If you have ever stalked your ex on social media or dated the wrong person just to get back at them, then you must be familiar with the drama that comes with the post-break up phase. So many issues arise when two people who were in a relationship break up, but it’s that immediate post break-up phase that comes with the most confusing drama; some people go to the extent of dating their ex’s friends, posting bewailing quotes on their WhatsApp statuses or even sharing cheery moments with their new partner on social media, all in the name of getting back at their ex. Lyn Umutoni, a university student, says some may call this petty but when one is hurting, especially from a break-up, you can literally do anything in order to stay sane. Of course, most of the things you do, you regret later, but in that moment what matters is the pain you feel and how to make that person pay for it, she says. Kelia Umuringa, a customer care officer, shares that social media has even made things worse these days. “Before, it would be somehow easy to forget about your ex but this is now close to impossible because of social media. You can easily come across their photos or keep up with their lives through their posts,” she says. She believes that what causes the drama in most cases is the fact that at this stage, someone has not moved on yet. They still have feelings for their partner and the guilt or pain of losing their love can push them into doing things either to hurt themselves or their former partner. “Some people engage in drinking, others turn to serial dating in order to forget the pain or make their ex jealous.” According to counsellor Damien Mouzoun, breaking up with someone can feel like physical pain—here’s how the end of a relationship affects us psychologically. Scientific research suggests that a break up is so painful because the same areas in the brain are activated when we feel heartbreak and when we feel physical pain. “One can also be left with feeling lost, scared, confused, anxious, self-doubt, depressed and angry. These feelings can lead to self-destructive behaviours, feeling stuck or discouraged about the future and new relationships,” Mouzoun says. There may be spiritual and religious challenges and doubts that may arise. Sufficient to say that separation or divorce can freeze a person’s ability to move forward, spiritually, mentally and physically. This can impact all involved including the children, he adds. Many individuals who are going through divorce do a good job of hiding their emotions and sometimes pushing others away, they change their healthy routines and healthy habits and replace them with behaviours that are from a survival stance. That’s why the counsellor recommends counselling to help heal, move forward and to grow from the experience. “In post-divorce counselling, the therapist helps the individual client work on the self, the grief and loss, the feeling of shame or bitterness while guiding the client to a renewed feeling of strength and hope.” Before things fall apart Counsellor Innocent Kabera shares that any relationship has stages. And there is this stage where you start knowing your partner and you start to see their weaknesses and so on, what used to make you both happy becomes history. This is when things become boring and then, those who aren’t patient enough start to doubt each other thinking that there is a problem, without realising that this stage is common with every relationship, he says. This stage comes with an opportunity to cherish each other’s authenticity and once it has passed, there are more fruits to harvest in the long run, according to Kabera. There are many factors such as infidelity, misunderstandings, among other causes, that normally lead to break ups. There is the repression of things you see in your partner that makes you uncomfortable, like the way they apply tooth paste or the way they use body lotion. These tiny little details can build up to become something big and in the long run, your partner will do something that you can’t tolerate and your temper will burst into some uncontrollable actions caused by all the memories you have repressed within. This has potential to lead to a break up and the counsellor is of the view that it’s better to start communication before it’s too late. “Once you and your partner start having different views and opinions of certain things, the red flags start to appear. You will complain a lot and lose the common ground that binds you together, and this will also lead to break up. It’s better to find the common interest between you.” Another common thing is the unrealistic expectations. Once what you expected in your partner is no longer met, you will automatically lose interest in them. Kabera advises against too many expectations and fantasies in our partners, since we too can’t provide or attend to all their needs. Different relationship goals can also lead to division. Kabera says this is something to be discussed and make sure that you are all on the same song sheet, as this will reduce the possibility of growing apart.