Surviving a breakup is an experience that no one can relate to unless they are currently going through it. The intense and dark emotions will not go away with advice like, “time will heal.” I know, because I’ve had my heart shattered in what felt like it was tossed in a food processor.
At the time, I had supportive friends and family, but none who could truly understand my struggle. The days that follow immediately after are disorienting. It’s like you were hit by a wave and you don’t know which way to swim. Without warning you are forced into a new chapter of your life. There is so much loss in such a short amount of time and it is a loss you have no control over. Many individuals going through a breakup, including myself at the time, feel like the breakup is so specific to them. It’s as if the breakup was not supposed to happen to their relationship, maybe to other people, but this relationship was different.
For me, searching the web to find others that could relate was a lifeline. This was years ago, but Lonely Hearts Club was founded on the idea that when women come together to share their breakup stories, they are experts in helping one another navigate the heartbreak process.
A significant moment from a group was when a woman confessed her fantasy of reconciling. She said her mind was on a loop replaying a scenario where her ex comes back. The group let out a synchronous sigh of relief. Knowing they were not alone in these thoughts gave them comfort and allowed them to recognize that their breakup was not so specific to them.
As these women continued talking through this fantasy, they guided one other to recall the bad parts of the relationship. It takes one woman to share her story for others to feel less alone.
Since May I have been running groups with women across the country. Currently, it is setup as a virtual support group. Members are given a different theme each session, such as impact of the breakup, forgiveness, and confidence. The bond these women form by the end of the first hour is noticeable. Often members will exchange phone numbers and set-up a group chat to engage before the next session. They rely on each other when the craving to contact an ex kicks in or they need validation that they are not alone in their experience.
The community these women have built is one I want to continue to help foster. My goal for Lonely Hearts Club is for it to become a known resource for women across the country. Giving members a safe space to be vulnerable has helped many process their breakup in a productive way. Heartbreak can and often does lead to depression. By facilitating a breakup support group, the risk of depression decreases. In addition to running the groups, I want the club to be an entity that makes women feel less alone in their heartbreak.
When members first join the group it is evident that their self confidence is low and their functioning is disrupted by emotions of devastation and memories of their ex. At the end of each session, members set an intention for the week. The most common intention is to get through the week without looking up an ex on social media.
Setting an intention gives members small attainable goals, making the breakup process less overwhelming. Members value the group to hold them accountable for their intention. Whether they can stick to it or have a slip up, they know the group is on their side. After completing all eight sessions, members feel they have made exceptional progress in moving forward. They also come out of the group with newfound friendships.
Loneliness is a feeling that many of us have experienced since the pandemic and it is a feeling that swallows individuals whole after a breakup.
When part of a group, loneliness is not so prevalent. Members express they feel like they are on a team and heartbreak is the opponent. These women are banding together to come out of their heartbreak on top. To inquire about joining the group, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit LonelyHeartsClubnyc.com.