Why Losing A Relationship Hurts So Much!
So this is probably like the 99th article you have read after getting dumped and now you are sick and tired of trying to figure out how to get over “the one that got away” already.
I get it.
A lot of advice out there tries to deconstruct getting over a breakup into these nice little lists as if you can get over someone you loved and lost by checking another item off your list like you are going grocery shopping or something.
And sure, you probably should take time for yourself and reconnect with friends and all that.
But to me all of these things seem like slapping a bandaid on the gaping flesh wound where your heart used to be, technically, it doesn’t really hurt to try but by itself it can only do so much.
So before admonishing you to get back out there, I want you to try to look at things a little bit differently first.
Getting over someone has a lot more to do with knowing who you are and the story you tell yourself about your past relationship than it does with trying to mitigate the pain every time you are reminded of it.
To that end, it’s a process and not a destination and you have to be patient.
I know that it’s sucks to hear but the only way around it is through it.
And I know you probably won’t believe me when I say this but it really is going to be ok.
Relationships form the basis of meaning in our lives and not just your interpersonal relationships but even the relationships you have with your job or your identity or your possessions.
And because as humans we rely so much on our social lives to survive and thrive, our relationships with each other carry an extra special weight.
Therefore, when you lose a relationship especially one that was so important and central to your everyday life, you lose that associated meaning.
And to lose meaning is to lose a part of yourself.
So all of these things are intimately connected.
Your relationships, your sense of meaning and purpose and your perception of who you are.
That feeling of emptiness we all feel when we lose someone we love is actually a lack of meaning and a lack of identity.
There is, quite literally, a hole inside of ourselves.
Everything becomes a blank void, empty of any real purpose and we might even begin to wonder if there’s really any point to live at all.
If you wallow in this kind of thinking for too long, you end up clinging to the past and desperately trying to “fix” everything to somehow get your old life back.
But the hard pill to swallow here is that a part of you is now dead and gone.
It’s time to accept that and start rebuilding your life so you can move on.
Surrounding yourself with people who truly care about you is probably one of the most common pieces of advice for getting over someone.
It’s great advice but it’s not because you will just start to feel better and then forget about the fact that you are going to be sleeping alone tonight, aren’t you?
And it’s also not because these people provide an outlet for you to work through the failed relationship out loud, though that doesn’t hurt.
No, the real reason is that connecting and reconnecting with people who care about you will start to add meaning back into your life, the meaning that was so abruptly pulled out from underneath you like a cheap dining room rug.
In order to restore that meaning through reconnecting with people, however, you need to make it about more than just you and your past failed relationship.
You need time to vent and to figure things out and having someone there for that is helpful.
But you can’t start to rebuild meaning in your life until you take the time to cultivate relationships that are separate and distinct from your old relationship and your old self.
Another way to separate yourself from your past relationship and move on is to take an objective look at what the relationship was really like.
If part of the story you tell yourself is we were so perfect for each other, we should be together forever and why doesn’t he see that? then I’d bet you are falling victim to more than a few biases that you are simply not aware of.
We tend to see the past through rose-coloured glasses.
Everything was great back then.
Well, maybe not perfect but like 98% of the time we were just the best couple ever.
The truth is, our memories are pretty bad and we often only remember the things that fit into whatever story we want to believe right now.
In this case, we remember the good times most because that’s what we want our reality to be right now.
And if you can’t objectively see when you are doing this then it’s possible your relationship failed because in reality it was a toxic relationship.
Toxic relationships only ever survive on drama and as the drama ramps up to keep the relationship going you become dependent on that drama or even addicted to it.
And then you are really screwed because now the meaning you derive from that toxic relationship is skewed and distorted.
You start thinking that irrational jealousy or controlling behaviour and snide comments were somehow actually signs of his undying love for you.
So I’m here to tell you that relationships don’t end because two people did something wrong to each other, it ends because two people are wrong for each other.
It’s incredibly difficult to see it when you are the one getting dumped but sometimes a relationship needs to end.
There seems to be some debate out there about whether or not you should take some time to yourself and just be alone for a while.
I think you should and doubly so if your failed relationship was a toxic one.
If your identity has been so wrapped up in a relationship that’s now gone, well, it’s a good time to explore who you are in contexts outside of that relationship.
Rushing out to find someone to fill that void without really figuring out what you want and what you need is a recipe for recurring relationship disaster.
A lot of times it’s this very lack of awareness around one’s needs that leads to a relationship falling apart in the first place.
So one of the best things you can do is figure out who you are, what you need and how to get those needs met.
And to truly know that you have to figure it out on your own.
Conflicts in relationships almost always arise because one or both people aren’t getting their needs met in some way.
And it’s often the case that those needs are either not communicated effectively or someone’s needs are being ignored.
Either way, the root cause of the problem is a lack of awareness of one’s needs.
Relationships end when someone decides the cost of not getting his needs met is no longer bearable.
Our fundamental emotional needs include:
• Status. Feeling important or superior.
• Connection. Feeling understood and appreciated, shared values and experiences.
• Security. Feeling safe and reliable, feeling trust.
We all have these needs in our relationships but we all prioritise it a little differently and disproportionately.
Valuing one need over the other often causes issues in our relationships that might even develop into long-term patterns.
The key to understanding what went wrong in your past relationships and having a better relationships in the future is identifying your needs and your partner’s needs and figuring out ways to meet it.