Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to Cope with a Break-Up: Breaking Up Gracefully, Part 4

Here we are at the last of the four essays on Breaking Up Gracefully. We have already discussed why break-ups are psychologically so upsetting, covered tips on what to do after a break-up, and focused on resisting blame of our ex for the reasons the relationship failed. This last essay will focus on how to approach the future as it relates to finding a better relationship. After all, no relationship was a waste of time as long as you learned from it.

One of the easiest ways to cope with your feelings post-break-up is to go and find someone else to fill the void. I worked with an older man at one of my first jobs at the age of 17 who told me about a break-up he had. He said succinctly, "I gotta git me a new baby started." The point of this last essay is that starting a new relationship right away was the last thing he needed. What he needed, in fact, was to take time off and learn how to be comfortably single.

The best way to carry your old issues into your next relationship is to start another relationship too quickly. Is there a length of time one should wait? Not necessarily. However, I can tell you that it depends, in part, on the length of your previous relationship and how upsetting or bitter the break-up was. If your relationship was at least a year or the break-up was incredibly upsetting, you need time to heal - at least a year! Otherwise, give it 6 months. The point is that your next relationship will be better if you are better at the time you start it.

The goal cannot be to find someone - the goal must be for you to get yourself together and to build a strong sense of self so that you can be a vital 50% of your next union. Being single is the best time to take up new activities and to grow emotionally in ways your previous relationship did not allow.

I know breaking up is painful. But if you can work on learning how to do it gracefully and work on seeing things in perspective, your next relationship will bear the fruit.

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