One of the most difficult things that life routinely throws at us, is heartbreak. And for those of us who identify as gay or lesbian, it might hit us much later in life than it does for others. Time after time I see an individual going through a break up in my therapy room, and when it’s someone who’s in their 30’s or older who experienced love for the first time in their life after coming out, it’s clear to me that this pain is more than they ever expected it could be. 

Whenever it is in life that you experience this difficult transition, there seem to be a few commonalities with folks who are able to successfully navigate through it in a reasonable timeframe. Here’s a short list for you to look over, and the next time you’re feeling heartbroken, maybe having read it will be helpful for you:

  1. They are able to take time and think about any actions that they are emotionally inclined to do, such as texting their ex or posting something online about the breakup. The result of taking this time is typically that they are able to make these decisions with their heads, rather than their hearts, and thus if they do communicate something, it is logical and sensical rather than emotional and knee-jerky. 
  2. They recognize & believe that though this feeling is terrible, it will certainly get better with time.
  3. They are able to process effectively in ways that work for them, i.e. if they like to write, they write and write and write as a form of therapy, if they are extroverts, they find loving friends and family and communicate to them through the process, etc. 
  4. They are able to recognize when they are feeling even just a little bit better, and capitalize on it by noticing what contributed to it, and allow that to give them hope that it will continue or repeat itself.
  5. They are able to keep themselves as healthy as possible, by doing as much as they possibly can to make up for the toll this stress is taking on them. i.e. if they can’t eat due to stress, they drink healthy drinks to get nutrition, if they tend to eat too much, they stock up on their favorite healthy foods and avoid junk for a while.

Can you guys think of anything else you notice about yourself or others as they effectively navigate this tough but common life occurrence?

Feel free to leave questions or comments here, or email me at the address below.

Here’s to healing,

Rebekka Ouer, LCSW

@LGBT_Counselor on Twitter

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