Folks who are divorced, breaking up, or finding themselves always attracted to the same screwed up “types” of partners can experience a continuing feeling of heartache and sadness, particularly when your relationships end time after time. Now is the time to get love right, once and for all.
Relationships take a considerable amount of energy and emotional resources as well as time and, even when things aren’t great, people tend to want to keep on so they do not have to come to terms with time that has been squandered. Yep, squandered, and the meter is running.
The loss of a relationship brings heartache to all of us. Some people though take all that anguish and turn it against themselves through some really self-critical dialogue. They wind up, in the end, in a kind of desperate fear that they will be alone forever. Have you ever felt that way? This terror drives otherwise balanced folk to rashly hook up again, making the same kinds of really bad choices and doing the same things that caused their last relationship flame out.
Here are some thoughts from a coach on how to turn the loss and heartache of the flame out into a fabulous new, healthy, and fulfilling new life and love. Yeah, I know, that’s a big promise, but read on and you decide.
The pain from a break up or divorce will pass. I know, you feel like your world/life just ended. That is perfectly natural…heck, we all feel that way at times. That being said, buck up; all that pain does not mean that you should just jump back into something with Mr. or Ms. Wrong. Just like when you were a kid and you had a fit when your parent left the room, the same reaction can come when intense lovers fear ending their time together, even if things suck. Face it; they were wrong for you, or you for them, or both.
Part of the pain is the loss of all those fabulous brain chemicals, and as a result, you really can feel “love sick.” Don’t be one of those people who stay in a bad love relationship out of fear of this very pain and the desire to avoid it. Let yourself grieve, you deserve it. Use the time to notice what kinds of patterns you see in behavior—yours or theirs—and consider ways to avoid negative behavior moving forward. You don’t have to jump back into something new 10 seconds after the first one ends. Give yourself a break.
Conduct a serious examination of your love life. You might as well start with your early memories in your family, and move up through your romance history. Look for patterns developed in childhood (this might require the help of a coach or therapist) that you repeat in your adult relationships. Look, the only thing these patterns all have in common is you. Were you rejected or dismissed out of hand as a kid? If you were, then you are more likely to pick partners with those same traits. Familiarity feels like love—but it isn’t! Sometimes the first negative sign to notice is that you like them.
As you grow your awareness, look for your love history and see how your needs went met or unmet. Try asking yourself if you are playing the same part in your adult relationships that you did as a child. It is a hard but worthwhile question. Take careful notice who you are choosing to be a romantic partner and decide whether or not they remind you of some awful relationship in your past. Give this a thought… surround yourself with people who treat you right and make you feel good. If you focus on it, you can find people who are compassionate and kind to you and really, why would you want to be around anyone else?
Take careful notice who you
are choosing to be a romantic
partner and decide whether
or not they remind you of
some awful relationship in your past.
Getting past unrewarding love relationships means mindfully seeking healthy partners. This might be hard, but when you were young, if one or both of the people who cared for you left you feeling unimportant or undervalued, then you might be picking inattentive or undependable lovers as a result. You may be selecting the very ones who will dismiss your physical or emotional needs. I know how fabulous it can be to meet someone who triggers all of your old, ingrained love pathways.
You were once a powerless kid with inattentive parents and no choices. Now you are an adult, powerful in your own right, who hopes that your partner will magically change and see your value and change their unmindful ways, meeting your needs in the process. They will see your value and recognize how special you are. Unfortunately, your hope that they will suddenly transform into something they have never been never happens. As a result, you feel a hopelessness and an erroneous awareness that you will never find the love you seek. When you date someone who is openly loving towards you or truly interested in knowing the “real you,” you might not feel that magical spark, basically because they don’t fit that early learned history and pathway in your mind. You are going to have to park and get out of your comfort zone; get to know different types of people, particularly when they don’t flood your system with that intense chemistry and intrigue with which you are so familiar. Remember, in some cases the first sign that they are wrong is that they attract your attention!
Don’t forget to be human in relationships. It might surprise you to know that some of the people I work with have a habit of not being completely real, e.g., who they are, how they feel, and what they need, with the people they hope will become their closest partners. Even though they do it out of fear of running the person away, you can see how self-defeating it can be? They fear that if they are their real self, the genuine person they truly are, they will lose the approval they need from the other person. They need validation so desperately that they hide themselves. Their fear of rejection is so strong that the other person never has the opportunity to know them.
You have to work hard to be open about who you are, and what you need in and from a relationship and a relationship partner. Yes, it will feel like a risk at first—a really big risk—but the only other choice you have is to keep on hooking up with people who ultimately will never know you or what you need. Doesn’t that sound bad to you?
You have to work hard to be
open about who you are,
and what you need in and
from a relationship and a
Pursue psychological wellness. Folks, psychological wellness means different things to different people. To you, it might mean weekly therapy or coaching sessions, it might mean journaling, drama, and certain kinds of meditation or exercise. Be sure and set aside about an hour a week to consider your own personal development and well-being. You are an individual, different from all the other people in the world; focus on that and see where it takes you. Challenge yourself to grow and look deeply and honestly into those dark and thought-provoking emotions in your life that you usually labor to avoid. They more you organize your shit, the less baggage you will have moving forward. Most romantic partners aren’t so concerned with baggage as long as you can put it in the overhead bin when you fly. Look, very few of us have squeaky-clean pasts and we all have difficult experiences to work through. The important thing is to not let those experiences and old pathways that they generated choke the life out of the next relationship you have, or guide you to make the same old bad choices.
There are lots of people who grow up, ready from the start to have a fulfilling, fabulous relationship. But lots of people don’t. Fortunately for all of us, those who don’t can learn to change their outlook, their thoughts, and behaviors in ways that can really help them improve their chances for love and a really great life partnership! Instead of falling back into those old ingrained pathways of thinking and acting, take a moment and pause, reflect on what you are embarking on, and let yourself reject in advance those people who are just going to repeat the bad things in your past. When you do just that, you make space in your life for the partner who can help you find long-term contentment…joy.
Now that is something worth changing your life for, don’t you agree?
SPEAK WITH A LIFE COACH IN BATON ROUGE
Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.