In light of all the recent articles on loneliness and isolation and the “it’s okay to not be okay” social media posts, I’d like to note some males, who find it hard to talk about their feelings – mainly because they have nobody to share with – can often find themselves in situations where they internalise their feelings and are unable to verbalise internal torment.
Lots of men hide their emotion, as they have not been shown how to display affection and talk about their feelings, as opposed to women, who often have peer or general layers of support through Facebook or other “you okay, hun?” social media platforms.
Men don’t talk about their feelings, never mind use analytical processes to gauge whether depression may be lurking around the corners.
Perhaps if we were educated in emotional literacy from a young age, it wouldn’t get to the desperate point some men reach before getting to breaking point, causing irreparable damage to existing and previous relationships.
People move on. It’s only natural that, when two people split, inevitably one will move onto pastures new before the other – sometimes too quick for the other’s comfort. However, if it happens that you aren’t the first to find love again, do not fear.
The worst thing you can do is leap from one destructive episode to the next. It’s fine to have some time, reflect and get your emotions in check. If it happens, it happens, and it’s absolutely fine if it doesn’t.
If it does happen that you take to Tinder and other dating apps, if only for self-esteem and to see if you’ve still got it, don’t be too hard on yourself if it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Learn to be a better friend to yourself and ask yourself what it is you actually want from a partner. Is companionship enough or is intimacy and a shared future what you need in a partner? Then there’s the children. If you must remain in contact because of children, or other shared obligations such as mortgage or business, know that there is a distinct difference between being friendly and being friends.
True friendship means two people care about each other’s well being and have one another’s best interests at heart.
By the time many relationships end it is often in question whether both parties can genuinely provide this kind of care and support for one another.
The expectation that someone who didn’t treat you well will be capable of being a true friend afterwards can set you up to continue to be hurt.
But choosing to be friendly means you can, without expectations, acknowledge the love you shared an honour, treating the other person with kindness and respect.
If we think of it as a “loving uncoupling” as opposed to the end of the world, even if you feel wave after wave of heartache and despair. They say time is a great healer and, of course, it is.
January is the ideal time for new starts but make sure you have had a good look at why your time with one person ran its course and know that even the best of things come to an end.
Only then can we grow and learn and not make the same mistakes again.
David Kelly is a Leeds social work personal advisor.