I have always been of the mind that life’s experiences are to be shared so that others might benefit from the lessons learned. To that end, I’ve experienced a wealth of break-ups; this is my sharing with you. This material is copyrighted. It’s an excerpt from my latest book I’m working on. Please don’t plagiarize it. No one likes being ripped off. Thank you!
Breakups happen. No matter how good or how bad or how mediocre the relationship was, no matter if it’s good riddance or a sigh of relief or the biggest catastrophe on earth, there’s always a feeling of failure that accompanies a breakup, and with that feeling there are tears: tears of loss for the if onlys and for what could have been.
I’ve been through more break-ups than I can count or remember, and I always take them hard. They each take a bite out of my heart.
This breakup was one of the “best” – if there is such a thing, so I pass on the recipe to you. I walked right into the center of the pain that I was experiencing, wrote about it, transformed it into a creative process, but I also did a thorough soul-search as to what I wanted from J. now, given the current circumstance that he was with someone else. What could be salvaged from the wreckage of our close, loving and intimate relationship? In the past I had jettisoned every last reminder of the person, closed the book and emptied the trash. That’s overkill! (This is assuming that the person was not an abusive monster in which case it’s appropriate.)
Riding on the truism of Fritz Perls, the father of Gestalt therapy, that “people would rather be right than happy” I chose to try to salvage some semblance of “happy” in the face of this train wreck. To embrace J’s new love seemed a bit much given my propensity for jealousy, although when I examined that emotion I felt no envy for the poor woman because I know that she’s in for a big surprise when J. pulls some of his numbers on her. I certainly felt no need to be “buddies” with the two of them together – that somehow seemed pathetic.
Did I still want J. in my life in any way, shape or form? Well, maybe, yes, or, as the French say, “boff”. He came into my life as a “helper” and he’s very good in that capacity, so I decided that part would be a keeper. Did I still want to continue our close friendship? I couldn’t imagine what new form that might take, since he was mostly unavailable at best, and I didn’t want to reawaken my expectations again and wait—in vain — for the phone to ring. That’s too painful, so no! Hikes? Movies? Lunches? Dinners? I couldn’t imagine wanting to put myself out for J. at this time, but maybe someday, when hell freezes over.
Just going through this sorting process dispersed a lot of the energy I felt around the subject of J., and helped to remove the emotional stinger. Keep in mind, this was a relationship that I esteemed to be, very VERY good. Frustrating, YES! Unfulfilling yes! But good, in it’s own quirky, minimalist sort of a way. We never had a fight, never a discouraging word. Nothing but positive support and the enjoyment of everything we did together, or so I thought. I wanted more, but convinced myself I was content with what he had to offer. (In hindsight, that seemed more like the enjoyment of Chinese foot-binding.) I certainly didn’t want to push his river. It’s always dangerous to speculate about “more.” The price of wanting is having, and usually you get more than you bargain for.
I invited J. to meet with me for a heart-to-heart. In all fairness, I wanted to hear his side of the story, of what came down and why, and to see if there was any common ground worth saving. He agreed, then stood me up. That’s a huge Red Flag! I felt my inner dragon breathe the fire of the purge.Time to empty the trash.
So, to summarize: go directly into the pain, transform it into a creative process, then examine and explore what exactly you want from that person now: what goes, what stays. Get together and communicate from your heart, from your place of vulnerability. If your “ex” is unwilling to do that, process the matter solo or with the help of a counselor. It’s imperative to sift through the ashes, otherwise you will repeat the process again and again until you learn whatever you must learn from it. Start “clean” next time round. And remember, a bad match is easy to find. Nothing special about that! They’re everywhere.
~~Paulette Frankl (copyright: 2015)