When You are Facing the Breakup of a Long-Term Relationship
You thought you finally met your person. You put time, energy and unconditional love into this person and the life you created together. And yet you are staring down a future of being single. This isn’t the first time – you’ve had 1 or 2 others that you though were the one – you spent years with each of them, maybe longer than some folks’ marriages.
You feel broken when it comes picking partners. After every breakup you try to learn from your mistakes yet here you are again. It is the same old story, things start off great but you end up spending way too much time trying to make the relationship healthy instead of just picking a healthy guy from the jump You have exhausted your friends with your roller coaster romances. They stiffen up when you talk about dating again. Each time you must change where you live, how you spend your time, start new friendships, consider dating apps again (ugh). You give up much of your tribe because they are attached to your ex-significant other – everything is on reboot. Your family acts like they don’t even want to meet a new interest because they don’t trust that they will be around or there is some fatal flaw in your beloved that will doom the relationship.
Why aren’t you entitled to happiness like everyone else?
Why can’t people be positive and supportive the way you have been for them?
You don’t want to date you want to be coupled – you have never been a player. You don’t want to focus on a hobby or have more girl nights, you certainly don’t want to mix with strangers and take a gamble on someone you don’t know. It is so frustrating because you know some of the people coupled are not any more functional than you are. It is awkward to socialize because you have never had a huge friend circle to begin with.
You question if you missed your chance – made a fatal mistake with a past love that will damn you to solo life. At times you are convinced you are dating the worst person for you but as soon as it feels like it is ending or does end this ongoing question loops through your head – what were you thinking? It feels like they were the best thing for you and you threw it away. After a breakup, you feel crazy and can’t focus on anything else which annoys others. You know you would be fine if you just had a stable relationship – you always are. You work, you know how to take care of yourself you do it all the time when you are in your relationship. If you are fine in a relationship what do you need to work on?
You are told to work on yourself and learn to love yourself – but what does the mean anyway?
There is a lot of resentment for being stuck being single. It seems so unfair and uncomfortable. Because the truth of the matter is when you are coupled the noise in your own head goes down. The fears, the insecurities, the bad memories all fade away when you have your person – instead you get to just focus on the two of you and you’re great at focusing on that.
To keep out of your head, you may hit up that one person that is always available for company but never a relationship – you know the one that disappoints you about a week into contact. You sometimes you try to make that work anyway because it feels better than being alone.
Deep down you worry what if you just aren’t the type of person someone would want to commit to? If you are somehow cursed to have a string of failed long-term relationships.
If you could only learn how to communicate, things would be better. You try to avoid conflict, but eventually it blows up. How do other people calmly speak their mind and not get so rattled? How do people work out their differences? You have heard about it, but never seen it in action. There is one thing you do know – you wish you could get a grip – you are so sensitive, and it turns people off. Friends tell you they are tired of your drama and you need to toughen up. People are afraid to tell you things because of the way you react to feedback. So even though you desperately want to resolve conflict you feel like you are stuck with broken equipment to pull off the task. Your go-to responses are to cry or get angry – the feelings hit you with such strong waves you can’t think straight. You say and feel things that seem accurate in the moment but afterwards you can’t figure out why you got so upset. You just don’t trust yourself once you are set off.
What can we do about all this? We can work on emotional regulation so you can feel and think through a conflict as opposed to reacting though a conflict. We can work on learning how to communicate. We can learn what your pattern is and how to disrupt it with a new pattern. We can make solo not as painful, so you aren’t racing from the pain. We can figure out how to separate what you feel from what is.
Does that sound useful? If so, look for the dragonfly on my site to connect with me.