The good news is the steps are the same for both. Both are manifestations of loss. And as a loss people tend to go through the seven stages of loss (shock/disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, acceptance and hope). No matter which stage you are in, you can use these steps to move through your emotions so you can get to acceptance, hope, at which point you are available to actually re-enter the dating world with a healthy context.
Any of these steps can be done through journaling, recording your voice, sharing with a friend, a group of friends, or support group. It’s important to choose the method you believe will have the most impact for you.
Step One: Acknowledge your feelings – whatever they are – anger, sadness, disappointment, frustration, self-loathing, whatever is comes up for you acknowledge these feelings. Give these feels a voice and an outlet. You can journal, you can ask a friend to listen, or a group of friends to witness your emotions. You can get coaching and/or counseling or join a support group, or a women’s group. There’s no “right” way to express the emotions, there’s just acknowledging that they are there. If you pretend they do not exist they will make themselves known, most likely in your next romantic relationship. Express anything and everything that needs to be said. Hide nothing, release it all, and let all that pain be released from your heart, your mind, your body.
Step Two: Notice what you notice. Once the trauma has been released ask yourself what did notice about yourself, about your chosen partner, about this relationship? Look for patterns, warning signs, places where you held back, blamed, shamed him or yourself. Notice if you had a feeling that things weren’t right, but didn’t bring it up, or if you felt like there was something or someone else holding him back and never said anything. Notice if you treated him like you were treated by other men in your life, or if he was the same kind of man you’ve dated in the past. Notice what there is to notice. Learn what there is to learn about yourself and how you interact with men. No judgment. Just notice. Keep Reading...