2. Relationships have a profound impact on your self-concept.
By the time you enter a relationship, you already have a lifetime of relationships that have shaped your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.
When you enter into a committed love relationship, you essentially carry all those relationships to the altar with you, as does your partner with his/her relationships.
Think about all the influences on who you are!
And now you are committing all of that to one lifetime relationship that will not only shape who you are, but influence the direction of your life.
So it makes sense that as you heal from your divorce or breakup that you may feel like you’re losing a part of yourself. Yet working through this loss is actually how you’ll be able to find yourself again.
3. Breakups involve unraveling.
Because you committed yourselves to a unified life, you were naturally “woven together” in your marriage or committed relationship.
A breakup, therefore, involves an unraveling of your lives so that you can go forward independently.
Cognitively that makes sense. But emotionally it can be devastating and fraught with confusion and disorientation. You’ll probably ask yourself questions like:
Who am I without her/him?
Who was I before?
Who would I be today if I hadn’t met my ex?
How do I define myself?
How much of my ex’s influence on my life should I hold onto?
4. Relationships don’t fully end; they just change.
Your ex may be physically out of your life — perhaps partially, perhaps totally — but you will never be the same ‘you’ had s/he not been in your life.
You will be forever impacted by your relationship — just as you are by your family of origin — because you lived
However, you have the power to write your future from the lessons and wisdom gained during your time together.
5. Reflection and talking can strengthen your recovery.
Self-concept reorganization is the process of rebuilding and strengthening the sense of self, independent of a relationship.
Research into this healing process has shown that those who reflect more on the relationship and its breakup (9 weeks in the study) have a stronger recovery than those who take a more cursory, non-reflective approach.
The benefits of talking about the relationship and breakup, even repetitively, include gaining different perspectives and insight with distance.
Talking will also help you to construct a story of the relationship that will give meaning to the experience through all its stages. It’s like talking into your own truth.
No, it’s not about blaming. It’s about reframing.
And by sharing the talking process with a caring friend or family member, therapist or coach you are more likely to understand your story from a position of empowerment instead of weakness.
6. Understanding your relationship fears can help you heal.
Most relationship issues have some kind of fear buried in them. What comes across as being unreasonable, paranoid, aloof, etc. may really be rooted in fears of abandonment and/or rejection.
You may not be able to discern those possibilities for your ex, but you certainly can — and should — for yourself.