Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Getting over the fantasies, the drama, trauma and self sabotage to have truly fulfilling relationships.
Endlessly searching for love with all its nuances has been the story of my life. From a very young age into much of my adult life, I was driven by a seemingly insatiable need to understand and to find love, believing and hoping that true love that satisfies had to exist somewhere. The desperation of wanting to find love coupled with the belief that somewhere on this planet of 8 billion people surely ‘the one’ existed, which led me down a continuous cycle of searching for love (often in all the wrong places) finding it, losing it, suffering through the drama and trauma only to rally again and jump back in.
Story of my life: Finding love, losing love, falling in love to fall out of love, in then out, out then back in, and repeat.
The summer before my senior year in high school, I knew I was in love. You might be thinking, “How silly. Of course, you weren’t in love. You were too young to even know what that means.” While that may be true, in my young mind, I had found the one, the perfect gentleman. He was my knight in shining armor and we were going to ride off into the sunset of eternal bliss.
The plans I had for the upcoming summer were beyond staying home and hanging out with my boyfriend. I was off to visit my dad and then on to summer camp. It was my last summer before graduating from high school and I wanted to enjoy it. From my point of view, my boyfriend and I were deeply in love, I was committed to him, and we would marry soon, so naturally my plans were insignificant and inconsequential. Imagine my surprise while sitting in McDonald’s one summer day, when my boyfriend said, “I know what goes on at camp…” and then proceeded to tell me that he could not handle it if I cheated on him, therefore, we should break up. I was crushed. Here I was, living in the bliss of believing that I had found my one true love of a lifetime only to have the proverbial rug ripped out from underneath me. What do you do when your fairytale comes crashing in around you? I did what any self-respecting girl would do. I got up, brushed off the cobwebs and headed straight to camp to get my summer romance on.
The seemingly lightheartedness of my decision to continue with my plans of going to camp and having a fling, did not match what was occurring inside. I was devastated. Confused. Was there something wrong with me? Why didn’t he trust me? What if he was the one and I’ve lost him? Now what? Does that mean I will never be happy? Not knowing the answers to these questions but determined to figure this relationship thing out, I spent the next few years in and out of relationships doing the best I could to navigate the various dynamics, often failing miserably. When the inevitable breakup would occur, overwhelming heartbreak would follow and yet I always found another lover and jumped back in.
The tantalizing feelings of falling in love, the intensity of the drama when things were falling apart, and the devastation of the heartbreak when the breakup occurred were all strangely satisfying.
One day while contemplating the ins and outs of love, my McDonalds breakup boyfriend called. Secretively, underneath all the action, I was still in love with him so naturally when he asked if we could give it another go, my response was a quick and excited, “Yes!” Hope was still alive! Maybe my idea of the one was true, and fate was bringing him back around. There is a lot more to share about round 2, but suffice it to say, the second break up was more horrendous than the first. Over the moon ecstatic to visit him over Christmas. Excitedly calling to chat about our plans… and hearing a woman’s voice answer the phone. Punch… to… the… gut. Listening to him explain that he was getting married, well, that was the punch that took me to the floor.
Most of us have had a broken relationship or two. If you and I were sharing a glass of wine or sipping morning coffee, you would likely have your stories to share. How does one recover when the love you have dreamed of and perhaps even believed you had fades away? Where do you start in rebuilding your life when it has been centered around another and they are no longer there?
It would take me many years and many relationships before I could answer those questions. Somewhere, amid the heartache and pain, I discovered what would set me free.
These are my top 3 tips on how to move forward and thrive after the loss of a relationship.
1. Stop believing in fairytales
Fairytales. Oh, how we love them. Societies and cultures perpetuate relationship fairytales and when these fairytales are believed, suffering is often the result. If your life and relationship don’t work out as they do in the fairytales, rather than considering that the fairytale might not be true, we typically decide that either there is something wrong with us or that we must just be unlucky in love. What if neither of these are true? What if the love you desire and the love you seek did not have to come from someone else? What if the love you desire and the love you seek can come from you? Taking it a step further…
What if love for yourself is actually the love you crave?
Perhaps loving yourself seems impossible. Perhaps judging is far more familiar. A great question you can ask is, “What’s right about me that I am not getting?” This question is designed to take you beyond self-judgment so that you can start to see and perceive the gift you are.
A self-gratitude journal can assist too. Daily, write down at least 3 things about you that you are grateful for. As you discover the gift of you, you will likely discover that you are far greater than you know. When you love you, you no longer need to seek love from an outside source.
2. Make yourself a priority
Have you ever asked the question, “What do I desire to create as my life?” Have you ever given yourself permission to be honest with yourself and clarify what would be fun for you? If we don’t look at what we desire for our lives, it becomes very easy to get into a relationship, make it all about the other person, sacrifice what we desire in favor of them and the relationship and then resent the hell out of the other person when the relationship ends.
News flash, a relationship that does not include you and what you desire is destined to end. How can it work when you are not in it?
What if, on the heels of a breakup, you took some time to get to know you? What if you began exploring things that light you up and make you come alive? Start writing a list of all the things that bring joy to your life and then daily, choose to do one or more things on the list. Keep adding to your list. Keep choosing the things you desire. Not only will it assist with getting through the breakup, but it will also prepare you to have greater relationships in the future because you will know and value you more.
3. You are the one you’ve been looking for
You have likely been told that happiness is outside of you and that finding and maintaining a relationship is key to finding that happiness. Having this as your point of view guarantees disappointment and frustration because even if you have a wonderful relationship, no one on the planet can fulfill you. Only you can do that. You are a unique gift to the world. You have beauty and a brilliance like none other. You are the source, the one who can create your life exactly as you desire. When you make this your point of view, you find freedom. You are no longer at the effect of others. If you have a relationship, it will be one that adds to your life and makes it greater. If you do not have a relationship, that will be ok too because ultimately you will know, “I’ve got this!”
It is possible to move forward and thrive after a relationship has ended.
Shift your focus from the sad story onto the beauty of you. Lose the fairytale ideals that leave you feeling like there is something wrong with you. Discover the things about you that you are grateful for and explore the activities, hobbies and adventures that bring you joy… and do more of those things. Put these things into practice and the strength, power and potency you will uncover may just catapult you into more peace and happiness than you have yet known.
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