People who become isolated and resentful after heartbreak tend to display these 10 subtle behaviors

There’s no denying the gutwrenching heartache that comes with a split.

It takes time to properly heal and move on. It would be nice if we could magically fast-forward this part, but it’s not that easy.

A breakup can feel like the end of the world, but it certainly doesn’t have to be.

Yet some people seem to get stuck in the pain. Their hurt turns into isolation and resentment.

Here are some of the subtle signs that may be happening. 

1) They no longer enjoy the things they used to like to do

Breakups can blend into depression.

In fact, one 2019 study found that our emotional state post-breakup can closely resemble clinical depression.

This sort of stressful life event can strip the joy out of daily life.

When you feel in a constant low mood, you can quickly lose your energy levels.

This prompts you to want to hide away and do very little.

Things like apathy and general fatigue are common.

So it may feel like you have less interest in doing the things you once enjoyed so much.

Hobbies and interests take a back seat as you can’t seem to find that spark of motivation to get up and go.

Even though we don’t feel like it, it’s important to stick to some sort of routine and make an effort to do things. It’s all part of the recovery process.

2) They lose themselves in unhealthy habits

The rebel in us all can be very tempted to act out after a breakup.

After all, we can feel very angry and we want an outlet for this, even when it’s a little self-destructive.

This can give us a “Screw it!” attitude to doing the things we once were more careful about.

Nobody particularly enjoys sitting with the pain of heartache. So we may seek to drown our sorrows in things that serve as a distraction.

Some of these can be unhealthy, especially if we indulge in them over the long term.

For example:

  • Partying way more
  • Eating junk food nonstop and not taking care of ourselves
  • Drinking alcohol to excess
  • Taking drugs
  • Sleeping around

Whilst it can feel like a temporary bandaid, the problem with bad habits is that rather than support us during difficult times, they only drag us down further in the end.

When we’re looking for an emotional crutch in times of need, we do ourselves a favor when we look to better nourishing habits for the soul.

3) They’re always online

Social media can be an emotional rollercoaster even when we’re feeling our best. But navigating its use when we’re going through a hard time can be enough to drag us under.

When we feel unsettled or anxious in life, social media feels like something to reach out to.

People who are feeling lost, lonely, or isolated after a breakup are looking for greater connection and may go searching for that online.

There we can watch from the sidelines or hide behind a mask.

Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Whatsapp, etc. it seems like you’re spending more and more time online, but yet you still feel cut off from the world.

The unfortunate part is that immersing ourselves in social media after a breakup can make us feel worse, increasing anxiety and depression, lowering self-esteem, and giving us an even lower mood.

We do need connection but it’s better to seek that in the flesh with people we know care about us and have our best interests at heart.

4) They look for payback

Don’t let them fool you, revenge isn’t a dish best-served cold.

It’s better not served at all.

Trust me, I get it. When I was cheated on by the man I loved, a big part of me wanted karma to come knocking on his door.

Seeking revenge, starting rumors, trying to make your ex jealous, creating nasty posts on your socials about them — or any other form of payback — isn’t worth it.

Finding forgiveness in your heart is about you moving on, not them. And revenge just keeps us stuck in the pain and bitterness.

5) They badmouth their ex to anyone who’ll listen

Talking shit about someone is always very tempting when they’ve hurt us.

Yet we have to remember that rather than paint them in a bad light, it tends to make us look bad.

Don’t get me wrong, venting to your nearest and dearest can be really cathartic.

I love how girlfriends would rally around me and show their encouragement by saying supportive things like “You’re too good for him anyway”.

But we’ve got to be mindful of the stories we tell after a breakup.

For starters, once you start throwing comments around in the heat of the moment, there’s no coming back from it.

You may later come to regret it once you’ve cooled down.

But it also starts to perpetuate a negative narrative that you repeat over and over.

Sometimes this is reflective of what’s going on inside, as we’re about to see next.

6) They ruminate

Sad woman People who become isolated and resentful after heartbreak tend to display these 10 subtle behaviors

Rumination is one of those incredibly annoying habits that can feel impossible to break.

It’s like a form of self-harm as we do it to ourselves, yet can feel at the mercy of repetitive thoughts.

This cycle of negative thinking about your ex and your story together becomes like a broken record.

Even if plenty of time has passed, the emotions still feel raw because they are kept fresh.

You may play certain scenes or scenarios over and over again on a loop.

Rather than clarity, solutions, and answers, all you find is more pain.

That’s why finding positive distractions, getting some exercise, challenging unhelpful thoughts, and leaning on others can help you break this frustrating cycle and move on.

7) They pretend that they’re fine

When someone seemingly bounces back at lightning speed from a breakup, don’t assume all is well.

Sometimes denial causes us to run from feelings that would otherwise overwhelm us.

Pretending you’re completely unaffected by a breakup may mean you’re yet to process the emotions involved.

When this happens, the face we present to everyone else is not how we truly feel inside.

Maybe keeping face and maintaining an image of normalcy seems more important than sharing how you really feel.

Don’t be surprised if those undealt with feelings come back to haunt you later.

8) They stay home by themselves

Withdrawal is a classic symptom of heartbreak.

Not only do we feel like doing a lot less, as I pointed out earlier. But we don’t always feel like being around others.

Sometimes we want to be alone so we can reflect and come to terms with our sadness.

Other times it feels like a burden if we think we have to wear a mask to hide how low we’re feeling from others.

So when someone becomes isolated after a breakup, they may start to make excuses to be alone or give reasons why they can’t join in with plans.

9) They romanticize or demonize their ex

The reality is that not one of us is all good or all bad.

Sometimes when a relationship doesn’t work out we either blame them or blame ourselves.

Yet doing either can be equally unhealthy.

When we demonize an ex and lay all the fault at their feet it’s easier to get lost in bitterness towards them.

That’s not to say we can’t recognize their failings and flaws. But building them up to be all bad doesn’t give us the comfort we might think it will.

It’s hard to move on when you’re stuck in anger. Even more so when you refuse to take responsibility for your life. Blaming your ex pushes you into victimhood.

Similarly, putting on rose-tinted glasses about an ex makes it just as challenging.

When you idealize someone and ignore their imperfections it can leave you feeling hopeless that the relationship is over.

It tempts you into the false and isolating belief that there is no one else out there as good as your ex.

Even though it may feel like that in the aftermath of a breakup, it’s just not true.

10) They have difficulty sleeping

It’s perhaps unsurprising that after a breakup we don’t exactly sleep soundly.

All those swirling thoughts and emotions can make switching off at night really difficult.

Sadly, it’s also a time when you really need the rest.

Yet as senior behavioral scientist Wendy Troxel, explains, losing a partner can be a major cause of sleep disturbance.

“We derive a sense of psychological safety from our social connections, and that’s particularly true of a bed partner, so you can imagine the removal of a bed partner to a breakup or a death could increase your feelings of vulnerability at night.”

Falling back on relaxation techniques can help to ease sleepless nights until the heartache passes.

Heartache is human

It’s a universal emotion. To love also means loss at some point.

But just like any suffering we experience in life, we can accept it and even learn to embrace it.

When we do, we realize that not only will we survive, but we also gain valuable insights and wisdom from the harshest of experiences.

It’s important not to close yourself off. Give yourself the time you need, but support yourself in constructive ways.

That way we can strive towards moving on. Because when you can’t let it drop, you only end up falling into isolation and resentment.

Picture of Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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