We all make sacrifices when we are in a relationship in the interest of promoting greater harmony with our significant others. Maybe we don’t spend as much time with our family or friends, or we give up on certain activities that don’t appeal to our partners. Perhaps we let them do certain things for us because they enjoy doing it more, or we take on tasks that we don’t necessarily like in order to spare them real grief. It’s completely normal to modify certain inclinations we may have in order to preserve peace at home– but what happens when you no longer have to hold back?
When we exit a long-term relationship, we all go through an adjustment period. First there is a need to vent about the good, the bad and the ugly. Use this time to purge whatever will bring back bad memories and grieve the loss of all those opportunities that will now never come to pass. This is all a normal part of the recovery process. But then, if you can, resist the urge to run away from being alone. The key is this: don’t equate solitude with loneliness.
Try to enjoy some time alone, particularly after a harsh split and actually allow yourself to sit peacefully and hear yourself think. Feel your breath, and dig deep into your soul. Think back to your past, and try to identify what made you happy back then. What do you miss? Ask the deep questions and listen earnestly to the answers that can only come from within you. This is how you can re-discover lost parts of yourself that can inspire you to pursue those interests that bring you the most joy.
The reality is the truer you are to yourself, the happier you will be– regardless of who is by your side. So enjoy the calm (especially after a stormy break up), and pursue whatever makes you happy. Go on that trip you’ve been longing to take, redecorate your home your own way, experiment with new cooking recipes or sign up for that class you’ve been considering for some time– just enjoy being yourself again. Awaken those parts of you that have laid dormant for some time, and allow yourself to truly come alive.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.