The Raphael Remedy

Getting Over a Sudden Break Up

by | May 3, 2016 | Counseling

It seems like most of us have been there. You meet someone and start dating. Things seem to be going really well. You’re excited and every day holds new possibilities. Then suddenly, inexplicably, they disappear. Just stop calling. No calls, no texts, no replies. Are they dead? Did something terrible happen in their lives? Were they kidnapped? Did they lose interest? Was it something I did, or said? A facial expression that put them off? A hairstyle they didn’t like? The wrong eye makeup? A fashion faux pas? Did they realize I’m a loser? Did they meet someone else better than me? Would they have stayed if I put out? And if I did put out, was it not good enough?

The questions. The endless myriad questions that fill your mind trying to make sense of it all. The downward spiral of disappointment. A huge blow to your self confidence. This person who made you feel so special now cruelly just drops you without warning or explanation.

Been there. I know it happens to men too, but it seems more often than not, it’s women who find themselves in this situation. Hence the negative attitudes that develop about men. I’m not one for male bashing as I think it’s unfair to label an entire group of people because of the actions of the minority (…or even possibly the majority as some may contend). There are good men out there. But, there are jerks as well.

Whatever the reason a guy (or girl) may do that, we need to find a way to cope with it and move forward. The reason can be any number of things. You may find out at some point or you may never know. The reason though that it is so hard to get over is that you continue to remember the good person you were excited about dating. That was what they seemed like the last time you saw them. You’re grieving the loss of this person who seemed so sweet and kind. Without understanding the reason for their sudden withdrawal, you struggle with questions that consume you in your effort to simply understand and make sense of it. For most of us, we’d rather be told that they’ve lost interest and are moving on than to be dropped like yesterday’s lunch.

As the days go by without contact or response anger starts to creep in. The danger lies in where we focus that anger. For too many, it’s turned inward into depression or even self loathing…feeling rejected for who we are and feeling helpless to do anything about it. That’s the wrong road.

So what should we do with that anger? 

First, realize this: your anger is justified. You deserved the courtesy of an explanation. The fact that you didn’t get one gives you some important information about who this person really is. They may not be evil. No need to vilify them. They may simply be immature, insensitive, or cowardly. They may be so immersed in their own issues that they don’t realize that they’ve even hurt you. But any of these reasons indicate that they are not a good partner for you. After all, do you want to be involved long term with someone who is that immature? Or insensitive? Or cowardly? Or someone who has so much emotional baggage that they can’t consider another’s feelings? Trust me, those qualities do not a good spouse make.

Second, think of this: What is your ultimate goal? In all probability, you want to be happy. Keep focused on that goal. Then ask, is this behavior making you happy or really, really sad? The pain you are in is because you shifted your goal. You set your goal to be happy and then you meet someone who seems to be the person with whom you will be happy. Your goal has now shifted to wanting to be with this person. But as the evidence shows now that this is not a person who has your happiness in uppermost in mind, you continue to pursue the secondary goal of being with them…or at the very least, understanding why you’re not, at the expense of your original goal, to be happy.

Bottom line is this: the reason they’ve dropped out of your life is not as important as recognizing the fact that if they would treat you (or anyone) with such a lack of consideration than they are not worth the tears you are shedding for them. The ones who make you cry rarely are. It sounds cliché but if someone is meant to be in your life they’ll be back someday – and with a good explanation and a properly contrite attitude. (Anything less should be unacceptable). If not, no amount of forcing it will do you any good at all. The sooner you let it go, the sooner you can move on, and get back to work on your original goal.

Ahh…but of course, that’s the question…how do you let it go and move on? Is it even possible without understanding why you were dumped?

Yes. It is.

Here are a few suggestions: 

First, decide to let them go. If you’ve tried to contact them two or three times over a couple of days and they haven’t replied, drop them. Don’t humiliate yourself trying to get them back or trying to get an answer. Let them go! When it comes to mind, remind yourself that you’ve made the decision and focus elsewhere.

Second, recognize that God is ultimately in control. Nothing happens without His awareness and concern. Sure, we all have free will so we can make mistakes and hurt others and God won’t interfere with that. But, (and this is important) He still remains in control. He may allow someone to hurt us, but He will use it for our ultimate good. It’s a mystery. His ways are so far beyond ours. But His goal is ultimately the same as ours …for us to be happy. The difference though is that He knows what will and will not make us truly happy. Sometimes he removes people suddenly from our lives, like stripping off a band-aid – quick and painful – to avoid further suffering for us in the future. He allows the heels and cads of this world to do their damage but just like in the old days a doctor would apply leaches to heal a patient. God uses these people and experiences like that doctor. The leaches selfishly want to suck all the blood they can…but the wise doctor applying them uses their selfish motives for our greater good.

Third, get a rational hold on the situation and set parameters for your grief process. Label this individual for what they are: a coward or a cad. Remind yourself that you don’t want a coward or a cad in your life. In the beginning, sure talk to friends and even feel sorry for yourself. You were hurt and it was unfair. But after a week or two, tighten your circle. Don’t talk to too many people about it. It just keeps the hurt alive and keeps you feeling like a victim. Start doing other things to distract yourself. Go out with a friend. Visit an elderly relative that’s lonely. You can’t do anything about your pain, but maybe you can use this time to alleviate someone else’s. Clean out a closet and create order. Work on a project you enjoy and allow yourself to feel the glory of accomplishment. Life is not over. This is a setback…not a dead end.

After a while, when the thoughts come to mind, simply reject them. That was in the past and it’s time to move on. Remind yourself that there are better things in store for you. Reclaim your dignity.

Most importantly, use this time to go deeper with your relationship with God. He is close to the broken hearted. He loves you even more than you love yourself…trust that this heartbreak will be a stepping stone to a greater happiness…as implausible as that may seem right now. Don’t settle. Remember, God saves the greatest gifts for those who leave the choice to Him. We cannot even conceive of the wonderful things He has planned for each one of us…if we trust and allow Him to work in our lives.

And remember too, you don’t have to go it alone. Talking to a counselor can be a big help to healing. Having the guidance of someone with experience who understands what you’re going through can save you a lot of time and needless suffering. Not only that, talking things through can increase your chances of success in your next relationship. Take advantage of the opportunity to grow through this setback.

May God bless you.

Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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