I (regrettably) treat past relationships similarly to the death of a loved one. I’ve spent the greater part of my adult life mourning over the loss of a boyfriend. There were even times where I had been in a thriving, happy relationship, yet still (secretly) reviling from a broken heart. When I finally was capable of emotionally moving past one relationship, it seemed as if I had another one to miss. I have a difficult time coming to terms with minimizing the wonderful men that I’ve had the privilege to love to just a faint smile in the grocery store – your one time best friend becoming the epitome of a stranger, as if you never knew them at all.
One of my girl friends is now in a similar situation. She is working on letting a very long term relationship go, and she asked me what the secret is to moving passed her hurt.
Feel your hurt
I have experienced torrential loss throughout my life. I lost my brother to suicide, and my mother to cancer. However, I stand by the notion that there is no pain quite like heartbreak. It is such a unique, debilitating feeling. So, feel your hurt.
I’m convinced that part of my reason for carrying my hurt for so long is due to my fear of really feeling it at first. It was too painful, so I pushed through it…prolonging the effects. Cry, eat your weight in carbs, and when it’s time to pick yourself up, then stand back up.
Closure is bullshit
Two points for unpopular opinion. I have heard so many women saying “I just need closure”, as if their key to healing is in the hands of the person that broke their heart. At the end of the day, people will only tell you what they want to tell you – despite your pleas for “closure”.
You were in the relationship too, so you should be able to evaluate where the strengths and weaknesses fell. Find your own closure, and take the reasoning that they freely gave for face value.
Know your values
You are the only person who can set your standards. There is no “perfect” relationship, or a formula that will make everybody happy. Some people want financial stability, some people want passion and heat, some people want extraordinary love, and some people just want companionship. You have to find your match for the kind of relationship you want to have.
If you’ve met a man who has been on the search his whole life for a stay at home wife, but living that way makes you feel repressed, then you either have to compromise hugely or accept that you may just be on different paths.
A good guy does not mean that he is good for YOU
There are billions of wonderful, kind, hilarious successful men out there (I’ve had the pleasure of dating a handful of them), however just because you’ve found a good man, doesn’t mean he is a good match for you. Maybe you want different things, maybe you are on different paths, maybe timing just won’t permit the relationship right now.
Speaking of timing, do I believe that two people can eventually end up back together in a thriving, happy relationship? ABSOLUTELY! I am all for the underdog couple who came back together. However, I believe that time has to pass, pain has to heal, and lessons have to be learned before that can be successful. And in good news…if that isn’t the case for you, and one day you realize that the two of you probably won’t end up together, I believe that you’ll be in a better place, and at the point, you likely won’t care.
Which brings me to my next point…
Do not victimize, romanticize or “villainize”
Villainize – For starters, we have all been there with our girlfriends, “He was such a dick”. Sometimes it is exactly what you need to hear when you have a broken heart, but leaving a relationship with hate will keep you stuck. Leave it with love. I promise that you will find your heart more open when it is left with kindness, opposed to animosity. You probably did have bad times together, which is okay…it’s a sign that your relationship was coming to an end.
Romanticize – Now this was my FAVOURITE thing to do after a relationship. “But it was sooo good when it was good”. It was so easy to think back to the good times and the honeymoon phase, and use those memories to fuel your heartbreak. Step back and look at the big picture…good times came with the bad. Don’t lose sight of what your relationship was as a whole.
Victimize – When your heart is broken and you’re crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, it is easy to victimize yourself. Trust in the path of the universe and that you are exactly where you need to be. Eventually, one day, it really does make sense.
Analyze your ego
Okay, so this is a tough pill to swallow. Understand the power of ego and analyze what part it plays in the way you’re feeling. We all fall victim to wanting what we can’t have. What part of your grief is a bruised ego of no longer having this person pine over you?
On the other hand…when you receive a late night text from your ex, analyze what part ego is playing for them when they contact you after months. Maybe they just need the security of somebody they once loved still being on their roster.
A better door won’t open until you’ve learned to close the last one
The universe will NOT reward you for the work that you aren’t doing. Romantic relationships are some of the most powerful, influential, and yes, sometimes excruciating tools in our lifetime.
Through both love and heartbreak, you can learn so much about yourself. However, you have to put these lessons to use and learn from them in order for the universe to grant you something even better and stronger.
In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, “if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then truth will not be withheld from you.”
And with that, how beautiful is it that we are taught invaluable lessons from all of the people that we once had the privilege to love? And that we have the ability to love greater, fuller, and stronger because of the part they played in your life?