The hardest part about letting someone go is accepting that they just may never be just the person you wanted them to be. When you can look at someone and distinctly see what could be different to improve the quality of their relationships and life in general, it’s challenging to not want to give our everything to aid that person in facilitating that change. As women, it is innate in us to want to mend situations and find solutions for every relationship issue or hardship our significant other experiences. When do you draw the line that it is too challenging to continue to attempt to shape someone into demonstrating the relationship dynamics you desire to see?
As I have been processing and going through the phases of my last relationship ending, I have felt a flood of different emotions ranging from grief, relief, depression, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, happiness, confusion and loneliness. The most simple of tasks are the most challenging to experience alone at first. Like going to the grocery or wanting to cook the same dinner you always made together alone. It’s hard. As ended relationships symbolize the emotional loss of another human being, the phases we go through are significantly comparable to those one experiences when mourning the death of a loved one identified by Kubler-Ross. These stages include Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Everyone experiences these phases in some type of order when grieving the loss of a loved one, although our life experiences and how we’ve observed others express love and anger greatly affect how we emotionally respond to them. As individuals, we never experience these stages simultaneously or even in any consistent patterns necessarily.
What’s most significant is that we provide ourselves the adequate amount of time to process and transition through these phases of emotions and thoughts appropriately before we move on. As referenced in my previous article, “Me, Myself, and I,” I am not someone who can successfully begin a new relationship with someone else until I have given myself adequate time and appropriately healed my previous relationship first. I believe this is true of all people, but individuals often don’t want to allow themselves to feel the anger and pain associated with losing someone and look for emotional support in another human being to avoid the inevitable process. Before you are ready to explore dating another person, one must be whole with ones’ self to be ready to actually emotional connect to another human being. If one hasn’t really moved through the phases of their loss appropriately, one will not really move on or learn how to improve their next relationship by developing better boundaries or relationship dynamics. A part of appropriately experiencing the Acceptance phase of a loss is being able to gain understanding about what type of behaviors you demonstrated in the relationship that you want to change, as well as gain further insight as of what you expect in your significant other’s behaviors.
When individuals do not provide themselves adequate time or appropriate heal from their relationship wounds, they often continue to demonstrate the same negative relationship patterns or are left pondering “what if.” To truly move on from a relationship ending, one must enable themselves to experience the motions of feeling Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance appropriately to heal and gain a stronger sense of self concept in the end. To aid yourself in going through these phases, gaining understanding of what emotions and experiences you can expect yourself to go through can be helpful in the process. Expect that there will be days, even weeks or months, that you may feel depressed and it will be really, really hard not to think about that person or yearn for the love and belonging they provided for you. Sometimes it’s helpful to fixate in the Anger phase and remember what the other person was doing that you were upset with or bothered you the most, as it can aid you in keeping distance from this person; it’s easy to fixate on remembering the ten percent of amazingly wonderful times that were oh-so-good shared with someone versus the arguing or difficult times that accounted for 90 percent of the relationship. When looking back, it’s crucial that one remembers the relationship for how it authentically existed, because fixating on that ten percent of good can affect how difficult it is for you to break away. Make an effort to engage in those positive activities that maybe diminished in prevalence in the relationship or reconnect with others that you maybe lost touch with to embrace your self identity once again. Most importantly, remind yourself all along that you have experienced the relationship as a way to facilite yourself growing into the person you are intended to be on this Earth, and that in the end, you will be nothing short of fabulous…
“Life is short: Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that once made you smile.”