Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Breaking Up And Moving On

So, you went through a break-up? If you're anything like me, you take breakups hard, full-on, and experience the full gamut of emotions ranging from anger, resentment, disconnecting, relief, happiness, sadness, depression, loneliness, then back through the whole thing again. How can you end this cycle sooner?

Well, first of all, it might be HEALTHY to go through all of that. Just try to go easy on yourself - and your ex - through this time. I'm going to give you several practical tips to help you move on and get past the grieving faster and with the minimal amount of pain. Follow this plan, and you'll likely be able to live and love again in a very healthy and happy way.

First, let's focus on what NOT to do:

1. Don't keep contacting him/her.
2. Don't drown your sorrows.
3. Don't make drastic changes or hurt yourself.
4. Don't keep talking about him/her with friends and family.
5. Don't stew in it and sit in a pool of tears with email, letters, and photos.
6. Don't go out and have sex with new people to deal with rejection or loss of love.

1. Don't keep contacting him/her. Don't send her text messages. Don't drop by his work to see if he's there. Don't send email. Don't call or phone. Don't show up unexpectedly at events they commonly attend. Look, whether you were the dumper or the dumpee it really doesn't matter. In one case, you're undecided, which is weak. In the other, you're desperate, which is also weak. So, don't do it. Don't talk to their friends about him/her, either. They'll be on their side and you'll just build up more resentment. So don't waste time with their friends, either. Don't waste your time dawdling around trying to contact them in ANY way, shape, or form. You won't be healing anything and you'll just end up putting your heart through more grief. If you were the dumper, you're being cruel to them. If you were the dumpee, you're setting yourself up for them to be cruel to you. Either way, this behavior doesn't sound like "higher self" behavior to me. So, if you've been doing this: STOP NOW!

2. Don't drown your sorrows in a bottle (or a pill or any other drug). Getting drunk will help you feel better for about 3 - 6 hours. Then, you'll have to face your grief with the added challenge of feeling yucky on top of it. So, deal with your pain other, more healthy ways (more on this in a bit).

3. Don't cut off all your hair, make drastic changes, or otherwise let yourself go. Women have a bad habit of getting a hair cut to symbolize getting rid of their ex. Later, when they look in the mirror, all they can do is cry that they hurt their beautiful long hair over feelings that could have been dealt with otherwise. Don't hurt yourself in any way, shape, or form. Yes, I know, the pain of lost love hurts so very bad and we think we'll never get over it. It seems that way for a month or so, but in time, we WILL move on. Instead of doing anything to hurt anyone, find another outlet: rearrange furniture, clean the house, buy a new pair of jeans or something, write a book, go jogging, but don't whack-off your hair and dye it red because you're pissed at your ex. Also, be careful of the bon-bons, sweets, chocolate, and other goodies that will tempt you at this time. Again, find another physical outlet to release your stress and concern.

4. Don't keep talking about him/her with your family and with your friends. They can usually hear about it once or twice, but beyond that, you need to move on and get on with your life. If they bring him/her up to you, say "we had our moments" and then change the subject. Don't go back down that alley. Your future is IN FRONT of you, not in the rear-view mirror.

5. Don't stew in it and sit in a pool of letters, emails, and photographs. If you're struggling to move on, reading all the loving things they wrote to you won't help you get past it. It will keep you mired in it. I'm not going to advocate that you destroy all of their photos and letters. Just box them up and put them some place (careful with Feng Shui) where they serve to TEACH us rather than LOVE us. If you care about Feng Shui, that would mean putting these items in the wisdom/teachers corner of the room/house, not in the love/relationship corner of the house.

6. Don't go out and have sex with new people just to heal your feelings of rejection or loss of love.
I recently watched a re-run movie about a woman recovering from divorce during the 1970's and her therapist told her "You don't need to see me anymore, go explore MEN again." Well, the woman did, but in doing so, her first choice was this pig who used her for sex and then treated her poorly later. She cried. He was the wrong choice for her. The next man was a better choice. So, perhaps, you might want to pass over the first opportunity to jump back in bed and instead be very SELECTIVE over who you share your body with. Yes, I know, you have needs and you also may be feeling extra horny because of rejection or loss of love.

But, that's the time people make mistakes, get diseases, get pregnant, or get into another cyclical dysfunctional relationship, and/or other things that they later might live to regret. So, be selective in who you go out with when you go out again. I could take this a step further and say "don't sign up on a dating site" as that would be called "rebounding" but then again, if that's what you want to do, it's what you're gonna do. Just don't use other people, okay? Not for sex, not for "free" meals, and not for companionship when you're lonely.

Now that we've dealt with what NOT to do, let's focus on what positive actions you can take that will help you move on with your life and be open to living and loving as a fully empowered human being again.

What to do now:

1. Release resentment.
2. Be grateful and loving in your release.
3. Do take on new interests related to YOUR core values and what you most want from life.
4. Do spend time healing, nurturing, and feeding yourself.
5. Do make new friends, enjoy your work, enjoy your spiritual disciplines, and enjoy each day.
6. Do go out on new dates (when you are ready and over the grieving period).

1. Release resentment. I know this sounds crazy, but you might be in the mood to hate your ex or say mean things to them or about them. This is not beneficial. Once I've made the decision to move on and give up the idea of reconciling, if I feel the need to talk to her or reach out to her, what I do is write an email to myself. This is where all the resentment, anger, things you don't like, and stuff like that ought to get written down. I put "to xxxx" in the subject line, but when I hit "send" the email only goes to me. Whatever you do, do not violate this rule! Only send it to yourself - nobody else. Now, once you've gotten out the need to talk and say whatever you want to say (and I do say whatever I want to say in those emails!), you're now in a position to wipe the slate clean and show gratitude and other positive things. But DO have the list of resentment, things you didn't like, and what you didn't want from that person. I then save it in a folder with their name so I can go back and read it if I get a moment of weakness.

2. Be grateful and loving in your release. In your heart, be grateful for who this person was for you, what they did for you, in a good way. They were good in many ways. Be grateful. Then, send out the "I thank you for your love, I release you, I love you, so long..." That's healthy, it is hard to do, because when you send the love, you re-energize that love and create a desire to rekindle. But don't rekindle it, just let it go, with gratitude.

3. Do take on new interests related to YOUR core values and what you most want from life. Go back to each of your core values in each area, like family, social, love, relationships, friendships, career, health, spiritual, etc., and make a list of the top 3 - 5 things or ways of being in each of these that you most want. Then realign your life to match that list. That way, you can attract what you seek.

4. Do spend time healing, nurturing, and feeding yourself. Do spend time exercising and being physically active. It is good to ride a bike, go for a walk, swim, and otherwise get and keep yourself in shape. It is possible that you've gotten away from this before the breakup. This time is a perfect time to throw yourself back into a program. Work up to it little by little, more and more each day. That way, you're bettering yourself. Get a spiritual healing. You can cut the cords through a forgiveness exercise (see Belinda Farrell at to cut the cords of the past if you feel you're stuck anywhere) or you can also go seek out therapy if you're having an especially hard time letting go (if you're going beyond a month or two of grief, seeing a therapist might be a good idea). Also, read a new book.

Investigate travelling to a place you've always wanted to go. Cook tasty meals for yourself, just as you would have before, or maybe even trying out new recipes. I find that breakups are especially good times to learn new dishes to prepare for both myself and for others. It's a great time to become a better cook! So, take time for you, make sure you get your sleep, and know that by keeping active and busy you'll be back on the path to healthy living in short order.

5. Do make new friends, enjoy your work, enjoy your spiritual disciplines, and enjoy each day.

This really is about enjoying life, you know? What if we only get one pass at it? Make sure you enjoy it while you're here! Start finding ways to focus on this as the day we rejoice and be glad in living.

Life can be enjoyable after loss of love. It is up to us whether or not we choose destructive behavior and thought processes or embrace a clean, healthy, and loving start at life again both on our own and with new friends. We can be more successful, create and build new love, and be the person we want to be most when we mend our broken heart and then get back to who we are at our best.

5. Do go out on new dates (when you are ready). Once you feel you are past crying about them and feeling deeply depressed, it is probably time for you to get out and about and start dating new people. However, when you date new people, I'm going to ask you to be selective in who you date. I Make a new list of what you want. And go for people who match that list. In addition, I'm also going to suggest group activities, or group dates. Rather than go off on a dating service, or dating people one-on-one, it might be healthier for a time to do things in groups. That way, you're in a more protected environment and not as vulnerable to make mistakes I talked about above. If you're someone who prefers going one-on-one, then just go slow. You'll be glad you did later.

For additional information on this subject, see:
Healing a Broken Heart
Let Go Of Guilt and Resentment
The Serenity Prayer
How To Know When Its Over
Considering Getting Back Together?
Problem Reconciliating Rejected Now What?

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Susan Kledzik said...


This is a great article about break ups! Have you ever watched, "The Break Up" with Jennifer Aniston?

I wrote something last night that you may find interesting. Included is a clip from the movie, "Great Expectations".

I addressed the problem that consists between man and women that inhibits women from opening up emotionally.

Being that I was able to open myself up to the male perspective, I came to a great realization that would be beneficial for those experiencing such trama.

Here is a link the the article...

Let me know what you think:)

Seriously Fun Self-help! said...

Well, I think it is an interesting thought, Susan. I read something yesterday which sparked me to investigate and possible write in the future about the differences between men and women. While you're looking at it as a woman trying to see from the male perspective, I'm looking at it as male trying to see the female persepctive.

One thought that I'm looking into is the apparent need many women have to either be domineering or dominated. How do we come to a place of balance?

This is definitely something I'll be exploring further in the future...

Seriously Fun Self-help! said...

OH - and yes I saw the breakup three times (the glory of HBO). Jennifer Anniston's character, rather than sit down and have a heart to heart with her man (played by Vince Vaughn), chose to use a break-up as a communication tool to help him "get" that her needs weren't being met. As someone who tried that, too, I can attest it typically backfires. It is much better to say "we've got to talk" and then talk about what is concerning you.

Susan Kledzik said...

That would be a great idea! I have to say, though, I have no clue why some women want to be domineering or dominated. I can't say that I am either:)

You are so right...that whole, "figure out why I'm upset" thing never works! My mom plays this!

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