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Getting dumped during the holidays

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Getting "let go of," separated or "dumped" is one of the most humiliating, depressing, and emotionally difficult experiences most of us will ever go through. For many couples, feeling more distance and tension are preludes that their partner isn't happy and wants out of the relationship.

Many of those same couples assume their partner will wait until after the holidays to lower the boom, not imagining anyone could be so cruel as to break it off during this time of year. When the split happens prior to or during all of the festivities, it leaves you feeling shocked, abandoned, desperate and depressed. Along with the actual break up, the holidays come at the worst time of year with shorter days and longer nights. When this happens to you, it is unwise to try and convince your partner to hang on for a few more weeks or shame them into re-committing to you.

When men or women call me for advice, telling me they have been dumped, it would be easier for me to tell them what not to do. Don't give your ex a call to come over for sex, and don't harm their property or body. If you have kids, don't use the kids to try and cajole them to come back. Although these points seem obvious, when you are in the panic and desperation of wanting your "old life back," these ideas seem logical. Make no mistake, they are not. Your partner will use them for reasons why you are too crazy for them and why they have to exit the relationship.

There will be very few ways to comfort yourself with immediate soothing; however, with time and taking some control back with these suggestions, it won't be long before you are feeling stronger.

1. Reach out and help someone else. A study in Personnel Psychology noted that there is a 25 percent improvement in mood when helping others. The less you focus on yourself right now the better.

2. If at all possible, get away for the holidays. No matter when a break-up happens, the first holiday alone is bad. Go somewhere or make plans to spend the holidays with someone.

3. Don't wait for the New Year to join a gym. You won't feel like exercising, but you need to go. The endorphins that are released during a gym work out help alleviate depression and anxiety.

4. Journal your thoughts, and write at least one thing you are grateful for each day. Take your journal to bed with you and place it on a side table. When you cannot sleep, write. It helps to get your thoughts out on paper. Feeling grateful despite your misery helps it hurt less.

5. Counseling can help, and most counselors have extended hours during the holidays. A counselor will help guide you through the trenches immediately following a break up. They also help you focus on the big picture when this small piece feels like your whole life.

6. No one should go through a break up without good friends and family. This is a time to be able to ask for support. Many of your friends and family probably saw the break up coming long before you did.

It is important to remember that only those who love can suffer a broken heart. Everyone has their heart broken at some point in their life. There is no doubt that the phrase, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," was written for the person being dumped. There is a universal truth that you should repeat if this happens to you, "If it ended, it was broken." Some things cannot be glued back together when they are broken. You can enjoy a meaningful holiday anyway!

–Mary Jo Rapini

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