If you’ve ever been in a romantic relationship, chances are you’ve experienced the common side effects of sleepless nights, loss of appetite, and somehow managing to interject the name of that person into every conversation. Ironically, these are some of the same symptoms that are also common after a breakup and can be painful (not to mention extremely trying on your friends) when experienced for a long period of time. If you’re having a hard time getting over a lost love, consider the following harsh truths that may be holding you hostage to your pain.
1. Maybe it is you.
It’s human nature to blame outside influences when things don’t go the way we want them to in our relationships. We hear things like, “He was afraid of commitment,” or “She was too controlling.” While blaming your ex can help to satisfy your ego, it saps you of your ability to gain control of the situation. However, when you own your actions and/or expectations of the other person that weren’t met, you gain total control to change your perspective and to make different choices in the future. Try this the next time you’re feeling down: Write down all the ways YOU contributed to the breakup (even if you don’t think you did) and make a decision to, next time, make a different choice. It might not be an easy exercise at first, but it’s a great way to shift the power back into your hands.
2. You didn’t fulfill his or her needs.
Tony Robbins uses Human Needs Psychology to teach millions of people how to have successful relationships. This theory suggests that though we all have these six human needs — certainty, variety, significance, love/connection, growth, and contribution — we each rank them differently and seek to have them fulfilled in different ways. Usually in the beginning of relationships we all do a pretty good job of fulfilling the needs of our partner because most of us are concerned with what we can give to the person instead of what we can get. But unless we continue to meet our partner’s needs in the way they want them to be met, they’re liable to move their attention off of you in the way that you would want. Here’s the harsh truth: you didn’t meet your partner’s needs in the way they needed them to be met. The “bright” side? They probably didn’t meet your needs either.
3. A better match exists for you.
There are over 7.2 billion people in the world; you’ve just broken up with one of them. And if you’re in the U.S., there are about 96 million people who are single and over the age of 18. I know it might be hard to believe that there could be even a slight possibility that you will ever find another mate or even (could it be?) a better match, but it’s true — just know that you’re someone’s better match, too!
4. You saw signs and ignored them.
They say hindsight is 20/20. That’s because usually at the end of a broken relationship we can see all the evidence from along the way that this one wasn’t going to last. Finally, you can recognize their behavior for what it really was — especially after you’ve put so much time and energy into making it work. Do yourself a favor: The next time you see signs on the road of love that lead you to question your relationship, don’t look away.
5. You believed you would end up with your first love.
Most of us are introduced to the fantasy of love long before we fall in love for the first time ourselves. These impressions are strong in our expectations of living happily ever after, and when we finally find that object of our affection, it can be an overwhelming and profound experience. Sometimes when our first loves ends, it can feel like our whole world is ending too. Research at Stony Brook University revealed that the anguish of romantic rejection creates the same cravings as being on cocaine. No wonder you may feel like you’re going through withdrawal; and every recovering addict needs support during recovery. Find a confidant or support group to talk to; better yet, read this to learn eight things to do when getting over a hurtful relationship.
6. You looked to him/her for validation.
It happens to the best of us: One day you’re a happily independent-thinking person; the next you find yourself crying in a dejected ball on the floor in the bedroom corner. What will you do, and what’s to become of you now? But what if you no longer needed the approval of your ex and, instead, were totally confident in your own skin? It’s hard when you’ve invested so much time and energy into a relationship only to see it end. But the harsh truth is this: you are enough and you don’t need another person’s affection to prove this. If you can truly get this one concept, you’ll be so irresistible, you’ll barely keep from dating yourself.
7. He/She’s just not that into you (and that’s OK).
We all have our preferences for different things (food, style, vacation spots, etc.). And if you’re honest, there are probably several people you’d prefer to spend your Saturday night with over others. This doesn’t automatically make those others undesirable people, does it? Of course not. Well, the same goes for you. Just because you’re not one person’s preference doesn’t mean a thing about you; it just speaks to their preference. You, on the other hand, have plenty of fans. Why not give one of them a call and meet for coffee this week? You may be glad you did.
8. You’ve romanticized the whole thing.
It’s easy to remember only the good times when a relationship ends, but chances are you can identify plenty of things that weren’t ideal. If you find yourself only able to remember the good times, have a friend remind you of the challenges or complaints you had while you were together. Write these things down and then ask yourself these questions to snap yourself back to reality.
9. You want what you can’t have.
If this one applies to you, chances are the person either a.) belongs to someone else, b.) is too young or too old for you, c.) lives in another state, country, or region or d.) has taken a vow of celibacy. Whatever the reason, the fact is they’re not available, and the more you focus on this, the more miserable you’ll be. Do yourself a favor: Shift your attention to what you can have, and go buy yourself your favorite dessert to take your mind off of things. (Hey, it always works for me.)
10. You took them for granted.
This is a tough one. If you believe that you let go of someone you truly cared about but took for granted, you might be having the worst reaction of all because, in your mind, if you had done things differently, you would be together today. Take heart: we all make mistakes. But if we’re wise we call them “learning experiences” and make sure we do things differently the next time around.
11. Your beliefs are not necessarily the truth.
We all believe something; some of us believe in angels, some of us believe in big business, and some of us believe in the Tooth Fairy. The thing to remember is that belief in itself is neither good or bad. So if you believe that you and your lost love were meant to be together and it’s causing you pain, recognize that you can choose to have a different belief. What if, for example, you believed that this relationship was the perfect set-up for the ultimate relationship on its way to you? Oh, the possibilities when you believe!
12.You’re holding yourself back from happiness.
You deserve every happiness that life has to offer. The fact that you’re hurting so badly only proves that you don’t feel the way you know you’re supposed to feel, which is not crummy. Try this: recall a time when you were extremely happy or at peace before this person came into your life. What were you focused on? What activities were you involved in? What contribution were you making to the world? Answer these questions, and you’ve got a blueprint for getting your groove back and moving into happy. Or try something new that you’ve always wanted to do and read this to perk yourself back up.
13. Everything will be OK.
Believe it or not, the earth won’t stop spinning on it’s axis, your heart won’t stop beating, and you will be OK. If you allow it to, time can be your best friend when you’re getting over a relationship. Spend some much-deserved time loving yourself and appreciating all of the good things in your life right now. Make a list and rehearse it each time your default turns to thoughts of your ex, or put yourself in the space of others who are less fortunate than you to give yourself some perspective on how good your life really is. The truth is you’re not the first person to have a hard time getting over a past relationship, and you won’t be the last. Just remember to breathe; everything will be OK.
Featured photo credit: Logan Adermatt via unsplash.com