What to do after a tough break up
I work with a lot of people, especially women, who've been in some pretty tricky or unhealthy relationships.
The kind of relationship where you know it's not really what you want, but you don't know how to end things. Or you fear being alone and have no idea how to do the single life. Or (fill in the blank with excuses as to why you should wait to break up).
Here are three things to consider after you've just gone through a tough break up:
1. Don't date for a while
Honestly, I'd say give yourself at least a year, especially if this was a long term or serious relationship. Some people hate those words once they come out of my mouth, but this part is crucial.
And if you feel like you've been punched in the gut or have anxiety after reading number one, then this one is especially for you!
You may even consider reading about co-dependency and seeing if that's a fit for you.
Because the truth is, dysfunction attracts dysfunction. And if you were in an unhealthy relationship, then most likely you'll end up in another similar one down the road. The bond might look slightly different on the outside, but the underlying unhealthy dynamics will be the same.
And this is why taking time to be single is so essential. For the sake of your growth and emotional well being, as well as, any potential future relationship you enter into, you NEED this time.
This isn't meant to be a year of singleness for the sake of being single. It's a year to do some serious work on your heart. It's taking time to look at your wounds and providing space for yourself so you can experience a season of healing.
Especially if you experience some co-dependent tendencies, you'll need this. One way to think about this is as if you're an alcoholic. You can't sober up if you're still drinking. The same is true for relationships. You can't heal to the same degree if you're still in a relationship that's super unhealthy.
2. Focus on making friendships with people of the same gender
Other people aren't responsible for our identity. However, we can better understand who we are and build our character in the context of community. Women learn what it means to be a woman/feminine in relationship with other women. Same is true for men.
Not only this, but we learn about who we are as a person in those relationships. I know I'm an empathetic and compassionate person because of how I respond to others. I would have never figured that out if I was alone.
And the same goes for you. The unique characteristics and giftings God has given you are best discovered in relationship with Him and the people He's created.
Plus, there isn't the added temptation of developing a relationship with someone that could turn into something romantic.
It's vital for you to learn how to do this. You need to learn to be vulnerable, trust others, share with safe people, etc. in a healthy way. And if you're always trying to figure out if you want to date this person you'll likely put blinders on and miss the growth opportunity.
Because if you're always looking for affirmation in those romantic relationships, then you're probably trying to get a need met through the other person. And that's not healthy.
3. Do your work
Like I mentioned before, a period of singleness isn't meant to be wasted. You've got some soul wounds that have influenced you to be in this type of unhealthy relationship.
We've all got them. And we can either choose to live in the dark or live in the light.
The simple fact is this: The truth will always set us free.
And to deny your pain isn't being truthful.
You've got some old wounds you've buried deep down and choose to ignore regularly?
Unfortunately, those wounds aren't going to go away just because you ignore them. Despite what you might think, your soul is still acting out of a battered and bruised place when we leave those wounds unattended.
Taking time to get honest about your pain points is going to be what inevitably leads you to freedom.
So let the truth set you free.