Heartbreak and your sense of self

There’s not much in life that’s harder than heartbreak. Specifically, the heartbreak that happens when a romantic relationship ends. It may explode in an instant, like a gunshot. Or run its course – failing to be revived over many years. Both ways can be painful, and have a massive impact on your sense of self. Research by Aron et al discovered that when we’re in a close romantic relationship, our sense of self becomes entwined with our partners. So when we lose them, we can feel as though we’ve lost part of ourselves too. This means that heartbreak and self-esteem often go hand-in-hand. Our self-esteem dwindling, as our relationship takes its dying breath.

Plummeting self-esteem can be especially pronounced if your partner cheated on you. It’s a serious betrayal, and can lead to a spiral of despair, comparison and anger. But even if the split is mutual, mundane and expected, the aftermath can still be a massive shock. To be without the person who’s been by your side for so long, is stressful and disorienting. You committed to this person. They were the person you’d text to say the trains were late, the queue in the supermarket was long, and you were looking forward to a take-away tonight. To suddenly be without them can feel like you’re abandoned and adrift in the world. Although leaving an unfulfilling relationship is frequently for the best, the feeling of anchorless that ensues is deeply unpleasant. And often overwhelming. Especially if you’re struggling to believe your heartbreak and self esteem will heal over time.

A downloadable for you on how to handle heartbreak and low self-esteem

If you’re facing the end of a relationship at the moment, then here’s a very tiny glimmer of good news. I’ve created a 10 page guide to help you manage your heartbreak and self esteem. I’ve drawn on my experience as a counsellor, and I really hope you find it useful.

From tomorrow, I’m taking some much-needed holiday so I can spend time with my family and seek the sun. There’ll be no blogs for the rest of August. But I’ll be back in September, with a book review of Brave not Perfect by Reshma Saujani. I hope you have a wonderful summer.

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