Breakups are tough, no doubt about it. Afterwards, many of us feel so distraught and lost, that we quickly go on a desperate search to find someone new. Even if the old relationship wasn’t that great, at least we weren’t alone; someone was “there” to occupy our time and energy.
But quickly jumping from one relationship to another can be hazardous. You might find that you’ve jumped right out of the frying pan into the fire. Recent divorce statistics bear this out. In the U.S., 50% of 1st marriages end in divorce, 67% of 2nd marriages and a whopping 74% of 3rd marriages go kaput. Wow! Those are pretty grim numbers that scream out for caution.
There are many reasons why 2nd and 3rd marriages don’t work, but one big reason is that people jump into them too quickly. They don’t give themselves time to explore and learn from their previous relationship. They think it was the other one who caused all the trouble and now if they just find the “right” person, things will be different. Sound familiar? Of course it does; most of us, including me, have been there, done that. Trouble is, it’s never all one person’s doing. It takes two to tango, and if you don’t learn how you contributed to “what was” and deal with your issues, then you bring those same issues into your new relationship, and here we go again. So you might as well get it NOW with THIS ending, so you can move up the ladder of consciousness with someone new.
Here are some questions to get you started in your exploration after a breakup:
1) Did I make a life outside of my relationship? Or was I glued to my partner growing more bored and more boring every day?
2) Was I active in dealing with things I knew were “off” between us? Or did I sweep it all under the carpet and hope that it would get better on its own?
3) Did I expect my partner to fulfill all my needs? Or did I realize that no one person can do that, and if I asked them to, my relationship would surely buckle from the strain.
4) Did I ask for what I wanted, say how I felt, have boundaries so that I set a high standard for how I wanted to be treated? Or did I defer too much and end up angry and resentful because I wasn’t getting what I needed?
5) Did I give too much and expect too little? Did I take too much and give too little?
This kind of thoughtful reflection will raise your awareness so that you don’t keep repeating the same old patterns that caused you so much disappointment and hurt. You will be more equipped to choose a better partner next time; one who will match your new level of being. What better incentive than that for doing the work?
(For more information, read Hopping from one relationship to another guarantees heartache.)
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about breakups and relationships in general. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.