Relationship Advice: Starting Over After A Breakup

Question from a guest: I went through a breakup 2 years ago and I’m still learning how to start over. So just wondering if you went through the same thing too and have any tips to offer on that.

Answer: Starting over after a breakup can be tough. How long it takes to re-discover yourself after a breakup depends solely on how much of your individuality was given up, discarded, hidden, or changed during your relationship. I’ve been there.

My ambitious goal is to have joy for myself and the other person, even if we break up. With that in mind, here’s my advice (in no particular order):

  1. Exercise, so you have progress over your own body, mind and spirit. Or exercises that are different from your normal routines. Maybe swimming, hiking, biking, kayaking, whatever takes you to a new place.
  2. Gratitude for your life, that person’s life and blessings upon yourself and them. No doubt about it, this one is hard – and worth it.
  3. Activities: Toastmasters is one. Starting a business is another. Some sort of deep activity that takes time and is productive.
  4. Not “falling” for the next person, but instead, developing a friendship first. This is where I would really mess up – a lot. I’d fall head-over-heels, start dating immediately, get serious fast, and – boom – things would get rocky and eventually we’d break up. I hated this cycle. Ugh.
  5. Spending more time being “casual” with a new person, and forcing yourself to spend more time doing “your” activities – without them. Maintaining yourself.
  6. Being OK with being lonely. Damn, this one was hard for me. But the outcome is now I don’t feel “lonely” even when I’m alone. This is all mental. And you have to have a place to put your mental and emotional energies.
  7. Albert Einstein’s quote is a great place to start: “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” This one is heavy-deep goodness. And while you’re focusing on awesome goals, you’ll meet people along the way that are worth looking into and getting to know. Maybe even dating and marring.

Some relationship advice items are easier to accomplish than others.

As our guest remarked, after reading the list above: “I spent one whole year healing and re-discovering myself and now I’m happy being myself and being alone. Now I want to move on to meeting and maybe dating again. But whenever I think about taking this next step, I’m still not fully convinced [that I should] take the leap. Still emotionally attached to the past.

“I still cannot fully commit to #2 that you listed above. I’m still bitter because I still wish the other person would go to hell!”

Boy, could I relate. I recommended a book that I – and countless others across the world – have found helpful: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.

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