Even if the breakup was your idea and it seemed to be for the “best,” you could still be left feeling empty or grieving. At a time like this, you cope as best you can with your intense emotions and-- hopefully-- allow yourself to heal and move on with your life.
But what an unpleasant surprise when you think that you're “over” the breakup only to be triggered and then realize that you're actually not!
How can you handle this new wave of pain and upset related to a relationship or marriage that has long been over?
Does it mean that you will never fully heal?
Will you ever be able to truly be happy in a love relationship again?
These are very real questions and concerns that you might be having if you've been through a breakup recently or in the distant past. It could be that you've given yourself time and nurturing. You've done all you know how to do to soothe yourself and encourage healing. You might even feel more hopeful about life and the possibilities ahead.
Perhaps you don't even think much about the relationship or marriage that ended.... Until a particular song comes on the radio. Or you actually see your former partner. Or an acquaintance mentions his or her name.
Any of these triggers-- or others-- could make it seem like the breakup just happened. And any of these reminders could take you back to the past and to a whole host of questions, regrets, or unresolved feelings.
“I thought I was over him!” Juli lamented to her friend Kim.
Juli and David's 5 year relationship ended over a year ago. Juli was absolutely crushed when David admitted he was having an affair and then immediately packed up and moved out of their apartment. It took her several months to feel anything close to “normal” about life. She even had to take a leave of absence from work those first few weeks because she was so upset.
But now Juli feels more settled into her new single life. She is enjoying being with friends and even likes certain aspects about living alone. There is a guy she met at a party last week who asked her to go to dinner. Juli is interested in getting to know this guy and agreed.
However, when looking for a jacket in the back of a spare closet, she found an old Valentine's Day card from David on the floor. As soon as Juli opened the card, she felt flooded with warm memories of the good times she and David shared. Quite quickly these pleasant feelings turned to upset and nausea as an image of him admitting his affair and then moving out bombarded her.
Amidst a flood of tears, Juli decides that she won't allow herself to be hurt like that again. She tells Kim that she'll probably call this new guy and cancel their date.
Honor what you're feeling.
No matter how long you've been broken up and regardless of the circumstances of the breakup, allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you're feeling. Of course, if it seems like you've cried all that you can cry about the end of your relationship or marriage, you probably don't want to shed another tear.