He’s the wrong guy for you. You know that. He’s definitely NOT a keeper. Still, breaking up is insanely hard to do—even if you’re the one calling time on the relationship. Your head can be quite sensible about it. But your heart hasn’t figured out how to move on.
As one client this week put it: “I just don’t get it. I’m majoring in Psychology, for Heaven’s sake. I should know better. I can’t believe I feel like this. I know he’s bad for me. But … ”
The first thing to understand is that intelligence, education and theoretical knowledge are all great as far as they go. But emotions are an unruly bunch: They play dirty.
They prey on your weaknesses, your romantic fantasies and your hopes.
Fact is, you’ve just been through a “boyfriend-ectomy.” That’s major emotional surgery. Like physical surgery, a “boyfriend-ectomy” is something that takes a while to recover from.
You need to respect the healing process, and give yourself time for emotional healing to take place. What you need is a game-plan. So, here it is in five simple stages:
1. Have a frank and robust conversation about your feelings — just not with Mr. Wrong himself.
If you haven’t gone through the sympathy and ice cream stage yet, then give yourself 48 hours to do that. Two days of massive, unqualified sympathy and self-pity. Wallow a bit. You deserve it. After that it’s time to move on to a more constructive frame of mind.
This is the time to talk with trusted friends who want to help you move forward. Share every feeling you have, from anger to guilt to self-loathing. Good friends will listen without judgment.
One thing they won’t do is urge you to rush into the next relationship to show Mr. Wrong. They know you’re not ready yet.
2. Don’t ask Why me?”
Tempting as it is may be to ask yourself, “Why me?”you really don’t want to go there. The second half of that question is always: “What’s wrong with me?” Actually, there’s nothing wrong with you. There was something wrong with the relationship, but there is something wrong with that question. So don’t waste precious time asking it.
3. Learn the right lessons.
Ten years of client work — and personal experience — have taught me that most of us women are really good at learning the wrong lessons.
We’re quick to take every break-up as a personal failure. If only we’d been more (fill in the blank) then then Mr. Wrong would have magically changed into Mr. Right.
There are more useful lessons to be learned, like why you were attracted to Mr. Wrong in the first place and why you were prepared to tolerate a less than stellar partner. What were you looking for? What were you prepared to settle for? And what were you prepared to overlook in the interests of being coupled up?
4. Make a proper plan.
There’s an old saying: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Why should it be any different when it comes to relationships?
Having a plan is all about getting clear and specific about what you do and don’t want next time around. Wanting to escape from the “Last Chance Saloon” is not a plan. “Just wanting to be happy” is not a plan. Nor is “wanting someone nice” or “wanting someone different from Mr. Wrong.”
You’re a strong, resourceful woman. That’s how you show up in all areas of your life. Why sell yourself short when it comes to relationships?
5. Trash the “should” of “could” of talk.
The only thing your “should” or “could” talk will ever get you is an abundance of bad feelings. You really don’t need that.
People, including you, do better with support and encouragement than they do with blame and judgment. That’s just the way it works. Don’t punish yourself for perceived past failure and present shortcomings. That won’t work, at all.
Rightly or wrongly, for a while, Mr. Wrong was the center of your emotional world. It’s time, now, to consign him to history.
You deserve a more fulfilling relationship and when you follow the five simple post-Boyfriend-ectomy steps you will have one. The more you become a grounded, self-validating woman the more irresistibly you will attract your Mr. Marvelous to you.