Avoid These 7 Mistakes When You Go Through a Breakup

It took me an unusually long time to let go of my marriage. After the divorce, I spent years of my life stuck in the past, ruminating about my ex and trying to think about the good old days of the past.

Even after the divorce decree had been signed and years had passed, I still had some thoughts of wanting to get back together with my ex. Being the eternal optimist, I thought we still had a shot and could have overcome our many differences. “If we could just do this one more thing…” I regularly thought to myself.

Society has programmed us with so many of these thoughts about having just one happily after in life. Not only society but family, friends and even I, myself, had bought into the idea of having one person in life.

Later when I started coaching people who were going through breakups and divorces, they began to repeat some of the thoughts that I had when I was resisting letting go of my previous relationship.

If you’re trying to let go of a partner from a previous relationship, you may be making some of the same mistakes I did as well. You may be mentally or emotionally holding on to the relationship even as you’re trying to let go.

Here are 7 common mistakes you may be making when trying to let go of an ex and some tips on what you can do instead:

1. You reflect on all the good qualities of your ex

You may reflect back on the relationship and be only thinking about all their positive qualities. You may be thinking about what a kind and generous person your ex was, or what a loving and compassionate person they were. You keep remembering all their good qualities only.

You think about what a dynamic person they were to you and everyone else. They were confident, well-liked, and had many virtuous attributes that people around them admired about them. You imagine them to be a much better version of themselves than they actually were. All of their unhealthy and toxic qualities get swept under the rug when you’re looking at them in hindsight.

Do this instead:

  • Remember your ex’s good qualities AND all the things that made you feel miserable.

  • Be thankful for the previous experience and thankful that you’re no longer with them.

2. You think about all the good times you had together

Gone from your memory are the struggles, fights, and countless arguments. Gone are the sniping criticisms that they lobbed at you. Gone are the vicious disagreements you had with each other. Not only do you forget about their unhealthy qualities but you also forget about all of the difficult situations and circumstances you shared together.

You now only imagine rainbows of roses. You think about weddings you attended and graduations. You think about the special events and the anniversaries. You think about the happy, the sentimental, and the deep moments of connection you had with your ex. You reflect on all the dreams and happy memories you shared together, not the hard stuff that led to the relationship ending.

Do this instead:

  • Reflect accurately about the good times and the bad times of the relationship.

  • Think about those challenging times in that previous relationship and why you wanted to get out of it.

  • Remind yourself that you weren’t happy and that’s why you wanted it to end.

3. You feel like a failure because the relationship didn’t work out

Since the relationship didn’t work out, you don’t simply think of the relationship as a failure but you feel like you’re a failure for having failed in the relationship.

Your self-worth takes a hit because the relationship didn’t work out and you begin to think there’s something inherently wrong with you.

You don’t want to give up on the relationship even if it’s over because you have something to prove. Your self-worth and self-esteem are tied up to the relationship. You want another chance to prove that you can make it work and that you’re not a failure. You allow the relationship to define who you are as a person.

Do this instead:

  • Although the relationship may have failed, you’re not a failure. Know that you did the best you could under the circumstances.

  • You may have more to learn and get better at relationships but you weren’t a failure for the relationship not working out.

  • Study and learn from the past instead of brooding over it.

4. You believe there’s no one better out there for you

When you come out of a relationship, you believe that the last person you were dating was the best person for you. Worse, you don’t think you can find anyone better than that person.

So you marinate in regret and fear of missing out with that person. You wish you could be with this person who accepted you and was with you for the time they were.

You doubt you can find another relationship and even if you could find one, the person you find won’t be anything like the person you had. Your ex was such a remarkable person that you’re convinced that’s the best you’re going to be able to do. You’ve now put your ex on a pedestal and believe that you’ve had the best relationship in your life.

Do this instead:

  • Instead of focusing on your ex and how great they were, reflect on yourself and see how far you have come.

  • Acknowledge yourself, affirm your positive qualities and start appreciating the person you are.

  • You are the one you’ve been waiting for: become the best version of yourself today

5. You believe they were your soulmate

You believe that your ex was sent to you by the universe. They were your soulmate and “the one” you had been waiting for your whole life.

You had waited for years for them to show up and never again will someone show up who is so good for you. They were a perfect match and no one else will come close to how compatible they were for you. You have no hope for any future partner because you’ve already met your soulmate.

You don’t believe the breakup is real because you believe that soulmates are to spend their lives together. It’s just a matter of time before they come back into your life and you get back together again. You believe in the power of miracles, soulmates. and the wisdom of the universe in keeping you both together. It doesn’t matter if the relationship is completely over and they’ve moved on with someone else.

Do this instead:

  • You can have more than one soulmate in life. Sometimes soulmates come into our lives to teach us and change our lives.

  • You may have another soulmate ready to come into your life and live happily ever after with. Anyone who speaks to us or connects with us at a soul level is a soulmate.

6. You don’t grieve of the relationship ending

You don’t want to go through the grief and sadness of feeling bad.

If you don’t accept the relationship is over, you won’t have to deal with all of the painful and unpleasant feelings that come up from heartbreak. You won’t feel like someone is stabbing you in the heart or trying to push you underwater. If you kept the relationship alive in your mind and held onto it in your heart, you’ll be filled with hope and sentimentality instead of grief and hopelessness.

You hold onto the idea of the relationship so you don’t have to confront the reality that the relationship is over. You practice resistance and non-acceptance so you don’t have to fall into a rabbit hole of grief, sadness, and pain about the breakup.

Do this instead:

  • You will have to be willing to let go of the relationship which means feeling all the feelings that come up.

  • Get some support from your network of friends and supporters as you work through the pain of a relationship ending.

  • You can endure this difficult period of painful emotions and come out stronger on the other side.

7. You blame yourself for the relationship ending

You believe that you single-handedly caused this relationship to fall apart.

You are the sole person to blame and your ex is blameless and innocent. Only you sabotaged the relationship, caused all of the problems and caused it to end. Your ex was a fine person who had very little to do with any of the problems of the relationship.

You continue to believe that if it wasn’t for you and your actions, you’d still be together. You carry around the heavy guilt of all the things you did wrong in the relationship.

You don’t share the responsibility of the relationship ending equally and you carry around the heavy baggage of your past. You have a hard time letting go of this relationship because you want to fix it, find ways to atone for your mistakes and make it work this time around.

Do this instead:

  • It takes two people to make a relationship work and two people for a relationship to fall apart. Both of you did things to lead to the end of the relationship.

  • If you were the reason for the relationship ending, chalk it up to experience and work on forgiving yourself for your past mistakes. You were only doing the best you could at the time.

Are you having trouble letting go of a past relationship? What challenges do you face when a relationship is over?

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