Here are some important things I’ve taken from this break up. Some of these I am guilty of. Some of them I am not. But either way, I’ve decided to put the pieces back together differently this time.
1. It takes TWO. Two to love, two to fight, two to apologize, and two to listen. Two to make it work and two to quit. It is almost NEVER the fault of just one person. Stop blaming your reaction on your partner. You are responsible for you. Period.
2. If something bothers your partner, LISTEN and RESPECT IT. Work to understand why it bothers them. Is it a past relationship that requires you to have compassion? Is it self-worth? Is it the result of your actions? Learn to hear what it is and pause before responding. It is a natural reaction to become defensive, but mastering the art of giving your partner the gift of understanding is a blessing that will allow for a meaningful and secure relationship.
3. Boundaries are IMPORTANT, especially in the friendships and relationships that you surround yourself with as a couple. Anyone involved in your circle should respect your partner personally and your relationship as a whole. If you confide in someone, truly evaluate both the intention of the person giving advice as well as their own successes or failures in their own relationships. Part of growth is being able to open yourself fully to constructive criticism, so long as the person giving that has the best interests at heart.
4. Exes are exes for a reason. Ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, ex-lovers, ex-whatevers. They have no business being involved in your present day affairs. Should you co-parent with your partner’s exes, respect for that person is vital to showing your children that their best interest is first and foremost.
5. Communicate! If you can’t talk without yelling, write it in a letter, NOT A TEXT OR A MESSAGE. Writing it out will slow the natural response to hurl hurtful things back and forth and prevent beating a dead horse. One of my biggest faults is I get so caught up in that moment that I lose sight of the true issue at hand. You can’t block a letter, you can’t tell it to shut up, you can only read it and absorb it. Require a written response back to allow your partner the same privilege of having time to internalize and respond.
6. Don’t say something that you will be okay having as the last words, should something happen. Words cannot be taken back once they are said, only apologized for. If there is anger, agree to address it later but do not avoid addressing it.
7. Words without actions are just that: words. The same goes for apologies. If there are constant apologies without change, they become meaningless.
8. There is no room for pride in a true relationship. Sometimes it is accepting that there are things wrong with you and working to correct them.
9. Be kind. Be patient. Trust. Forgive. Forget.
10. Sleep in another room for the night, maybe two nights, to cool off before making a permanent decision.
11. Do not constantly threaten to leave or leave. There will be constant fears of abandonment and insecurities formed that don’t allow for complete trust.
12. Push the person you love to be the best they can be. In life, in their relationships, in their careers in anything and everything they do. Be their number one fan and biggest supporter.
13. Dream with them. Make goals. Smash goals. Repeat. Celebrate personal and together successes.
14. Travel and have fun. Date nights. Dance often. Sing. Laugh. Don’t ever forget what made you fall in love in the first place.
15. Be best friends. Cherish. Hug. One hug a day for 30 seconds releases a feel good chemical in your brain. Touch each other, kiss each other, and be intimate. The truth is that relationships are just as much physical as they are emotional and mental.
16. The most important: LOVE. Love without fear, without judgement, without reservation. Love wholeheartedly. Be there. Show up. Give it your all. Love like your heart has never been broken and appreciate the ones who truly try to piece any broken pieces back together.
And now, I have let go. I’ve learned how to put the pieces back together differently this time.