When love has gone…

Your heart gets a 1000 volt jolt – the one who professed to be with you forever suddenly walks out of your life, leaving you squashed, smashed, burning, moping – and it feels like the end of the world. Many of us suffer heartbreak at least once in life – whether we get dumped by a loved one or when we have to make the inevitable choice of walking out. It feels like endless agony! But one has to live through it and learn to live and love… Once again! RITZ delves into the hearts of people who have been there and gone through that to understand how long it takes to get over a relationship and move on.

Bette Midler, the American singer and song writer, wrote beautiful lyrics in her album `Some People’s Lives’ that topped the Billboard and achieved Platinum status in the 90’s. A couple of decades have passed but the words in the song ‘ Since You Stayed Here’ still resonate with people who go through a break up, even today.

“You’ll never recognize the room.

The pictures all have different frames now.

And all the chairs are rearranged now.

Somehow, I have thrown out every souvenir.

Yes, there have been changes made

Since you stayed here.”

But mankind has eternally survived on hope – for a better day, a day when everything will seem alright, when you will feel ready to let go. To quote John Keats from his poem `To Hope’ –

“Should disappointment, parent of despair,

Strive for her son to seize my careless heart.

When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air,

Preparing on his spell bound prey to dart.

Chase him away, sweet hope, with visage bright,

And fright him, as the morning frightens night.”

Easier said than done though! More so, if you’ve been dumped for somebody else. When Cliff Richards sang – “Someone else is in your arms tonight while I’m all alone and blue. Someone else will kiss you and hold you tight, just the way I used to do. I used to be your love and now I’m you used-to be. Outsider. That’s me” – it became the anthem of all those who suffered rejection.

Songs have been written, great masterpieces painted, operas composed, ballets performed, novels written – all inspired by the agony suffered by a broken heart. Many have tried to make sense of the complexities of love – especially why a relationship has to end. Is there anything more compelling, more painful in life than an aching heart? But then, the show must go on and we have to move on. While some take ages to lick their wounds until they heal, some get over it like a song, and some take the path of the rebound. Shrinks say there are no rights or wrongs in the path of healing. Different strokes for different folks.

Move on and no rebound please

For Vani Ganapthy who was married to movie superstar Kamal Haasan at one point, it was all about her determination to move on, grit to bash on regardless and channelize her energies into something more constructive like dancing. “If you’re determined to overcome a broken relationship, you will. My grandmother always said, ‘There is more to life than just marriage. You have to maintain the right attitude and work towards overcoming a broken marriage or a relationship,” confides Vani while reiterating that, “It’s important to have a strong support system when you are going through a tough period in life…. the people around you matter a lot. They must maintain a positive attitude and encourage you to find yourself again. Pursue your passions, find something that you love and channelise your energies into that field. For me it was my dance. I used dance as a platform to get over the emotions I was feeling – be it anger, depression, jealousy – when my marriage fell apart.”

Give it some time

And as they say, time is the best healer. Says Vani Ganapathy, “As the years go by, thoughts come back to you in spurts. Try and focus on the positive aspects of the relationship you had; remember the good times. Recalling bad things will leave you cynical and jaded.” And no, don’t grab somebody else in a hurry with the hope that you’ll be able to fill the void. “Never make the mistake of jumping into another relationship on the rebound. It’s the worst thing you can do. Allow yourself time – may be one or two years – to get over your breakup before exploring the possibility of a new relationship.”

So how long does the whole process of getting over a long term partner take? Says Rahul Dev Shetty, former model and choreographer from Bengaluru, who was married to model Jackie Bestowich for more than a decade, “It takes time to get over a relationship, especially if it’s been a long one. You have to give yourself time to grieve, to overcome the feelings of anger and jealousy that are bubbling within. Every relationship that you have, impacts your life in some way. It’s a slow process to get over a break up.”

The best route to get back to normalcy according to Rahul Dev Shetty is, “I think one needs to find a spark in their life again post a painful breakup. Do the things that you could not do when you were married, or in a relationship. Maybe you couldn’t travel to a certain place because it was too expensive for two people. Do it now. Find something you enjoy doing, it could be reading, music, a sport…. anything… and pursue that. It will keep your mind occupied.” When is it the right time to get into another relationship? “Don’t ever make the mistake of jumping into another relationship immediately. Give yourself anywhere between six months to a year to embark on a new relationship.”

Looks like what’s good for the goose is good for the gander too. Says Swetha Raj, Model, Miss India Australia’14, from Hyderabad, “If only there was a magic number to that question! Every relationship is different and hence the time it takes to get over also varies. Good news… Life moves on, so no matter what, sooner or later one will be over it. More often than not, it’s the routine and habit we need to get over rather than the people involved. So once other priorities come into place, the getting over gets easier. “

Feels like death but that’s life

While some of us are able to take it in our stride and cope with it, for some it feels like death. According to Anisha Bhandary who was married to a well known businessman from Bengaluru, “The death of a relationship is like the death of an entity. You must first and foremost accept that there is a grieving period involved once a relationship ends. Be it a marriage, a close friendship that breaks up or even a live-in relationship, you have to grieve for what you have lost.” And yes, her vote like Vani Ganapathy, goes to supportive friends and family, “Normally I’m a very independent person, but when my marriage ended I knew I needed support to get through the tough days ahead and I leaned heavily on my family and friends who meant well, to draw strength from them.” And the desire to cut all cords makes you go to great lengths to sever all connections. Agrees Anisha, “I also cut all contacts with friends and acquaintances who were close to my former husband to help me heal faster.”  Of course, you need to find your own mantra for healing. For her it was, “Yoga and meditation helped me find perspective and gradually each day became easier than the previous one.”

Formula 365

While finding our own formula for moving on might help most of us, there are a few who dance to a different tune. Take the case of Sunder Ramu, photographer from Chennai, who is dating 365 women for 365 days in an endeavor to promote women’s empowerment. Says the innovator in the world of hearts, “For me there is no formula for how to deal with a break up, everyone has different ways of dealing with it. I always get into relationships knowing that there could very well be an end. I more often than not try to stay calm instead of getting angry and upset.”

But then it’s tough when you’ve been wronged, right? Sunder’s take is “It takes two people to get into a relationship but only one to end it, this could be me as well, so I try to figure out what went wrong so I don’t make the same mistakes again.” So then, why do people opt out of a long standing relationship? It’s perplexing, to put it mildly. Analyses Sunder, “When you get into a relationship it is based on what the other person’s impression is of you and the way you are. Sometimes these impressions change. I never play the blame game as I am still friends with most of my exes. I feel that when a relationship ends, the friendship does not necessarily need to end.”

Silver lining

And then we have eternal optimists like Ajay Mantena, a Telugu actor, who says, “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.
My luck changed the minute I broke up, so I can safely say that it’s true. It didn’t take very long. I guess when the fault is not yours; it’s just easier to move on quicker.” Hmmm… True that!

Nikhil Siddhartha, yet another Tollywood actor, has never gone through the trauma but if he ever does, this is what his approach would be, “ Honestly, not that I have personally been through a break up, but I think people shouldn’t take them seriously since it’s all infatuation and attraction these days and less of love. I feel if you lose someone you love through death or a tragic separation then it’s very tough to get over it. But if it’s some relationship which broke up because of fights or misunderstandings, then maybe it never was love in the first place.”

Regardless of the stage of your relationship, the pain is the same. The intensity may vary and the baggage may be heavier if you’ve given it the legal status. Is there a way out then? Is there some way you can do it yourself? The good news is a resounding – YES! Here’s what some people who have emerged stronger after a break up recommend…