Step 2: Stay Away From Your Ex
Greetings, Bolder Sisters. Last week I discussed the first post breakup–being honest about your emotions. Shock, pain, and anger are the first stages of any form of grief but we often stay so angry that we don’t allow ourselves to deal with the pain because it hurts too much. This week I want to talk about Denial and also why it’s important to keep our distance from the ex.
Let’s face it, when we experience a breakup, we usually go through a bargaining phase. If we felt that the relationship was inherently a good one—and therefore worth saving—we’ll try to figure out how to keep it. We’ll ask “Was it the stupid argument we had?”, “Maybe we can talk this over and make it work? or “He’s confused, let’s just give each other some space.” This is really what I call bargaining because you’re looking for a way to negotiate and reverse the outcome.
I knew something was different about my fiancé when he returned from his spiritual trip with a group of pastors and other leaders. I’d expected a change but not the sudden void that was between us. A few days later I began to ask pointed questions regarding a specific “friend” of his whom also went on this trip. I asked if he still wanted to get married and when he said he didn’t know, I took off my ring. In the meantime, I tried to find out what was going on and if we could salvage the relationship. This went on for about a month before reality set in… it was over and he wanted to be with her—he just didn’t want to say it.
Communication is critical in a relationship but when things unravel, being in denial about it is not healthy. We tried to ‘be friends’ during this breakup—which under normal circumstances was still too soon. During the “friendly phase”, and still hurt and angry, I was still trying to figure out how to reverse it. I was holding on because I felt that I deserved a better explanation in an otherwise unacceptable situation. As you can see, I was pretty much all over the place. It’s always best to be brave and not bury yourself in denial. It just adds one more ingredient to a volatile soup of despair.
Nothing prolongs pain more than a lingering ex! When we allow them to linger around, it can cause depression and that is exactly what happened. Being engaged, we cohabitated as we made plans for the wedding. Since he’d given up his apartment and moved into my home, there was a horrible transition period where we were still under the same roof. I found myself beginning to hate him. Then, my anger internalized and I was angry with myself for not simply kicking him out! I really was trying to be the better person but I didn’t like who I was becoming so… after about a month I finally asked him to leave. Our paths crossed at work so I had to find ways to avoid him. He still called me or tried to find ways to bump into me at work—determined to continue a friendship. There was no getting around running into him at first. I was also dealing with another devastating family issue so this just compounded my pain and anger and a bout with depression was inevitable.
Post breakup loneliness is strong because you are so used to talking to this person, hanging out with them, and sharing all aspects of your life together. This is the period you should spend as much time with loved ones as possible. Don’t allow yourself to be alone during this period if you can help it. Sometimes we get so lonely that we are tempted to reach out to—you guessed it—the ex!
If you’re not feeling better, find a friend, family member, or professional to talk to. I had to do all of the above plus I was fortunate that I had loved ones who knew everything that I’d been dealing with in addition to the breakup. I tend to talk myself into believing that none wanted to still hear about my turmoil so I would not talk about it. They stepped in to help me through this phase. Once I came clean about how bad I was still feeling, they assured me that it was okay to still not be okay. It was then that I began to process of recovery.
Bolder Sisters, how were you able to combat denial and conquer loneliness during a breakup?
Kim Woods earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems at DeVry University. She developed a love for writing poetry and short stories as a child. Kim is socially conscience and her desire to use her life experiences to help others is what drives her to seek opportunities to share her story. She decided to write freelance for the Bolder Sister because it is her desire that women evolve and thrive in their own authentic truth.
Kim resides in Chicago, Illinois and has one son, Donald. In addition to writing, she spends free time creating unique wall art, decorating, and teaching herself how to sculpture.
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