I’ve had several conversations about break ups recently: Why they happen, the words people use when they end things, the surprise from some when it happens, the relief that it brings to a few, and the sadness that goes along with it. I’m no expert. I’m far from it. I just write what I know based on my experience and what I hear and learn from those I know. I’m out there navigating this strange and fascinating world of dating myself and still learning each and every day. You would think by now that I got this. I don’t.
No one likes the feeling of rejection, but rejection is not always a bad thing. Oh sure, it stings a little. Okay, sometimes it stings a lot and keeps stinging and stinging and well, stings and stings some more. Our egos are very delicate, and we don’t want to feel undesirable or unlovable. Who does?
It amazes me sometimes that my heart is still beating. It just goes to show you how resilient the heart is even after repeatedly getting punched and broken. I would love to say that I’m wiser than I was years ago, but I’m not quite there yet. Maybe one of these days I’ll become a bit tougher. I’m not. I’m still holding on tight as I ride the dating roller coaster. I look forward to the day this ride ends.
Rejection is not a bad word.
As my friend’s hairdresser says, “If someone rejects you, they are doing you a favor.” Those are wise words. That doesn’t mean that person is a bad person. It means that the individual is not the right person for you. That also doesn’t mean you should give up or not put forth any effort. If you like someone, let them know. If they don’t reciprocate, let them go.
Life is too short to dwell on what could be, and it may prevent you from seeing something good right in front of you. Even though people say they are ready to move on, they often carry past breakups with them into their next dating situation or relationship. It’s unfortunate, but it’s easy to do. It’s important that when you are ready to explore something new, you see it with a fresh pair of eyes. Not everyone is going to be the right fit, and that’s okay.
Likewise, not everyone is going to be the ex who ripped your heart out and ate it for dinner while drinking a nice glass of Chianti. Just don’t string people along if you are unsure about them. Playing with someone’s heart is just as painful as your past rejection. It is sometimes hard to see outside yourself as you try to navigate through the many facets of life, but know that not everyone will walk away, or has a set goal to hurt you. We are all doing the best we can.
Don’t lose yourself.
It may feel like it at first, but it’s not the end of the world if someone dumps you because things got tough or because they weren’t into you. That’s not to minimize your hurt feelings. It’s more about adopting a new perspective that when a breakup happens, it is usually for the best. Take it for what it is, learn from it, and move on stronger and wiser.
There are a lot of reasons why people, who we date or have relationships with, disappear from our lives. A clean break is ideal. You both know it’s not working, you communicate (what a concept), and you part on good terms or as good as can be expected. Sometimes people just slowly fade into the background and out of your life. That is my least favorite, but sometimes it’s easier and necessary.
Oh sure, your ego may be bruised when someone dumps you. You may not fully understand why and question yourself. Unless the dumping is mutual, usually the “dumpee” is ill-equipped and unprepared to be dumped. The dumper has made the decision, which to put it plainly, sucks. It sucks in the short-term. However, long-term, you dodged getting into what could be a miserable one-sided situation.
Other times you may get an obligatory line like, “It’s not you, it’s me,” or “You are too nice, and I don’t want to hurt you.” These are lines people use to soften the blow to let you down easy without hurting your feelings. Of course, it still hurts, and you may not believe the reason. That’s okay. Take it with a grain of salt.
Know who you are. Know that you have so much to offer someone who will appreciate you for you. Would it be easier on you if they told you that they weren’t attracted to you, you bugged them, you were a jerk, or you were terrible in bed? Do you really care why? It’s just not your right fit, and that is okay.
One other line that has some validity is, “The timing is just not right.” Depending on the situation, sometimes timing is off, and there is not much you can do about that. If you do care about someone, it shouldn’t matter, and you will find ways to make it happen.
Self-awareness is a step in the right direction.
Self-awareness is important. If you can look back at your past relationships and understand your hand in their unraveling, you are ahead of the game. Take responsibility for your part in any break-up. If you find yourself in unhealthy relationships time and time again, reassess the types of people you are attracted to and determine the patterns.
Be truthful with yourself and others about your intentions. Are you looking to date around or do you want a fulfilling relationship? Whatever the case may be, be honest with yourself and those you bring into your life.
Make sure you are ready and able to put the past behind you. If you hold on to the past hurt, you will have trouble moving forward. Unless you accept who you are, are fully grounded and confident in yourself, and are ready to jump into the dating pool, you are not truly available to move forward with someone new.
You also don’t need to over share, but you should be upfront and honest, especially if you are dating someone else or multiple others. Be aware that, although you may have dated similar types, not every woman or man is the same.
And maybe you are attracted to the same, wrong kind of person or feel you don’t deserve better. It happens. We attract and are attracted to people who are not good for us. But wouldn’t you rather be with someone who wants you faults and all versus someone who is unsure of you?
Understand that sometimes relationships run their course and fizzle out. You can’t control that. It happens. Either the feeling is there or it’s not there. If you allow assumptions or fears based on your past to get in the way, that’s on you.
If I judged every new dating experience on my past experiences, I would never get past my front door. Trust me when I say, I’ve struggled with that in the past. Dating is a way to find out if you are compatible, if there is a mutual attraction, chemistry, and the desire to learn more about each other. Know what you want, don’t be afraid, and go for it.
Be kind to yourself.
It’s not easy for anyone to end a relationship. Feelings get hurt, excuses get made, truths that we may not want to hear unfold, and your ex may have already moved on to someone subpar to you. But again, they did you a favor. It’s never fun to hurt someone else. Sometimes we have a reason, and sometimes we can’t explain why we fall or fall out of like/love with someone.
Do you want to be with someone who doesn’t care about your feelings, who is not into you 100%, or does not make an effort? Of course you don’t. We grapple with the idea of what we did or didn’t do when someone dumps us, especially if they gave us a bogus reason. Maybe they weren’t into you. Maybe you didn’t go the extra mile or they were unwilling to go the extra mile. It could be entirely illogical and they will regret it one day, or they could already be attracted to someone else.
Whatever the reason, let it go. If you hold yourself back because of past hurt, you are doing yourself a disservice by closing yourself off from new opportunities. Work on a new outlook — consider it an opportunity to work on you and find the right fit. You may be surprised by someone who brings a fresh new perspective and something new and different to the table. Forget the ghosts of the past and move forward.
There is nothing wrong with exploring the dating pool or taking time out for you to figure things out after a long relationship/marriage. Don’t take past indiscretions out on others who were not the ones who hurt you, and you should be okay.
Honesty and consideration go a long way, and the people you meet on your dating journey will appreciate those qualities more than you know. I know I do.