and environmental messages; anger has consistently been portrayed as 'acceptable,' or do I dare say, 'expected' of men. Still, if bereavement counselling stevenage the goal is to truly work through the impact that a break up can evoke, men must be open to the feelings that nest below the anger. Men can expect to feel confusion, anxiety and even panic at times; 'What happened?' 'What did I do?' 'What didn't I do?' 'Did she cheat?' 'Did she leave me for another?' 'How do I get her back?' are just some of the questions known to arise. Feelings of fear, shame and guilt usually stand next to sadness in the internal line of emotional distress. He may obsessively ponder what he is to do now for the rest of his life, determine that there is no other woman for him thus, irrationally (though it feels rational) deciding to shut himself off from all women and maybe even everyone else.
Men may slip right into the world of denial'"this can occur both consciously and unconsciously depending upon his age, maturity level, support system (or lack thereof), surrounding stressors and responsibilities, and ability to cope with intense emotions and life situations.
Self-esteem, self-worth and confidence levels are challenged leaving a man feeling emasculated.
On the other hand, there are men who have experienced sincere calm during their splits. This does not mean they are absolutely 'fine' or that they don't care at all, it simply signifies that they are aware of what has occurred, carry no resentment or regrets, reviewed the components of the relationship, accept who they are and what their needs entail, and are willing to go through all they need to do to stay focused on the new life phase placed before them."
What are some things a guy can do to get over his ex-girlfriend?
"She broke your heart, you caught her cheating, your lives are taking different paths; whatever the story, it's clear you need to honor the truth and get going on getting over your girlfriend.
The following 6 actions will help guide you back to 'owning' your destiny, embracing your self-respect, and in fact, secure a new sense of self-empowerment. Having said that, this is not an easy process and men, you cannot try to force it, skip a step or ignore, change or deny each feeling, for it only prolongs the trials while also increasing your indulgence of self-destructive beliefs and behaviors. Rest assured, the more you remain open and mindful, the more likely you are to come out of such turmoil a stronger, even more special man.
1. Stop placing her on a pedestal.
Men, remember you are still worthy of respect and love. The more you keep her up on a pedestal, the more you lose sight of your own worth. Take her down and put yourself back up. Anything else is just wasted energy. Yes, she has wonderful qualities, no one will argue with that. Yes, you two have had some of the greatest moments together; she may have been the best lover ever, her intelligence or humor may have rocked your world, but she is just ONE woman amongst many other magnificent ones. Pedestals are made for scholars, trophies, or presidential speeches, NOT women. The fact is you both are equals; worthy of love, respect, time, patience, kindness, success, trust, and happiness.
2. Stop all contact.
I know it will be difficult to not hear her voice, see her face, or spend time at home or other mutual places since memories are everywhere. I realize you may feel deeply rejected, can't imagine not being able to help her when she is in need, fear you might run into her with another man, and argue that if you just try to be friends she may want you back. Such rationalizations are only 'intelligent sounding noise' in your head. Your best bet is to take care of yourself first. Break ups are hard enough, the faster and more diligent you remain towards healing, the shorter the painful experiences will be. Think about it, would you really ignore a large slash in your arm hoping it will heal on its own? No, if it is not respectfully cared for, it will fester, become infected, and sure enough develop into a much larger, more serious health issue. The same is true for your emotional health.
3. Make a commitment
Yes, you heard me, make a commitment, except this time make it to yourself. Take the time needed to review your feelings, begin journaling, evaluate your physical health and make changes as needed (nutritionally balanced eating and exercise does wonders for a hurting heart), talk to safe and healthy friends (avoid those who may spend their time telling you what to do rather than listening'"you know who they are), investigate outside help; a Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Social Worker, or Pastor. Get active and join a new support group, fitness team, social club, church activity; whatever "floats your boat"'"remember this is now the time that you can happily shout 'it's all about me!'
4. Don't worry about his or hers possessions left remaining.
I have seen this over and over again and with a lot of denial attached; some leaving their things almost as if to make a statement 'I own you, I still have your ----.' Others argue that if they let go of the 'item' their memories will cease too. Memories are an incredible gift we are blessed with whenever we share with others. They can never be destroyed unless the person wants them to be. Thus, to stay focused on the path of healing, holding onto items or using them as leverage is not a productive way to cherish the positive memories, rather it is a self-destructive coping activity. Let go and accept the reality of the situation. You two had wonderful moments, but your relationship, for whatever reason, has reached the end of its journey. Now, is the time to be present; placing all energy on grieving and healing. The items are just that, 'items.' Control over your heart or the chance for reconciliation, they are not.
5. Recognize the difference between NEEDS and WANTS.
This is the time to get right down to basics. Needs and wants get convoluted often. You may feel as though you can't 'stand' to be without your girlfriend. You announce that you NEED her or you just don't know what to do. 'How can I work?' 'I can't eat, sleep, I am a wreck without her!' No argument over whether or not break ups are difficult; they are. After all, they constitute an 'ending' and can be synonymous to a death. They are stressful, painful, uncomfortable; at the very least, but she is NOT a need for life. The very presence in your world does not mean she will be providing you with oxygen or sustenance. She is not that powerful. She is a WANT. Truth is, had you never met her, you would not have had any idea how special she is, you couldn't, you would have been too focused on another. This is the time to intensify acknowledgement on your actual life needs while appreciating how wants have another special place in your world.
6. Go ahead and date!
Having said that, remain open. Recognize and appreciate things that did not work with you and your ex girlfriend. Make a list of things you want in your life and things you don't. It is extremely important to notice the difference. One of the most unrecognized gifts of break ups is that this is now your time to get to know yourself even better. You have an opportunity to grow. As humans, we don't grow from happiness, we grow from pain or difficulties. I know this doesn't make the emotional pain feel any better, but after one has been through pain and experienced personal growth, it's empowering. Dating, fantasizing, having great conversations with other women will allow you to gain emotional, spiritual, and mental strength. It may feel awkward or scary. Your mind may play tricks on you by denouncing your loyalty to your ex; all of which are valid feelings, yet still untrue and again, 'intelligent sounding noise.' True, long term healing requires stepping out in your own best interest. Be choosy without shutting yourself down or pushing potentially great new relationships away.
Finally, the new woman has nothing to do with your ex girlfriend, treat her with the time, patience, and respect as she deserves. Treating her any other way will only hurt you. Resentment, judgment, or punishment need not be a part of your healing process."
What type of help is available for a guy who is having a difficult time getting over his ex- girlfriend?
"Men have several choices of guidance when getting over an ex-girlfriend. As mentioned above, investigating therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers in their area can be as simple as opening the Yellow pages or utilizing internet search engines like Google. Nowadays, there are blogs and even personal comments about their experiences with doctors, therapists, agencies, etc. The great news is that more and more men are searching out such guidance whereas not too long ago they would stuff it all down in the name of pride or shame. Remember, repression equals emotional infection; no recipe for healing.
Craigslist, another great internet resource, has columns dedicated to community activities, support and discussion groups, events, and athletic activities. If all else fails or if you just prefer, head directly to the local Borders, Barnes n' Noble, or Library.
Self-help books, books on CD, Biographies of others who have worked through a difficult break up are everywhere. Personally, I have found workbooks , on many subjects, to be very helpful. Start your own support group, Blog, discussion session, etc. recognizing just how not alone you are can feel like someone just put the air back in your lungs."
What last advice would you like to give to a guy who is trying to get over his ex-girlfriend?
"Refuse to blame yourself. Relationships are not one-sided; both individuals play an important role in their success and demise. Take this time to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, take responsibility for your mistakes while not holding onto hers, note the gifts and life lessons learned, and move on. Finally, breathe, you are okay.
Thank you Jenny for doing the interview on 6 tips for getting over your ex girlfriend. For more information on Jenny Grace Shaw or her work you can check out her website on www.jennyshawtherapy.com.