Break Up Blues

Christina Aguilera,
Singer & Actress

We all know breakups blow. It's hard to even imagine what it must be like going through a divorce...especially when getting over someone you dated for just a short while is so emotionally draining you can't even motivate to go shopping or barhopping. Without sex, new clothes and alcohol, really what worldly pleasures are there left to enjoy? We kid, we kid... there's cookie dough.

In the aftermath of her recent divorce, Christina Aguilera is relying on a strong support system to get by, as she told Redbook. Christina said, "Thankfully, I have my mom and a small group of close friends who are there for me 24/7 and whom I can trust and depend on. On days when it feels impossible to even get out of bed, much less function as a mother, their support and encouragement have kept me moving forward."

For many women recovering post-breakup, no matter how long or significant the relaysh was, that feeling of not being able to get out of bed is all too relatable. According to our expert, Los Angeles marriage and family therapist Michelle Otelsberg, "When a relationship ends, a person goes through a grieving period, which differs for each person. Some people throw themselves into work or into spending time with friends and family as a distraction technique, while others find themselves struggling with a mild form of depression that could last for a few weeks. They may lack an appetite, have difficulty sleeping, experience panic attacks or a lot of anxiety. Healthy responses to relationships ending are grief, anxiety, depression, sadness, denial and anger."

But how long should this break-up funk last? Otelsberg explains, "Usually within a few weeks, most people are able to start to return to "normal". Milder symptoms can last much longer for someone who was in a long-term relationship because they may have lost more than just the partner, including friends and relatives whom they became close with, and pets or property they may have shared together." Oh dog custody. So very unfortunate.

But if the post break-up sadness is causing someone to "have difficulty getting out of bed and it causes interference in their daily life (i.e., they cant get to work or school), then they should reach out to a therapist for some help. What is normal is wanting to be alone and having difficulty interacting with others or concentrating, but what is not healthy is isolating oneself for an extended period of time," Otelsberg explains.

For Christina, focusing on her son Max is another coping mechanism. She said, "Thankfully, I have Max to keep me on a sane path. His needs and happiness are my top priorities, and my biggest concern is to protect him and make him feel safe." While this is certainly responsible parenting, the idea of focusing on something that will help distract oneself during this time is also important. According to Otelsberg, "Distracting oneself with friends and family, or pouring oneself into new hobbies or activities or work can help pass the time." Pouring over his Facebook page doesn't count as an acceptable distraction, though, ladies.

Ultimately, a great piece of advice from Otelsberg on overcoming a breakup: "We can only control our behaviors not our thoughts or emotions. So by engaging in healthy habits--like exercising, getting plenty of sleep, eating well, hanging out with friends and family--our thoughts and emotions will follow and one will be able to move on."

If it takes longer, we understand--there's always that one that you can't shake. Some of us still have dreams about Emilio Estevez in Young Guns II, so we don't judge.


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