Unless you’re a nun, a hermit, or the one- in-a-gazillion woman who actually marries her high-school sweetheart and stays together with him FOREVER, you’re bound to go through a breakup (or twelve) in your lifetime. In this issue of her Dating Dish, our dating coach, Paige Parker shows you how to get over a breakup – without breaking down.
This week in THE DISH:
* DRAMA OF THE WEEK: “How Do I Get Over My Ex?”
* DATING DISH TIP: “Breaking Up Without Breaking Down”
* The Do’s and Don’ts of a Healthy Breakup
Ben Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Now there’s no denying that Mr. Franklin was a smart guy, but he DEFINITELY left something out of that statement:
It’s true. Unless you’re a nun, a hermit, or the one- in-a-gazillion woman who actually marries her high-school sweetheart and stays together with him FOREVER, you’re bound to go through a breakup (or twelve) in your lifetime.
And they certainly aren’t fun.
There are the downright UGLY breakups – ones caused by a major betrayal like cheating and result in a huge, blow-up fight with lots of name-callings and insult-slinging…
There are the “I saw it coming but it still stings” kind of breakups, where things just aren’t working out and one person decides to call it quits…
And, for the lucky ones, there are the amicable breakups, where both parties agree in a very mature manner that while they care very much about one another, it would be better to see other people.
But let’s face it: even the most civilized breakup still HURTS.
Whether it’s calm and compassionate or knock-down, drag-out awful, it still marks the end of a relationship that you once had high hopes for.
So how does a woman who’s committed to Dating Without Drama get over a breakup… without breaking down?
Read on for THE DISH…
DRAMA OF THE WEEK: “HOW DO I GET OVER MY EX?”
Here’s a letter I received the other day from a reader:
I recently purchased your book when I saw that my relationship was going sour. The next day, my boyfriend broke up with me. I’m still reading your book and feeling more confident that I will find someone better, but do you have any suggestions for getting over somebody?
Sincerely, Alexis Grand Rapids, MI”
DATING DISH TIP: BREAKING UP WITHOUT BREAKING DOWN
“My Dear Alexis,
I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through a breakup. They’re the worst! Getting over a guy is a process, and it really just takes time.
Here’s what I suggest to help you get through this:
First of all, it’s ok to allow yourself to have a bit of a mourning period. Every girl’s entitled to that one day where she doesn’t get out of her P.J.’s for a full 24 hours, watches chick flicks and listens to sad music, and eats Ben and Jerry’s for 3 meals straight. It’s like a cleansing ritual! 🙂
But do yourself a favor and keep the out-and-out wallowing to just ONE day… If a guy isn’t smart enough to realize that you’re a keeper, then he doesn’t deserve any more than 24 hours of your energy to be wasted on him!
Next, it’s time to get proactive. I truly believe that people come into our lives for a reason, and you can learn something significant about yourself from every relationship. So don’t lose the lesson here!
Do some thinking about the relationship… what was good about it? What didn’t work? What could you do differently next time? (Don’t beat yourself up… just use this opportunity to recognize things like, “Next time I will make sure that I communicate my needs so that he has the opportunity to meet them, rather than biting my tongue and getting upset when he can’t read my mind.”)
There is a FANTASTIC book that I’ve read many times called “Coming Apart” by Daphne Rose Kingma (I have no affiliation with the book or the author – it’s just something a friend passed on to me that I love) and while it can be a bit psycho-babble-y at times, I found the premise so helpful while going through a breakup.
Basically, Kingma says that, as people, we’re all on a journey to learn about ourselves and become the best person we can be. (The term for our ultimate life goal is “self- actualization.”)
When we meet someone and become romantically involved, we are connecting at a certain level, and throughout the relationship, each person grows and evolves… The best relationships (the ones that last) are when one person’s growth challenges and encourages the other person to grow as well.
However, in a lot of relationships, one person grows and the other just isn’t capable of meeting them at their new level, which is why the relationship starts to Come Apart.
The good news is that once you DO break up, you are now ready for someone to come into your life who CAN meet you on your new level, and you’ll enjoy a much healthier, happier relationship.
When you look at breakups that way, it can help you to see that most so-called “failed” relationships aren’t a waste of time, but rather learning experiences that help you grow and, ultimately, can prepare you to meet the person you truly belong with.
Personally, I find that message very encouraging, and I hope you do too, Alexis!
And when you’re feeling ready to start dating again, I really believe that “Dating Without Drama” will help you start off on the right foot to meet a great guy and establish a new, healthy relationship (without the drama!).”
If you’re going through a breakup (or just want to be prepared for [God forbid] next time), here are some handy Do’s and Don’ts to get through it without losing your temper, your self-esteem, or your mind!!!
THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF A HEALTHY BREAKUP
- DON’T suppress your feelings. Telling yourself that you’re “over it” right away without taking any time to mourn the loss of the relationship or to process what happened will definitely come back to bite you in the butt later on … probably the next time you meet someone you really like.
- DON’T contact him. This means no calls, emails, IMs, text messages, smoke signals, or carrier pigeons. In your emotional state, you’re likely to say things that you’ll regret later or try to get back together based solely on the fact that you’re lonely (not because the breakup was a mistake). For now, do yourself a favour and take a time-out from communicating. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you use that time and energy to focus on doing what it takes to get over him. DON’T engage in the breakup hook-up. Do you REALLY think you’re going to get closure from sleeping with him one more time?!? More likely it will leave you feeling used, confused, guilty, and depressed.
- DON’T force yourself to go out on dates before you feel ready. It’s only going to distract you from the very necessary task of working through your feelings from the breakup and will likely lead to a rebound relationship.
- DON’T consider this breakup a reflection on your ability to have a healthy partnership. Remember, it was the RELATIONSHIP that was broken, NOT YOU. Keep your self- esteem intact, and believe that soon you will find someone even better for you.
- DO allow yourself some time to work through it. Cry, talk to a friend, write in your journal… whatever it takes to get the feelings out.
- DO purge your house of his stuff. Return items of value to him, and chuck the rest in the trash. Sleeping with the ratty old sweatshirt he left in your apartment, while momentarily comforting, is only going to prevent you from moving on.
- DO learn the lesson from the breakup. Acknowledge what went wrong and appreciate the ways you grew from the relationship. This will help you create your own personal list of Do’s and Don’ts for the next relationship you commit yourself to.
- DO get “out there.” Dating again after a painful breakup can seem daunting, and you may never think you’re 100% prepared to be vulnerable again. That’s why I suggest going out on a date when you feel 70% ready! That way, you’ll get some practice under your belt and feel more confident when you meet someone who’s really worthy of being your boyfriend.
And UNTIL THEN…
DO read “Dating Without Drama: The Simple, Straightforward and SANE Method to achieving the Fulfilling Love Life You’ve Always Wanted .”
It will help you get in the right frame of mind so that when you’re ready to date again, you’ll be confident, centred and ready for a healthy, drama-free relationship!
But don’t take MY word for it… Here’s what a reader had to say recently:
“I have completed your book and can only say thank you. I found it incredibly useful, there is spot on pointers which should help every single girl out there when dating.
I realised that the relationship I was in was unstable and I just knew I had to get out. Since the split, the changes have been absolutely unbelievable. I have been really focusing, my health has improved dramatically, I am more content, not depressed like I was before. I have thrown myself back into my hobbies, friends, and my work is improving as well.
I can only thank your self-help book and kind words as well to help me get along in these last few months.” -Jo, United Kingdom
Your friend, Paige
Copyright 2007 Dating Without Drama Inc. All rights reserved. “Dating Without Drama” and “DWD” are trademarks used by Dating Without Drama Inc. The contents of this article are for entertainment purposes only. You are responsible for your personal decisions and none of the information provided should be considered legal or professional advice.
Stories and questions in “Dating Dish” are not fabricated by Dating Without Drama, Inc. They are submitted by real people just like you. Names may be changed or deleted to protect the contributors. Comments, questions, and quotes may be edited for length and/or clarity. By sending a question or comment, you are agreeing to allow DWD Inc. to use it in future articles, newsletters, writings, and other works at our sole discretion in perpetuity and further represent that your submissions are factual. Please keep this in mind when you send in your e-mails.
Photo source LilGoldWmn
Relationship therapist, Katherine Woodward Thomas, says we can consciously choose to reject the pain of a breakup and end it in a way that restores our hearts for better love in the future. Learn more in her free Masterclass: How to Heal from a Breakup.