If your life seems to be an endless string of failed relationships, you should take time out to reflect.
One of the first things I learnt about getting life back on track post-breakup is accessing the relationship honestly.
When the therapeutic crying’s done and the healing the tubs of ice-cream have been consumed, there should be that time of introspection where you go over that relationship and ask yourself important questions. What good came out of it? What were the mistakes? Neglecting to do this means that the chances of making the exact same mistakes over and over in each relationship you enter remain high.
The first time I tried this postmortem, I found that it sped up my healing more than anything else. I had been in a relationship with a guy who cared about me but wasn’t really in love with me, and who was also on a different wavelength spiritually. I never thought I would be able to see clearly on the whole matter, but weeks after we broke up, I took out my journal and made a table of ‘Pluses’ and ‘Minuses’.
Oh, of course there were pluses. He was a very intelligent young man, and with him I was able to articulate my dreams for the first time. He not only drew out the ideas and longings that danced around in my soul, he helped me give form and substance to them. I learnt what I wanted out of life, and the various paths to achieve that. He also taught me (yeah, yeah, I’m a student type) that each of them were equally valid, as long as I kept my focus on the end goal.
I also learnt to give without expecting in return. I gave so much, got so little, and learnt to be okay with it; something that has helped me a lot in various situations life has presented. Then there was the educational aspect. He opened my eyes to the fact that the primary-secondary-university route wasn’t for everyone. There was on-the-job training, and there were also other kinds of vocational courses that could advance a person’s career faster, and make it richer, than sitting in a university classroom.
I also set physical boundaries for the first time and learnt that people who practice abstinence without the enablement of the Holy Spirit are the real superheroes. I understood my need for God in a way I never had before.
The minuses? Ah…
I went against my convictions and beliefs, and compromised my standards. I wasted my emotions on someone who was not ready to really love or commit to me. I got disrespected. My faith and friendships were relegated to the background, my mind and thought-life messed up.
I also lost a friendship which at the time I wasn’t sure I would ever get back – my friendship with him. And that was the number one lesson. Know who should remain just a very good friend. We were able to restore our friendship after some time, but not everyone is that fortunate.
Everyone has patterns they keep following in relationships, and not all of them are bad. However, if you take this reflection seriously, you might notice destructive patterns that, if broken, will free you from an endless chain of relationships that end badly.
It could be a type you’re always attracted to that’s bad for you. It could be the way you start off your relationships. It could be the way you react when there’s conflict. It’s not going to be easy, but you must identify and break these patterns in order to pave the way for a truly happy, healthy and mutually satisfying relationship.
Take the time to do this. I promise you it’s worth it.