The Ultimate Guide To Get Over a Break Up

How To Get Over A Break Up

The Definitive Step By Step Guide

A relationship break-up is devastating because it is the loss of a loved one… your relationship.

Yet while heartbreak has been experienced for millennia, all we have to give is platitudes.

This How To Get Over Your Break Up Guide is here to get you past the pain and into a better future sooner.

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How To Get Over A Break up Content

The Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Rob McPhillips

Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat anything here.  I’m here to put out the reality of what you’re going to have to go through.

Because once you are clear on the process you have to go through, you have some control over how you experience it.

I’m here to help, but it’s a brutal truth kind of help.  

Everyone around is going to be sympathetic and want you to FEEL better.  So they’ll tell you it’s not your fault.  You just picked a wrong ‘un.

But where does that leave you?

You’ll move on without any growth or gained wisdom and think it will be better next time.

I’d rather you feel some pain and discomfort now and get ready so you NEVER have to feel like this again.

It's going to be ok. Honestly!

Perhaps you’re not ready to hear this yet, but the first thing you have to know is that however bad this seems right now, you will get through it.  

Even if it seems like your world has caved in and there’s nothing worth living for. 

For many people a breakup can be the turning point for a future that ends up being better than anything they had in the past.  

Here’s the cold, hard truth.  Your relationship and maybe your life wasn’t all you hoped it was or wanted it to be.  Maybe, you were perfectly happy with it, but your ex wasn’t. Whatever the reason for the breakup, the relationship wasn’t built on foundations that were solid enough to be sustainable.  

But that’s ok because you’re now starting down a pathway that will lead you to having everything you thought you lost and being sustainable.

Emotional pain is in its essence a difference between where you want to be and the reality of where you are.  It seems on the surface that it is circumstances and situations that cause your pain. That there’s obstacles between you and what you want.  

Deep down though, it’s really an inner conflict you have to resolve.  This means that when you understand and resolve your inner conflict everything else will change.  And most importantly, the pain will go.

This means you have work to do.  This process is that work. Let’s get started.

The Five Heartwrenching Stages After A Break-up

The first step to healing is accepting how you feel.  So many people apologise or judge themselves for how they feel.  “Sorry! I’m being silly” or “I shouldn’t feel like this”.

How you feel is natural and logical for however your psychological and emotional makeup is.   If you want to feel different, you have to change that emotional and psychological makeup. That’s what we’re going to do in this guide.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross was the main authority on grief.  She spent years studying the process of grieving and came up with a five stage model.

Of course your journey may not go in this exact linear order, because people process things differently. But for our purposes this framework makes the most sense to work through.

roadmap of 5 stages of grief

What’s Happening? Is This A Joke? WTF

This journey is an emotional journey.  If you ride its wave it will change so much in your life.  Many people look back on a break-up as the turning point in their life. But this can only happen if you’re willing to feel every emotion.

The more you shirk from feeling, the slower and less complete your healing will be.

So if all you feel up to is bawling on the sofa with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and your Adele Album, then bawl away.  Cry, punch a pillow and swear at God, whatever it takes until the emotions exhaust you.

At this stage, you don’t need to judge how you should be feeling or put any expectation on yourself. You need to feel the emotions to process them. There’s only so much raw emotion we can feel, before you’ll burn out and that’s when you’ll be ready to move on to stage 2.

That Lowlife Scumbag!!

Congratulations! You’ve moved on. We’re making progress.

Denial is about shock and devastation.  That is a stage of gradually come to terms with the new reality.  Back there you had to be gentle with yourself so you could wrap your head around what had happened.

This is different though!

Now you’re going to need a whole lot of energy and fight to get out and climb this emotional mountain.

But where do you get all this energy when all you want to do is roll over and sleep and cry?

You get it from the careful and strategic use of anger.

If I Say My Prayers For A Month And Give £50 To Charity…

The third stage of grieving is where you’ve been in pain for so long you just want some respite. You’ve been through the worst and there looks like there might be light at the end of the tunnel, but it flickers in and out. Maybe it’s a mirage. You’ve done this for long enough and you just want it to be over. You want to settle to normality and have an end to it.

This is the stage where there’s a lot of doubt. People who wanted out of their relationship will start to doubt that the grass is greener. Did they make a mistake? They miss aspects of the other person… or maybe they’re horny, lonely or bored. So they reach out.

The person who was dumped is still vulnerable. He sees a chance to salve all their pain. And this is how people break up and get back together over and over again.

Someone was unhappy enough to break things up. Thus the relationship didn’t work. It won’t work again.unless you’re both different people and in 99% of cases it’s over.

However, that doesn’t mean your future is over. It might be that you’ve lost yourself and any clear view of what your dreams really are. Whatever the case, your future is never tied to one person. It’s independent of any other individual.

It’s when we forget that, that we tie ourselves up in knots of despair.

I’ll Just End Up An Old Lonely Cat Lady

By now you’ve worked past the bargaining stage.

You don’t want to settle for the easy life.

But, you don’t quite believe you’re going to end up where you want to be.

So this is the stage where people swear off relationships. It’s where people post lots of dark, comic memes of them being eternally single etc.

This is the stage where many people stay stuck for years or even decades.

It’s Over! Let’s Move On

The final stage is of acceptance.  When you acknowledge and accept that the relationship is over.  

Now is the time when you’re ready to really move forwards, whether that is to start looking or thinking about dating again or in whatever other way work to create the future you want.

The Hidden Hazards To Healing From Heartbreak

Getting over a break up is so hard because there’s a number of tangled problems.

So you have to separate these resolve them.

Along the way there are so many obstacles and minefields that you could so easily trigger.  

Let’s look at some of the problems.

Managing The Emotional Trauma of Getting Over Your Ex

A romantic relationship is so important to us that it can at times hijack our emotions and make a raving fool of the usually most together person.

It can have you holed up in your house not wanting to see the world for days, weeks or even months. Or have you cringing later from what you did while hurting.

The Thoughts That Torture

Then when you’re at your lowest, you remember the things you loved most about being with him.

The way he’d look at you filled with love that made you feel the most cherished woman.

The way she’d laugh at your jokes.

How safe and warm you felt wrapped in his arms.

The smell of him when you lounged in his t-shirts.

And it hits you like a hammer blow to the stomach.

She’s gone. And all that is over now.

Forever.

And so your first problem is finding a way to manage your emotions, rather than having them manage you.

Getting Rid Of The Triggers

If the emotions are the fire, reminders of your ex and your past can be the spark to start the fire.  

Every time you see something that reminds you of him/her it’s like a windsucking punch to the gut.  

And then your mind goes on a rampage that reminds you of all you’ve lost and how nothing will ever be the same again.

Seeing A Future

Once your mind gets on that emotional rollercoaster it’s going to be driven by your deepest fears.  

It is devastating because whenever you thought of the future, it was with a vision of you and your Partner.

You imagined growing old together. And now it feels like your future has been snatched away. And you can’t imagine a future without him.

I’ll never be happy again.  I’ll never love anyone like that again.  No one else will want me.

Needing Closure

All there seems is future loneliness.  With no one to care or look out for you.

And if it didn’t work out with her, why would it with anyone else?

Is it you? Maybe you suck at relationships and you’re destined to always be alone.

If he didn’t want me, who will?

What if no one wants you?

What if you can’t find another lover?

And so these thoughts and questions torment you. Playing on every fear you have.

How can you ever move on or have a successful relationship without knowing what happened and why?

So you tell yourself you need closure to move on.  

All You Want Is Your Ex Back

Maybe you reach out to your ex to ‘get closure’.  Maybe you just want to hear their voice.

You tell yourself that maybe it’s just a misunderstanding and if you could just clear that up then all this would be all over.  

Maybe they’re lonely or horny and you end up hooking up again.  Or you even have a brief reconciliation.

But then you end up back at square one.  Feeling worse than ever.

The Deeper Truth You Have To Address

There seem to be so many tangled problems in dealing with the fallout after a break up.  And there’s so much emotion pulling on you that it can distract you from the real issue.

The truth is that while we are distracted by the puppet show around us, the real issues are played out in the subconscious.

You see, there is the truth, which is the facts of our reality.  But bare facts are too dry for us.  We need to make a story for the facts to make any kind of sense for us. So we have the truth and then we have the narrative we make of those facts.

There is a truth in human behaviour that what we are unaware of is what drives us.  

The things that we want and think motivate us are actually just symbols for what we really want.

For example, so many people seem to be driven by money, fame and power.  Yet really, why would anyone put so much effort for just a piece of paper?

Money is the observable symbol for freedom, security, importance and so on.

Fame is what we talk of when we mean being admired, respected and loved.

Power is what people seem to crave, but really it’s about importance, control and security.

In much the same way, while we may have loved our Ex and our past relationship, what we really loved was the way he/she made us feel, how we felt when we thought about him/her and the feelings we got from being in the relationship with them.

What we really want seems to be a relationship and a lover, but is more precisely the feeling of our needs being satisfied.  Because if you think about it, as soon as your Lover stops meeting your needs, isn’t the relationship dying for you?

The point I’m trying to get at here is that the emotions and the sense of loss you think you have for your ex, isn’t really about him or her.  If we’re going to get through this process more successfully we have to be more precise about exactly what we need to do.

Most of the time we give ourselves way too much credit and try to pretend to be nicer than our nature really is.  Underneath our politeness and etiquette we are as much animals as any other beast.

We like to dress our emotions up as being about a selfless and romantic love, but really what we are going through is a panic that our needs won’t get met.

Emotions are driven by fear.

While we may have many fears, which are the questions we think we need to answer to get closure, actually they are branches of the three main root fears.

I'll end up Broke and homeless

I'll end up a crazy old cat lady

My Life will have been a waste

The hurt we feel stems mainly from the second fear that we won’t be loved or love again.  Not consciously addressed this takes it to the extreme of us ending up a lonely old cat lady laying dead with no-one knowing for days.

Where the break up could cause us financial consequences it may also take the fear to ending up penniless and homeless.

And sometimes the fact that it appears our ex doesn’t want us, or no longer cares, hurts because we feel like we didn’t matter.  

This is important to understand because when you try to fix a break up by dealing with the surface issues it seems impossible.  

That’s why the standard advice is all the platitudes about time being a great healer.  Or needing to practice self care.

All those things are true, they’re a part of soothing your emotions and they might make you feel better for a couple of hours, but don’t let you actually take control of the process.

The Three Big Fears

Here’s Why Your Break Up Causes You So Much Pain

The Stolen Future

The pain in a breakup is a panic because your vision of the future was intertwined with your ex.  

And so all you saw into the future was you and your ex. Now they’ve gone… it feels like your future has gone.

Because there’s now a great vacuum where your future was, your fears have come out to run riot.  And so they’re tugging at the puppet strings, playing on every deep fear you have that you’ll never be enough.  

That you’ll never be loved. That there’s something wrong with you and so no one will want you.

The process of getting over a break up does get better with time.  But it’s not time per se, it’s that in time you’ll recreate that vision of your future.  

It’s that in time you’ll come to see that there are other people and other avenues where you can get your needs met.

The Inability To Get Closure

Once your fears take a grip of you, your mind races with doubts.  

Is it you? 

Is there something about you that makes you unlovable or unable to keep a relationship?

Your mind keeps you from being able to move on because it demands answers to the questions that will never be answered.

The truth is that we know relatively little about life.  There are always more questions than answers. We are surrounded by unresolvable questions.  From the big picture ones like… 

Why are we here? 

Is there a God? 

To the smaller questions like why did Sean leave the toilet seat up?

The reality is that all of these questions are a mystery.  Some people truly believe they know the answer and will preach it to others, but it is just their story that they put their faith in.  It is just a story.

In exactly the same way, you can never really know the true facts about what happened in your relationship.  

You could ask your ex, but how will you know if they are being honest?

Not many people know the truth, let alone give it to you.  You see, they may have gotten hurt and build up resentments and so they want to hurt you.  

Or alternatively they may feel so bad about finishing with you that they want to avoid hurting you.  

The only truth you need to know is that the relationship stopped working for them as the best outlet in meeting their needs.  That is the only fact that we can be sure of. Yet we are able to operate in life with many mysteries around us.

We do this by making stories that make sense of the bare facts.  Oftentimes it is our stories that cause our relationship issues.

For example, while poor Sean may have a terrible time struggling with his poor memory and forgets to put the toilet seat down, his girlfriend tells herself that it’s part of a concerted effort to show he doesn’t care about her.

All we have around us are bare facts.  The story we make about them is what determines how we respond.  It is the vehicle that makes our reality make sense.

Your breakup is no different.  And so you don’t need your ex to give you closure.  You just have to make the story that helps you move on best and close that shit down.

Keep Your Hand Off The Easy Button

I spoke earlier about us being more animal and less civilised than we like to admit to.  The Bible tells us we have domain over all the animals and we like a story that places us at the centre of the universe.  The truth is that we are still an animal.

We need to be aware of how we work, because otherwise we can be run by our instincts.  The nature of being human is to want to avoid pain.

That’s why men typically will run when their partner wants to ‘talk’.  We want comfort. That’s why we eat too much chocolate, drink too much wine, watch too much tv and so on.  Yet none of these things lead us to a happier future. But they bring us lots of comfort now.

The things that make for a happier future in contrast, like exercise, eating healthily, doing the things that will make a longer term difference are hard.  The difficult conversation, the discipline to write when the sun is out and so on are all things that lead us to what we ultimately want. But like the cat going to the vet we’ll hiss and moan before we do them.  

People going through a breakup will often engage in destructive behaviour.  They’ll eat too much junk, drink too much, shag the wrong person too often and text their ex too often.  

It’s a reaction to avoid the pain they are feeling.

As you go through this process, there will be many times when all you want is your ex back and for this nightmare to be over.  You’ll give anything to just get back to how things were.

Even though you know deep down that there were problems and if you went back as if nothing has changed they will crop up again.  And so it’s likely that you’ll be back in the same situation again.

Yet all you want is a break.  Some comfort from the pain. 

And so you’ll want to tell yourself the story that this time it will be different.  

Why? 

Because you feel so much pain you’ll believe any story you cobble together. And so you’ll reach out to your ex or you’ll want to jump when they message you.

Don’t do it!

It’s over.  Your job is to get to accept that.  The only reason you would slip back is from weakness.  Because the fight ahead seems too daunting.

You did it!

It happens.  We all fall off the wagon whether we’re dieting, exercising or getting over our ex.  Every journey has a few stumbles and false starts.  Just pick yourself back up and move on.

The Two Journeys To Healing

This is a journey.  Of course no two journeys are going to be the same.  There’s always going to be shades and subtleties that make your path different.  

However, what we’re focused on here are on the universal milestones that we will all pass in their various forms.  

Joseph Campbell identified The Hero’s Journey, which has been used as the framework for telling many of our biggest cultural stories from the Star Wars series to The Matrix and Harry Potter stories.

In its most simplified essence, it is where the Hero has to leave his everyday world for a new world filled with challenges and dangers.  This causes him to transform, grow and develop into a better version of himself and eventually he returns with something that can benefit the world.

So the Jesus and Buddha story is that they overcame the world and returned to share their gift with us.  

On the surface Luke Skywalker, Neo and Harry Potter fought evil to save their worlds.  Actually though, what they really did was overcome their own fears and limitations to become a better version of themself.

In the same way, this process is about you having to overcome your fears and limitations to become a better version of yourself.

What makes it more complicated is that we don’t realise that actually it’s about two separate journeys.

There is the practical journey you have to take.

Then there is the emotional journey that is about how you feel about what you have to do.

In most things we procrastinate, hide and rant not about doing the things, but because of our fears and anger in having to do them.  Recognise this as you go through the steps and manage your emotions.

The Step By Step Guide To Getting Over Your Ex

Ok.  Enough of the theory and philosophy.  It’s time to get hands on. Here are the steps and the actions you need to take to move on.

 

Taming The Dragon. The Emotional Journey To Recovery

Let’s take a moment to understand the nature of emotion.

I visualise emotions as being like a kaleidoscope.  I believe we are naturally happy, this is the light.  However, fear blocks happiness. And depending on its intensity it can create any number of shades.

So the way to resolve any emotion is to identify and confront the fear.  However, that’s usually the thing we most fear doing.

It is your fears that drive you because all of our instincts are primed to ensure our survival.  Fear is an alarm system that we must act.

Usually though, we are unaware of what we have to do or even that what we feel is fear.  And so we stay stuck longer than we need to be.

Everyone is different, but for most people going through a traumatic breakup, the dominant emotion is shock and then despair or depression.  Despair and depression are feeling like nothing can or will get better. It’s a dangerous emotion because when someone really believes life will never get any better, that’s when they decide life isn’t worth living anymore.

Anger is progress from this. While fear is what fuels anger, you now have a focus for what is the obstacle between you and feeling happy.

The fear that you won’t get to live out your future dreams and knowing it’s because of that ‘bleeping dipshit’… brings rage.

Rage gives us a sense of power and control. It’s still negative, but we feel alive and have energy to do something. This is progress from despair, which is when we feel powerless to change things.

So your emotional journey is about feeling a sense of control and power over your destiny. And eventually that will lead to forgiving and even feeling love for your ex.

Not in the getting jiggy with him or getting back together in any way, but in not feeling any animosity. Kind of like when you see him in five years time and think ‘wtf did I ever see in him’ or ’I’m glad she’s happy at last’.

Now I’m getting ahead of myself now because right now that may be way too big of a jump. Right now rage might feel better. You go ahead, blame that lying son of a bitch and put his picture up on the dart board.

Don’t go too far though!

Leave the kitchen knives where they are.

In your head you can be mad as hell. He or anyone else doesn’t need to know about it. Because your anger is a tool for now. It is to get you feeling more in control. Then you can work your way up to understanding. And eventually up to neutral and then forgiveness where you can move past him.

So while I’m not advocating violence or suggesting you should be angry for long, it is a stage on the journey. And so what we need to do now is use the surge of energy anger gives you to move forward.

So you need to strategically use your anger to motivate you. Hundreds of people achieve things because they feel the need to show others. To prove themselves etc. So use that fuel to get you to do what you need to, to move on

Take Control By Physicalising The Pain

One way of dealing with the pain that everyone else will tell you is what people call self care.  Take long baths, meditate, let yourself binge watch tv series, eat and drink all you want.

Use whatever works for you.  The goal here is to manage your emotions so they don’t hold you back from getting through this process.  So I want to give you another strategy that might help.

I’m the first person to argue that we are all only one perspective away from happiness. But when the emotion is so powerful that it hijacks your thought, you have to find a way of regaining control.

But when all you can think about… or feel… is the loss of your relationship… you are in no place to try and think your way out.

The problem is that you have developed a thinking habit. One that is strengthened each time you travel down that neural pathway and that transports you into a pain cycle that you can’t rationalise or reason your way out of.

That’s why it doesn’t matter how many chats you have with your friends. How much you read. Or how much you try and think it through.

Emotion and logic are like oil and water. They don’t mix. You can’t change one by the other. So at this stage thinking isn’t the solution.

So what is?

The problem is that your emotions have you in such a tight grip that you can’t escape their clutches. Your body is wound up like a coiled spring. So it’s time to put the e-motions into motion.

We can use the concept of martial arts to never use force to meet force. Instead you go with the flow and then direct the flow in whatever direction you want.

So the problem is feeling in pain from the tension. You can’t relax and so rather than try to fight it, let’s use it to redirect your energy.

Start getting busy. Get all your housework done. Start working on all those niggly projects that you’ve been meaning to get around to.

If you don’t already exercise start. Start at whatever level you can. Find yourself some challenge where you can see yourself progress. For most people, it will be wanting to lose a few pounds and tone up. Use some way of measuring your progress so you can recognise your wins.

If you’re not looking to get in better shape, find some other goal. I always like some sense of challenge to motivate me to exercise. Without something to aim for and measuring what you’re doing you will drift. When it gets tough and you want to give up that is when you use your anger to give you a whole new level of determination. 

 

Physical Pain Can Teach You How To Deal With Emotional Pain

You see, at this stage, working out is not primarily about looking or feeling better in the long term.

Both of these are goals that later on will be part of the process. You can’t enjoy life as much when you’re carrying around 100lb of excess weight, but that’s not our main focus here.

The main reason you need to exercise and push yourself in physical challenges is to physicalise the pain. When you take pain that you can’t control and bring it under your direction, you have started to claim back your power.

It is much easier to deal with concrete concepts than abstract ones. Likewise, it is easier to deal with physical pain than emotional suffering. So by creating physical pain you are able to make pain purposeful.

The physical suffering to achieve your chosen goal, becomes a metaphor for your emotional suffering. And so you begin to see a path to healing.

The process of becoming fitter is about pushing yourself beyond your current limits. To build a muscle you have to flood it with blood until it bursts and tears. And this is desirable for women as well as men to achieve a toned look and to be in your best shape.

That, and giving your body the nutrients and rest it needs, is your job. The body heals over the next couple of days. Then it rebuilds stronger than before to cope with the extra demands placed on it.

Your exertions – the physical suffering – is the stimulation your body needs to grow stronger.

No one likes exercising. It is uncomfortable. Yet many can learn to associate it with winning and with feeling good and so they associate those feelings with exercising.

The tougher your break up is, the stronger the person you will be for it.

No one, ok very few people, actually like housework. But some people grow to love the association they have with housework. Accomplishing something, having a clean and tidy home, caring for their family and so on.

Everything we want to achieve. Developing rewarding relationships, hobbies or career goals, all involve developing skills. That involves failure and frustration. It’s the feeling we get after that justifies the effort.

Everything worth achieving takes time and effort.  And getting through this process and building your brighter future depends on the time and effort you put in building the foundations now.

The point is to do whatever you have to so that you can make the logical decisions you need to without being swayed by your emotional vulnerabilities.

Cut The Cord. Burn Your Ships. Going Off The Grid

There’s a reason everyone says you have to cut contact with your ex.  Because the only way you can fully heal is when you stop poking and re-opening the wound. You need to accept that the relationship is over. This might sound harsh, but pretending your ex has died, is a way to cut off all possibility of a future together.

Delete all their contact numbers from your phone. Unfriend, unfollow and block them on every social media or messaging app.

Sometimes of course, you have to stay in contact.  Maybe because you work with them, or discuss kids and finances etc.  Then work out the details with as little contact as possible. Maybe you can do it in writing or through a third party.  

If things are acrimonious, use mediation.  What you have to do is make sure you have separated your logic and your emotion.  

You have to follow the logical path through this process.  Otherwise you’ll end up more hurt through contact with your ex or losing money because you didn’t fight for a fair share, but to hurt your ex.

Will Social Media Help Or Harm You After a Break up?

In fact my recommendation would be to avoid social media completely for a while.  Facebook and Instagram are where we put our coolest, best looking pictures. Couples seem far happier than they would be if you met them in person.  Everyone seems to be having more fun and success than you.

There are many studies showing that social media is damaging to our well-being because it increases loneliness, depression and anxiety.  

FOMO, Facebook envy, reduced attention span and disturbed sleep are more side effects of our always connected lives. So it’s not the best place to be when you’re feeling down.  

No one can live a life as cool as your Instagram feed, so whether it’s conscious or not you are setting yourself up for more disappointment.

If you decide you do have to stay on these networks be conscious of what you have in your feed and how it makes you feel.  Listen to your inner dialogue and challenge it.

Get It All Out In The Open

It is what we’re unaware of that drives us.  So if we can get everything out onto paper we can confront it and deal with it.  

Often our deepest fears are laughable when we see them in the cold light of day. When we keep them buried and fear looking at them, they grow into fierce demons that terrorise us.

Keep a record of your emotions and document the ups and downs of your day so you can make your unconscious thoughts conscious and see patterns.

Especially look for the three universal questions that we are constantly asking ourselves. These are the Key Performance Indicators for how we are doing in our life.

So whenever something happens we relate it to how are we doing in relation to these three questions. Whenever someone slights us, it is in how it relates to these questions.

  • What am I good at?
  • Why will people like or love me?
  • What do I do that makes a difference in the world?

These questions relate to the three basic universal human needs.

Survival – To feel good at something and secure in our ability to survive.

Belonging – To feel loved and accepted.

Contributing – To feel like we matter.

Watch anyone who’s upset, i.e next time you’re unhappy about something. Identify what has upset them and you’ll find it is because;

  • They fear their ability has been brought into question. By themselves or someone else. So they fear they aren’t good enough and thus their survival is at stake.
  • They fear someone doesn’t like them or consider them important. So they fear no-one likes them and they will not be accepted in the pack.
  • They fear that nothing they do has any purpose or meaning. Thus, their life will have been wasted and them forgotten forever.

Mine Your Relationship For The Hidden Gold

Ok, so the relationship didn’t end up the way you wanted it to.  But it doesn’t mean it was a failure. It can be one of the false steps on the way to your ultimately happy relationship story if you look at what you can learn from it.

Look at general patterns.  Look for the unconscious contract.  This is what I call the transaction we get into when we are looking for something from the other partner without realising what we end up having to give.

What is it you are looking for in a relationship?

“Don’t fool yourself here and say it’s just X, I love him.”

That’s a copout!  It just means you’re not aware of what you’re really seeking.

What is it you love about him?

Why?

You need to keep going until you get to the root of it.

Journal this all down because it’s going to come in handy later. Here’s some questions to guide you in developing more clarity. You need to fully understand your motivations and drives.

What Do We Need From People?

Craig Hill, developed the Interpersonal Orientation Scale and talked about the four motivations we have to engage with others. These are;

  • Emotional Support
  • Attention
  • Stimulation
  • Social Comparison

We can use these as a framework for looking at what you got from your relationship and what you didn’t get.

Relationships work on largely unconscious transactions. Understanding what it is you actually want and what you have to offer can help you develop a more conscious relationship.  So before you move on, look at what is the currency in your last relationship was.

So let’s look honestly at the relationship, or more specifically your thoughts on it.  What can you learn from the relationship and the process.

Have A Memorial Service For Your Relationship

Rituals work for a lot of people. They signal closure.

So perhaps holding a memorial service for the relationship might help.  In any case you need to forgive any resentment or bitterness.

To heal you must get to a place where you forgive fully and hold no resentment or bitterness.

The extent to which you do this, is the extent to which you become free. Your grudges tie you to the other person.

You could bury or burn photos or belongings representative of your relationship. Just not the house car or your Ex’s Crown Jewels.

I want to add a disclaimer here that I am not responsible for misuse of this idea.

Give a speech of what the relationship meant to you and what you’ll grieve in its ending.

Wish him/her well and then mourn the relationship if that’s how you feel.

Build a Future That’s So Goddamn Good You Can’t Wait To Live It

I said before that the real key to getting over a break up is about replacing the vision of the future you had with them with one you have now.  All of the pain and joy, all of the emotions we feel come from the story we are telling in our head.

Remember that you’re the Narrator.  When you feel unhappy, check the story you’re telling.  Change it to one that’s more empowering.

However, make sure you have the circumstances to tell a better story.  

So your work now is to get clear on everything you want in your life.  Take an audit of where you are now and then the gap between the dream and now is where your work is.

No one likes feeling like shit.  Yet the one thing a break up does do for you is it makes you realise what’s wrong with your life.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s great when you’re content with your life.  But often we are happy to just drift.  We have niggles, but they don’t bother us enough to make a change.

It is only when something really gets our attention that we give it the attention it needs to get resolved and in doing so upgrade our life.

Though it seems hard to see it when you can’t stop crying, a break up is an opportunity.  Use it as a timeout to reassess your life and your future.  

Get to work on building you and your future. 

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