In my conversation with a colleague at work I happened to discuss a bittersweet experience that a lot of us go through during our lives; “Break-up”. She shared that she had been in a committed relationship with her partner for seven years. Recently differences in their life goals had propelled them to part ways and start a journey of their own. I was greatly impressed by their maturity, the mutual decision to respect the relationship they shared by bidding adieu in a positive manner. However, it left me wondering how many breakups end up on an amicable note like this one. More often than not, people are left questioning themselves after a breakup – What went wrong?
It becomes relatively easy to heal if both the partners mutually agree to end the relationship. In cases when one partner walks out uninformed or betrays his/her partner by committing to someone else, the going can get tough. The agony of being rejected can be devastating and unimaginable. Everyone copes with it differently. Some drown themselves in the grief and lose touch with self. On the other hand, others deepen their fear of finding love again by choosing to replay in their mind the reasons for why the relationship could not last.
Our relationships have a significant impact on our psyche and the way we perceive ourselves. It becomes imperative to figure out the reasons in order to get a sense of relief from the disturbing past. People create a mental narrative examining the events that led to the breakup by judging either themselves or their partner in a negative way.
As a part of the therapeutic encounters, I hear people share their emotional plight trying to get an understanding of many unanswered questions like:-
Why did this happen to me?
How can I get rid of the fury I feel when I see my ex-partner with a new person?
Was it my fault or should I be blaming him/her for the breakup?
How do I accept this pain I feel?
Is there a way to shut my mind from reimagining scenarios?
Researchers claim that we look at breakups to gauge information about ourselves. It is because a part of our identity gets connected to the person we have loved. Therefore, even the partner’s view of us becomes an ingredient of our self-definition. It is difficult to erase people from our routines especially when the intimacy shared is valuable. By making minor adaptions of changing to a different apartment or getting back to the person we used to be, are we able to find that peace of mind?
“Don’t Stress The ‘Could Haves’. If It Should Have, It Would Have”
Our lifestyle may have once been predicated on our partner’s choices; it could be turning to healthier food habits or listening to a certain kind of music. It is natural for two people in a relationship to color each other’s decisions, behaviors and preferences. Now when the relationship ceases to exist, it might take time when one goes to the hairdresser and remind themselves to get those locks chopped as desired rather than worrying about upsetting one’s partner.
Getting reminders in the form of social media updates or photos of the ex-partner can make the acceptance hard to reach. The memories and dreams of a life together can shatter and leave us emotionally crippled again.
Is it necessary to wash away the imprints completely?
What if the learnings we gathered from the breakup wouldn’t have come any other way?
Do we necessarily have to force ourselves to wipe clean the insights we gained while being in the relationship?
Why do we by default dismiss the positive impact of daring to follow our instincts?
In reality, we can regain our lost sense of self by reflecting on -what does this rejection tell me about myself?
People often find their hidden flaws on their journey towards accepting the endings. Like, realizing their clingy behavioral patterns or a fear of rejection that makes them push away their partner before their partner calls it a quit.
Isn’t it more beneficial to embrace this opportunity to fill ourselves with the gratitude of relationships we already have or thank the self-knowledge we have gained post this breakup?
We might not want to do the things that will help us feel better like exercising, meditating or contacting friends but let me remind you that these are a few things that can help in rediscovering yourself.