Many people experience it in their lives, and more than a thousand songs and movies have been made about it: heartbreak. If your heart is broken, at first there is often nothing to do but glue it back together. But how to help someone with heartbreak and what not to do? Heartbreak expert Hester Schaart gives tips.
“It’s a mental state you end up in when you’ve lost a love as a result of a breakup,” explains Hester Schaart, psychologist specializing in heartbreak. “During heartbreak you experience many different emotions. The grief over the broken relationship is accompanied by feelings of fear, uncertainty and stress. In addition, physical problems such as insomnia, more or less appetite and not being able to concentrate can also occur.”
Heartbreak is also a form of grief processing. “If you or someone close to you is heartbroken, you want nothing more than to take that feeling away or to know how long you will stay sad. It can make you feel powerless, but unfortunately there is there is no standard answer to how long heartbreak can last. It is true that it often takes longer if the relationship has ended in a painful way, for example because of infidelity.”
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Give someone space
In general, women are more likely to feel the sadness directly. As a result, they may feel gloomy and anxious more quickly. “Men often appear at first to act as if everything is fine, they are less likely to talk about it and will often solve the problem through distraction or a new partner,” says Schaart.
Try to stay away from the solution mood in the beginning and let someone do a lot of talking
You help someone with heartbreak by listening a lot. “Ask questions and leave your own opinion about the ex and the relationship. So no death eaters like ‘your ex was a sucker after all’. Processing grief can help if someone is given space to share their story.”
“In the beginning, try to stay away from the solution sphere for a while and let someone talk a lot. Ask open-ended questions such as: where do you want to return to? When does it hurt the most? How do you deal with your grief when you are alone? And how can I help you?”
What if someone keeps romanticizing their ex? “It’s often a result of our brain’s addiction tactics. It makes sure we only remember the nice things and forget the annoying moments. Making it seem like the relationship was just great.” According to Schaart, asking about the less pleasant aspects can help. “It can create distance and help someone stop idealizing.”
Stay away from social media
It’s better not to look at your ex’s Instagram page, says the heartbreak psychologist. “Block everything on social media, one picture can bring out all kinds of emotions. Suppose you see your ex happily dancing while you are despondent in bed, it only reinforces the feeling of rejection. Maybe your ex is feeling bad too, but you don’t see that on social media.”
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