#148 - You aren't here anymore

“It’s been nearly a year since I have seen you and we last talked. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t think about you for some reason. It might be the way I make the bed now. It might be the way I wash the dishes or do laundry. It might be the body wash I use in the shower. All these things remind me of you. I’ve had to delete your number from my phone because you have no idea how many times I’ve wanted to call you or to text you. You have no idea how many times I’ve wanted to hear your voice. You have no idea about how much I miss your smile and your kisses when I awake. You aren’t here to greet me with a hug and a kiss when I come home. You aren’t here to share our joys and heartaches of each day.”

“Do you think of me or have you moved on? Do you ever struggle with wanting to call or text just to see how I’m doing? Or, am I just a distant memory?”

Have you ever thought or spoken any of these thoughts after a divorce, death of a spouse, or even the break-up of a long-term relationship? I know I have and I’m guessing if you had any feelings for your significant other, you have too.

Holidays compound the the loneliness

This time of year, the holiday season, (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, etc.) is difficult for most of us for one reason or another. Adding in the loss of a relationship and the loneliness that usually accompanies that loss can be emotionally brutal. The temptation to call, text, e-mail, send a card or gift can be overwhelming! Don’t do it! It will only cause additional heartache, if not immediately then sometime down the road.

What if he or she doesn’t acknowledge your attempt to make contact? You will feel hurt that they wouldn’t even dignify your outreach with a response. Then your healing process takes a big step backward! What if he or she does reply? The door is open for more contact. You get sucked into a relationship black hole! And, when the contact ends…again…you have to start your grieving and healing process all over again. Get off this emotional roller coaster ride!

Deal with emotional healing

The key is to deal with the grief of loss only once. It may seem like it is an insurmountable emotional challenge, but it’s not. The pain of a lost relationship always seems greater than the pain of a poor relationship at first. It is much easier to go through this grieving process only once than it is to go through it multiple times.

Another major life lesson is that you cannot speed up the grieving and healing process by jumping into another relationship before you’re emotionally ready. I have seen this time and again where someone will dive head first into a new relationship in an attempt to fill the void only to find that they have chosen the wrong person for the wrong reasons. Then, another grieving process needs to take place added to the incomplete healing and grieving of their last relationship.

Spend time with friends or family. Find social groups that you share a common interest with. Host a holiday party and invite friends and ask them to invite a friend or two of theirs that you don’t know. Attend social or charity events, even if you go alone. The first couple of times may feel uncomfortable. It will take strength and courage to expand your comfort zone, but the more often you do it, the more comfortable it will get. By all means, avoid sitting home alone having a pity party for yourself!

Another terrific alternative is to get out and exercise. You don’t have to have a gym membership or do anything fancy. Studies tell us that just a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk will work wonders for relieving stress, clearing our head and changing our attitude. Give it a try! Until next time, date consciously and accept nothing less than extraordinary in your relationship.