Go for it!

Well my lovelies, it’s been an amazing year.  I hope you’ve learned as much as I have through this experience.  I hope you will take this knowledge and use it in the coming year.  If you’ve missed anything, please wander back through the archives.  This blog will make more sense if you start reading it from 1 January and reading forward from there but please, use it as you best see fit.

I would like to leave you with a mantra for the next year – go for it!  You have the knowledge,now go apply it.  There are no trophies for bench-warming.  Yes, there may be more trials and tribulations but look at them as character building experiences and glean what lessons you can from both the good and the bad.  Life is more satisfying when you get out there and live it.

Why failure is a good lesson

The feeling of failure is never a pleasant one.  However, much can be gleaned from our failures if we are willing to learn from them.

  • Failure teaches you to be resilient.  Okay, you failed but the sky didn’t fall.  Get up and try again.
  • Failure teaches what you don’t want.  Thought you wanted the bad boy and it turned out crappy again?  Don’t go for the bad boy.
  • Failure teaches you to work harder for what you want.  If you really want something, it’s not going to be handed to you.  You have to put in the work.
  • Failure teaches you to be kind.  Everyone is fighting a battle on some front, be gentle with them.
  • Failure teaches you to learn.  No point in re-inventing the wheel – feel free to learn from someone else’s mistakes.
  • Failure teaches you to where to start.  You don’t always have to start at zero, although sometimes it’s helpful.
  • Failure teaches you economy.  It’s more important to be effective than to do a lot of needless work.

Can’t we just be friends?

Oh isn’t it grand when you try to be friends with your ex?  It’s a lofty ideal but not exactly what you want to do.  There are a tenacious few who are willing to slog through valley of crap in order to get to the mountain of friendship but these people usually have kids or a business together.  Most couples simply aren’t meant to be friends after they break up.

I can give you a million reasons why you shouldn’t be friends with your ex but it boils down to your history with him.  Until you have some time and distance and can approach the friendship like a new relationship, you’re doomed to fail.  You will continue to treat him like you have some ownership in his life and he will continue to think that he can sleep with you at any point he desires.  And let’s face it, the reason we want to stay friends with our ex is to feel as though we exert some form of control over or voyeurism into their lives.  You can’t move into the future if you’re holding onto the past.

You’re better off with a clean break but if you insist….

  1. Take a break, a long break, from the friendship.
  2. Ask yourself why you want to be friends with him.  Make sure it’s for the right reasons.
  3. Approach him like a brand new person and get to know him all over again.
  4. Do not flirt or have sex with him.  Keep it strictly platonic.
  5. Have full disclosure with current and future boyfriends.

Post mortem

Whenever a relationship ends, it is tempting to hide the evidence.  While I agree that some time and distance can give you perspective on a relationship, you should absolutely attempt to figure out what went right and what went wrong.  You need to conduct a relationship autopsy.

While it would be nice, do not expect your ex to participate.  If he is willing to answer a few questions, make it one session and don’t attempt to defend yourself or the relationship.  Be aware that it’s highly likely that he’s going to lie to you about or at least omit the reasons why you broke up.  He still wants to be the nice guy – even after the break up.  Attempting to talk to him at length about it is not going to improve this, it will only annoy him and make him avoid you in the future.

You may also want to ask some of your close friends and family what they think went wrong with the relationship.  Be aware that they will be unconditionally biased toward you.  So don’t believe them when they tell you that it was all his fault.

Your biggest source of information will be yourself.  Think back about what was happening when the relationship was happy.  Was it merely because it was new?  Were you still putting your best foot forward?  What parts of your personality were on display?  Were you being inauthentic?  Did the relationship go bad after a specific event or length of time?  Did you seem to be fighting more often?  If so, what about?  Did you not fight because one or both of you were closed of?  Did you have different communication styles?  Did either of you give up?

As this won’t take an evening, you might want to journal it out so you have a written record you can go over.  The process may be painful but it is worthwhile.  If you can figure out what went wrong in the relationship, you can avoid the same mistake(s) in the future.

The end of an era

There comes a point when your relationship with your ex changes.  You may wake up one morning and the connection is gone.  You’re not angry with him, you don’t want him back, you just feel a bit…meh.  It can be described as a detached calm.  There has been a shift in your feelings and your relationship with him no longer serves you.  Do not feel bad, this is merely the end.

However, as this denouement is a bit of a disappointment (no bang, no whimper, no absolute finality), you may feel a bit unsure how to properly call it quits with your ex after you’ve already called it quits.  You should inform him, with no malice, that your relationship has run its course, there is no additional benefit to remaining in contact, and it’s better for both of you to say goodbye than to hang on to the last sentimental vestiges of a bygone era.  Do not be hurt if he readily agrees – he just came to the conclusion before you did but didn’t want to hurt you.  Also, do not be surprised or swayed if he attempts to argue the point – no one likes to be the one left out of the decision-making process.  Stand firm and remain calm.  It’s over, the only thing that’s left is acceptance.

Then quietly begin the last of the separation.  Remove him from your social networking sites, delete him from your cellphone (although keep his information somewhere just in case you ever need to ask a question, like did you file your taxes together five years ago), put all his pictures and stuff in a box, or better yet, give it to charity.  Stop commenting on him to friends, in fact, ask them not to talk about him at all.  Soon enough he’ll be that guy you once dated and think fondly of….just don’t look him up again.

All you do to me is talk talk

It is natural, when you end a relationship, to have feel as though you still have unfinished business.  This usually manifests itself as a painful, protracted conversation with just enough hope thrown in to keep you coming back.

While you may feel as though you need closure, do not fool yourself into believing that you could still have a life with this person – there are usually very good reasons why you broke up.

Should you find yourself in a relationship exit interview here are some things to remember:

  • You are not rekindling the relationship no matter is being alluded to.
  • Make it short and sweet.  It may not be all hammered out in one afternoon but if it’s stretching into months, it’s gone on too long.
  • Be as pleasant as possible.  Do not attack or lay blame.  Do not accept these things either.
  • Ask what went wrong in their opinion but do not expect an honest answer.
  • Do not offer to fix what went wrong – you’re past that now.
  • Accept what they say as constructive criticism, ask for examples but not solutions.
  • Agree to disagree.  You’re fact-finding, not defending your record.
  • Work on what is valid, disregard the rest.  Do not beat yourself up over someone’s opinion.
  • There is no such thing as obtaining closure from another person, it’s a gift you give to yourself.

Freedom, you’ve gotta give for what you take

Being newly single comes with freedom and responsibility.  It may feel like a free-for-all but you might want to curtail your indulgences.  Yes, you are free to do as you choose but that doesn’t take away your common sense.

Freedom can be heady but you have a responsibility to keep up your life.  Do not go out and get so drunk on a Tuesday night that you can’t go to work the next day.  Don’t sleep with your friend’s ex just because you can.  Maintain your life and your discipline because it can all quickly spiral out of control.

So what can you do?  Take calculated risks and make wise decisions.  Do nothing on impulse.  You can be spontaneous but don’t be stupid-spontaneous.  Weigh out the pros and cons of each decision and know what you’re getting yourself into.  Have fun, but make sure your bases are covered.  Give yourself a bit of time to think and breathe – the opportunity will still be there tomorrow.  And if you think something is a bad decision, it probably is.

Babysteps

In the beginning, you need to get moving.  Yes it would be preferable to get moving in a good direction but even physics tells us that a body in motion tends to stay in motion.  So to begin, first you must start.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle because that will help you make good choices.
  • Remove anything harmful from your life – this includes people, places, and things.
  • Forgive and love yourself, don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes – learn from them.
  • Write down what you’re thankful for and why.  Focus on the positive.
  • Be gracious and kind to others.  Reciprocity is powerful.
  • Start small and find things that make you happy.
  • When something is no longer working for you, leave it for bigger and better things.
  • Do things for others.  If formal volunteering isn’t your style, look for other opportunities to make people smile.
  • Make plans to enrich your life.  Set goals and timelines to reach them.  Celebrate your accomplishments.

The insufferable affliction of being alone with you

Quite possibly one of the hardest parts of a breakup is when all the hullabaloo dies down and you are left to your own devices.   Friends have stopped the random cheer-me-up phone calls and have returned to their regularly scheduled lives.  Your mom doesn’t fret if she should have him over for the holidays.  The post-breakup sabbatical that your coworkers had offered you is over.  It’s like the universe has silently judged that your period of mourning is well and truly done.

Breakups suck and generally, you’re looking forward to the day when it’s over.  Even if the breakup is civil,  your self-esteem and self-confidence have taken a beating.  In the midst of a breakup, you fantasize that your life will be better afterward – calmer, content, nesting.  You never imagine how excruciating it can be to be alone with yourself.

In the beginning, you will attempt to amuse yourself – new hobbies, new friends, new boys.  These diversions will end quickly as their entertainment value pales.  You may find yourself bored, restless, even slightly angry.  You need to look for something greater, you need to search for yourself.

Direct from my desk – week 51

The holiday season is upon us.  If you are like most women, you’ve already done your shopping and the presents are all ready to go.  Before you give that present to your boyfriend, think carefully if it is appropriate.

Consider, for a moment, where you are in your relationship with your significant other.  If you have not been dating for a long time, do not give him a “big” present.  While you may have planned carefully to give him something fabulous or possibly you can easily afford the present – that’s not the point.  If you give him something “too much, too soon”, you’re going to scare him into thinking that you’re at two different levels of commitment.  Yes, it is sad that you would have to hold yourself back but that’s not the point either.

So what is the point?  You need to give appropriate gifts.  If you’ve only been dating for two months, get him a few cds that he really loves and has been wanting.  If you’re exclusive, feel free to buy him something more personal.  If you’ve been married for a few years, then yes, those center-court floor seat tickets are exactly the right thing to get for him.  If you want to keep him, don’t overwhelm him.

Happy Holidays!