We are emotional beings so letting go of someone can be very hard. We hate to lose anything. Even weight, when framed as loss, we subconsciously dislike that! We want to win, not lose. It’s how we’re wired.
When G and I split up, I was so focused on not losing, that I clung to something that wasn’t working. Sounds irrational? It was. That’s OK. But break-ups don’t have to be opera quality in pain. You see, I thought if there was loss, I needed to suffer, so I did. In reality, it was the best thing to happen because he wasn’t a good fit, I often walked on eggshells with him, etc. But, the loss! I had trouble with the loss.
A friend of mine used to say, “when one door closes, another door opens, but it’s hell in the hallway.” I found it funny for years, but now I believe there’s much more in that hallway, and it doesn’t have to be breakdown.
The toughest aspect of break-ups is loving someone, but knowing it’s not working. Recognizing that love isn’t enough. We’ve been taught love conquers all. It doesn’t if they or you have poor communication skills or little ability to have tough conversations (with a feather). Relationship skills, communication ability, shared values – those mixed in with loving someone make all of the difference.
If you’re in the process of letting a partner go, give yourself some grace. You’re probably on an emotional roller coaster, recalling the best times, and diminishing the worst. Don’t do that. Write a list of why it wasn’t working, then write a list of values you are seeking.
Also, all or nothing thinking must be banished. That’s keeping you clinging to unhappiness. Yes, eventually you’ll meet someone else and your heart will sing in that realm again.
In Dan Ariely’s book, Predictably Irrational, he writes about the “high price of ownership.” Once we have something, our value of it raises way beyond the value of the thing. That coupled with hating to loose anything, makes break-ups harder.
My advice is to keep your focus on the reality of the situation, on what wasn’t working, on how you’re now free to seek what can work. Whether you left or let go, what you can do is learn what you can do better to level yourself up for the next thing. Focus on that. And on the qualities of yourself that you love.