How did we get to this?
How to let go after a break up is not a simple task and it requires so much mental strength to achieve. Even if we’re responsible for the break up, we always have a tinge of regret when the rupture eventually happens. As a single parent, the situation is even more dire for we need to deal with the additional impact to the kids. They are usually the ones more affected by this despite being the least implicated. Additionally, the conundrum between our happiness and that of our kids makes us mull our decision longer than necessary and delay the inevitable. If the relationship no longer works for either or both party, the hard decision needs to be made as soon as possible.
Postponing the inexorable because we don’t want to hurt the kids or because we promised that we would be together until death do us part is a tremendous waste of time whilst inflicting more damage to the ones we want to protect. You need to realize that the more you wait, the more explaining you will have to do. I’m not saying to not work on your relation if it’s in the realm of the possible nevertheless as adults we know when there’s no need to throw a life line.
It is never easy and it will never be easy to break up. We seldom begin a relationship with the firm intent to break up after a set time or as a set date. Why would we? For those of us who have had the chance of falling in love… I mean to really fall in love, we all know that it’s an exhilarating and thrilling sensation. Everything feels perfect, everything seems right in place and it’s as if we finally found our purpose. We are social beings that strive in communal settings were we long to befit the group. Usually the worst punishment that can be bestowed upon us is to be considered a social outcast, to be rejected or even worse to be abandoned.
A parallel can easily be made with how we perceive our love life. When you meet somebody that you appreciate,you form a bond that strengthens with time, trials and tribulations. Furthermore, you create a two person community with that person and eventually that community welcomes other members such as kids or friends. When that relationship ends whether voluntarily, abruptly or involuntarily, we invariably have a sensation of emptiness as if a part of us stayed with the other person. Indeed, it did. Hence, the reason why we need to rebuild and reconstruct ourselves.
Here’s how to let go after a break up in 4 easy steps.
Close the loop.
And then it happened.
Many times when there’s a break up, you will have one of the party swearing that they never saw it coming. Frankly, we are willingly blind when we’re in love. There are always signs that the rapport is not going as well as we expect. We readily see what we want to see and avoid the subjects that we think will hurt the other person. If we cannot exchange on all matters of life without being scared to hurt or bother the other person than why were we even together to begin with? I need and want to know you through good times and bad times because in a relationship there isn’t always fun and joyous times. It’s when experiencing hardship that the bond is reinforced in the couple, not when all is good in the best of world
Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule, find a chair, a sofa or anything comfortable. Relax, close your eyes and reminisce about how your couple used to be and compare it to how you were before the break-up. I’m fully aware that you might have previously done this exercise and if that’s your case, I laud your efforts. If you haven’t, try it as it might will allow you to close a loop. Follow my lead and you will understand what I mean by loop. Certainly at first you will remember the good times and surely soon enough the fights and the deceptions will surface and then it will tend to be a mixture of both. What I want you to focus on is precisely when your couple started to go awry. Even if one of the partners cheated on the other one, the cheating part was the result not the cause of turmoil in your couple. What lead to strife in the couple is usually a mixture of elements.
This is exactly what I mean by following the signs and closing the loop. It’s not necessarily what happened while you were a couple but it can also mean what happened before you were a couple. The latter is actually the most important because it will allow you to reassess the awkward elements you noticed and kindly ignored before you were a couple. It is primordial that during these sessions with your inner thoughts, you try to remain objective. Meaning don’t solely focus on what the other party did or didn’t but more on both sides of the medal. Were you too overprotective, did you listen to what the other party as to say or were you more focused on winning the argument? Remember that it takes two to tango. That point will be examined more in depth in the «understand step»,you just need to be a bit more patient.
I know, I’m not being imaginative or silky nevertheless the truth must be told. You will notice that I’m a direct person and I don’t fancy swirling around the obvious. I always say to my kids that I will never lie to them when they ask me a question or when they come to me for help nonetheless I will not sugarcoat anything either. Hence, why I’m not going to sugarcoat it in my blog either. The most treacherous path is usually the one we need to take because that way we directly attack our issues and resolve them before we can truly enjoy the smooth trail that will inevitably follow. Like many of you, I have taken the easier path multiple times in order to avoid and delay conflict. With time, you understand that if you are as peace with the decisions you made and you feel good about yourself, your kids will emulate your «joie de vivre» because all they want to see is that your happy.
As mentioned in my introduction, how to let go after a break up is a simple task yet it requires so much mental strength to achieve. As parents, when we finally notice that something is wrong in our relationship there’s such a huge process we go through before ending it. Firstly, we wonder how it will affect our kids, then we question what our immediate family will think. Thirdly, we tend to concern ourselves with the opinion of our friends and we carry this concern through our next social layer until there`s nobody else. Consequently, completely as the end, this is when we ask the most important person about their opinion on the matter. We seldom stop and think about how a change in the current situation will surely improve our life. It doesn’t really matter what everybody else thinks because there’s only one person living in your shoes and that person knows what’s best for you. This course of action will also be undertaken by the person being dumped albeit a bit farther down the road. People will follow their own path in their own time. Don’t forget that how to let go after a break up in 4 easy steps is available everywhere yet it doesn’t mean that everybody will read it. I wish though…life would be much less complicated.
Many times when there’s a break up, you will have one of the party swearing that they never saw it coming. Frankly, we are willingly blind when we’re in love. There are always signs that the rapport is not going as well as we expect. We readily see what we want to see and avoid the subjects that we think will hurt the other person. If we cannot exchange on all matters of life without being scared to hurt or bother the other person than why were we even together to begin with? For me this is what love is supposed to be. I need and want to know you through good times and bad times because in a relationship there isn’t always fun and joyous times. It’s when experiencing hardship that the bond is reinforced in the couple, not when all is good in the best of world
To break a relationship that is seemingly going nowhere even if you have kids is easy to do, we just complicate so many things. If you’re happy and content with your decision to break a failing bond, your kids will be sad for some time nevertheless they will eventually thank you for it. Focus, weigh the pros and cons for you and then make a decision. Unfortunately or fortunately, if you’re reading my article, it probably means that as this point, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
The most difficult step
A logical next step to follow the signs and to the frequent inner thought sessions you might have had as this point. Understand but understand what, you might be thinking and/or asking? There is a need for you understand many things as this point. It can easily be categorized into what, why, how, when. The «where» might or not be relevant in this situation because it will lead you to focus on a specific situation while the process to where you are right now might be the sum of many «where». The objective is for you to have a wide vision of the past situation. I’m not going to lie to you, this step might be the most difficult one, I know it was for me. Why? Because it’s precisely as this step that all hell will likely break loose and for many reasons:
You’re probably alone with the kids as this point and like I mentioned above it is difficult for us to be alone especially after having created life with your partner. Remember that we are social beings and for the majority of us we like to create and keep bonds.
Let’s not forget that after breaking up you will probably have to fight for custody. If you’re not, there’s a huge chance that down the road, you will. Although, I condone a more civilized approach for custody like a friendly agreement, I fully understand that both parties might not be on the same path. You should also understand that. On a side note, I want to let you in on a little secret. While fighting for custody, you will most probably hear many antiquated theories or histories about what goes on in family court. For example, many people still believe that women have the automatic upper hand when it comes to who will get custody of the kids. For me, that is not only an antiquated belief but a sexist one as well. Who said that women are better than taking care of youngsters than men or vice-versa. I have seen my fair share of inept women and men believe me. I believe each one brings something different and complimentary to the table when it comes to raising and providing a nurturing environment for your offspring.
OK, back to my little secret. Do not fight for custody and instead try to come to a legally bounding friendly agreement as all cost. Whether you fight for custody with all your might or you come to a friendly agreement, I’m really sorry to say this but the results will likely be the same. Yes, I said it. The results will likely be the same. Why, you ask? The primary objective of the judge is to foresee the well-being of the kids regardless of who makes more money or who cheated on who (unless the adulterer admits to adultery. Even then, it only counts towards the divorce and not towards custody.) I’ll put it bluntly… the judge does not care about the couple’s drama.
Firstly, he’ll want to arrange for a joint custody and if that’s not possible he’ll then analyze which parent is more fit to have custody. Again, how much money you make or how many times you’ve been on the cover of a magazine is utterly irrelevant. What is relevant is what have each of you done FOR YOUR CHILDREN, what do the kids want and most importantly who are the kids living with now. Why the last question? Because, when one of the parents leaves the house, it implicitly implies that the other is in a better position to take care of the kids. Do you understand now why it’s important to come to a legally bounding friendly agreement?
I thought it was really important that I put as much emphasis as I could on that part. Now you know.
Your situation will probably put a toll on your friends and maybe your family. If you forego my advice and still decide to fight for custody instead of writing legally bounding friendly agreement It will likely mean that you will spend a lot of money, make many frantic and nocturnal calls to ( fill in the blank). After a while it can become exhausting for anybody and some people will be inclined to diminish their contact with you.
Accepting past mistakes
Now back to the understanding phase. I felt that I had to bring these previous points because when we’re frustrated there are many things we don’t think about and we let our emotions do the reasoning for us. Often times, the results are disastrous. To really understand is to accept the fact that it takes two to tango. I’m not saying that the faults are always definitely split evenly in a couple, it seldom works like that. What I’m saying is that you need to understand your responsibility in the failure of the relationship because it will help you rebuild and reconstruct yourself. It’s not constructive to blame everything on the other party. It might be an ego booster nonetheless It doesn’t prepare you for your next relationship. The capacity to strip ourselves of our protective layers and do our mea culpa represent an incredible feat that not many people are capable of doing…including yours truly. To strip ourselves helps us understand and establish who we are, what we want and what our limits are in life and in a relationship. There’s usually a similar trait in people who haven’t done this step thoroughly, they’re contradictory. They’re looking but they’re not looking or they’re looking but they submerge themselves in their work and complain that they don’t meet anybody. Another one would be that these people end up with somebody that resembles point for point the person with whom they were just in a relationship with. Take the necessary time to stop, think, analyze and understand the what, why, how and when. It will save you from making the same mistakes twice.
Forgiveness is power
Accepting is important because it allows you to forgive and to accept that you were partly or totally to blame in why the relationship failed. It is unwise to devote too much of our energy on things we cannot control thus as I mentioned in the previous step, we have to make the difficult decisions, do our mea culpa and try to ameliorate what we can…ourselves. For example, you will understand and accept that you really are not perfect. You will understand and accept that you can be quite demanding as times. You will understand and accept that you have difficulty in trusting your partner. Is it because you have difficulty in trusting yourself? You will understand and accept that maybe you were with that person for the wrong reasons. Accept what you cannot change and work on what you can modify.
The rebuilding and reconstructing process is almost done as this point and you will be thankful you followed these steps.
For this acceptance phase, some people will refer to religion, spirituality and other will take the strength from within. From where you take the strength is not the objective but what is important is that you sum up the strength to accept and forgive. It is indispensable if you want to grow and be able to eventually be able to date. If not for yourself, do it for the kids. Your kids are a mirror of yourself. If you cannot cope with the situation, how do you expect them to be able to cope with a situation in which they are collateral damages? Word of advice. If your children are old enough, implicate them in the process. Ask them for their opinion on the what, why, how and when. You will be surprised by the answers. We forget that our children are not implicated as emotionally in the relationship hence it allows them to analyze the situation from afar. They will then be able to provide you with thoughtful advice. The title should have been how to let go after a break up in 4 easy steps with the help of your kids:)
You are now ready for the final phase in our how to let go after a break up in 4 easy steps – A survival guide.
Time to act
After going through the most difficult phase, we are now entering the most beneficial and important phase. This step is vital as it confirms and settles our will to change. At this point, you should now be single with your kids in joint custody or not, you should by now understand the what, why, how, when of your relationship. Finally, the acceptance of your role in the dissolution of the partnership.
Nevertheless, now it’s time to grow. What do I mean by that? Make amends, say you’re sorry and talk to your previous partner about the good aspects and bad aspects of the relationship. Your previous partner is well suited to inform you on who you are vs who you think you are. Believe me, you will get straight answers that will thrust you forward in terms of self-comprehension. Doing this is beneficial in many ways. It allows to make the first step in rebuilding and reconstructing yourself hence accelerating the healing process. By opening yourself up to your ex-partner and making amends, it might diffuse the frustration that one party might have as well as possibly providing a new ground for negotiations for custody. If both parties stick to their trenches and no one makes the effort, I guarantee that no one will gain anything except frustration, contempt and put more of the burden on the kids. One more important thing it does is to provide…wait for it …it provides closure. The all sacred closure that in order to get, we are willing to move lakes and mountains. That same closure or lack thereof that freezes you in time.
To grow is to act. To act upon the new information that you have and that new information is experience. You chose and took a path that lead you to where you are now. To act upon that new information would be to open up and to open up is to take off your layers and speak the truth about your emotions and how that break up made you feel. Whether the other party accepts or not the new information that you’re providing is irrelevant to you. You’re growing and you’re on your way to letting go after your break up. You opened up to yourself, to your ex-partner and especially to your kids, it has taken a tremendous amount of humility and as an aftermath you will have the privilege of being a different, a more stable and complete person.
Transform an «I wish» to an «I did». You are well on way to progressively going back to the dating scene. Keyword is to fully take your time to digest each step as they will probably not make sense the first time you will read them. If it doesn’t, it just means you’re not as that step yet.
There are many reasons why a relationship turns out to be sour nevertheless trying to escape a bad situation by drinking, partying, or laissez-faire is not a solution at all. Staying in a dreadful union because we’re scared to be alone or because we think it’s what our social circle desires or for any other reasons is not feasible in the long term. In order to be happy, we need to make decisions on what makes us happy and balance it out with our kids well-being. Our kids are a mirror of ourselves and they will tend to emulate our actions. How to let go after a break up in 4 easy steps- A survival guide is here for that.
Remember, these are the steps you need to undertake in order to be able to let go after the break up.
Close the loop
Either you or your partner has deemed it impossible to continue the union and broke up. You are now officially a single parent…welcome to the statistics. Let it sink in and focus on what’s immediately important namely yourself and your kids.
Understand the what, when, why, how about this previous relationship. Analyze that partnership to see what went wrong. It will allow you to not make the same mistakes twice.
Accept that you had a role to play in why that past union dissolved. Forgive and implicate your kids in the process. Since they’re usually not as emotionally implicated in your couple, they can provide with valuable information about your past relationship.
Take this time to make amends. More specifically, act upon the new experience that you have bestowed upon yourself and ask for forgiveness. The path you took wasn’t the right path for you and needless to say forge a new one, take-off your layers that are made of ego, pride and open up about your emotions to your ex-partner. It will bring you closure.
I heard somewhere that if you keep doing something for 30 days straight, it will eventually become part of your routine. In order to grow and to be able to rebuild and reconstruct yourself, the same thing needs to be done. Take time for yourself, enjoy your kids and then assuredly you will have what it takes to go back in the dating world. I can assure you that it’s cutthroat out there and if you’re not prepared you can easily fall in the same traps.
I hope this ultimate guide will help you along the way.
As always, please write your comments and questions below and I will be sure to attend to them as quickly as possible.