When I went through my last breakup, I knew it needed to end a lot sooner than when it did. I knew that my boundaries were almost non-existent, that I was over compromising and that I was spending way, waaaay too many hours agonising over trying to ‘decode’ what what going on in his head and why he would do the things he did. I was placing all my emotional energy on him instead of where I needed to truly focus it; on me.
I knew deep down that I needed to end the relationship. But I ignored it. I ignored the feelings, the subtle but intentional advice from friends and I ignored how it was impacting my health. Because we loved each other and that’s what mattered. You can always work it out if you love each other, right?
(No, often what happens is you start rocking the rose tinted glasses!)
Although, another part of why I didn’t end it was because I was afraid. I was afraid that if I let him go, he would go off with someone else and then I’d be missing out, alone and always thinking ’that could have been me but I let it go’.
I think that’s what makes breakups so hard and even harder if they ended the relationship with you, because then you feel this sense of ‘not being enough’. And I know a large part of the pain is dealing with feeling like you might ‘miss out’ on the wonderful person they evolve into if you let them go or if they’ve let go of you. That someone else will get to benefit everything you knew you could have if you’d have just persevered and tried that little bit harder. Well, I’m here to tell you that having that feeling is completely normal. And the very good news, is that you have a lot more control over this than what you think.
So, if your ex finds someone else within a heartbeat of the breakup, do this instead of feeling like you’ve lost out. Take a step back, take off the rose tinted specs and get real. People who move on crazy quick after a breakup where there were clear issues at play from their side (maybe you had some too but that bit comes later!), repeat the same patterns. So even though they’re with someone else, there’s absolutely no chance that they’ll have done the work on themselves to figure out their issues; particularly in relationships. They haven’t given themselves a moment to! People who tend to do this get hooked on the excitement and intensity of leaping straight into something else, where the true, harsh issues around themselves and relationships won’t rear their ugly heads until a few months down the line. Which, they inevitably will. So the person they’re with won’t be any better off than you are right now, despite being with them and getting the ‘best’ of them. They will probably have one hell of an emotional roller-coaster ride to come!
But this isn’t about ex-bashing or feeling smug about that situation. What I’m trying to put over here, is that although it can be so easy to focus on what we feel we now lack when we go through a breakup, you really have to almost step outside of the emotions and get analytical about it. If they did wrong by you or couldn’t compromise or behaved in ways that made the relationship far more difficult than it should be, they will repeat that whoever they’re with. A new person or relationship is not the cure for fulfillment and it won’t erase all the underlying issues a person might have. It’s a temporary cover up. Those challenges will come up and the same pattern will be repeated with a different person.
Your job is to focus on not what you lack, but what you have. It isn’t easy and it won’t be instant but every time you feel yourself going down the rabbit hole of wondering why someone else gets to be with him/her whilst you’re alone still in such pain, make a list of all the ways in which the relationship wasn’t good for you. Sometimes seeing it on paper can bring you back to reality. Part of the reason why you feel such a void is because you’ve become so used to focusing your time and energy on the other person. Now they’re not around, where does all that go? Well, it goes on you, and that might be a strange feeling to get used to at first! But putting your attention on being the best you can be – for you, will absolutely mean that you WILL find someone else and you CAN be happy – alone or in a relationship. This is also the time to work on your own things that might have made relationships difficult. So in this case, learning how to listen to that ‘feeling’, learning to trust yourself, putting boundaries in place and acting on them.
And while you’re taking the time to heal and support yourself, you’re doing exactly the right thing to set yourself up for better relationships in the future. Your ex is simply looking for short-term fixes.
So who will be better off in the long-run? Well, I think you know the answer to that one.