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Breaking Down Your Break Up

Love lessons learned

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on the circumstances) all things come to an end one way or another. While heart break (or even amicable break ups) can be tough, there are lessons to be learned from them.

The blame game is worthless
While we have a tendency to be oddly competitive when it comes to who dumped whom, in the end, it doesn't matter which partner ended the relationship. There's a universal theory that "what's good for me is good for you." This is based on the idea that if I'm doing something I don't want to be doing it's not benefiting you, even if you feel like it is what you want.

Relationships need to be mutual and if something major isn't working on one end (and that has to be the case if someone is going to be pushed to the point of a split up), then the person on the other end really deserves more. Most likely, the issues are mutual, whether the person who's been broken up with realizes it or not. Like with all things, hindsight is 20/20 and eventually the reasons will become clear and life will go on. It may seem hard to believe at the moment, but rest assured, it's true.

Maybe, it's just not about you
After being dumped, many of us spend a lot of time wondering "what did I do?" While it's tempting to wallow, it's really a waste of time to question the why, why, why of it all. This may sound outrageous, but the simple truth is that in the absence of glaring offenses like cheating and abuse (though even those are sometimes symptoms rather than the actual problem), you probably didn't do anything. What causes one person to break up with another is something within that person. It's an internal dissatisfaction that cannot be repaired by anyone else. It's growing pains.

Even seemingly perfect relationships go awry when one or both partners are going through something internally and need to work through it on their own. Sometimes the union cannot withstand the growth and change of the individuals in it. Yes, this is hurtful, especially if you're not the one doing the changing, but there's nothing that you could have done differently to prevent it.

Just do better next time
Even good relationships end. But regardless of what your relationship was like, there were certainly mistakes that were made, patterns that should be changed - on both ends, but you can only concern yourself with yours. For instance, if you realize that you had a tendency to hear what you wanted to hear and not what was really being communicated sometimes, instead of beating yourself up for missing the signs, you can work on really listening.

Note that issues you have in relationships often translate to other areas of your life, so you can easily practice this at work and with friends. In short, rather than pining for too long over what is gone (a certain dose of sadness/mourning is normal and good), this is a great time to look at yourself and your motivations - not "how could I have kept this from happening?" but rather "how can I work to be more fulfilled in life," which will, in turn translate to being more fulfilled the next time you're in love.

Make a clean break
Oh, it sounds so simple, but it's not. However, while making a clean break in the wake of a split is tough, it really, truly is the best thing to do. For the moment anyway. A time will probably come when you can be friends with your ex again, but early on, the best thing you can do is stay away from each other. No easy task when this is the person you're used to talking to about your problems, but when you're struggling with a broken heart, the person who caused it is not the correct confidant.

Talk to a friend, hit up a family member. Stay away from the person you wish you still had (or who wishes they still had you), because things will get complicated. Nothing hurts worse than watching an ex's attitude toward you change (you drop on your ex's priority list after the break up and may find this a rude awakening), or if you're on the other side, being the one to do the hurting of someone you may not want to be with, but care for. You're broken up.

Once something is over, it's done and holding on to it will only keep you in that moment, which is not a pleasant place to be...

Take time alone
While it may seem lonely when you're used to being paired up, rushing into a new relationship isn't going to do much to help things. If you're the one who was dumped, you're going to compare this new person to your ex endlessly and wind up taking out your old emotions on this undeserving person who at some other time may have made a good mate. Ride out your roller coaster as long as you have to rather than jumping in, looking for a savior. Remember, if there's anything being broken up with has taught you, it should be that you are your only salvation. Sometimes it hurts to grow, but when you come out the other side, it's worth it.


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