The end of a relationship can be one of the most painful situations we face. Whether it was a friendship, long-term partnership or marriage – when minds, bodies and spirits have connected sometimes it’s tough to let go. We don’t always get a clear answer as to why things end and can struggle with a lack of closure; other times its unhealthy behavior patterns that hold us back. Don’t let heartbreak rule your next breakup – read on to discover five reasons why you can’t move on, with some suggestions for working towards becoming a healthier, happier you instead.
Lack of Closure
Loss hurts. Letting go of an intimate relationship that ended for whatever reason is hard – after all you invested a lot of love, time and energy into this person, sharing memories and experiences. But accepting the relationship is over allows you the freedom to start moving on with your life, and one of the best ways to do this is to cut all connection with your ex. That means no texting, calling, checking social networking sites, late night drive-bys – and definitely no breakup sex.
Time to Grieve
According to Psychology Today grief is a normal and natural response that allows us to ‘free-up’ energy bound to the lost person, or experience, so that we might re-invest that energy elsewhere. Until we grieve effectively we are likely to find reinvesting difficult, as a part of us remains tied to the past. Mindful ways to work through this phase include taking care of your health and wellbeing – laugh, cry, meditate, exercise, eat well – just don’t forget to breathe. Once this process ends set new goals and objectives, and focus on the positive possibilities ahead
Release Hurt, Anger & Regret
After a relationship don’t dwell on what went wrong, or who was to blame – regardless of your role, negativity and bitterness only inhibit emotional healing. The key to moving on involves accepting the present, embracing the future and letting go of past grievances. One of America’s most reputable authors on love and relationships Dr. John Gray author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” recommends creating an emotional inventory to help the process. “First, make a list of how you, or your partner, contributed to the breakup – everything you’re hurt and angry about – then write a letter to yourself exploring the feelings that come up for you.” After you’ve acknowledged the hurt you then you simply need to let it go.
Embrace the Unknown
Fear is a natural reaction when healing from a breakup and leaving an old, familiar life behind. What do you do? Where do you go? Relationship expert Lisa Steadman explains in her book “It’s a Breakup Not A Breakdown,” that instead of looking at your new life as an unknown void, “see it as exciting, full of possibility, and with the opportunity to experience love, happiness, and fulfillment.” Your future can hold all those things but in order to achieve it you need to believe it.
Endings Don’t Equal Failure
Don’t view the end of any relationship as a failure – even the most successful ones are never perfect. See it instead as a significant stepping-stone during a time of transition and renewal – look at what was positive about the chapter you’re closing. How did you grow? What did you learn? Taking time to reflect on these points allows you the opportunity to discover more about yourself, and gain valuable insight on how you might approach things differently next time.
According to a 2007 study referenced by the American Psychological Association, Gary Lewandowski (now a Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Monmouth University) and Nicole Bizzoco (now a Professor at Rutgers State University) established that positive emotions can occur following a break-up, “particularly when the relationship did not expand the self, and when personal growth occurred afterwards.” They also concluded that writing about positive aspects of a relationship’s end often helped build empowerment and fend off negative emotions. As Dr. John Gray advises, “our past should always be the foundation for taking the next step of change and growth – if we’re grateful for our past it prepares us to move on in the future.”
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Lao Tzu
By: Keri Bridgwater