After a Break-up, What is the Best Beginning Steps to Take?

7147283225_3bc752d193_zBreak-ups are painful for everyone. Joe Kort has listed 7 excellent tips for breaking up with integrity.

From Dr. Kort:

Here is a list of things to do to as you cope with a breakup:

Be careful about using sex to comfort yourself. This can be a great distraction, but many I have counseled feel so upset and bad about themselves that they put themselves at risk for HIV, thinking, “Who cares about my life right now? It is over.” That is distorted, depressed thinking. If you even think that you’ll put yourself at risk for any STDs or hook up with someone who’s not in your best interest, then I recommend avoiding the sex all together you’re feeling better.

Remove all reminders of your ex for a period of time. This means taking their number off your cell phone and putting away all letters and cards from them, along with their photos. If you want to throw them out, that’s up to you, but you might regret it later. So for the time being, I recommend boxing them up and storing them in the attic or basement, where they are out of the way.

Avoid phone calls with them if you can. If they still chooses to call and there are no children or financial issues to deal with, I recommend you tell them you don’t want contact right now, and that you will reinitiate contact when you are ready. This puts you in control, instead of feeling overwhelmed and powerless.

If you see them remove yourself from the situation if you can. This is not about fearing them or running from them. It is about avoiding getting upset, reconnected and confused which can happen when you are around them. If you wish to recover, you must expunge all traces of the thief who stole your heart.

Remember to eat and force yourself to move physically. Exercise can help work out depression. Physical exercise is the best reported way to deal with the depression of loss. Go walking, running, jogging, biking, swimming, do aerobics—anything you can to keep your dopamine levels up and not let them go down, which is what is at risk while going through a depression.

To soothe the pain, you want to avoid alcohol and any drugs not prescribed by a physician. Most do not know that alcohol is actually a depressant and gives temporary relief but will only make your mood worse. If your depression is at a certain level and you drink, you will feel better periodically, but then your depression will return at a worse level than before.

Distractions and staying busy can keep you from feeling overwhelmed and get your mind off the loss. Get involved in something fun and exciting, perhaps some adventure that you have not undertaken before that can lend hopes for your future.

Avoid getting so busy that you avoid feeling your loss. Give yourself permission to mourn the death of your relationship. Blocking it off makes it worse and will put it into shadow. Call a friend and talk about it, go to your spiritual counselor, your therapist, or a relative. Allow yourself to emote and be sad, scream, cry, laugh uncontrollably, rage, and to “fall apart.” These are ways in which you heal.

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How to Spring Clean Your Marriage

4328777173_b3cb83f9d5_zRepost below is from The Gottman Relationship Blog:

Today on The Gottman Relationship Blog, we’d like to share an excellent article written by our friend Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT, titled “Get Out The Broom…8 Ways To Spring Clean Your Marriage.” We love her suggestions for reinvigorating your relationship and putting the focus back on you and your partner this Spring! We’d like to add that it is absolutely possible (and realistic) to work on these things year round. We know that this sounds overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be.

As our research has shown, the happiest couples build romance everyday in the smallest, most seemingly insignificant moments. Keeping your romance aflame is not about dedicating all of your time to your partner. It is about nurturing a strong connection byturning towards each other, staying emotionally engaged, showing each other fondness and admirationbuilding bridges, and knowing and loving each other all year round. For more on staying emotionally connected, see our blog post, Magic 5 Hours A Week! And now, we give the virtual floor to Lisa:

Get Out the Broom…8 Ways to Spring Clean Your Marriage 
By Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
A very popular post last year about this time, this piece on spring cleaning your marriage deserves a repeat performance. I think we all need reminders such as this to put the focus back on our loved ones. Enjoy!For many, spring is a time of renewal and recharge, a sleepy-eyed yawn and waking up from a winter slumber of sorts. People feel the urge to clean their homes, their cars and their work environments. Marriages can also benefit from a good spring clean as they can also “fall asleep” and get into a rut.Here are some ways you can take the spirit of renewal into your marriage:

• Take a walk down memory lane. Do you remember when you met? Can you recall what drew you to each other? Take some time to reflect upon this time. Research shows that happier couples are the ones who can recall pleasant earlier memories. It can be an anchor for the relationship, a reminder of what you might have forgotten. ”Oh yea, that’s what I fell in love with…”

• Get back to checking in. At one time you likely talked a lot, especially in the early stages of your relationship. As time goes on and life gets peppered with kid related responsibilities, family, social obligations and work, it’s easy to let the communication between you and your spouse get tossed out the window. Re-prioritize a daily relationship check-in, even if brief. ”How are you?…How are we?…Is everything ok?”

• Look under the carpet for hidden resentments. One problem that can be a consequence of insufficient communicating in marriage is the build-up of negative emotions towards each other. If anger, disappointment or sadness go unchecked they can become toxic. Resentment can undermine the very fabric of the relationship. If there is something bothering you, bring it up. It’s useful to begin with “I statements” rather than using attacking language.

• Check your assumptions. What if what you were upset with your partner because you misunderstood what he/she said or meant? What if you never clarified this? Well, you’d be suffering for no reason. One of the best ways couples can avoid distress is to simply ask the other what they meant rather than assume you know. Otherwise, you will likely have a negative emotional response towards him/her, followed by a negative behavior – and all for nothing.

• Create happy memories. If boredom, “same ‘ol, same ‘ol,” and a lack of fun has permeated your marriage, it’s time to have positive experiences together to lay down over the other. It’s kind of like the negativity bias of the brain; the more you internalize positive emotions, the more you can ease your brain away from the negative. Plan date nights, go out and play, take a walk or do something totally new and invigorating.

• If you broke it, fix it. We all make mistakes and can inadvertently hurt our partners. The important thing for the health of relationships is taking ownership when it’s appropriate. John Gottman, PhD refers to successful repair attempts as “the happy couple’s secret weapon.”

• More gratitude, please. There is a lot of research out there now on the power of gratitude, individually and in relationships. Express appreciation for each other when possible. Notice the good rather than focusing on the not so good. It’s easy for couples to slip into negative cycles together. Make the effort to shift to a more positive (and reinforcing) cycle of support and gratitude for each other.

Take it up a notch if needed. If your marriage feels particularly “dusty” and in need of some TLC, get proactive and get access to the many tools available to help couples do just that; a local marriage weekend workshop or going through a marriage workbook or a book might be just what you need.

It would be nice to imagine being able to do these things 365 days a year but this probably isn’t realistic for many. At the very least, adding your marriage to your spring cleaning to-do list every year is one consistent way to put the focus back on you and your partner again. If you’ve slipped up and “fallen asleep” during the winter, you can get back to prioritizing your marriage again…and maybe make up for some lost time.

If you have gotten in the habit of sticking a band-aid over problems that have built up over the Winter, now is your chance to heal any remaining wounds – to patch them up, make peace, and restore your relationship to health.

Remember that “Spring Cleaning” your relationship is a process – a deep clean, if you will. It requires patience, commitment, and hard work from both you and your partner. Don’t start wielding the feather duster to attack the cobwebs while looking under the carpet for hidden resentments, or make ambitious plans to renovate the entire house! Take your time. Know that “slow and steady wins the race.” Be gentle with each other.

All for now,
Ellie Lisitsa
TGI Staff

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