June 22, 2017

Breaking up is hard to do: how to learn from past relationships and move on

One thing that is important before you can move forward in your life is to make sure that you are ok with what has happened in the past. Sometimes the best way we know how to deal with emotionally hurtful situations is to move on without reflecting upon the past. However if you find yourself stuck in an area of your life including your romantic/ sex life, consider that there are events and issues from past that you have not resolved yet.

The relationship is over and you are feeling bad. Build yourself up without putting the other person down.
• List things about you that make you a great catch
• List things about who you were being as a person in the relationship that were great

What lessons could be learned from what you did while in the relationship and what kind of person you were being?
• Did you maintain a healthy balance in your life?
• Did you continue to make progress on your own professional and personal goals and needs or lose them to the “relationship?”
• Are there things you would do differently next time?
• Was the other person meeting your needs in the relationship? Were you meeting there’s?

What reasons are there that it would not have worked out? As you list the reasons do this in an objective way where you are not making what either you or the other person did wrong, even if they did something that was very hurtful to you. Consider that from the other person’s perspective that the root of their actions toward you involved them and not you.
• Were there external circumstances that got in the way?
• Was she or you looking for the same thing at the same time? Be honest.
• Were there differences in personality or childhood upbringing that would have been deal breakers?
• Did you guys see the world in very different ways? Different value and philosophies, ways of thinking?
• Make sure the reasons are not just blaming you or blaming her, but were problem points.

What was good about the relationship and what you did that you can carry with you for the future? Just because it didn’t work out, know that if it lasted for any length of time there were some redeeming qualities that you can build upon for yourself and that you can look for in a future relationship.
• Things you did
• Things she did
• Experiences and activities that you shared
• How you treated each other

How did the breakup go down? In the midst of powerful emotions it is easy for there to be miscommunication. It is also easy to give meaning to things that were said or done which may not really be true.
• What actually happened vs. the meaning that you give them.
• what did she do?
• what did you do?
• what did you and her actually say? What reasons did you give each other?

Some advice on a clean breakup
• Cut communication cold for a long enough period of time to reset how you think about each other.
o This is the only way to avoid getting back together again and prolonging the relationship.
o Do not hold onto the past it will cause one of you or both of you some pain
o Realized that time not spent communicating with your ex is time to work on yourself, reconnect with friends and build positive experiences that allow you to move on
o Long enough could be anywhere from 3 months to a year or more to never talking again. A good guideline might be until after you and her have moved into your next relationship.
o Don’t communicate again until you are ready for it to be in a different way other than as a romantic or sexual relationship.

• If you have gotten back together again consider the reasons why you have broken up before.
o Unless the original reasons have been resolved then you will probably breakup again and it will prolong the pain and prolong the time until you move onto a better relationship.
o Consider why you haven’t moved on, why you are still holding onto the past? Is it fear that you can’t do better. Do you just like the drama and excitement the breaking up and getting back together generates.
o Consider why they haven’t moved on.

There are a few cases where it might be worth trying to get back together again with someone. One case would be if the relationship was fundamentally solid, there were not significant unresolved issues, it was making both of you happy, but external circumstances got in the way. This could include:
o One of you is moving away for a long period of time for a job, for education for the armed forces. And that it would be almost impossible to meet in person on a regular basis.
o One of you is looking for more commitment than the other. This could include one person wants an exclusive relationship and the other person does not, one person wants to get married and the other does not, one person wants kids and the other does not.

• If the reasons that led to the breakup have changed, i.e. you are now living in the same area or you are now ready for the same level of commitment, then go ahead and give it a shot. Realize that first you and the other person must both be complete with the past in such a way that neither one of you hold any anger or resentment toward the other.

So those are my thoughts on breakups and some advice on how you can learn from them and move on to a happy and fulfilling future.

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