As Miley Cyrus sang on Mark Ronson’s 2018 track, “Nothing breaks like a heart.” There’s a reason why the bop did so well commercially, peaking at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart and number 43 on the US Billboard Hot 100. If you’ve experienced heartbreak, then you know it’s gut-wrenching. It can make you feel sad, angry, confused, hurt, alone, and nearly every other crappy emotion imaginable. There are physical symptoms, too: like, the feeling that your heart is actually breaking. You might feel pain in your chest as if your ribs were being pulled out one by one.
While you can’t experience heartbreak without having loved someone deeply, and there is beauty in that, it doesn’t offer much solace when we feel like the world is collapsing around us. When you’re at a romantic rock bottom, all that’s really on your mind is: How do I heal a broken heart?
Luckily, heartbreak doesn’t last forever. Your heart will eventually mend, and you will find love again. To help you reach the point where you can date and love again after experiencing a broken heart, we spoke to two sex and relationship experts: Todd Baratz, LMHC and Rachel Wright, MA, LMFT. Here are their expert tips for healing a broken heart.
Stop looking for shortcuts.
You won’t feel like this forever, and there’s some comfort in knowing that, explains Baratz. “Heartbreak is a painful period, and you have to let the pain happen without trying to find shortcuts to fast-forward your grief,” he says. Some days, it will be more intense than others, and that’s okay. “Think about getting through the pain rather than trying to end it.”
Don’t judge yourself for your grief.
“There is no right way to go through loss,” Baratz explains. Some people cry. Some people go out and party. Others go bungee-jumping. Whatever you need to do, do it, and don’t feel an ounce of shame for grieving however you need.
Be mindfully busy while still taking time to heal.
“Schedule your time well and as full as you can,” Wright says. “Nothing feeds the bad voices in our heads like nothing to do, so make plans with friends, re-assert yourself in your fitness routine—even write down your movie nights!” This will help remind you there’s still plenty to do even when you’re single.
Do not go through it alone.
Some alone time is good to process and heal, but don’t spend all of your time grieving alone. “Make sure to spend time with friends and share your grief,” Baratz says. “Cry with them, have fun with them, and most importantly, let them in.” You don’t want to shut people out of your life while you’re experiencing heartbreak. You don’t want to isolate yourself even further.
Date and have sex with other people.
This may seem like unusual or even bad advice, but here’s where Baratz is coming from: “It can actually be helpful to feel desired and remember that other people will desire us.” He adds the caveat, “Of course, if it’s too recent and you’re not comfortable, don’t, but there is no need to wait a certain amount of time.” This can be helpful for you to realize that others are out there. This person you lost—they’re not the only person in the entire world who will love you.
Reconnect with yourself by rediscovering your independence.
Often, when we start dating someone new, we do everything with them. “Rediscover things you put on hold and explore hobbies maybe you never had the time for,” Baratz says. “Make plans for yourself that you can look forward to, even if they are outside of your comfort zone.” This could mean going on a trip alone somewhere, climbing a mountain with a friend, or just going to the beach.
Find a hands-on hobby.
In a similar vein, find some new hobbies. You don’t just have to go back to what you used to do. This is a new you—a new day! “Cooking, crafting, painting, dancing—when you’re focused on what your hands or body are doing—it can often give your subconscious space to process your emotions,” Wright adds.
“Explore all the pleasures and be really good to yourself,” Baratz says. “From masturbation to delicious foods and maybe even some extravagant gifts.”
Wright seconds indulging yourself. “Buy that sex toy you’ve been eyeing or use your old favorite. Take the time to relearn your body alone and reclaim your pleasure to be yours,” she says.
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