How To Get Over A Breakup When You’re The Dumper

Second guessing yourself stinks. Especially if you’re doing your best to get over a breakup that you initiated. When you’re the dumper, you expect that you’ll easily walk away from the heartache without too many repercussions. So it’s a bit of a shock to find yourself agonizing over missing someone you loved.

Love has a way of sneaking back into our thoughts when we’re doing our best to forget about someone. And despite your best efforts, it’s nearly impossible to remove the parts of the brain that store memories. So how do you get over a break up you caused? You put it into a big, big perspective.

Step number one: how many people do we have on the planet these days? My quick Google search revealed 7,432,663,275. That’s a lot of folks to get to know! How many people are you looking to spend time with? Love? Make love to? Hold at night? Maybe make a baby or two with? Enjoy a walk or a movie together? One… maybe two… ? Okay, three max!

I promise you… they’re out there. They exist.

Step number two: gain a little distance on this #breakup thing. What propelled you to break up the relationship or the marriage? I bet, it’s because on some deep level (or some obvious, mismatched fighting, dysfunctional level) you realized that this person you were with wasn’t right for you. So you ended the relationship. Hopefully gracefully (not by a text) and hopefully with some dignity so that if you run into them in the future, you don’t have to bury your head in your cell phone, but you ended it because you knew it wasn’t right. Whatever right means to you.

From time to time, you’ll be out and about in your life and you’ll be reminded of this person. It’s what the experts call, “being triggered.” You’ll probably let your mind wander and get re-triggered when you visit your favorite beach or your usual restaurant. There may be neighborhoods that you’ll have to avoid or a town you’re going to have to visit just to “take back” those streets and make the stores your own! You’ll most likely relive conversations and the events you shared. This happens because the thoughts are buried inside your mind and memories. And they will hurt. Many, many times over. At least at first.

Welcome to the human race.

Step number three: it’s not actually possible to forget about someone who’s touched your heart. They get in there and take up space. Even if they were mean to you, hurt you, betrayed you. You knew they weren’t right for you, but it’s just the way we’re wired. So, I’m sorry, but… expect to think about the good moments the two of you shared. Be prepared to imagine them next to you when you go to your favorite places. Know you’ll replay making love to them and all those sexy moments in the future. You’re human.

Step number four: you are not at the mercy of your feelings. Ever. Be selective, manage those thoughts that cause you pain. Growing older and wiser, there’s a part of us that must run the show. You tap into this part of your mind every time you do what you say you’re going to do… i.e., show up at work and do a great job, lift the spirits of those you’re with, pay your bills on time, and volunteer. You’re capable of way more than you think in the midst of pain, triggered by memories. So enjoy the happy ones and then stop. Shift. Decide whether or not those particular feelings are productive or useful at the moment.

Opt for joy and select being happy in the here and now. Not your memories.

Step number five: it’s about accepting responsibility for your own well-being. For the future. If you don’t take care of you, who will? It’s time to put that breakup into a healthy perspective. You ended the relationship for a real reason! So wish them well and make a U-turn to you… how are you taking care of yourself these days? Are you doing the things you know you need to do, to get the kind of partner you really want to have? Only you can answer this question. And it’s super important! No one else can ever fix the broken parts of you. Only you can. So get out there, make some courage, figure out how to do the work you need to do. Then choose to focus and do the work.

I think the number one reason you may be having a hard time with that breakup is because you’re forgetting that you’re the person you’re supposed to be thinking about. Not them. Not the memories. Not indulging the feelings. Not any of the past.

When the focus returns, there’s courage and determination to grow and the energy to find that true partner. It’s easier to overcome the impulses and triggers and regain authority over your heart and mind when you put yourself first. Try that the next time you begin to feel guilty or sad.

The second reason why you may be having a hard time with that breakup is that you may just like to indulge those feelings. We think they’re justified and that we deserve them. We feel guilty and suffer inner (if not outer) shame and embarrassment. Shame is one of those feelings we do our best to avoid but has a way of sneaking in at all hours of the day. Okay, fair enough. But let me ask you… what’s it really about? Who’s definition of love are you trying to live up to? Because the God I know wouldn’t want you to suffer in love. And your lifetime is a long time to be suffering.

The third reason why you may be having a hard time with that breakup is that you forgot there are these magic properties with time and space. There really is something to be said about time passing. You really will shoulder on. It’ll be emotional at first (until you gain control over your thoughts and feelings) and then the memories will come and go and they won’t hurt so much. Over time, they’ll come and go and make you smile. You’ll regain your center and become grateful this relationship is over. You’ll smile and feel free.

Have some faith… there’s a person out there looking for you. Just the right one, with the right color eyes and the perfect smile. They’re looking for you too and they’re just as anxious, maybe ending the wrong relationship, maybe feeling a wee bit sorry for themselves and lacking hope. Maybe wondering why they’ve got these memories.

Over time, they’ll be able to move on, think about their own healing, put some distance between the memories and eventually be able to see you too; to find you amidst a crowd. Count on that! Know that. Believe you’re worth the love coming your way. That’s how you’ll get over a breakup when you’re the dumper — knowing you’re worthy of a real love. That’s why you ended it, to begin with.

If you’re having trouble focusing on your own healing, reach out: laura@laurabonarrigo.com Spending some time on yourself will help you put the pain in perspective.

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