Relationship Advice: After the Break Up - Creating an Exit Door in Your Heart
Q. It's been over a year since the guy I thought I would be married to broke up with me. He said he was just scared to make the commitment. I felt like I tried really hard and did the best I could in this one. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday. I can't seem to get over this no matter how hard I try. I'm afraid that there will never be anyone else that I can get that close to or who will understand me. I keep trying to figure out where I went wrong.
A. A year is a long time to feel bad, and usually much longer than is necessary.
I'm going to guess about a few things that might be going on here.
Reliving the relationship
Many times when a person is still feeling as bad as you do more than a year later, it's because you've spent the last year reliving the relationship. This comes in the form of trying to figure out exactly what went wrong, fueled by the inaccurate belief that if you could just figure out exactly what went wrong, then you could let go.
The reality is that spending so much time trying to figure out what went wrong keeps you attached to the relationship and prevents you from moving on.
Relationships are messy things, and many times we can never really know exactly what went wrong.
Our brains are very obedient at times. If you keep asking your brain to figure out what you did wrong, it's going to search for all kinds of reasons, and you are going to wind up feeling like a failure.
My guess is while the relationship failed, you did not.
If you are with someone who is just not ready to commit, you cannot fail.
This is because when there is no possibility of success, you simply cannot fail.
Differences between men and women
I'm about to speak in general about the differences between men and women, which is always a dangerous thing. But here goes: In general, men have two doors to their hearts, one marked enter and one marked exit. Women don't have an exit door to their hearts, which makes getting over someone much more difficult.
Creating an exit door
You need to create an exit door in your heart and then show this guy, and the pain and hurt, right out the door.
If the desired outcome and measure of success is a committed marriage, then all the other relationships before marriage are failed relationships.
But if you handled yourself well, feel good about your behavior and choices, and even used what you learned in other relationships in this one, then you were successful.
Consider what you learned in this relationship that you can use to make the next one(s) better.
If you learned what a commitment-challenged guy looks like and that these relationships don't work out, then it was time well spent.
Make a list of all the things you learned from this one that will help you in the future.
Since this guy was too scared to commit, then he did you a favor by breaking up with you. Marriage to a commitment-challenged person is a disaster and a divorce looking for a place to happen.
Here's a fun little trick to help show this guy out the exit door of your heart:
Imagine a picture of the relationship in your mind. It feels like it's right out in front of you, a few inches from your face, and difficult to see past. Take that picture and imagine moving it off to the side of you, out of view. Feels better, doesn't it?
Practice this and you will be able to show him the exit door to your heart, and soon, you will picture it behind you altogether.
And then you will be ready to move on.
Leading relationship expert Jeff Herring is a Relationship Coach, Speaker, and Nationally Syndicated Relationship columnist.
You can read more practical tips, common sense relationship advice and occasional humor at his website SecretsofGreatRelationships.com
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