I just wrote an article for YourTango.com, as part of their “Break Up With Your Ex” campaign. It got me thinking about how common it is for couples to break up but never really get over the relationship. They move out, but they don’t actually move on.
How can you tell if you’ve moved on from a past love? Ask yourself these three things.
- The number one test is forgiveness. Particularly if the break up was not your idea, have you forgiven your ex, not only for ending the relationship, but have you also forgiven him for all his annoying traits? If he cheated, have you forgiven him for that? If your answer is no, try it now. Are you willing to forgive your ex? That doesn’t mean what he did was acceptable, and I’m not asking you to forget it. Forgiveness means that you’re unwilling to let your anger over a situation rule your life. It’s a powerful tool.
- Have you learned the lessons? What gifts did you get out of the relationship? It may take some time to extract the gifts of a painful break-up, but I guarantee they’re in there. What might these lessons be? You could have learned about setting strong boundaries, so you can get your needs met without struggle. You may have learned to stay in better touch with your friends. You could have learned the value of being selfish. If you can’t easily recall the lessons, spend some time journaling about this.
- Did you take time off before jumping into another relationship after your break up? Time to and for yourself between relationships is critical to healing and learning. If you just jumped into a new relationship before the ink was dry on your divorce decree, chances are good (sorry to be the bearer of bad news) that you’ll just repeat the same mistakes.
If you did jump into a new relationship, take heart. It’s not too late to do the work required to improve your new relationship, or to keep it from going south like your previous one. Take some time, perhaps with the help of a trained professional like a therapist or coach, and work on forgiveness. Even if you were the one who initiated the break-up, you may have some work to do on forgiving yourself if not your Ex. Work on learning the lessons. Pay attention to how your patterns repeat in your current relationship. If they don’t serve you, change them. Journaling can be a great help with this process. If you’re going through a break-up, be sure to go all the way through.