- Gender and Relationships
Is Your Emotional Break Lasting Too Long? -Stephanie Bailey
When a breakup occurs, an emotional break from dating is necessary for the mind, body and soul to heal. To be completely present and emotionally able to give and receive love, your heart must first heal in order for your next relationship to be successful. But how long should the break last before stepping onto the train of love again? We've all heard the saying that time heals all wounds, but can too much time make you cynical and bitter?
If you are like me, after a breakup (especially a bad one), you do a lot of self-healing. You cry, mope around, eat chocolate and ice cream, drink wine (and more wine), and get therapy help from friends and family. Once the tears and self-pity start to lessen, you turn to self-help books that tell you that you are perfect the way you are, that it wasn't you... it was him. You start journaling your feelings and a new-found confidence emerges. Once your self-esteem starts to build, you turn to more books, but this time they are books on finding love and holding on to the man of your dreams. You workout more: running, biking, going to the gym or practicing yoga. You eat healthy, meditate, and find an affirmation to say when you wake and fall asleep that gives you strength, "I am a beautiful strong woman who does not need a man to complete me." You might even go to a women only retreat or workshop which ignites the mantra, "I don't need a man or a relationship to define me." Although the road to self-recovery/discovery is important—when does it become too extreme?
When your heart is broken, the thought of getting back on the love train can be frightening. Especially if you believed that your last relationship was “the one” (or at least as close to "the one" that you had ever come). Maybe you were together for years, talked about the future; marriage, kids, buying a house. Maybe you spent quality time with each others families and friends. It can be devastating if you thought he would be proposing but instead broke things off. Or maybe he dragged his feet, and after years of this, you were the one who decided to walk away. When you care about someone, let them into your life and fall in love, it doesn’t matter what your story is, breaking up is painful. It can cause your world to feel like it has been turned upside down—an emotional roller coaster you would rather not be riding.
The connection you once felt can seem heart-wrenching to disconnect—even if you knew that the relationship wasn't ultimately right for you. When you care for someone it's bound to be painful letting them go, especially if you shared a home, many experiences, and intertwined your family and friends.
The self-healing begins, but for how long? When you stay in the stage of healing your heart, soul and mind for too long, it can be easy to fall into a cynical "man hating" stage. Part of healing is getting back out there and dating. The tricky part—knowing when the time is right, and figuring out how not to let fear, ego, hurt, and self-judgment decide.
If you are self-healing but feel like you have not healed, and it's been months or even years, you may have not faced your true fears. It is hard to trust someone new, especially when you know there is the possibility of being hurt again. The real work starts with putting yourself out there, dating, and being with someone who is emotionally available, and not just settling for a bunch of one night stands. Don't get me wrong, sometimes a one night stand (or several), can boost your sexual confidence, but you will need to move on to more meaningful relationships. The most important thing you need to possess for a successful transition is self-love.
I have a friend whose heart was broken to the point that she went overboard on self-healing. She didn't even realize that she was doing this for years until she started wondering why she was still single. During her healing journey she spent a lot of time reading, journaling, practicing yoga, etc. (the typical things women may turn to). She only dated men who were unavailable to keep her heart safe. One day she accidentally met a guy that WAS available, and she fell hard for him. Then she freaked out; accusing him of cheating and not being there for her. The accusations were false, but because she had protected her heart for so many years, never really healing, all of her fears and distrust from relationships came to the surface. After that relationship ended she still took time to heal; trying to understand what went wrong. She decided to work on finding her confidence and self-love, and this time she didn't stay long enough to get sucked into the cynical protective vortex she had fallen into before.
Most women have been guilty at some point of spending too much time in the "single girls—don't need a man club." (I know I have). Remember that when you trust, when you really love yourself, when you take the time to heal, not to fear; when you realize that just because one man broke your heart and possibly your trust, it doesn't mean they all will—love will be waiting for you!