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Student Question: How do I deal with a relationship fallout/breakup?

Sometimes the most healthy step for you to take in a relationship is to end it. Here are some reasons people may choose to break up:

  • Broken trust

  • Too much conflict

  • Toxic relationship; lack of mutual respect

  • Incompatible values, interests, goals, etc.

Even if you decide a break-up is your best course of action, that doesn’t mean it is easy. Most people will initially experience feelings of loss or grief after a break-up, and these will be especially intense if it’s your first love or if you’ve given a lot of yourself to a person. This can be particularly true if the relationship involves sexual intimacy. When we are sexually intimate with someone our brain releases two powerful chemicals - dopamine (happy chemical) and oxytocin (bonding agent) - forming an emotional bond that is far more powerful than if we were not involved sexually. So, when that bond is broken, the impact can be deeper. Here are some keys to getting through a break-up in positive ways:

1. Know that painful experiences can be a valuable part of personal growth and discovery.

Think of it this way - if you play a sport and want to become great at it, is the process always fun and pain free? Absolutely not. Or, if you are an academic and want to excel in school in order to achieve a goal, is that process always fun and pain free? Again, absolutely not. Setbacks and disappointments are a normal part of growth and pursuing a goal. Therefore, use your experiences to consider: What did I learn about what I value, when it comes to relationships? What are the deal-breakers? What do I want to do differently, to become the best version of myself as I prepare for a future relationship? Growth, though often painful, can be a valuable tool to encourage positive change.

2. Never let your life be defined by one bad experience.

As the picture above depicts, every experience we go through in life exists as just one chapter, and never represents the whole story. Therefore do not see a break-up as the end of your world - I promise you it’s not! Your story is yours to write, and no one else’s! Your next chapter will contain the lessons learned and the ways you’ve grown as you commit to moving forward. No relationship needs to define who you are or who you can be in the future.

3. Consider how you identify love moving forward.

Love can be defined as - the act of caring and giving to someone else…having someone’s best interest and well-being as a priority in your life (Urban Dictionary). Love is reflected by our reactions, going well beyond our emotions and physical attractions. Hold out for being loved well, and finding someone you can love well! The wait is worth it!

“Love does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered”

(1 Corinthians 13:5)

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