- Nicole Spector
HOW TO MOURN A BREAKUP
Updated: May 13, 2022
How much time do you need to heal? What should you be doing to heal? Mental health experts share their advice.
Aug. 13, 2019, 4:35 PM EDT - Appearing on nbcnews.com
By Nicole Spector
Before I met my now husband, I went through a fair amount of breakups. Occasionally, I reflect on these ill-fated relationships of mine. I line them up in my imagination like seashells, studiously inspecting the cracks and holes in even the smallest husks as I ask myself, “What went wrong there? Why did this once living, breathing relationship die?”
These are the questions I probably should have been asking myself in the wake of each breakup, but that wasn’t quite possible, because as soon as one relationship ended I’d wait approximately one menstrual cycle before throwing myself into the next ultra serious romance. I was a textbook serial monogamist who simply refused to be single for long. In retrospect I have no doubt that I moved too fast and that I would have saved myself (and even some of those men I dated) some anguish by taking the adequate time to heal after each failed romance.
But how much time is enough time to recover from a breakup and what should you be doing during it? Can casual hookups be helpful, or should you abstain from amorous activity altogether for a while? How can you know that you’re ready to date again? We consulted a number of therapists to learn what they recommend for newly single people who perhaps aren’t so thrilled about being single.
It’s important to take time to detox and unpack your baggage .The main reason we need time after a breakup is so that we can reflect, recharge and as Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, puts it, detox.
“My rule of thumb after someone has a breakup is to have a period of detox,” says Jackson. “This is where you take time for yourself. You do not date. You do not have flings. You do not do anything that would be contradictory to your healing process.” The goal of this healing process is to “unpack and deal with any baggage from your previous relationship(s) before entering into another,” Jackson explains. “If you don't address those things head on, you will be bringing the same baggage, issues and drama into your [next] relationship. This is where people have a hard time understanding why the same issues keep occurring.”
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