Hang in There and Learn from a Bad Breakup – The Pain Will Pass

If a bad breakup or divorce has stressed out or hurt you, grieve it but don’t let the experience sour you from loving again. You aren’t alone in having been through a tough end of a relationship, even if it feels this way. Step back from the situation and realize that time is your best friend. Right now, you may be uncomfortable, or maybe even in agony, but the sun will come out later.

Allow yourself to cry, feel whatever emotions that come up, and go through the change from a couple to an individual single person. Sit down and write a list of the things that upset you. For every negative on your list, think of and write down a positive to go opposite of it. Think of the logical response to what seems like an illogical situation. For example, if your twentysomething, committment-phobic ex left you due to being uncomfortable with closeness, write down what your first reaction is. Many people wonder if they did something wrong, which probably isn’t the case. Was there someone else more attractive is another common thought, but again, it’s probably not true. It’s most likely that this person is unable to get close to people. Then, think of the reality of the situation. “He or she is young and isn’t able to make a committment right now.” If you are looking for a committed relationship, then clearly, the person wasn’t a good match for you. There is something comforting about looking at the situation without emotions stirred in. Try to stand back, remove emotion to see the relationship for what it actually was, not for what you wanted it to be.

With every ending, there is learning. It is a lousy way to have to learn, but in time, this pain turns to experience and knowledge. For example, I had a model-gorgeous ex-fiance when in my twenties. He was from an upstanding family, had a very appealing European accent and everyone looked up to him. But looking closer at this man; he was vain, arrogant and dumber than a box of rocks. Brawn but no brain. He was in trouble with the law constantly. His family sent his brother to take his SAT tests for him because they knew he would never pass and get into college. He got into a good school, but had adoring fans do his homework for him. They did it eagerly. Being young, naiive and throwing caution to the wind, I dated him. We were together four years. At that time, I thought he was everything, as my common sense was blinded by his man-beauty. Right after graduation, though, I caught him in bed with another woman and ended the relationship. It shattered me, even if in truth he wasn’t all that good to me during the relationship. He’d lied, cheated, stole and somehow talked me out of leaving before, but this time I’d had enough. It was devastating.

Fast forwarding to ten years later, my ex and I ran into one another at a restaurant/club one Saturday night. He made a bee-line over and tried to rekindle the relationship as my admiring friends looked on, in awe over his attractiveness. Listening to him speak, I was very happy to know that I didn’t find him the least bit appealing anymore, though it was interesting to talk to him and see what he’s done with his life. Time and wisdom taught me to more correctly assess people. He was still fully caught up in himself, trying to manipulate with his looks, and bragging about how he cheated the system in this or that way. Now, he wanted to become an attorney. I wondered to myself, “Who is he going to pay to take the Bar exam for him?” as I chuckled to myself. He told me that he’d left his wife and gotten a divorce. When asked why, he said, “She wasn’t good enough in bed for me.” I held back laughing but felt sorry for his poor ex-wife, for having had to live with him and his overinflated ego for a few years. He followed me out to my car as I left the restaurant. It was a relief to leave, but the experience was validating to me because I had no shred of interest in rekindling anything at all, even if he did. In fact, I wondered what, besides looks, I’d ever seen in him in the first place. Life taught me a lot in ten years.

Now, dating isn’t as high a priority for me anymore. My interests lie more in business, and enjoying a life of independence. Being in a relationship is fine, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I am currently way too busy to be in a committed relationship, but if I was, then I’d go at it differently than in how I did in my youth. What is attractive to me now is honesty and good character instead of a hot body and pretty face. Morally bankrupt people are annoying and not to be trusted so I avoid them. Life knocked the sense right into me, and at last important lessons have been learned. This is true with everyone. Learn from the past, then move on from it. Don’t get stuck in “What if’s” or other speculative concerns. Let it go and go forward with new knowledge. Tomorrow is a new day. Don’t waste energy hating or being mad at your ex. Just let it go when you are able. Later, you can look back and feel good about how the situation made you stronger. And when you are ready, there will be someone new waiting for you out there somewhere, when you are ready.

Carolyn McFann is a scientific and nature illustrator and writer from Chagrin Falls, Ohio. She is the owner of Two Purring Cats Clothing & Gifts, a large online store carrying casual clothing, dinnerware, p…  View profile

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