This is a small website, as it began as a journal of my own thoughts and lessons regarding my own breakup. It is, and was, a way of comparing notes with others, not as a way to position myself as some sort of relationship guru and all-knowing romantic expert. The more you know, the less you know. And when it comes to relationships, nothing is quite as true.
As a tribute marking the website’s two year birthday, I’ve decided to offer a small list of breakup life lessons that my readers and friends have instilled in me, rather than yet another top-heavy existential rant, with my own opinions at the forefront. This one’s yours.
Investing In The Long-Haul
The vast majority of success stories (success doesn’t always mean reconciling) I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing have had one thing in common; they took time and a great deal of resilience.
Traditionally, I have always been a believer in making emotional clarity the single most important aspect of a breakup, and I would do what it took, including isolating an ex completely, in order to make this happen.
While I still do maintain that making a breakup a black and white issue is preferable to drowning in a sea of false hope (no crumbs, no self-victimization, no half-measures), it has – thanks to a slap in the face from my readers’ feedback – become glaringly obvious that you can protect your own feelings without nailing the romantic coffin shut permanently as a consequence.
This is what I’ve learned:
- DO block their social media profiles.
- DO erect a no contact/ limited contact policy to protect yourself from mixed messages.
- DO what it takes to protect your own feelings from false expectations and guilt.
Do all of this, and more, but make sure that they know why, or you risk saddling yourself with life-long guilt, as well as permanently and unnecessarily closing the door on reconciliation. Things change, and if they do, the walls of remorse, pride or resentment which we erected defensively may be too thick for them to ever surmount.
Think Less, Do More
Given the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve spilled on a relationship website, it may seem ironic to encapsulate the entire experience with a message to be less introspective and more dynamic.
Statistically speaking, those who have reported success have, by and large, been those who have been more existentially pro-active.
Not, as you might think, in terms of attempting to coax their ex into giving the relationship another whirl, but those who were determined to act in spite of it all, for their own sake. Tellingly, what was actually done was amazingly diverse in nature, and what they did was always secondary to simply doing something (usually it had nothing to do with their exes at all).
Here’s why I think it worked:
- By keeping moving you are forcing your subconscious mind to accept a new reality, separating your day-to-day existence from grief.
- The reduction of grief allowed objectivity to re-balance the emotional equation.
- Since attraction is ultimately rooted in positivity, this shift in alignment was usually enough to make their exes curious as to what was occurring.
- Curiosity led to a renewal of contact, and a reshuffling of the emotional deck.
- The progressive shredding of resentment, indignation and guilt thanks to balanced contact paved the way to reconciliation.
Moving on is not a figurative term and trauma isn’t only in the mind. Healing internally must be accompanied by a willingness to act. Reducing our all-to-human tendency to become the victims of our own insecurity.
There Are No Rights And Wrongs
You may be absolutely convinced that you are right, and that the burden of patching things up lies on them, but the problem is – and I absolutely guarantee this – so do they.
No matter who is intrinsically right or wrong, everyone involved in the trauma will have to move on, and as a consequence will justify the breakup in a way that diminishes the feeling of guilt that it generates.
When it comes to reconciling, protecting our dignity is obviously paramount, but so is the willingness to declare an amnesty. If we can’t tackle trust issues, resentment and other anchors head on, reconciliation will simply never happen.
Admittedly, sometimes we really are the victims, and sometimes what was done to us was simply unacceptable. If this is the case, we have the duty to protect our feelings from further pain. But hiding behind a passive-aggressive charade will always end in tragedy. For in trying to play our exes, we only end up playing ourselves.