When it comes to dating, every single person is bound to experience a breakup. Ending a relationship is hard for everyone involved, even when you are the person choosing to end it.
Whether or not your actions were the catalyst of the breakup, a common post-breakup side effect that plagues victims of failed relationships is the emotional tailspin that follows. We choose to toil endlessly for hours, days, months and even years in a hell that is composed of only one activity: beating ourselves up.
The reason we choose to beat ourselves up varies from person to person and relationship to relationship. The odds are likely that anyone who is going down a self-imposed, endless spiral of post-breakup anxiety is stewing over one of the following: the amount of time it is taking to get over the breakup, how he or she should have known better all along or the guilt over his or her actions that may have contributed to the breakup.
Although these reasons are all very different in nature and in the way they affect each heartbroken soul, they do have one commonality that links them together.
They are all sourced from the pressure we put on ourselves in dealing with relationships. The root of the issue is within ourselves, and these core “reasons” to beat ourselves up are all essentially out of our control.
How, you ask? There are a few reasons.
There is no specific time for us to move on.
Beating yourself up about the time it is taking for you to heal your post-breakup wounds is an argument you simply cannot win. Since every relationship, every breakup and every person is an emotionally complex, unique individual, there is no concrete comparison to judge the proper time it “should” take to get over a relationship.
Just because your first relationship took you three months to completely move on from, does not mean that your next breakup will take even close to the same amount of time.
You might have been okay with the fact that one of your exes moved on, and you might have had a complete meltdown when a different ex moved on.
If you examine your own dating past, you will find that there is often inconsistency in the time it takes for you to move on after every breakup. If, as previously stated, each relationship was unique, why wouldn’t the aftermath of their failures be unique, too?
There really is no clear basis of how long it “should” take. Using time alone as a reason to be over a relationship is setting our emotional selves up for failure.
Love makes us blind.
This blindness conceals red flags and glaring issues with happiness, butterflies and roses. We are all guilty of ignoring signs that our love interest could be bad news. When we feel strongly for someone in a romantic sense, we choose to see the best in that person. It's in our nature.
Sometimes in life, and especially in relationships, the only way to learn is through experiences, both good and bad. If we didn’t have bad experiences and times when we "should have known better," we wouldn’t "know better" the next time a similar situation comes into our lives.
By being blinded by love and choosing people who aren't great for us, we are given the opportunity to learn and grow.
We must let go of guilt.
Feeling guilt about any of your own actions in a failed relationship is the emotional equivalent of jumping into a bottomless pit. It could go on forever.
Looking back on what you did or did not do while in your relationship are facts you simply can never undo. No matter how long you think about these actions, or how sorry you truly feel, no one has the power to go back into the past.
When you make mistakes in your relationship that are unforgivable and lead to a breakup, you need to halt your endless guilt spiral and ask yourself two questions.
1. If your relationship was as healthy and happy as you thought it was, would those mistakes have happened at all?
2. If your relationship was as strong as you thought it was, wouldn’t it have survived those mistakes? Wouldn’t love have conquered all with just a little bit more work?
It is no secret that breakups are extremely difficult. However, we need to stop adding fuel to the fire by being hard on ourselves with our post-breakup mentalities.
There is no magical way to know how long it should take to move on. Until we truly experience all kinds of relationships, we will never be able to “know better.” And as curious minds, we will always question what we could have done differently in a relationship to have made it work.
Take the time you need, give yourself a pass for allowing yourself to be blinded by love and leave the past in the past.
Romantic relationships will inevitably come and go, but the most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. Make sure you nurture that one with love, and later on, romance will work out just beautifully.