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Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?

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Recently broke up with my girlfriend of 3 years. Obviously there is a lot of emotional baggage that goes with that.. I was wondering if there were any buddhist/meditation practices to help here.

One I read about I believe in the Art of Happiness was advice given by the Dalai Lama to think about all the negative qualities of your partner. I've been doing this, but it has the counter effect of making me pretty angry towards her.

Any advice?

RE: Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?
Answer
8/25/12 7:12 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
How have you been practicing up to this point, and what have you been experiencing in practice?

RE: Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?
Answer
8/26/12 1:03 AM as a reply to fivebells ..
fivebells .:
How have you been practicing up to this point, and what have you been experiencing in practice?


In terms of my general meditation practice?

I've been doing mostly samadhi, concentration on the breath and some metta. While trying to focus on the breath I will often lose my train of thought..about many things...but thoughts that drift to the break up occur frequently.

RE: Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?
Answer
8/26/12 4:25 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:
Recently broke up with my girlfriend of 3 years. Obviously there is a lot of emotional baggage that goes with that.. I was wondering if there were any buddhist/meditation practices to help here.

One I read about I believe in the Art of Happiness was advice given by the Dalai Lama to think about all the negative qualities of your partner. I've been doing this, but it has the counter effect of making me pretty angry towards her.

Any advice?


If Mr Lama said that, it's really pathetic advice.

You're hurting because your main source of external validation has been cut off. Your sense of "I am ok" came largely from her. Get onto self-acceptance exercises and embed your "I am ok" script as deeply as you can. If you can do this, your day to day comfort, confidence and attractiveness will soar. If you can get to a point where you can feel really good without any external validation, women will throw themselves at you.

EDIT: I should add that you don't get to "I am ok" by saying "I am ok" but by turning into the pain of loss and loneliness, and facing it with neutral attitude.

RE: Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?
Answer
8/26/12 4:01 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Hi, Jinxed.

What can help is to separate the wheat from the chaff. Notice all the feelings++ that comes up when thinking about her, then try to distinguish between feelings and her.

Also don't go all Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on yourself and try to fix everything overnight.

RE: Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?
Answer
8/26/12 2:24 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Depending on how long it's been since you broke up with her, there may be very little you can do aside from just feeling the feelings. You may have to tolerate alternating between feelings of anger toward her, feelings of self-recrimination, and feelings of sadness.

Once you've done this for awhile, and you've judged that you've thought everything useful about the situation, write down your thoughts so you don't have to worry about forgetting them. Only add to this document if you think a new thought about the situation. Otherwise, don't read it. Put it away somewhere.

Then, every time you begin to ruminate about your ex or your relationship, breathe gently through the mouth so that the breath is focused on a small spot on your pallet. Focus the attention there. Feel the coolness of the air, and try to feel the size and shape of the area the breath is landing in. Don't think about anything else; just focus on that spot. Exhale. Do this two more times. That will temporarily extinguish the thought.

If the thought comes back, do it again. If you have to do this 20x/day, it's still better than ruminating.

RE: Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?
Answer
8/26/12 4:37 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
turning into the pain of loss and loneliness, and facing it with neutral attitude.


I think you can appreciate these feelings. It is life and you only get to do it once.

What can help is to separate the wheat from the chaff. Notice all the feelings++ that comes up when thinking about her, then try to distinguish between feelings and her.


I think i understand the advice here but distinguishing between the feelings and her will be impossible if she isn't around to actually see, hear, smell, etc. You can juxtapose all your feelings with all the things around you that you can actually see and touch and smell and hear and taste. And you don't even have to try to do that. As long as the idea of juxtaposition is in the back of your mind somewhere then i think said juxtaposition will occur and the actual will stand out much more brightly and those feelings will be less significant. But if you want them to be less significant then they won' be. They will continue to be significant and painful until you accept them and love them.

Depending on how long it's been since you broke up with her, there may be very little you can do aside from just feeling the feelings


This stage of your life, this post breakup stage, is temporary and you may never get to experience it again. So enjoy these so called negative feelings. It may be your last time around this particular carousel.

RE: Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?
Answer
8/26/12 11:23 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
One I read about I believe in the Art of Happiness was advice given by the Dalai Lama to think about all the negative qualities of your partner. I've been doing this, but it has the counter effect of making me pretty angry towards her.


I agree with CCC. This is pretty bad advice.

The remedy to sorrow {from the loss of love} is not malice {from thinking of all the negative qualities}.

The remedy to sorrow is just the absence of sorrow.

Opposing feelings to feelings is to keep fueling the fire, just a transmutation of the same suffering. Instead, try to work with each feeling from within, feel the feeling, don't be afraid to look at it and its triggers closer and closer, and see that a 'relationship' is just a mental construct. 'Your' {ex}girlfriend was never 'yours'. You are the only one who constructed that feeling and belief from within, and now you are the only one who can deconstruct it to its disappearance, but you need to reverse-engineer it.

Hope this helps.

RE: Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?
Answer
8/27/12 5:20 AM as a reply to Felipe C..
I spent some time working on this sort of issue in the spring, and i think i significantly shortened the time the longing and jalousy lasted.
I would sit and say, repeatedly, things like "It is ok that she is with someone else instead of me", letting go into that. Also, saying, after some examination, sitting and saying "i want things right now to be other than they are right now", and feeling the absurdity of that, and the pain of it, and letting go.
Also, noticing the moments of sensory peace and clarity when the introvert self-abuse lifts for a while. Tonglen practice can be good for this, and if fitted to the situation, also great for dealing with these sorts of emotions. What i did for tonglen was basically this:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/dna/place-lancashire/plain/A1045784

in the middle bit "Inhale deeply, drawing the imaginary smoke into your very core, Let it dissolve the seed of ego-clinging identity, which is trying to protect itself from the negativity.", you should (according to me), when the "smoke" and the "core" "touch", let go of attending to whatever you regard as your core, and let go of attending to the smoke, surrendering any distinction or distance between them. This will tend to produce a moment of (conceptual)mind -blowing clarity where you forget everything but the pure sensory presence right here, wow! When you can think again, do the breathing out thing.

RE: Practices for Getting Over A Break-Up?
Answer
11/2/14 3:02 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Ah, I'm going through this..... again.... sigh.

My first line of attack - a resolution to be super careful about the next person I get all twiterpated about. Wish me luck? :/

I've had a traumatic year in general, so concentrating on emotions as vibrations, pressure, and other physical sensations has helped a lot. I pay attention to the way they change. This helps with really terrible pain as well, which is sometimes very similar. Sharon Salzbeerg has some good, very short and easy guided meditations on this.  Also, the bit about "the answer is in the question" in the book was VERY helpful. Basically, I feel the pain, and then look into the universal existence of the pain, then compassion seems to just show up - but in this funny energetic way.

Any time desire moves a being toward something, they are also moving away from something else. This is what makes reality reality, all this moving towards and away - you could even look at desire as physics, or all physics as desire, for that matter. Besides, everyone you love will be lost at some point, one way or the other. 

But yeah, it hurts like hell, doesn't it?

I was recently listening to an Against the Stream dharma talk (maybe Noah Levine?) where the presenter was talking about empathy and the ability to be present with another person's pain. He was saying that this is where compassion is born - really being able to feel it as if it were your own. You need to take moments to center during this kind of practice, otherwise you just feel terrible. Concentration practice seems to help a bit for me, but so can distraction. Insight into the three characteristics - impermanence, unsatisfactory nature of every damn thing (humph!) and the non-self stuff seems to be good also. Being rejected isn't so bad when you really look into the ego bits.

This post is old, but I figured I'd chime in in case this is helpful?

Another good one, from Waking Life:

"As one realizes that one is a dream figure in another person's dream, that is self awareness."

There are so many beautiful, terrible, strange, interesting, boring and fun humans out there. Check it out. When you get to the point where you can kind of see existence almost from the outside, it's all kind of like lucid dreaming... but no flying... .... so far ;)

I wish you the best in your interactions and conections. When I can meditate myself out of an oxytocin rush and a cortosol crash, I'll be a very happy lady emoticon