I won’t bore you with the review of a Polish movie “United States of Love” as it’s one of the worst I’ve seen in years (makes me understand all the hype around “Cold War” better…). However, among the enigmatic stories of female unhappiness, there was one story that inspired me to write this post.
A successful woman is a lover of a man whose wife eventually dies. She expects him to upgrade their relationship but instead he withdraws more and more to eventually leave her. The woman becomes pretty pathetic and her attempts to get him back include: emotional blackmail, harassing him at work and threats.
As much as I don’t think it’s common to go to such lengths to keep someone, both men and women do pretty sad things to let the loved one stay. I’m not the one to cast the stone first either as I remember vividly throwing plates and glasses at my love interest in my early 20s.
Perhaps such emotions are natural when we’re very young and we think that the person we like or love leaving is the end of the world and we’ll NEVER meet anyone again. As we grow older, however, we do realise that someone else and probably someone better will come our way. So what to do when we know that the impending death of our relationship is inevitable? Start by repeating this to yourself:
1. You Can’t Make Anyone Love You
It’s sad when love ends, especially if you’re the party who’s being abandoned and you still have some feelings for your now ex-partner. Unfortunately, you can’t make them love you if they ceased to do so or never managed to feel that way towards you.
By trying to make someone love you, you just make them resent you more and potentially lose respect for you as well. The break-up will hurt and it’ll take you some time to get over this person but you will eventually. Most importantly, you can be sure you won’t die. No one ever does.
2. Fantasizing Won’t Help
I’m not telling you, you’ll be okay after a day or two. In fact, give yourself a month to eat sweets, watch romantic comedies, get drunk with your girlfriends and skip the gym. That’s just a normal process of grieving and of understanding that there won’t be a happily ever after to this particular story.
You need to understand it that it’s the end, though. Don’t fantasize about the person crawling back to you and begging for forgiveness because it’s a waste of time. Focus on moving on.
3. Don’t Do Anything That Will Make You Feel Ashamed Later On
One thing is to manage to get over the loss of a loved one, another is to add shame and cringing over your own behavior to the mix. If anyone will react positively to emotional blackmail, suicide threats or other insane behaviors, this is certainly not the kind of person you wan’t to be with.
Usually when someone calls it quits, they thought long and well about it. The horrible truth is that they know the person you are and they don’t want to be with you. Your job is to deal with it, instead of moulding into a person they’d maybe want to be with.
4. Listen to What They Say
When my ex-Italian boyfriend(ish) figure I had my super date with left me, my world was in shambles. Yes, we didn’t “date” for long but things took of quickly and I was sure we were meant to be (he was a handsome Italian doctor!). If I had not been stuck in a fantasy world, I would have known that things were always a bit weird between us and that I liked the IDEA of us more than what was actually happening. But I digress.
When things were done, he told me that before I enter a relationship I should sort myself out. He also told me I was trying to make sense of life through a relationship.
I was outraged, of course, but when I matured a bit I realised he was right. In my youth I had an invisible FIX ME, PLEASE tattoo on my forehead and I was an intensity seeker. I thought that I didn’t need anything grounding and that I could build my life around a relationship, which is obviously wrong.
This may not be your particular problem, but if someone is breaking up with you and they’re giving you some insight, listen to it however hurtful it is.
5. If They’re Really Yours, They’ll Come Back
This is something that I’ve learnt reading “Why Women Love Bitches” but life showed me it’s very true.
I know one girl whose partner of two years started to have doubts about their relationship. She tried to reason with him but when she saw he didn’t want to reconsider, she decided that it was the burning bridges time and started to move on.
A month after the break up he realized he was being stupid and he was just unwilling to work on problems that any couple has. They rekindled and got engaged a year later.
In my personal life I let go of a guy who I went on a great date with, kissed and texted the whole following day with until he went quiet. Two months later he recontacted me and we gave it a proper try, which showed that we weren’t meant to be.
There are also stories of people remarrying after a divorce or rekindling after years and many different partners in between.
If you’re truly a match, you’ll find your way back to one another somehow but if you’re not you’re not. Move on and see what happens and life will verify it all for you.
6. Don’t Let Them Take Advantage of You
The rekindling mentioned in the previous point is an exception to the rule, which is why it’s so important to move on when someone dumps you. In the very beginning after a break-up there are many risks related to staying in touch and one of them is that the person who left you will try to take an advantage of you.
When one of my boyfriends left me, I wanted a clear break but he managed to encourage me to have “stay friends” instead.
Of course, I was still vulnerable and had feelings for him so it quickly evolved into an open relationship. I convinced myself that it was an amazing idea as that way I could slowly wiggle my way out of having feelings for him. I was wrong as it was what HE did, downgrading our relationship more and more until he was healed of me, while I was clinging always more for smaller bits of him I was given.
If your heart is hurting don’t agree to any kind of “just friends” agreements because chances are that it’ll turn into a friends with benefits arrangement. Remember that the fact that they don’t see a future with you, doesn’t mean that don’t want to have sex with you so be careful about confusing these two things and getting lost in lust.
7. Don’t Start a Pattern of Breaking-Up and Getting Back Together
Maybe you need to get back with someone to get them out of your system but be realistic about your future together. If they left you, chances are they’ll do it again. In fact, a breaking-up and getting back together pattern is very common and it’s a super unhealthy thing to have.
If someone doesn’t think properly about hurting your feelings before they break up with you or even worse is trying to manipulate you in this way, it’s bad news. It’s good for when you’re 15 but later on in life it’s something you should never allow. It’s a toxic behavior and if it’s your pattern, you may want to have a look to zloty baby’s toolbox to find the right tools for becoming more assertive.
8. Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason
There are times in our life, when believing the lie that everything happens for a reason is harmful as you can learn from the powerful TED talk I’ve linked to. This isn’t one of them. After a break-up believing that there’s a reason for your suffering and that reason is you finding someone better down the road may be extremely helpful.
Take your time and when you’re ready start to appreciate the opportunities that would have never come to you, had that person not broken up with you. Also remember to analyse what went wrong with that relationship and how did you think things were fine between you when they weren’t.
9. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
There may be some value in your ex-partner’s insight about you and your relationship, there may not. Listen to it and hear the painful truth if it can help you become a better person. Equally, if your ex is being delusional and blaming everything on you, don’t listen to them.
There’s so much at play to form a successful relationship: attraction, compatibility, commitment, willingness to work on issues, emotional maturity, interests in common… There are so many things that need to click that it’s a miracle that we’re not all forever alone.
Don’t beat yourself up that your relationship didn’t work out – most don’t. It’s enough for one to do for you to have your happily ever after.
So Rinsers, do you have any other thoughts on letting people go? Or maybe you think that one should fight for a partner and the fight is only done when they get a restraining order against you ;)? Do tell!