Broken-hearted students are not alone this Valentine’s Day. The days leading up to the romantic holiday are among the top dumping days of the year, according to research done by IllicitEncounters.com, a top married-dating website. Out of 1,500 people surveyed, 30 percent had broken up with someone the week before Valentine’s Day.
“There’s very few people who will never go through one or more breakups in their lifetime,” Joanne Davila, a professor and director of clinical training in the psychology department, said. “So, it’s the norm for sure.”
Davila, a psychologist who studies romantic relationships, teaches a relationship education workshop at Stony Brook. In the past two years, close to 200 students have attended, most dealing with breakup issues.
As with the death of a loved one, experiencing the seven stages of grief after breaking up is normal. According to an article from Psychology Today, “understanding your emotional response to a breakup can help you feel less alone.”
“Breakups are really challenging because when people lose the person that they care about it’s actually a physiological experience in addition to just an emotional experience,” Davila said. “What we find is that when people are rejected, if you look at the data, people show activation in parts of the brain that are associated with attachment and also with physical pain.”
A study performed by the Journal of College Student Psychotherapy suggests that it takes 11 weeks to get over a split.
“I think that really just shows us how the loss of someone we love really biologically impacts us,” Davila said.
For those that are struggling, blocking your ex on social media or avoiding communication can help the healing process.
“The more contact you have with an ex, the more it’s gonna keep your emotions kind of amplified,” Davila said. She recommended focusing on yourself instead of dwelling on the other person. “When you see that person you’ll just go, ‘Oh remember all the good times?’ That’s not what you wanna do. You wanna remember all the bad times. You have to sort of let yourself know that you are a worthy person and that if they didn’t want you that’s on them. You will be okay.”
In addition to avoiding your ex, spending time with family and friends can help too. Valerie Chin, a junior electrical engineering major, credited her loved ones when she discussed her own experiences with relationships and breakups.
“Spend more time with friends,” Chin said. “It’s the only stuff that can keep you busy. I would stay with my family and friends. My family definitely supported me a lot [through my breakup] too.”
Whether you go all-in and hit the spa or just spend the day with friends eating junk food and watching Netflix, look out for the most important person in your life this Valentine’s Day: yourself.