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Board-certified psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. Ish Major joins The Doctors to share his “break-up battle plan” to help people experiencing a breakup get over their ex and move on with their lives.
Why does it hurt so bad? Dr. Ish explains that breakups are like an addiction. The pain from losing love targets the exact same centers as a chemical detox does. Dr. Ish says when love is taken away, you literally go through withdrawal.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says this is why you can’t sit around rationally and explain the way we behave after a break-up! Plastic surgeon Dr. Andew Ordon adds that this explains why people often try to get back with that person even when they know they are wrong, or, they go for the first thing that walks by. Dr. Ish sums that up with two words – rebound or relapse. To avoid doing either of those things, follow his 3-step break-up battle plan.
Step 1: Purge!
If you see it, taste it, touch it, hear it, or especially smell it, get rid of it. Dr. Ish shares how the olfactory nerve which recognizes smell is wired directly to our memory centers. And it’s those good times, not the bad, that the smell of an ex’s t-shirt will trigger. If you can’t seem to part with things right away, Dr. Ish suggests boxing it up and sending it to a family member.
Step 2: The Letter Never Sent
This letter will give you the closure you never were able to get from your ex. Dr. Ish says to put pen to paper and write out that last conversation as if you were talking to them. Then, fold it up but do not send! He suggests a ritual of burning the letter over the bathtub; the ashes washing away will symbolize washing away your past relationship and making way for the new.
Step 3: Enforce Solitude
Dr. Ish says you have to get comfortable with the idea of being alone because if you can’t enjoy your own company, no one else ever will. For two weekends Dr. Ish says to work on self-care. He says no work functions, birthday parties, girls' or boys' night out, and definitely no weddings. The Doctors chime in adding no romantic comedies, sad music, and agree, definitely no weddings.
After these steps are complete, then it’s time to rally the troops and surround yourself with people you love who can remind you that you are lovable! Dr. Ish says, “You've got to find the right way to let go of the person you’re not meant to be with so you can make space for the one you are.”