Your heart can't stay broken forever.
If you're a woman dating after 40, it’s likely you had at least a few breakups that have left you feeling broken hearted; I don’t care how strong or independent or confident you are, breakups can hurt like hell.
There's a lot of practical advice on how to get over a breakup, most of which I agree with. Block him on Facebook, take a trip with your friends, remove his personal items from your home — these are all good ways to help you stop feeling the emotional pain. Although I recommend you take these actions, they only help you avoid — they don’t help you heal.
Almost every woman I know, both friends and the women I coach, have some unresolved past relationship junk that is hovering in the background of her life:
You can see why, when these questions go unanswered, we can feel unworthy, insecure, unlovable, even hopeless. There’s also the anger. We have trouble trusting men, or even worse, we can’t trust ourselves. Until these feelings are acknowledged and the dynamics of your relationship get processed in a way that helps you understand your experience and learn from it, you are sure to keep repeating your patterns or simply remaining single.
Here are three actions you can take to help you learn, let go, and love again:
1. Look at your last relationship in a positive way.
There are an endless number of steps on the way to your forever, grownup love story. The lonely super single days, the bad and boring dates, the fun dates, the childish mistakes you make feeling loved and, yes, feeling like you have a broken heart. You can choose to look at them as failures and wasted time, or you can choose to see them as requisite experiences leading up to your life’s ultimate desire.
The first step in getting over your ex is to agree to open your heart and mind so you can look for the positive in your experience. When you do, I promise you’ll find it.
2. Learn how to get better at choosing men.
This man and this partnership weren't right for you — ultimately it didn’t make you happy. I’d even venture to say that, once you look closely, you’ll find you weren’t very happy while in the relationship.
How you feel is the bar by which you can truly measure the value of your relationship with a man, especially one that you want to last a lifetime. It’s not about what he DOES. It’s not about how much he makes you laugh. It’s not even about how he feels about you.
This is a hard process. Many women don’t even know what they want or need. We’ve never articulated it. We’ve never allowed ourselves to ask that question. Instead, we go by some general sense, an intuition, a day to day thing.
It helps if you understand the feelings that are important for you to have in order to feel fulfilled and whole in a relationship. When you look at your relationship based on how you feel with him (and NOT with him) things can look quite different.
3. Learn from your mistakes and go for what you really need.
Relationships have three distinct elements: you, him and the relationship. When you explore each of these elements separately, you can learn a lot about yourself and what you want.
The purpose of some exploration isn’t to find out who was right or wrong, or what mistakes you made. The purpose is to take a thoughtful, truthful look at this life experience, grab the learning, and forge forward in your journey to lasting love.
If you have a man who’s haunting you, or if you have a relationship you can’t seem to leave behind, I want to help you get to your positive takeaways … and move the hell on!
It's understandable if you feel reluctant to revisit the past; it may feel like you’re finally getting over him, and the idea of dredging it up again feels pretty sucky. But it’s not enough to stop feeling the emotional pain because you’ve learned how to block it. You need to take the time to heal properly.
With healing, you will see the positive in this relationship. You will be able to use the experience to ultimately make your life better, and ultimately, you will be much closer to your love story.
Bobbi Palmer, founder of Date Like A Grownup is an internationally recognized Expert helping women over 40 find grownup, lasting, passionate love with the right man. As a first time bride at 47, Bobbi shares her compassionate but powerful advice in her free video series "The 4 Devastating Mistakes Women in their Search for Love" at DateLikeaGrownup.com.
This article was originally published at http://datelikeagrownup.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.