The bad news is that ANY relationship that you fight for, love, keep forever, or lose will cause you pain at some time.
Humans are like that, no matter how hard we try not to be. And most of us know that the struggle will be just that – a struggle – sometimes.
But doesn’t it seem especially cruel and horrible when you THINK you’ve been through the hardest part of a messy breakup, THEN discover you’re still constantly thinking of him, feeling terrible, and losing sleep with a feverish cycle of what ifs?
When does this awful pain go away, and how can you make it go away faster?? Is there ANYthing that can help?
I don’t usually write to relationship experts – actually I NEVER have. But I wanted to thank you for your work. It really helped me so much to open up my heart to the possibilities around me.
And it worked. I met a great guy. But things haven’t worked out and now I am alone again. When we met he was in the process of ending things with his ex. But he and his ex still have some deep unfinished business so I finally decided I would not be part of that mess. I realized thanks to you that I deserve a man willing to do the hard stuff, and make a clean break from an ex all in an attempt to show me he wants me.
But even with knowing all of that as I do, why do I feel so terrible? I know I did the right thing. But I still have this nagging feeling of “What if…” – you know? When does that go away? ~ Best wishes, Gracie
Congratulations on doing the right thing. That may sound small, but I’ll bet you’ve fought quite a few painfully heartfelt battles in order to get where you are. Good for you for choosing to seek out the very best the world can offer you, rather than settling for a man who isn’t emotionally available.
I’m so sorry to hear that your great guy doesn’t have his act together yet – as long as he continues to allow himself to be tangled up in an ugly mess with his ex, he will keep missing out. Not just on all the good things an awesome woman like you can offer him, but on all the good things ANY healthy, stable, and loving woman can offer him. But who knows? Maybe he’ll shake himself free soon, or maybe he’ll patch things up and go back to his ex. We wish him the best.
Well, I’ll wish him the best, because I know it’s much, much harder for you to do it right now.
Now, on to a few things you might find helpful:
1. Of course you feel terrible.
You had to do an incredibly difficult thing! If you’d just finished running your first marathon in sub-4 hours, your heart would probably hurt less than it does right now. A direct face plant on rough concrete hurts less than a breakup. So let yourself feel the pain you feel. It’s not a switch that you can just turn off and on at will; it’s a lake of emotion that’s just been dumped on you, and it will be a powerful force until the lake is finally emptied out.
2. Celebrate your smart decision.
I know, it sounds hard, but truly, you did the right thing in not continuing to put your life on hold for a man who wasn’t doing his part to get free for you. So treat yourself to a few delightful “I did the right thing!” gifts.
They don’t FIX the pain, but they do REINFORCE your smart choice.
I don’t know what works for you, but what about a dinner out with girlfriends? Manicure/pedicure? Signing up for that Walk for Cancer, yoga class, or women’s triathalon that you just heard about? I’m sure you’ll think of something.
3. Get the support you need (And set a limit.)
Pour out your sorrow and celebrate your smarts with your close confidantes. Choose people who are emotionally healthy, entirely trustworthy, and who have YOUR best interest at heart.
But set a limit to the time you’re going to spend (one month? Six weeks?) being stuck in the past. Sure, you could have done things a thousand different ways, but you’ve chosen your best path, and now you’re sticking to it. So set apart a little bit of time to get therapy over Margaritas, then be done with it. Because…
4. Jump start your new chapter!
Make a plan for getting yourself back out in the world again – taking that class in Chinese calligraphy, or joining a cycling group like you’ve always wanted. Go back and remember what your dreams for your life were before you met this guy… What things did you put on hold? Get ’em out, brush ’em off, and get started again!
And… you knew I was going to say this one:
5. Start dating again.
It may be painful at first, but it will be less so as you start to meet new and exciting guys. The more emotional miles you can put between you and this breakup, the better you are going to feel.
Here’s How Long I Think This Process Should Take:
People hate it when I say “it takes as long as it takes.” Also they use that to stay stuck forEVER in the sticky, painful mess of their breakup, trying to get things back to where they wanted them to be. So I’ll give you a time limit, if you want one. This one’s mine, but you can borrow it. 🙂
Give yourself six weeks to work this plan and be halfway to incredible by the time most people are done sobbing into their pillow. It CAN be done. I’ve done it. Lots of other women (and men) have done it. You can do it! For you.
One More Helpful Gift for You:
I’ve written a short, power-packed little book you might be interested in called “You Didn’t Want Him Anyway.” It takes you through the 5 simple steps to finding real love and trust again, including:
- How to HALT the downward spiral and jet fuel your recovery
- How to tell your real friends from the users
- How to easily deal with the stupid garbage people are saying to you right now
- How to enable the RIGHT men to find you (even if you’re “not ready for prime time”)
- What men wish women knew about them
- And the top 3 reasons guys fall in love
It also has lots more helpful extras at the end. And the best part? It’s only $3 on Amazon.
My very best to you!!