The ramifications of a breakup can impact all of those around you. This could be your family, friends, kids, co-workers and more if they’ve built a bond with your former partner. Little things, like where will you go for the holidays, how the yard is going to get cut and who will make sure the children get to and from their extracurricular activities, can now be something that bogs you down — especially in the early stages.
Those first days, weeks and even years of having to adjust to things “being different” can be tough. It is during this stage is that we tend to be more emotional. Depression, anger, frustration, confusion, shame, disbelief, and regret are oftentimes the initial responses to a breakup. Happiness, relief, freedom and a newfound sense of self could also come out of it. Many times, we stay in relationships for too long. The public’s perception of “another failed relationship” can lead to shame. We know that the relationship isn’t healthy; the person isn’t meeting our needs, but we continue to stay. I was at an event a few days ago, and this was the exact discussion. The thought was that people stay in relationships for various reasons, but the top three are finances, children and good sex.
What constitutes a breakup? Depending on who you ask, they would probably say the ending of a relationship. What does that mean? Did you know that the breakup was coming? Had you already begun grieving the relationship? Most would say that the way in which the breakup occurred or the reason for the breakup makes all the difference. If you see the breakup coming, it could be something that you prepare for; if you feel blindsided, you could be facing a different story. Not to mention that “ghosting” is such a trend and people whom you’ve been building and growing with just drop off the face of the earth with no warning, rhyme or reason. This is also one of the most hurtful and traumatizing ways to break up. It leaves no room for closure and leaves the person on the other side of it very confused. Some people say they “ghost” people because they don’t want to deal with the questions, tears or discussion that might occur with a breakup. I believe that those who engage in this form of ending a relationship are cowards, and probably shouldn’t be in a relationship to begin with.
Breakups can be brutal and, oftentimes, this is all we hear. But do breakups really have to be horrible? Sometimes, the ending of a relationship can be the beginning of something beautiful and new. Something that wouldn’t have happened if the relationship hadn’t ended. If we take a moment to think about the lessons that we’ve learned from the relationship and/or past partners, we should have grown. This helps us to learn what we do not want in a relationship or partner, what we need in the next relationship and also to be more sure of what our non-negotiables are. What are those you ask? Non-negotiables are the things, morals, values and attributes that you NEED in a partner/relationship. These are the things that you shouldn’t waiver on because, without them, you know it doesn’t lead to a happy ending. What I’ve learned in doing years of couples counseling is that a lot of people go into dating, long-term committed relationships, and even marriages without thinking about the things that they truly need. This tends to lead to them catering to the needs of their partner or potential partners.
The moral of it all is that breakups, although you may not have full control over how it happens, may just be a detour on the road to something bigger and better. Embrace the ride. I would like to leave you with three things you should do after a breakup.
1. Take time for yourself. Use this time to rediscover who YOU are? What are your likes and dislikes? What do you need and want out of life for yourself and eventually with potential partners? Knowing what you truly desire and deserve is half the battle in dating after a breakup of any kind. An ideal period of time to give yourself a “me break” would be a minimum of six months. Fall in love with yourself all over again and begin dating you. You’ll be happier because of it.
2. Give yourself time to heal. No matter the length of time that your relationship was alive, it will more than likely affect you. Take the time to allow yourself to grieve this loss and use it to heal. Healing is a process and one that cannot be rushed or repressed. We oftentimes get involved in new relationships too soon and take those same problems, issues, and baggage that were in the previous relationship into the next. Hurt people tend to hurt people, so heal thyself first and make sure you’re prepared to be in a relationship before you enter into another one.
3. Be honest about what you want. Maybe you stayed in your last relationship because you didn’t want to be in the club of those who didn’t last. Were you truly happy and satisfied in that relationship or were you not only lying to your partner but also lying to yourself? Don’t say you’re just casually dating when you’re really looking for a permanent partner. Don’t imply you only want to be with one person when you know that you’re a more than one person type when it comes to relationships. Keep it 100% honest at all times and I’m sure a potential partner who is cool with what you desire will come along. You shouldn’t settle for anything less.
This has been a lot of useful information and I hope that you’ve gained some insight into dealing with breakups. Venting on social media is NOT a healthy way to handle breakups, crisis or any other major life-changing event. Talking to your girlfriends and homeboys can be helpful as well, but these options should never replace visiting or consulting with a mental health professional.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chasity Chandler, LMHC, MCAP, ICADC, CST, CDWF
Owner/ Licensed Clinician/Certified Sex Therapist/Speaker/Author/Authenticity Coach, Center for Sexual Health & Wellness, LLC
772-208-7834 | Fax 772-607-5295 | [email protected]