Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Letting go of past relationships

Just when you thought you were over it, you accidentally walk into the bar, club, restaurant, coffee shop or store where you once were together, in love. You were there together, before you had the talk about what you really wanted. Before the big fight. Before the reconciliation. Before the next big fight and then when you finally broke up for good.

Why do you wonder if you did the right thing? Why do you miss your ex? Why is closure so hard to close? As the saying goes, breaking up is hard to do. Letting go of past relationships and closure might be even harder to come by. Next time you face this dilemma, try these to finally let go.

What is really bugging you about the breakup? If you don't have some idea of what really happened to you, it's going to be a lot harder to move forward. Write out what this relationship was for you from the first day you met to the day you broke up. The universe supports loving relationships of equality. Was it an equal loving relationship? Did this person bring out the best (or worst) in you? Was this a sexual relationship, a fling or real attraction and love?

Ask the friends you trust, "What did you observe in my relationship?" Often the people who love us can see what we can't but they won't open up or give advice to you unless you ask. They don't want to hurt your feelings about your choice. It's so much easier to idealize the past than accept that your relationship had some real flaws that would have erupted over time. Sometimes the questions can be answered by meeting with your ex, but be careful! No sex with your ex or, you may be on different time lines of grief and it can be painful if it appears that your ex is "over it" and you're not. Your ex may also already be seeing someone else which may just make you feel like dog poop.

Reclaim Yourself
There's a reason that people sell the house when they get divorced. Shared space is intimate space. If your place looks like he just left for work ten minutes ago or her toothbrush is still hanging in the bathroom, you're wallowing. Buy new sheets. Paint, move furniture around or have a "newly single" house warming party. Your environment reflects your mind. If it's a shrine to a past relationship, how can you heal? It's not about denying your feelings. It's about letting your mind rest in your own home.

Even if you can't forgive them, forgive yourself! Relationships don't fail. They change. You may not be ready to forgive your partner for any number of things (like cheating!), but you must forgive yourself. Letting go isn't possible without accepting and loving your own willingness to love. If you are waiting for your ex to say something you want to hear or just to return your DVDs, you're giving them power over your process. Stop empowering them over you. Forgiveness is hard but whether given to them or to yourself, you feed better energy than anger and feeling miserable.

Resist the temptation to run out for a replacement person in the first few months. If someone told you their grandmother died, you wouldn't tell them to go out and get another grandma. You would give them all the time they needed to think about their relationship with their loved one and what it meant to them. The need to heal takes longer for some. Some put up false pretense of getting over someone quickly but they are hurting tremendously inside.

Grieving is a process of going deeper into consciousness. Therefore, grieving the end of a relationship opens you up to a deeper experience in life. Pain is a necessary part of growth. Take a treasured object that represents your relationship and set it free. Perhaps you can donate a piece of jewelry you received to a charity, release a love letter or painting of you two into the ocean. By marking the end of this important person in your life, you are honoring the time you had together and you are honoring yourself for having the courage to love.

Bar advice. Letting go of past relationships only happens when you arrive at a place of rest and acceptance. It will come. Trust the process and experience your pain. It will conclude into clarity. It will lead to peace. Eventually.


bailee said...

I think, it's not only men, it also happens to us women it's called being hurt. sometimes people need their own space and deal with things their own time and way. just be supportive, understanding and let him know that you're always there should he need someone to speak too.


Bar Advice said...

This is meant for girls as well as guys....human acceptance of past relationships is gender blind