In the midst of and after a breakup, more than just the status of your relationship is bound to change. If you were living with your ex, the end of the relationship could change your daily life, your calendar, your social life and the ways you relate to your friends (especially those that you shared with your ex). Finding support after a breakup is essential to weathering this storm, but identifying the people who can truly ground you is often easier said than done.
That’s because a breakup or divorce tends to leave friendships in limbo, as people feel the need to “pick sides” or project their own feelings onto the situation. Managing all these feelings is the theme of the latest episode of The Good + Good Podcastduring which divorce coach Kate Anthony, host of The Divorce Survival Guide Podcastand Amy Chan, founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, talk about all things friendship after a breakup.
Listen to the full episode here:
For Chan, finding support after a breakup begins with doing a mental scan of the people in your sphere and assessing their level of security. “If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells [around them], they are what is called ‘low security,’” says Chan. “You can’t be yourself. They are critical. They have mood swings and are sometimes judgmental or even emotionally abusive.” With these types of people, “your nervous system is in a survival state,” she says, referring to the cortisol-induced stress response. In this way, they are working against your healing.
“Being around ‘high security’ people creates the necessary neural pathways for trust and connection.” —Amy Chan, founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp
In contrast, “high-security people” allow you to be yourself and feel accepted in their presence, says Chan, “which helps rewire your brain and create the necessary neural pathways for trust and connection.” As a result, they’re the ones who can really function as your post-breakup support system, which is why Chan suggests increasing the time you spend with these high-security people, while minimizing your exposure to low-security people. security.
Making that change may require setting some new boundaries and clearly communicating those boundaries. “If you find that a certain friend isn’t presenting themselves to you in the way that you need them to be, you can pause that friendship and say, ‘This isn’t what I need right now,’ or ‘I love you, but I’m going to need it. take a break here,’” says Anthony.
In other cases, the boundary can be a bit more flexible, where you don’t completely remove them for a period of time, but simply set some ground rules for how you’d like them to act or talk around you afterward. breaking off. Maybe you just need an open ear to vent or someone to hug, and you don’t want any advice. Or maybe you really would prefer for them No to share with you what they saw your ex doing on social media the other day, says Chan. “You can give people a chance [to adapt their friendship with you] saying, ‘Hey, I’m learning new things about myself, and this is what’s right and this is what’s not right,'” she says. “In that way, you’re giving them a choice: Do they want to be in your life with this new dynamic and the boundaries you’re setting, or are they out?”
And if some of them are outside, that’s totally fine. “Research shows that we actually change about 50 percent of our close friends, on average, every seven years,” says Chan. And the way a certain friend responds to your split from an ex is as fair a reason as any to let him go.
The important thing is to prioritize high-security connections in your life as a real means of finding support after a breakup. And again, identifying those people comes down to a gut safety check. “How do you feel after an interaction with them?” Chan suggests that you ask yourself, checking your body. “Are you exhausted, are you neutral, or do you have energy?” The answers that arise will move you away from people who will slow your healing and toward people who will speed it up.
To learn more about handling friendships left in the lurch after a breakup and how to grow a healthy support network, listen to the full episode of the podcast here.
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