From the first stunning blow to starting over, remember that what you do with your life now is totally up to you! After any long-term relationship it may be tough to find the inner strength or desire to open your heart to love again. Dealing with these issues and feelings are the next steps that need to be taken in learning how to move on after a break up.
How to move on after a break up
It is through our relationships, including intimate love relationships, family relationships, work relationships, and all others we interact with, that we see reflections of our inner self, and learn the laws of cause and effect.
After any long-term relationship it may be tough to find the inner strength or desire to open your heart to love again. When a love interest comes knocking at your door, how do you know that old battle wounds and scars have been healed enough to let love in? Seeing as each person is completely individual, there really isn’t a way to know exactly when the right time to begin a new relationship is.
What may work for one person, may not work for another. Fortunately, there are a few key attributes that successful relationships have in common. If you find that you meet these, then it may be time to let love in. When you’re ready to analyze your heart’s state of affairs, take an honest look at the questions below to determine how ready you really are.
Help moving on after the the break up of a relationship
1 – How stable is your life?
How can you possibly hope to keep a relationship together if your life isn’t put together properly? I think many of us use relationships as a way to help fix ourselves, when actually; we should be trying to do that before we find someone else. Isn’t it true that a good many of our love interests result from someone who was there to give us a stable hand? How do you think your next relationship will benefit if you were already stable?
2 – Have you learned something about yourself from every past relationship?
On our path through life we encounter many different obstacles, people and experiences. This is what makes us unique. Everyone has a different life experience. The people who create happy lives take each experience and make it work for them, especially if it is a negative one. If you haven’t learned something about the way you interact with another person from your past relationships, you’re living in cycle that won’t get broken until you take the time to find out. You can’t possibly expect to break negative habits if you’re not aware of them.
3 – Have you narrowed down your specific desires as to what type of person you want to meet? Each relationship offers us an opportunity to review our master list of qualities of our ideal mate. Sometimes, what we thought we wanted didn’t even come close to what we really needed. After a long-term relationship it is especially prudent to revise your list of desirable traits. Were there things about your past partner that hindered you from being really you? What traits would help you feel the most comfortable with being yourself?
4 – Are you really over your past?
I know, you’re probably thinking it’s a misprint? You may be thinking “Don’t you mean past love?” Sometimes, I find we identify our past with our past loves. Our life may have included something that was special that we may be feeling is missing now. Somehow that gets wrapped up in our emotions with our past love. So, instead of trying to find new ways to make our life more complete, we think we need to have our past love to feel complete. Make sure you identify your real sources of desire before beginning a new relationship.
5 – Have you talked about your feelings with someone else?
It is often easier to deal with the real issues of the heart privately. However, this isn’t always the best option. Talking about what’s really going on in your mind and your heart gives you the opportunity to release any painful or negative emotions you didn’t know you had bottled up. Trust me, there are almost always bottled up emotions you’re unaware of. If you don’t have anyone you feel you can trust to talk to, try talking to a group of people online. A great place to start would be our anonymous advice forums. Use them as a sounding board to get inspiration or just to get everything off your chest. Whoever you talk to, you’ll be glad you did.
How to walk away and move on after a long term relationship
After 19 years of waking up next to the same person, 44-year-old Jenna, a marketing consultant, suddenly found herself greeting mornings alone. Recently divorced, she was overwhelmed by the mere thought of dating again. Yolanda’s self-esteem was so damaged by her tumultuous breakup that she worried about her ability to start a new relationship, not to mention her rusty dating skills. And the pool of single men looked more like a droplet compared with the ocean available to her during her younger years.
Jenna may have felt alone on the playing field, but she was far from it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately nine in 10 people will marry, but about one half of first marriages end in divorce. Between 1996 and 2011, the number of women living alone doubled to 14.6 million, and the number nearly tripled for men, jumping from 3.5 million to 10.3 million.
With so many single adults out there, one might guess that there’s also a lot of dating going on. Instead, it seems that the older we get, the less we date. In one study conducted at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, social psychologist Jerald G. Bachman, Ph.D., found that nearly 50 percent of 18-year-olds go out at least once a week, compared with only approximately 25 percent of 32-year-olds.
While it’s true that some people simply choose not to date, others want to but don’t know how to go about it or can’t overcome their negative self-thoughts. So how can those who are struggling with these obstacles successfully and healthfully re-enter the dating arena?
First, it’s important to set appropriate personal standards. In particular, will you play hard to get or be an easy catch? I call the manifestation of these standards one’s “social price.” The more you have to offer in a relationship, the more you can expect in return, thus increasing your appropriate social price. Factors that help determine your social price include your ability to bring desirable traits such as inner strength, kindness, intelligence and affection to a relationship.
Working with Shigeyuyki Hamori, an economist at Kobe University in Japan, I researched methods for estimating the qualities and contributions of marriage prospects. We hypothesized that singles seeking relationships assess unseen qualities in others based on social price as it is reflected in actions, body language and verbal communication. We concluded that those exhibiting self-confident assertions of dating standards are perceived as holding relatively more promise as marriage partners. Conversely, those who appear insecure and desperate, call a love interest excessively or engage in sexual activity too soon send signals that they hold inferior unseen traits.
So just as we tend to assume that expensive cars are better than similar, cheaper ones, we may also conclude that those demonstrating high social prices have unobserved qualities superior to those with lower social prices. But be wary: Overselling also occurs. For instance, individuals with a substantial income but little else to offer may exaggerate their social price. And as with any type of price misrepresentation, true quality eventually surfaces. In the dating market, this can translate into a broken relationship.
At the core, inaccurate social pricing is a by-product of low self-esteem and other negative self-emotions. “Fear absolutely devastates some people,” says clinical psychologist Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., a former radio-talk-show host and author of The Art of Living Single. “It can be the fear of being hurt, rejected or involved, and it can stem from a history of having been hurt or of traumatic relationships. People can be very proficient in other parts of their lives, but the fear of dating can make them stay alone or pine for the relationship they left.”
Others rebound or get involved in another relationship too soon. Their desperation usually stems from sadness, guilt, anger or anxiety about being alone. You get this feeling that you’re in the worst possible situation in your life. Then you may do what you later consider desperate: a one-night stand, calling the ex or ignoring intuitive warnings and jumping into a bad relationship you would never choose if you weren’t feeling reckless.
Fortunately, it is possible to avoid these and other pitfalls when seeking out a new partner. If you’re ready to get back in the saddle again, here are five key tips to help you on your way.
1. Develop A (New) Support Group For Moving On From A Relationship
It’s natural to turn to old friends for support. They know and care about you, and they typically have your best interests in mind. But more often it’s new friends who will better help you adjust to your new life. That’s because friends shared with your ex often unwittingly take sides, and either alliance can prove a hindrance when introducing someone new into your life. Old friends may lack the proper interest or compassion, and they may even be jealous of your newfound freedom.
“My divorce split our extended families and friends,” says Yolanda of her and her ex-husband. “But my new friends had a fresh perspective that helped my self-esteem. Those who were single had confidence that was contagious; that really helped me when I started going out again as a single person. And sometimes they offered good advice.”
Do use discretion when listening to others’ words of wisdom, advises Broder. “Solutions that worked for a friend may be a disaster for you. If you don’t want advice, be assertive and let people know that advice giving is off-limits unless it’s requested.”
For the most part, however, friendship is a vital ingredient in the recovery process. “Facing things alone can take a toll on you,” says Broder. “Friends can help you see that dating doesn’t have to be so serious.”
2. Assess Your Self-Worth
People with low self-esteem tend to create relationships with others who evaluate them negatively, suggests one study on self-concept done by William B. Swann Jr., Ph.D., a University of Texas psychology professor. If you’re suffering from a negative self-image, it’s vital you take steps to create a positive, healthy self-concept.
Begin by making a list of your positive qualities, then hang it in your home where you’ll see it regularly, suggest Bruce Fisher, Ed.D., Robert Alberti, Ph.D., and Virginia M. Satir, M.A., in their book Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends. Sharing your list with your support group and asking for honest feedback will help you to work on clearing up any discrepancies between your self-image and the real you. Broder also recommends making a list of new beliefs and affirmations that you’d like to incorporate into your thinking system. Read aloud these new self-concepts often, regardless of how you’re feeling, to help solidify them in your mind.
For Yolanda, a brief relationship five years after her divorce made her realize she had to adjust her mind-set. “I felt ashamed about all of the times I’d say yes when my answer was really no,” she says now. “The consequences were painful, but I didn’t believe I could completely change the pattern. Then I took the advice you hear about in 12-step programs and turned it over to God–my higher power. Moving forward and forgiving myself became easier.”
People who feel victimized after a breakup may do well to develop a bold–or even defiant–attitude. Psychologists at the University of Washington and Canada’s University of Waterloo recently found that feelings of resignation and sadness make people with low self-esteem less motivated to improve their mood. “When you feel defiant you become excited, confident and ready to take action,” says Broder. “You take care of yourself, making it pretty clear that you are not going to be ruined by divorce. It’s a very healthy thing to do.”
3. Plan Activities
You won’t find a new mate–or even a new friend–while sitting on the couch, your television on, curtains drawn. Consider your post-relationship time as an opportunity to do the things you couldn’t do while you were with your ex. Create a list of 20 activities you would enjoy doing with a perfect partner, then give the list a second look. “Rarely do people have more than three or four things on their list that they cannot do if they’re not in a relationship,” says Broder. “Be active; don’t feel like your whole life is on hold.”
Today’s singles are finding luck–and love–in nonconventional ways. After her 17-year relationship ended, Lili*, a 43-year-old writer, re-entered the dating arena by joining a telephone dating service. Instead of meeting men for dinner, she invited them for daytime walks in a well-populated park. “They weren’t dates; they were interviews,” says Lili, who admits that taking the first step was difficult. “If I liked them, we went for coffee.” Laura*, a 49-year-old financial adviser, also missed companionship after her 24-year marriage dissolved. “I don’t sit with problems for very long,” she says. “I knew what I wanted and went after it.” Laura joined an online dating service and eventually met her soon-to-be second husband.
Joseph Walther, Ph.D., an associate professor of communication, language and literature at Troy, New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, found that people who use Internet dating services such as Match.com may achieve more beginning-stage emotional intimacy than they do in face-to-face situations. Single surfers don’t have to worry about common first-impression concerns such as bad-hair days and wrinkled clothes, Walther points out. Plus, they don’t see body-language cues such as shrugging and smirking that can create barriers in communication. Currently, cyber researchers believe that as much as 33 percent of friendships formed online eventually advance to face-to-face meetings.
4. Curb Unhealthy Cravings
When we are in emotional pain, our feelings often don’t coincide with our intellect and instead manifest themselves as cravings that can prove unhealthy and self-destructive. Cravings usually plague people who have zero tolerance for a single lifestyle and want to jump into a new relationship as soon as their breakup is final. Also susceptible are individuals with low self-evaluation who are convinced they can’t make it alone. Fortunately, while such cravings may feel overwhelming and unavoidable, Broder asserts that they don’t have to be.
Take Julie*, a 42-year-old college student in Southern California whose need for immediate passion led her to make decisions despite intuitively knowing they were unwise. “I kept going out with men who did not have the potential for a long-term relationship,” she confesses. “One had problems with his ex-wife, another wouldn’t marry outside of his religion. After getting hurt many times, I finally decided to be more careful when choosing men. I’m still prone to my old behavior, but I’m more apt to say no to men who are a poor match for me.”
To short-circuit cravings, Broder suggests doing something that actively breaks the pattern and makes you approach the situation in a healthier way. Call someone in your support group, share your unwanted tendencies and ask that he or she invite you out when you fall into bad habits. And consider keeping a journal of the things that successfully distract you from your urges, such as renting a funny movie or going for a long walk, that you can turn to the next time cravings crop up.
5. Prepare for Pitfalls
Certain times of the year–holidays, anniversaries and birthdays, for instance–are harder to navigate than others because they are loaded with expectations and memories. After a separation or divorce, social configurations change, making feelings of loss and loneliness more intense. Perfectionists tend to struggle most during the holidays, according to Broder. High expectations lead them to dwell on favorite memories of their past and compare them with current situations.
Garrett*, an optometrist in his mid-40s, remembers that his first Christmas alone was a tough one. “Weeks prior to the holidays were extremely difficult because the traditions were highly disrupted,” he says. “Not being in my own home and not having a closeness with someone was difficult, and I felt very much afraid of not finding someone again.”
To cope, Garrett stuck close to his family. “You stitch together the connections that you have,” he says. “It was piecemeal and patchwork, but it was critical for me. I also looked for other ways to divert my attention. I organized a staff party, participated in a musical and cooked at other people’s homes.”
Garrett got it right, according to Sally Karioth, Ph.D., R.N., an associate nursing professor at Florida State University and an expert on stress, grief and trauma. Karioth points again to planning as the key to reducing stress and meeting new people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help organizing new activities, and break tasks into smaller chores to fend off feelings of being overwhelmed. Broder also suggests avoiding holiday comparisons and focusing instead on the enjoyable aspects of current and future ones. “You’ll get through, and then you won’t fear it anymore,” says Broder. “It may not be the best of your life, but it may not be the horror you thought it would be.”
Ultimately, the best tip for re-entering the dating game is to explore various action strategies and choose those that are most comfortable for you. For some, getting into the right frame of mind before taking the leap is essential. For others, simply trying something new or even uncomfortable works. You know yourself best, so trust your inner wisdom. If you are ready to find new love, take heart: More than 40 percent of weddings in America are remarriages. But don’t feel obligated to rush into another marriage, either–the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce. Now that you’re single it’s perfectly acceptable to remain so if that’s what you prefer.
Books about moving on: Information & advice about moving on after a relationship
I Need Your Love – Is That True? : How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead – Katie helps you question everything you have been taught to do to gain love and approval. In doing this, you discover how to find genuine love and connection. This book helps you illuminate every area in your life where you seem to lack what you long for most—the love of your partner, the respect of your child, a lover’s tenderness, or the esteem of your boss. Through its penetrating inquiry, you will quickly discover the falseness of the accepted ways of seeking love and approval, and also of the mythology that equates love with need. Using the method in this book, you will inquire into painful beliefs that you’ve based your whole life on—and be delighted to see them evaporate. Katie shows you how to move on, unraveling the knots in the search for love, approval, and appreciation brings real love and puts you in charge of your own happiness.
Closure and the Law of Relationship: Endings as New Beginnings – “The universe teaches us that relationships don’t end,” Coffey says. “We remain connected to the people in our lives through our memories and shared experiences. Coming to terms with the changes in our relationships is what will bring us closure.” With real-life examples, Transformation Applications, and Wisdom Affirmations throughout, Coffey has created a practical, spiritual guide that offers a five-step process to help us move on and achieve a sought-for peace of mind and greater Self-realization.
Letting Go: A 12-Week Personal Action Program to Overcome a Broken Heart – Are you crying over sad songs? Seeing his or her face in every crowd? Aching with loneliness and hoping the phone will ring? Feeling that no one else can give your life meaning? Losing a loved one is the most devastating crisis of intimate living. It can jeopardize your health… even your life. You might think only passing time will ease your pain, but now you can begin to end the hurt today. Within three months you can erase painful memories, regain control of your feelings, and be free to love again. Discover how to: Short-circuit acute symptoms of grief and depression; Turn hurt into healthy anger; Fall out of love; Rebuild your self-esteem; Break the “sex hook” to your ex.
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life – Susan Anderson’s book clearly defines the five phases of grieving over a lost relationship. This book is designed to help all victims of emotional breakups whether they are suffering from a recent loss, or a lingering wound from the past; whether they are caught up in patterns that sabotage their own relationships, or they’re in a relationship where they no longer feel loved.
He’s History, You’re Not: Surviving Divorce After 40 – This is one of the few divorce books that addresses the fact that divorce has a different meaning at every age. Manfred is so candid about her own divorce as a woman of a certain age’ that readers are sure to feel they’ve found a wise friend to see them through the trauma of divorce and help them discover their post divorcé selves.