Part Two of your responses to a reader’s heartfelt request for advice, “How to thrive after a breakup” (Sept. 30):
Reader #1- “After two-and-a-half years, my relationship with my college boyfriend and I came to an abrupt end (he broke up with me on my lunch break). I was very angry and bitter in the aftermath.
“Although we’d been growing apart, I felt that I didn't deserve how he treated me. I decided to take a step back from dating and examine my own part in this breakup.
“It took several years (!) to work through this, but eventually I realized that I had nothing more to gain by playing the role of the victim.
“My male and female friendships were a great support to me during this time. When I did re-enter the dating world, I vowed to be a better and more honest communicator, and to hold back from rushing into anything serious. By that time, my college boyfriend was out of my mind and heart and I could move forward.”
Reader #2 – “I was a single mom, whose engagement with her fiancé had fallen through. The next major relationship that failed devastated me deeply. I became a shell of myself and had a lot of difficulty getting out of bed, concentrating, and focusing on parenting, school, and work. I got through it with time. It's also necessary to try to stay positive and manage your thoughts. For a while, I kept a journal and purged all my worries, fears, thoughts, and anger in it.
“I ended each entry with a positive statement negating whatever thing I was hung up on at that time (e.g. “I am loveable").
“I also wrote down positive affirmations and things that I was thankful for everyday on slips of decorative paper and put them in a big glass vase. Every day that passed, my vase filled up. It was very powerful in it's imagery.
“You need to ensure that you don't do anything that you’ll regret long-term – so don't forget to spend time with your kids or other loved ones, and do things that are proactive toward your short and long-range goals, and/or things which feel meaningful.
“Don't forget to take care of yourself: Prioritize your fitness and health and also do things that make you feel attractive and desirable. Make time to dress in a way that makes you feel like your best self. That confidence, joyfulness, and happiness that we all desire will come back to you - if you learn to fall in love with, and cherish, yourself.”
Reader #3 – “I was married to a man I adored and couldn’t get over the paralysis of the breakup. I saw a therapist who recommended that I go to a private place and start yelling that my ex was an "a------” (or other expletive).
“I did it and once I started, I couldn't stop. I wailed like a banshee until I could cry no more and ate lots of ice cream, but when it subsided, I realized he held responsibility for at least 50% (but not all) of the breakup.
“Perfect romances and happy marriages don't end. Once your reader who asked the question really looks at the marriage, she’ll see why it ended and learn not to repeat those mistakes (which she might’ve made) the next time around.
“Surrendering to grief, going into the fire, and rising like the Phoenix is the only healthy way to recover.”
Reader #4 – “The first thing I did was realize that I wasn’t responsible for everything that failed in my marriage. After 28 years together, he fell in love with another woman.
“Don’t let your ex treat you badly. Don’t let him get away with trying to shaft you in financial dealings.
1. Find yourself a good place to live, a sanctuary, with projects that need doing.
2. Re-establish your long-time friendships. Not everyone's life is perfect and sometimes they need to vent too.
3. List all the good things about your marriage and all the bad, and compare.
4. Stay with therapy. You need an unbiased person to talk things out with.
“That’s how I survived. My children helped with projects in my home and with their love.
“My ex and I have a decent relationship now but only because I insisted on being treated with respect. So insist on that. You deserve it.”
Tip of the day:
Examining your own part in a break-up can help you learn how to achieve greater happiness in your next relationship.