The word “break-up”, as well as “split”, is imbued with violence (see, On Being Single … And the Power of the word “Break-up”). How can it be anything but painful? But why is it so? And can it be any different? Could we simply see past the pain and view this as part of an evolutionary cycle? Let’s explore. But first a ground rule, so to speak. This post is about healthy relationships. We do not discuss those that are emotionally, physically or verbally abusive. That is a whole different and much more complex issue.
In an ideal world, the media (i.e., movies, romance novels, TV shows, fairy tales, etc.), our friends and family, as well as ourselves would know and acknowledge that most relationships have a purpose. Because they have a purpose, they have a time limit for, when the purpose is accomplished, the relationship, by default, must end. But we don’t live in an ideal world. So it is hard, sometimes very hard, to end a relationship especially if you are the one who is been let go. As an aside, may I suggest we stop using the words “break-up” or “split.” It is simply the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one, as hard as it is to admit it.
In most relationships, the one initiating the end is also hurting. After all, s/he has invested as much time and effort, and sometimes more, than you have. So, s/he must justify his/her actions. We all must justify our actions if we are to go through with them, or we couldn’t. So s/he must find reasons why s/he is leaving. They may be valid reasons, or not. The one leaving sometimes doesn’t truly know why s/he is leaving. In any event, it doesn’t matter. Reasons will be offered.
The thing is that, in every relationship, and particularly love relationships, your partner mirrors your greatest hopes and your greatest fears. In relationship where the partners are not equally balanced, the one leaving simply could not live up to the image in the mirror. Because the one leaving does this unconsciously, the one being left then has to be told why s/he is simply not the right person. Why s/he is inappropriate in such and such behavior. In most relationships that have not been abusive, your soul knows that what is being said to you is simply not true. Assuming that feeling “bad” about yourself is a sign that you are not aligning with your soul, you cannot hear these words and feel good about yourself.
Of course, no end to a relationship would be painful if we had learned to love ourselves first. If we had been taught, or taught ourselves, that our happiness cannot be dependent on someone else. Nor can we be responsible for someone’s else happiness. But, most of us dislike ourselves at some level, whether we admit it or not. So, in a healthy relationship, particularly at the beginning, you feel your partner’s love, and sometimes even adoration, and you bask in its glory. You feel love, love that you may feel has been withheld from you for a very long time, perhaps since childhood. And like a drug, which love is as it releases all kinds of “feel good” chemicals in your body, you become dependent. But can anyone consistently and over a period of decades really make you “happy”? For some it is “yes.” My parents, in their dysfunctional way, have been married for 56 years and though my father has told my mom “I love you” only twice (they say it every day now since I suggested they did), they are definitely in love. For most of us, the answer is a resounding “no.” And when the romance ends, here come our insecurities at a gallop. Hop on the horse and ride away: “I feel despair.” “How will I ever find another who will love me as much?” “Will I find another?” “Why wasn’t I good enough?” “What’s wrong with me?” And many, many more thoughts gallop through our head.
That is, when love is withdrawn and you are not in touch with self-love, you go into withdrawal, much like a drug addict. This does not happen when we feel good about ourselves no matter what happens.
But the realization sooner or later comes that you have no control over what your partner did or will do. You have no control over whether s/he will reconnect with you soon, later or never. You have no control over when s/he will date or whom they will chose to date. It’s out of your hands and, frankly, none of your business at this point. Another very hard lesson to learn as we desperately hang on to the hope of a second chance … which, admittedly, sometimes happens. In which case, you also have no control over whether the second time around will be better than the first time, despite what the song says.
Is a solution finding something that makes you feel good and focusing on it to the exception of everything else? I don’t know. It’s certainly what I’m endeavoring with all my heart (pun intended) to do and I will let you know. Is a solution sitting in silence and delving deep into your soul and examining the reasons this hurts so much? Again, I will let you know. While some of us endeavor to do this, most of us have tendency to wallow in the situation. Moreover, most of us find the meditative silence too big a burden to bear.
Deep introspection (mediation if you prefer) gives new information and hope of a better and brighter future with a partner that will know to love him/herself and that she is the source of his/her own happiness. As I develop the same knowledge and skills, I know that that type of relationship may last a lifetime. And, if not, because I will have learned to love myself and be happy by myself, it simply won’t hurt. In the end, perhaps we would be wise to remember that we have two choices: Be without this person and be happy, or be without this person and be unhappy. The choice is yours.
And, to paraphrase a famous quote, remember: lf you love someone, set it free with love and light. If s/he comes back, cherish it. If s/he doesn’t, it never was meant to be forever, but it was meant to teach you if you are open to it.
As always, in love, Jean-Pierre