Continuing my post on moving on from a bad breakup, let’s look at steps 4 to 6:
Watch that Rebound! There are those people who seem to jump from one dysfunctional relationship and straight into another. There are differing opinions about rebound relationships and what role they play in recovery. It has been suggested that if the relationship was on a bad footing for a while, then part of the break-up “processing” went on before the break-up. A relationship soon after would then only be a sign that feelings for the ex are non-existent. Sometimes, the relationship started before the break-up, was the main reason but comes to light later. However, the sooner a new relationship starts after a significant break-up with a long-term partner, the more likely it is to be a sticking plaster to avoid the pain and hurt and indeed responsibility for the break-up.
It is then impossible to believe that break-up baggage has been processed sufficiently to enable the new relationship to survive. What better to get over something this awful than to have someone new showing you attention and affection, making you feel desirable again and maybe reassuring you that you did just the right thing breaking up. While it is possible that this type of relationship can move on and succeed, it is more likely to peter out once the initial joyful phase is replaced by reality. The reality means that it was probably instant gratification, a tool to avoid the true work that needed doing. It also leaves one open to being taken advantage of at a very vulnerable time. Proceed with caution. If you look at people who generally do this, you will find it has been a constant pattern in their life fuelled by low self-esteem, the inability to see that they have an identity outside of a relationship and the fear of being alone.
Find YOU! Hideous as a bad break-up can be, it does eventually present an opportunity for growth. After the initial shock, it is important to look at how you want to go forward. I have had clients who have suddenly found the freedom and motivation to do things that they never would have in the relationship. This is mainly because we confuse “love” with the right to independence.
Many couples give up what attracted them in the first place. A good relationship is when two like-minded, independent individuals come together to form something new. Do some personal growth work, an essential process even in the best of relationships. There are some excellent books on the market to help in this direction. Find new hobbies, friends and experiences. Decide what YOU want to do. Try new things. At this stage, it is you that is the most important and why it is foolish to bring someone new into your life before this work has been done.
Accept It Is a Process: Even if you do all of the above effectively (and people generally do not, you will still have some residual feelings that derive from the relationship. Sadness, regret, anger, even guilt and shame could all hang around for some time.” It will eventually come to an end and you will be able to move on, maybe with someone else who is more appropriate and compatible as a partner. It is a process, a process of mourning for the loss that you feel, the trauma of what is turning into what was.
However, in time, you will see that break-ups do not happen without a reason and come to acceptance. An important part of this process is the ritual of letting finally go. You will know when this point has arrived due to your healthier thought patterns but many like to perform a formal ritual… burning of letters and photos, deleting things from computers, changing the house around. These things can bring closure and symbolically help, but will only happen when you are fully ready to move on from the old to the possible new.