Finding Love Again After a Break-UpTom Kerr
How and When to Date After Breaking Up
We have all been through it, and sometimes after biting the bullet, we just gnaw on it for a while, not knowing what to do to get on with our love life after the break up of a relationship. But if relationships are important to you, psychologists suggest that the way you deal with the aftermath is equally significant and can be a predictor of things to come and of how well those future relationships will go for you.
The break up of a relationship is not an acute event in the timeline of your dating history; all relationships go through phases, and the ending of a relationship is another phase in the continuum of the connection between you and your significant other. The catalyst is often a particular episode, but the process is ongoing.
Sometimes the break starts as soon as you begin to get to know each other, and as soon as your partner’s annoying little idiosyncrasies and habits start to get under your skin. But the little things that tend to grow into significant differences and push you apart from one another are often eclipsed in the beginning, by the blinding rays of love and the intoxicating enjoyment of romance.
Eventually, the little dust bunnies under the sofa you sit upon to kiss can proliferate into a major need for clearing out the mess, and they may grow until the whole relationship starts to feel like housework and drudgery. If it has gone on so long that it seems like cleaning up the mess would be harder than just canceling your lease and moving to a fresh new apartment, you have serious trouble on your hands. You may need to break up and make a fresh start, for the sake of both of you, because sometimes people just don’t have the right combination of chemistry to endure a long relationship.
After all, there are other things tickling you under the skin too, and those can feel so delightful that they often keep us from examining the underlying problems we have with our partner.
While you are swept away by the giddiness of it all and are busy sweeping your small issues of discontent under the rug, they sometimes take on a life of their own, as they start to grow in rather invisible or camouflaged ways, into monolithic problems.
Don't Sweep Things Under the Carpet
Don’t break up in a way that might create more distance and less closure between you and a partner. For example, if you are going to break off a relationship, do it in person, face to face, if at all possible. This gives both of you an opportunity to clearly understand what is being said, and why. Otherwise, misunderstanding can haunt you for years. Emails are sometimes misinterpreted, phone calls don’t allow us to see each other’s body language, and no communication at all leaves us hanging, trying to figure out if we could have said or done something differently.
The exception to this rule is, of course, if your partner has been abusive in a way that is not healthy. In that case, the less contact the better.
But if you learn from your lessons of the past, you can both avoid this kind of unforeseen tragedy in future relationships. So keep an eye out for the small things, because sometimes the big picture is nothing more than a composite of all the tiny and seemingly insignificant details.
Breaking up can be looked upon as a chance to purge yourself of all the problems of the past, and although this phase of a relationship is difficult and often sad, it also holds the promise for the future. As they say “we love and learn” but we also can learn to love, by going through this kind of experience.
Some of the strongest friendships, in fact, are forged out of the remnants of old relationships that didn’t quite work out – but served as a powerful and intimate foundation for a lifelong friendship.
If you are able to communicate your feelings to your partner during a break up phase, this may not only be the basis for a lasting friendship, it may also teach both of you valuable lessons about talking about your feelings. These lessons can be the answer to solving potential problems in your future relationships.
Take time to get over a break up, and if you feel that it would help, consult a professional counselor to help you deal with the aftermath of a love lost. The worst thing you can do for your relationship future is to jump out of one difficult relationship and into another one, without first taking the time in between to consider what it is you want and need from a future partner. The more time you invest in letting go, healing, and reflecting, the better your chances for a successful future relationship.
Your Wish List
Make a wish list. On one side of a piece of paper, list all the attributes you don’t want in a future relationship partner. Then burn the list and forget all the negativity it conveys. Bury the ashes if you have to, but do whatever it takes to get all of those unwanted characteristics out of your life, once and for all.
Now get out a nice fresh piece of paper. If you are feeling especially positive about yourself, you can even invest of some of that wacky new stationary that is scented to smell like bananas, strawberries, or peaches. After all, your future is going to be peachy, once you stop going bananas over the past and look to the strawberry fields of the future.
Now make a list, and make it as long as like. Write down exactly what you are looking for in a relationship, and leave no stone unturned as you turn over a new leaf. Meditate on the things you want to attract into your life, and the kind of person you want to share those with, and picture the kind of relationship partner you deserve.
You can always revise your list later, and this is a good idea, because our wants and needs change over time. The main thing is to get a really good idea of what you are looking for in another person, so that you will naturally attract them to you, and recognize a good thing when it comes along. You deserve the best, and someone out there is making a similar list, with your personal characteristics outlined to a “T”. The love of your life is out there, and it is just a matter of time.