Learn why distraction doesn't cure heartbreak

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Ten years ago when my ex left, after 34 years together my mind kept going back to the moment he said "I need space..." And every time my mind travelled to that memory, the pain of heartbreak was dominant, but I felt that I had no control to stop my mind focusing on that pivotal moment in my life.

There are certain times where we tend to go back to that “person” in our mind more than others… For example, when we wake up and find that we’re alone or when we're not busy...

Our mind rewinds back into a memory of that person, or the moment we’re not busy we feel lonely and a sense of loss, so we think of that person we wish we were with . Especially when eating alone or going to bed alone at night. It's so alien, so strange after being with someone for a long time.

It may also be a time when something good is happening. I mean that’s weird isn't it, when you’re celebrating a family birthday, or when you’re on holiday …. and you’re like “He would have loved this, said this or done that" It's like you've lost a limb!

Sometimes we have this association that when things feel BAD, that's the time when we’ll miss someone the most. But naturally, we miss someone the most when things are good such as your holidays, christmas, your kids birthdays, weddings and when you have grandkids.

When we’re experiencing something we’d know they’d love or that we’d love to share with them, sometimes we have to share these happy events with them and the new person hanging on their arm! I know, I've been there!

I felt like I was going crazy, so what is the cure for this?

How do we surpass these times of pain and move to a stronger place in our lives?

The truth is that distraction doesn't help heal the situation. But so many people go straight to distraction activities.

They start dating; one night stands; eating pots of ice cream or pizza; drinking bottles of wine; talking about their situation over and over again.

But, if you’ve ever been heartbroken then you know you can fill your day with activities and being with people you love, but the moment you have time to think again… your brain will ping back to that person/that negative thought/that memory that makes your heartache…

So do you believe there is no cure?

The thing that has helped me the most to begin my healing journey is to first honour how I feel. It's no good suppressing the feelings, because they will come up at some time in the future, so it's best to face them now. Feelings like resentment, jealousy, anger, hate etc can create dis-ease and that's the last thing we need!

It also helps to focus on a particular life goal, such as a project of working in your garden, or a piece of work that you wish to accomplish, such as writing poetry, a book or art ….

A lady I recently interviewed in my facebook group used art as a way to heal after her husband of 32 years died. Her goal was to create unique pieces of art to give to her friends and family to thank them for their love and support.

So let's look at the distinction between distraction and progress.

Distraction is a short-term solution to heartbreak: we drink, we eat, we have one-night stands believing that will help stop us thinking about the person we loved and perhaps still do. We spend as much time with friends as possible, we lose ourselves in our work as much as possible…. but these things don’t always represent progress … if they only represent distraction then there will be a momentary relief from this person, but the truth is, there won’t be a long-term solution from moving on from this person. We remain stuck!

For example, you go out and have one-night stands believing you can “get over your ex” but what you realise is, that it's a distraction in the moment. But afterward, if that person doesn't contact you, or if you haven’t actually found someone you actually connect with, or if that person doesn’t match up to your partner from before.. that distraction will very quickly give way to a real sense of low self worth and low self esteem leading to feeling depressed

So it doesn’t help heal your heartbreak at all, it just takes your mind off of it temporarily.

Progress, on the other hand, actually MOVES you PAST IT. If you’re heartbroken right now, I want to encourage you to think of what important things you can work on, what you can invest in, what will give you a sense of achievement and fulfilment.