The bears are emerging from their caves and the flower buds are getting ready to blossom. And for human beings, this season of new beginnings often begins with the end of a relationship. Whether or not you are the one who initiated the break up, or were blindsided by a partner or friend’s sudden exit, there are a few things to consider to make this often painful life transition a healthier one.
1. Know That You’re Normal
There is a tendency during mate replacement, or even the outgrowing of a friendship, to think this doesn’t happen to other people, that somehow, there is something wrong with you. But in fact, only some family members and a handful of historical friends stay with us for the lifespan. As for romantic relationships, because of our long lives even the most monogamous humans often experience two or three stints of longterm monogamy. In short, mate replacement is normal. And, people outgrow friends too.
2. All Feelings are Good Feelings
Staying aware of your feelings, especially the prickly ones, is an opportunity to grow. Taking time to grieve over a loss, to examine your role in the relationship’s demise, and to feel gratitude for the gifts the relationship brought, is a healthy way to have a solid perspective on things.
3. Self-Consoling is Best Done with Company
While the adage that “The best way to get over someone, is to get under someone else” can be a temporary salve, rebound relationships rarely last and may even mask a unique opportunity to evaluate and grow. Instead of rushing into another relationship or chumming up to a “new best friend,” turn to those who love you unconditionally. Perhaps your sister, a favorite aunt, or even a co-worker can remind you that you are lovable. Surround yourself with those who think highly of you, in order to boost your self esteem
4. Sometimes Family Needs a Break-up/Shake-up too!
If you believe that all family should stick together at all costs, you are either blessed with a functional family or you might be painfully bound to an unhealthy system. Sometimes, for a system to change, one cog in the machine has to be adjusted, and that cog may be you. While ostracizing (giving the silent treatment) to family members is generally a bad way to deal with conflict, putting boundaries on yourself with an alcoholic or abusive family member could be a step toward healthy connections. Remember, you can’t put a boundary on someone else, but we can always put a boundary on yourself.
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