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So What You Saying?
I’m about to tell you something you already know: heartbreak is a part of life. It happens to all of us at some point. For some of us, it happens fairly regularly. For others, maybe it only happened once or twice. But it’s something we all have to endure.
For me, the important part of this discussion is about what happens after the heartbreak. Specifically, how do we not only move forward with our lives after a heartbreak, but how we get to the point where we’re ready to give love another try?
How do you find the strength to trust again after a heartbreak? How do you pick up the pieces of your broken life enough to allow someone new to enter it? How do you open up your heart to the possibility of a new love when your heart seems like it’ll never be whole again?
Getting back on the metaphorical relationship “horse” after a gut-wrenching, life-altering break up is no easy feat. Whether it’s a divorce or the end of a long-term relationship, finding the strength and the courage to try again is difficult. Even when the break up is amicable and mutual, moving on ain’t easy. At times, it can seem damn near impossible!
Some women seem to rebound quickly, jumping right into another relationship. But I’m convinced their pain is as real and potent as the woman who stays locked in her room for a month, listening to Sade and over-indulging on ice cream and wine. Instead of extra calories and hangovers, the quick rebounder may end up with another broken heart and/or chlamydia (or worse). But either way, she’s just as grieved and broken as the rest of us.
So how do you do it?
First of all, it has to start at the obvious place: self-love. Whether you dumped him or he dumped you, when a relationship ends, you’re probably not feeling too great about yourself. Maybe you stand in front of the mirror and pick apart everything that’s wrong with you, wondering how in the world anyone will ever love the complete mess you’ve become. You despair over how flabby your thighs have gotten and mourn the loss of buoyancy in your breasts like you’ve lost your best friend. Or you regret your latest haircut. Anything that can be perceived as a flaw, you’re going to find it, especially in the early days of the break up.
Not all of us react that way, obviously. Some of us may not pick ourselves apart in the mirror so ruthlessly, but we do engage in some serious self-reflection when a relationship ends. If not about our appearance, then maybe we re-play past conversations in our heads, wondering if maybe we were too harsh, too critical, not supportive enough.
Don’t get me wrong, ladies. Self-reflection is important and healthy. But for God’s sake, don’t beat yourself up over a failed relationship. No matter how many pounds you gained or how many times you may have nagged him about his lack of ambition on his job, it takes two people to end a relationship. If he cheated on you, it wasn’t necessarily about you. The size of your thighs had nothing to do with the fact that he was a chronic liar, lazy, or whatever.
Yes, you need to do an honest examination of whatever role you played in the break up, if only so that you can learn and improve yourself. But moving on isn’t about laying blame at anyone’s feet. Blame won’t change the fact that the relationship is done. Blame won’t help you do the work it will take to move forward with your life. And blame certainly won’t cuddle up next to you at night.
So, take a little time to do some self-reflection, but make sure you wrap it up in a whole heap of self-love, too. Those thighs that jiggle a little more than they used to? Girl, that just means your next man will have more to grab onto! Those few extra pounds? That just makes you more full-bodied, like that fine wine you’ve been drinking too much of! You think you nagged your ex too much? Chile, please! Someone out there will appreciate you encouraging him to become a better man.
Let me put it this way: you were hot enough to get the last guy; you’re hot enough to get another one. Your personality and wit captivated the last guy; you’ll seem even more brilliant and engaging to the next one.
You are a precious jewel! And just because it didn’t work out with your ex, someone will recognize your shine and value. All you have to do is see it in yourself, first. It starts with self-love!
Once you get past the crying-Sade-drinking-too-much-wine phase and begin to remember just how awesome you are, you need to consider the qualities that your ex had that you liked, and those you could definitely do without. The last thing you want is to fall into the exact same crap you just left!
I always say that if I could take the best parts of every man I’ve ever dated, I could build the perfect man. I’d take this one’s head for business and that one’s ambition; mix in this one’s abs and shoulders with that one’s thighs; add a little of this one’s poetic worldview and that one’s passion for life; oh and let me not forget that one’s love of books and this one’s romanticism; and finally, throw in that one’s … ahem, man-stuff and I’d be in heaven!
Outside of Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, such an amalgamation isn’t possible. However, you can certainly put together your own version of what you will and will not tolerate based upon your own experiences. A dear friend once told me that dating several men has helped her really figure out what she wants and what she doesn’t want. And that helped her find her current love.
The best way to avoid another major heartbreak is to make sure you don’t keep getting involved with the same kind of man. Figure out the parts of your ex that worked for you and pay close attention to the parts that didn’t. This will help you make better dating choices in the future.
So, you’ve reflected and fallen in love with your fabulous self again. You’ve taken the time to figure out the kind of man you do want based upon the best qualities of your ex (and determined which qualities to avoid based upon the worst qualities). So now it’s time for the final step: putting yourself out there again.
I know, I know … this is absolutely the scariest part! But your next relationship isn’t going to find you if you’re hidden away in your bedroom drinking wine! You’ve got to spend a little money on a mani/pedi, go through your closet and pull out that outfit that best accentuates your best features, take your hair out of that damned ponytail and get your ass out there!
Let your friends and colleagues know that you’re available again (but be very concise about the type of man you want). Start accepting those invitations to social events where people mingle. Get out and do the activities that you enjoy doing so that you can meet people with the same interests. Even if you don’t meet Mr. Right at that pool party, you might meet his best friend who will say “I know someone who would be perfect for you”!
Be brave and consider online dating! Just be honest, smart and safe. Do your due diligence. In fact, there are sites and blogs out there that give great advice on how to successfully find love online. Give them a shot. What have you got to lose? Not a damn thing!
So there you have it. It won’t be easy and I can offer no guarantee that you’ll find that next relationship right away. But no matter how heartbroken you are right now, it will get better. It’s going to take some work. It’s going to take some courage. And you’re gonna have to get up off your ass to do it. But if you do what you need to do, you will be ready to sashay out of your self-imposed exile and shout to the world “Who Got Next?”
Photo Credits: elev8.com, Huffingtonpost.com, journalwatchdog.com, frugivoremag.com, amenhalleluyah.blogspot.com