You can’t isolate yourself and live a lonely life because you think it’s safe. Humans are naturally social animals and they need to bond with others. This makes heartbreaks somewhat inevitable, but it doesn’t have to hurt as much as Hollywood makes it look. You can minimize the pain.
For one, people should trust their instincts. But how do you recognize what they are? Butterflies in the stomach and similar euphoric feelings can easily overtake logic. “Anxiety can get the best of people and when you first meet [your partner], it is not a bad thing to acknowledge it,” Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Kathleen Oravec says. “That is why it is important to take things slow so anxiety and awkwardness can dissipate.”
Another reason to take your time is because you have to feel you can trust someone not to judge or criticize you, Oravec adds. “It can take time to build that trust. When you find it, you will know it.”
Expectations are another reason why a breakup can result in heartbreak. “There is no timeline for talking about real commitment,” Oravec says. “Commitment to be kind to each other, to support each other, to spend time together, to see if you have shared values and interests.”
Communication is a very complex and challenging aspect of relationships, Melody Li, LMFT-A, MA, Counseling + Couples Therapy, says. “It impacts trust and intimacy.” Talking openly about what bothers you can resolve conflicts, especially when you don’t feel you’re being understood.
Couples should have a talk at the very beginning about what the nature of the relationship is. “After it reaches the point of casual getting to know each other,” Oravec says. “If you feel strongly about the person, let them know. I have no idea what they will do, but you need to speak your truth.” They could feel the same way about you, and that could be validating and an exciting time. If they feel differently, it can be hard to hear, but at least you then have the truth.