The short answer is to put the phone down and back away slowly.
DO NOT call you ex!
I know that you feel as low down as humanly possible but let’s be honest, that is exactly why you want to call them. You want so badly not to feel sad anymore. You think that if you call them they will finally understand the pain you are in and they’ll say that perfect thing that you are secretly wishing they would say to make you alright again. Unfortunately, as much as I wish it were true, that’s probably not going to happen. In fact, you will probably feel worse. Not only will you feel disappointed but you may also get mad at yourself for holding out false hope, again.
When you call you ex, you are not giving yourself the chance to heal. You are continually exposing yourself to the thing causing you pain. It’s like seeing the fire and sticking your hand right into the center of it.
So, if you can’t call the one person you want to call, who can you turn to? Answer. Anyone but your ex…or anyone that may be on Team Ex.
You know, we are funny people. When we are upset, we will talked to people we know will take the information back to the ex in the hopes initiating a response. Find someone on Team You. That’s easy, right? Yes, but there are a few things to consider when choosing between friends, family, or a total stranger.
First, you’ll have to ask yourself, “What do I want or need to get out of the conversation?”.
We all have friends or family that will either tell us what we want to hear or tell us what we need to hear. Which one will be most helpful to you? Do you need to feel better immediately or will a little tough love be more helpful in the long run?
Second, consider the trustworthiness of the persons in which you would like to confide. How likely are they to share your conversations with others? Do you trust them to have your best interests at heart? Have you confided in them before and did it help? How comfortable do you feel being completely vulnerable with this person? Can you cry in front of them? This is where the decision to talk to friends and family or to a professional comes into play. People often hesitate talking to a therapist because they think it means they’re crazy. In actuality, studies into talking to a counselor or to a doctor indicate advantages are range from confidentiality to being provided logical direction on what to do when you may be thinking emotionally.*
No matter who you choose to talk to there are great benefits in doing so. Expressing how you feel to someone you trust acts as a sounding board. It prompts you to view your situation through the eyes of a compassionate other. Sometimes just hearing the words come out of your mouth and reflected on someone else’s face can help you see things more clearly. Talking it out may put things into perspective by giving you different ways of viewing your situation**. Maybe you need someone to listen to your woes then to give you a glimpse of the bright side that you may have difficulty seeing.
Just the sheer act of starting a conversation like this is often the hardest thing to do. To expose yourself emotionally and to be honest about what you think and feel to another person is a scary thing. Expressing yourself, however, and making a connection with another person does help. So, you can pick up the phone now. Call a friend and make a plan to have them come over for coffee (you don’t want to cry in public) and let it out. Oh, and give yourself a little time, it will take more than one conversation. Be honest and the fog will begin to lift. You will begin to feel better. You will smile again.
Miller, Jean B., M.D.; Stiver, Irene P., Ph.D. (1997). The Healing Connection. Boston. Beacon Press..