Go ahead, shed those tears! Why it’s okay to be sad when your relationship ends.

The sadness you experience when are going through a breakup or divorce is overwhelming and gut wrenching. Crying becomes part of your daily life. No matter how hard you try to keep things together, the tears will well up, anywhere and everywhere.

“I just want to go one day without crying.”

“When will the crying and sadness end?”

I know. I cried anytime and everywhere. Not just in the comfort and solitude of my home, by the way. I cried in line at Trader Joe’s. I cried walking down the street. I cried while hiking. My most embarrassing, I cried at a Meetup group event at the Hollywood Bowl.

It felt like I cried from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until I was able to get myself to sleep at night. My only reprieve was that brief moment when I first woke up in the morning, coming out of a dream, forgetting for one moment…until the reality of my situation all came rushing back into my awareness.

The sadness is all encompassing. It engulfs you.

And I judged myself. Hard. I wondered what was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I hold it together? I felt powerless. Weak. Devastated. Hurt. I just wanted the sadness and crying to go away.

But here’s the thing…

It’s okay to be sad.

There is nothing wrong with you. You’re not weak. You are strong.

Yes. Go ahead and feel that sadness. Celebrate it! You know why? It’s the natural part of life. Sadness is part of the spectrum of human emotions. And if you don’t have sadness, well then, you don’t have happiness either.

Sadness is an emotion. It’s natural. It’s part of being human. Like all emotions, sadness comes and goes. You will not feel this way forever, just like you don’t feel happiness, or joy all the time. It’s a feeling that will pass.

When you think things like, “I shouldn’t still be crying, what’s wrong with me?” or “Sadness is bad, if I were strong I would be able to stop crying.” “I just want this to go away!”, you are judging yourself and the sadness as a bad thing. And when you judge yourself this way, you are telling yourself that there is something wrong with you, which in turn makes you feel even worse.

Stop judging yourself for being sad!

Accept that you are sad and that it’s okay. 

Now, I’m not advocating sitting in sadness forever. Wallowing in your misery or using it as an excuse to play a victim and blame.

I’m talking about going ahead and feeling the sadness at the end of your relationship, not repressing it, stuffing it away, or beating yourself up about it. Just know it’s okay to feel sadness. Sadness is not weakness.

Sadness is a time of growth and change.

Times of sadness force us to turn inward. These are times of introspection. It’s impossible to ignore the sadness forever, no matter how hard you try.

When you are sad, you evaluate what is important to you.

Also, the sadness you are feeling and the tears you are shedding are not just over the loss of your ex and the relationship.

There are far more changes happening.

You are shedding your old identity before stepping into a new one.

You are leaving the role of girlfriend or wife, leaving your “couple” identity behind. This was an identity you adopted and built over years. It was familiar and safe and now you are shedding that identity and stepping into your new “me” identity.

You may also be losing “couple” friends and feeling like an outsider in your social circle of couples.

You’re losing the future you had planned together and counted on.

It’s only natural to feel sadness as you shed your old life and identity. It was familiar to you. And now you are going out into the unfamiliar, the unknown, often not even sure who you even are anymore.

But that doesn’t mean that sadness is a bad thing. You are transforming, growing, and changing.

Often, you have to go through the dark, the sadness, to move into the light. On the other side is your new life. Full of possibility.  

Instead of looking at sadness as something terrible, think of it as a transformation. A shedding of the old before you blossom into the new stronger version of you.

And about the crying? Well…

Science says crying is good for you!

According to scientific research, shedding emotional tears may be beneficial and exist for a purpose.

  • Crying is an attachment behavior. Your tears are a non-verbal signal to others that you are in need of support. It draws people in to comfort you.
  • Crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system which calms you and relaxes you.
  • Shedding tears releases feel good chemicals including oxytocin and endorphins. This enhances your mood and may relieve emotional pain. Ever feel better after a good cry?
  • Crying may help reduce stress. Scientists have found that emotional tears contain high levels of stress hormones.

Crying is your body’s own way of comforting you and releasing all that tension. It is signaling to others that you need support.

When you are overwhelmed by sadness, remember that you are going through a transformation, you are shedding your old life and identity and stepping into a new life. Stop judging yourself and beating yourself up for crying and feeling sad. You won’t feel this way forever. Realize it’s an emotion and emotions pass with time.

You’ll be okay. We all go through a period of sadness during a breakup. It means you are growing and transforming before moving into your new amazing future.

And, next time you cry in public or just can’t hold back tears, rest assured, your tears are there to help you!

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