Ok, here goes, I'll scrap the words what I writ yesterday, and start afresh, ha ha, if you can put up with my not so perfect waffle. The subject of the amazingly intelligent piece I was hoping to produce is, how do you pick up the pieces and carry on with your life after a relationship has broken up. The reason I decided to write about this subject is (a) I have had an email from someone who is in this situation, she asks the question, and (b) I have had loads of experience of relationships going wrong, and had to put it behind me and get on with it.
With some of the not so serious relationships, it was relatively easy to brush things to one side and carry on where I left off before I became involved with the person. Either they messed up or I messed up, it didn't really matter which, there probably wasn't much love lost on either side. So I just got over it and moved on.
The trouble is that relationships aren't always so casual, they can become quite involved. That thing called love can sometimes take over when you are least expecting it, and before you know it you have fallen head over heels. Common sense goes out of the window, and you are no longer in full control of your own destination. You are now emotionally attached to another human being.
In the beginning, the thrill of a new relationship adds excitement to your life, it's fun, and you want to be with this person every waking moment. As it moves through various stages you become used to each other, and feel comfortable in each others company, sometimes to the point of cutting yourself off from your friends. It is a big mistake to merge yourself into your partner and become one, you need to maintain your own personality, your own individuality, because sooner or later, you will be parted.
So, let's get back to the point in question, how do you survive when your heart is broken and your relationship has come to an end, for whatever reason. One of you will have to move out, so you are either alone in the place you both shared, or you have to find a new place to live.
I remember a particularly painfull break up which I had many years ago, and it was me that left him, I had to for my own sanity. He was a bully. I looked around for a new place to live, and viewed several bedsits. I could only afford one room on my small wages, and everytime I came away from a viewing I was in tears. I could imagine myself sinking into the depths of despair in my small box. As daft as it sounds, I wanted to go back to him, at least I wouldn't be alone. I didn't of course.
The answer came in an advert in the paper. A female wanted a flatmate, so I applied and moved in. I needed to do that because it meant I now had to keep up appearances, I had to stop myself from bursting into tears every few minutes. I had to make an effort to act and look normal, not a quivering whimpish wreck. It worked, I threw myself into work which kept my mind off things, and I had someone to talk to when I went home each day.
To give another example of how I coped after a relationship break up, it was about 15 years ago. Once again the boyfriend was a bully, even more so, he was a complete control freak. I finally realised I had to break off with him. I felt a terrible sense of failure, like I should have tried harder to make it work. How daft to feel like that when it wasn't my fault. I felt completely adrift at sea when it ended, all washed out.
The house I lived in was my house, he was to be a part of it, I had made it nice for both of us to share together. The first thing I did was to removed all the ornaments, photographs, pictures, and take it back down to the basic furniture. I didn't want any reminder that I had made it our house, it was now back to being my house. I had no relationship, no friends, and hardly knew anyone. So what did I do? I needed to rebuild a network around myself, I needed to get out and meet people, I needed some new friends.
I spotted an advert in the local paper, a new social group starting up, they were meeting in a pub. I rang the number and spoke to Penny (changed name), who invited me along. I used to be such an outgoing person before I got mixed up with the wrong 'un, he put a stop to all that. Now I had to start again and get my old self back. The people I met were lovely, so I kept going for a few weeks.
Eventually I recognised there was a need for something like a local singles club/introduction agency, because there must be a lot of single/seperated/divorced people who don't have a social life for various reasons. I decided to start a club. I advertised it in the paper, we had pub socials, bowling, meals out, rambling etc every week. A full programme of activities that people could join in with. It was a huge success, and certainly gave me a lot of friends, but also took my mind off my broken heart. I was able to build a new life for myself.
So, back to the start, and the person who emailed me with the question. I don't know the circumstances of your relationship breakdown, but I have a pretty good idea of how you feel. For whatever reason you are no longer half of a couple, you are a single person. Yes, by all means wallow in your own self pity for a while, that's normal. You need to get it out of your system, so have a damn good weep.
Please note that I can only talk generally here about this subject, I am in no way qualified to talk about long term mental health issues. If there is anyone who is struggling to get a grip, professional help may be more appropriate. All I can do is draw on my own experiences.
I have always had a strong will to survive, no matter what life throws at me. I get knocked down, I get back up again. In my heart of hearts, I know that I have every right to make a good life for myself. To be honest I have become a bit cynical about love, what is it anyway? I have experienced deep down true love, but it hasn't worked out for me, so now I am happy to love lots of people as friends, and not fall truly madly deeply again. Now, I will not give my all to a relationship, I keep a bit back for me. Me because I am a person in my own right, not the other half of someone else.
To the person who emailed me, take it one step at a time. Love yourself for who you are, the gorgeous lady who deserves the best in life. Look after yourself, you can and will get through it. All the best.
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