We’ve all been there. Those days, weeks, months, sometimes a year or more post-breakup and still feeling like an asexual blob. Thinking about getting back out there and dating is hard enough. Thinking about kissing another person might be exciting, but for many it’s terrifying and often depressing because the only person you want to be kissing is your ex.
Then there’s sex. In theory it’s something to look forward to. It’s supposed to be fun, exciting, passionate..the yummy part of being in a relationship. But if you’re suffering from a broken heart, sex can often be the last thing on your mind. This can be due to many things: depression, weight gain (too much Ben and Jerry’s maybe?), fear of being that intimate with someone new, avoidance of having to make disclosures (STD’s, birth control conversation, etc.), performance anxiety, self esteem issues…the list goes on.
Recently I was talking with a coaching client of mine who went through a painful breakup with her fiance a few months ago. She’s been beating herself up about her lack of motivation to get back out there and date again. She described herself feeling “ugly”, “nervous”, “apathetic”, “blah” (yes, that is a valid feeling). She asked me if something was wrong with her. I assured her that she was exactly where she needed to be.
If your breakup was extremely painful or devastating it’s totally and completely normal to want to crawl in a hole…sometimes for longer than your brain tells you is healthy. Of course, pulling the covers over your head for TOO long can indicate signs of a more serious problem that might be helped with a professional therapist. A great way to make sure you’re still within the ‘healthy post-breakup” range is to talk to someone on a regular basis. Checking in regularly with someone helps you NOT isolate to the point of no return.
As far as getting back out there, dating, and…dun dun duh….sex? My advice is to trust your body. Listen to what your body is saying from the neck down (aka: don’t over-think it). When you think about dating and sex what happens in your shoulders? Your stomach? Your back? Do you get an excited feeling or do you suddenly feel everything tense up (and maybe a little nauseous)? Your somatic responses (body cues) are always telling you the truth. Trust yourself enough listen to those cues and honor what your body needs.
It may feel like you’re never going to date again. You and I both know that’s not true. You’re just not ready right NOW. But you will be. Seek the support of friends, loved ones, and maybe the guidance of a coach to keep you pointed in the right direction…even if that direction is toward the couch for now. Things will change, you will move on, and the reasons that this all happened will become clear to you eventually. Trust the process.