Moving on from an important relationship is one of the most challenging things life can throw at us. Our own life becomes entangled with another until it feels hard to separate the two. Our routines, leisure, home, even our very identity, can be tied so deeply with another we’re unsure how to move on without losing everything we hold dear.
I have years of experience in divorce counselling, couples therapy and relationship coaching. Whatever type of relationship or separation you’re dealing with, these tips can start you on the path to moving on.
Take time to deal with the grief – the end of a relationship is a difficult time and, even if you know it was the right decision to end it, it can take some time to move on. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. There is no set time we spend in each stage and it’s to become stuck in any one. Identifying how you really feel about the breakup will help you address your situation and start to move on.
Address the underlying issues – why do you really think you are struggling to move on? Is it that you still love the person or is it something else? Perhaps you’re afraid to be on your own? Perhaps you’re struggling with self-confidence or self-image? Or will you miss the security or routine provided by the relationship? Uncovering the aspects of the relationship you’ll miss the most can help you understand what you need to develop in your own life to help you let you go.
Reflect and find meaning – one of the hardest things when a relationship breaks down is feeling like you’ve wasted part of your life. However, life is rarely perfect and there’s meaning and merit in all our experiences. Reflect on the relationship as a whole – what was good and what was bad? Why did it end? What will you do differently next time? Don’t do this until you feel you can be rational and objective. It can help to talk things over with someone else who can question your assumptions. It’s easy to view a relationship through rose tinted glasses at first but with time we usually see faults on both sides. If you can, forgive the other party for any hurt they have caused.
Pack away – once you feel like you’ve come to terms with what happened in the relationship, how it affected you and why you’re struggling to move on, it’s time to make a promise to yourself to start on a new path. Acknowledge everything and write it down if it helps. Then put this along with other reminders of the relationship into a box and store it away. The relationship will always be an important part of your past, but this symbolises you dealing with your feelings and moving on. If you feel things went unsaid it can help to write a final letter (it doesn’t always have to be sent to provide closure).
Discover yourself – An important part of moving on is remembering who you were outside of that relationship. We all make concessions and change for a partner but now you are free to be yourself 100%. What do you enjoy doing? What’s important in your life? What makes you tick? Once you know the answers to these questions you know where you might find a new happiness.
Spend time with other people – Time alone is important when you first come out of a relationship. You need to learn to feel comfortable on your own again and to be your own friend. Learn how to follow your own needs and how to make your own plans. Once you feel ready, spending time with family and friends or meeting new people is a good reminder of how positive social interaction can be and how much fun you can have in your new social groups.
Embrace your independence – There are many things that are harder to do in a relationship or that you might have given up to please your partner. Now you can do whatever you want so make the most of it. Learn new hobbies or take some trips alone. You no longer have to worry about someone else which can be a liberating experience.
If you are finding it difficult to move on from a relationship that’s ended you may benefit from professional help. Through coaching and hypnotherapy I have helped many people move on and find new happiness. Please do get in touch to learn more about how I can help.