Making the best out of breaking up

As per a recent survey 48% of all Facebook users admit that they look at the pic of their ex too often. If you are single you could easily check in with yourself. When did you last look? I understand the need for this in the direct period after the breakup. It doesn’t do anything for you in terms of healing though. You are living past memories instead of focusing on the here and now.

Of course this is easier on paper than in real life. But finding closure is hard when you bring back old memories. It doesn’t matter if you still love or hate your ex. You want to become indifferent in order to heal and you are just giving power to your old thinking and feeling patterns.

You are going through some big changes in life. You have choices to make. You have plenty of options. Even though it is tough you could look at a break-up as an opportunity for personal growth.

You might start with asking yourself a set of questions and be very honest with yourself. Regardless of who and what caused the breakup:

  • What where your shortcomings as partner in your last relationship?
  • What did you learn about yourself and how you want to live your life?
  • How can you avoid that your next relationship ends for the same reasons as your last one?
  • How will your life be better?
  • Where there any co-dependency issues you might want to address?

This is the time to look at areas in your life that you want to work on. It is time to add to your toolbox. If you were too outbound and too focused on your relationship then this is the time to reconnect with yourself. We are often vulnerable and open-minded in this phase before time has done the trick and helped us to heal. Think of being in a big cloud right after an explosion. Once the dirt has settled the opportunity to go a little deeper might have been missed. Some things you could have explored might be covered up already again. Once you feel better you will become less open-minded.

How do you actually start the process?
Grabbing some self-help books and reaching out to a therapist (you can call her/him your coach if that sounds better to you) for guidance and inspiration are the two paths I have followed after break-ups from serious relationships.

I’ve been very lucky to find books that really resonated with me when I needed them. I learned and read about co-dependency, highly sensitive people and about coping with loneliness. You will most likely have some other areas that are higher on your priority list. If you don’t then I’d recommend seeing a therapist – sorry I meant coach –  just for that one reason. Many professionals will see right through you and can make helpful suggestions on areas worth exploring.  They will quite likely have some books sitting on their shelves that will hit your sweet-spot.

The third area to look into are self-help groups. I have been in states of self-pity and it helped a lot to learn that there were others with a similar set of problems or challenges. It made me feel less special which opened me up to learn from the experience of others.

As for your next relationship: If you just got out of a relationship I’d recommend taking a timeout. I’ve had numerous unpleasant encounters with women that were simply not ready for another relationship yet.  I’ve been guilty of that same behavior after my divorce as well and it wasn’t fair to the women I met during that time. We clicked initially but I wasn’t able to form a close connection with someone else yet and my partners were smart enough to recognize that. Event though I was over my ex I still wasn’t ready for my next relationship. I had to learn that those two things can be separate.

Remember that you are also missing out on your personal growth project. You are planting some seeds and should give them some time to grow. You are running the risk of cutting this process short by engaging in a new relationship too soon.

I like this quote: “In order to find the one we want to be with we first have to become the person we want to be”. Every break-up should bring us one step closer to that.

Don’t get me wrong here: break-ups suck and I don’t wish them for anyone.  But we owe it to us and others to make the best out of them. Drugs, boozing, video games or watching endless TV aren’t going to move you in the right direction. You might as well go on Facebook and keep staring at the pics of your ex ;)

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  • lintoo

    This article is really good.I thought at 40 am mature enough not to hurt too much from a breakup…. but it pained. I broke up with my ex on a Tuesday and on Wednesday he had a pic of another woman on his profile declaring how deeply in love he was. All the time i thought we had something….how foolish of me? The reason we broke up was because i got him with another woman…..not the one he is parading as being deeply in love with. I am asking myself these questions you posit and for sure am growing. Thanks