It was never my intention to start the new year off with a post about breakups. Do any of us ever really like to talk about it unless we’re actually going through it? Of course not. Nobody likes to talk about breaking up, or go through it, or even consider it. Yet, nearly all of us have experienced it at some point. Hopefully you and I will be making such great choices in the men that we date that we won’t ever break up again, but just in case we do here’s my advice: take the high road.
Breakups hurt. Pain from a breakup can stir emotions like rejection, abandonment and/or disappointment, all of which most of us don’t like to face. When emotions are running high, a knee-jerk reaction might be to retaliate in order to ensure that the other person experiences some degree of pain along with us (we naturally assume that he doesn’t). In a situation like that, I’m telling you to stop, run the other way and practice some self-control. Here’s why:
1. You’ll be above reproach. Retaliation has but one intention, to harm another. Taking the high road involves choosing not to hurt someone else even when you know that you can. Being in relationship means that you become privy to someone else’s soft spots. Therefore, you know where you can fire a shot that can cause damage. There’s a lot of power in that. Knowing that and choosing not to exploit someone else is even more powerful. Remember that your ex- chose to share things with you that made him vulnerable, as you did too. Being vulnerable to another is a gift not to be abused, even when you’re hurting.
2. You’ll maintain your integrity. In other words, you won’t do something for which you’ll be sorry later. There’s nothing like lashing out in the heat of the moment, behaving like crazed maniac only to realize, after the dust settles, how stupid you were being.
3. You’re actually hurting yourself. Have you ever been so angry about breaking up that your first course of action was to do something that made your ex- jealous? We want him to think that we are completely unaffected, better off in fact. Even I have been guilty of that a time or two – maybe more. I’ve also witnessed some of my friends (both men and women) do some crazy things to “get back at their ex-” I put that in quotes because you trick yourself into thinking that you’re getting back at him, but in reality you’re only hurting yourself. Some examples are, sleeping with someone else, excessive partying, jumping into a new relationship, sport-dating. Deep down inside you don’t really like what you’re doing, it’s not fulfilling and there’s no joy in it. Realistically, you are adding to your own wounds that have not yet healed.
4. It’s irresponsible. Nobody wins the blame game. Yet, after a breakup we’re so desperate for reasons why it didn’t work out so we churn up all our hostility, aim it at our former partner and fire away at everyone who allows us to bend their ear. Last I checked, it took 2 people to be in a relationship and each had to make a choice to be in it. He chose you; you chose him. Acknowledge that you made a choice to be in a relationship with someone that wasn’t right for you and move on.
5. There’s the possibility of reconciliation. Look. Couples break up then get back together all the time. Obviously there was some difficulty you both encountered that caused the breakup. That’s enough to overcome. Hurt caused by revenge is just one more thing to fix later. I’ve known people who ruined all opportunity to reconcile by hurting their partner so badly during the breakup, the trust between them was destroyed. If the possibility of getting back together appeals to you, exercise some self-restraint. There will be less of a mess to clean up later.
6. You love him. Remember, he was your boyfriend because there was something about him that you loved. It’s easy enough to do things unintentionally that hurt someone you love. Intentionally hurting someone you love, or anyone for that matter, is selfish. Think about it. You’re doing it because you actually want the other person to hurt. Examine your heart. Do you really want someone you love to hurt? Tell the truth. There’s likely something in your heart that is unresolved because you’ve been unwilling to deal with it. It’s up to you to get to the source of that so you can be free to love and be loved without that baggage.
The bottom line when it comes to relationships is to choose wisely so you don’t have to go through a break-up. Choosing a partner isn’t like shopping, even though Match.com would like for you to think so. There’s no “returns and exchanges” counter or “undo” button. I’m talking about seeing, thinking, feeling people just like you who want to be unconditionally loved and appreciated just like you.
Let’s tread gently so as not to add to the hurts of the world. If you do break up it may be painful, but it’s okay. You’ll still be breathing air. Just stay in control of yourself and take the high road.
* Header photo courtesy of Andrew Wheeler – AutoMotoPhoto