March 2015
Conscious Dating Singles News - March 2015



How a Painful Breakup Can Lead to Personal Growth

By Betty Russell

Don't kid yourself. Breaking up can be brutally difficult. In many cases, it is akin to losing someone to death. The loss is complete. Ties severed. Someone who once filled your life and heart is now gone.

Don't pretend "it's okay" when it's not. Let yourself experience it, in whatever way is right for you.

Tears, anger, and pain are the least of it. There is a road ahead for anyone experiencing the loss of a breakup but it is a road that leads to survival - and more than that. True growth as a person awaits you at the end of that road.

Any significant experience has the potential to help us evolve. Love and relationship are surely significant, and even when they end in loss and sadness, they offer great insights into who we are, and who we are not. Whether you or your partner ended the relationship, you can learn from the way everything went down. For example, what did you once tolerate that you won't anymore? What did you have in that relationship that you want in your next? What did you lack that you want be sure you have next time around? How have you grown up since you began that relationship -whether 1, 2, 10, or 25 years ago? You may see the world, yourself, and commitment through an entirely new lens now. As sad as it can be to start over, it is also an opportunity to readjust how you live your life and see yourself.

But first, take time to grieve. You have lost someone, and with that person went hopes, dreams, and future plans. Again, don't forget that even if you decided to end the relationship, you can, and probably will, experience grief. Just because you were the one to see that it was not working does not mean it is easy for you!

Look for these classic 5 stages of grief as you process your loss at your own pace:

  1. Denial - "I can't believe this is happening."
  2. Anger - "I am so mad at X for doing this to me/letting this happen."
  3. Bargaining - "Don't leave me/maybe it can work after all."
  4. Depression - "I feel so hopeless/frustrated/useless/out of control."
  5. Acceptance - "Our relationship is over. It's really over!"

Next, it is time for what may be the hardest part: moving on. People ask me, "How can I move on? I can't picture my life any other way." Others remain stuck at stage 2 - in anger. Moving on requires letting go and part of letting go is forgiveness, for you and for your ex.

Even after you have reached the final stage of acceptance, it takes time to learn how to be alone, and transform feelings of emptiness into feelings of freedom and independence. It is perfectly natural to feel lonely. Of course you are going to miss your previous life, whether it was ripped away from you or you walked away to save yourself. However, don't stay stuck in that wasteland of nothingness. You can make the conscious decision to move forward with your life by turning the page and focusing on loving yourself.

Here are some things to think about as you heal and move forward:

  • Rediscover YOU. Spend time with yourself. Focus on what you want and what you need. Even if you are feeling lonely, enjoy your freedom and independence and the gifts and experiences that they can bring. Make yourself happy. Spoil yourself! See your greatness. Allow the best version of you to emerge,confident and strong.
  • Set new goals. Whether you finally want to get a new and better job, move to a location you've always had a soft spot for, or start saving for that European getaway you never could seem to plan when you were a couple... set your sights. And then start putting one foot in front of the other to reach your goal.
  • Create new options. Life does not have to look the same today as it did a month ago. You can go to different places, pick up a new hobby, see a different kind of movie, go to a different gym, or quit the gym and start biking! Maybe you didn't like the gym in the first place! Are there things you never took time for (whatever the reason) when you were in your relationship? Now is the time to take the time!
  • Reconnect with family and friends. The people who helped you through the breakup still want to see you! Have the social life you want, and even if you are tempted to stay in all the time... please don't. Go out to dinner, invite people over, or just sit quietly with a close friend on a Friday night talking over a bottle of wine or a tray of sushi.
  • Express gratitude. There has been a recent trend on Facebook about speaking your gratitude. It's one of the nicest things about social media - when people share beautiful truths with one another. I heartily approve of the gratitude challenge! It is healing and self-nurturing to be thankful for the things in your life that bring you joy. Be thankful for what feeds you and makes you happy, as well as what you learned about yourself from your previous relationship and for the experience.
Once you decide to move forward, the door to happiness will be there for you. It can take days, weeks, months, or an instant.

But when you are ready to open that door – the choice is yours – you can walk right through it.

Copyright © 2015 by Betty Russell. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

Betty Russell
Betty Russell, is a Dating & Relationship Specialist dedicated to providing Singles with solid information, proven dating skills and an attraction plan to find the right partner. She is your guide to being a smart, savvy, effective satisfied single while dating well, and ultimately finding your true love. For more information and to claim your FREE "4 Steps To Find Your Future Love Fast!" visit

Ask Our Coaches

He wants companionship, I want a relationship.

Dear Coaches,

I'm a young 68 year old woman in a 5 year relationship that just ended: he wants companionship, I want a relationship.

He is 9 years younger than me and enjoys being a loner. He has lived alone for the past 26 years. He says he loves me, but needed his alone time, even though I only see him on weekends.

Why do I feel I could have done something different to make him want to marry me? Or live together? Why do I still want someone that does not want to be with me for more than just a weekend?

How do I turn this around, or move on?

- Karen, from Texas


Rita Hudgens

Rita responds ...

In order to have an ideal relationship, you must have some common ground that is co-created by both of you. Right off the bat, you said he enjoys being a loner, you wanted marriage, or to live together, that is not common ground.

The problem is not you; nor is it him. The problem was in the relationship and the opposing expectations you each held. You each had visions of a totally different relationship. In order to answer your two questions, first would you really want to have done something to MAKE someone want to marry you, or would you rather they marry you because they were madly in love with you and couldn't live without you?

Second question is a little tougher to answer without knowing more about your beliefs, relationship history, etc. I would encourage you to invest in yourself. Learn to have a great relationship with you! Discover your values, get your needs met, be the person you want to have in a mate. Then, you will attract what you want. But make sure you know your relationship requirements and are certain of your deal breakers. Enjoy your journey!

Rita Hudgens |

Darlene Jeter

Darlene responds ...

I am sorry that your 5-year relationship has ended. Although you are experiencing a difficult time in your life, it will get better. In my book, 30 Ways To Get Over A Breakup or Divorce, there are several suggestions to help with getting past pain, loss and heartache. One is to focus on what caused hurt feelings during the relationship.

Do an emotional inventory. Sure, there were good times. Don't think about those times. Focus on your pain and your hurt and write down how you felt when he only wanted to see you on the weekend or when you learned that he did not want to give you the type of commitment that you desired.

When you start dating again, try to get a better handle in the very beginning on what a successful relationship looks like to your suitor and make sure that what he desires matches your desires. You have likely heard that time heals all wounds. It's true.

Darlene Jeter |

Denise Wade, Ph.D.

Denise responds ...

You could not have done anything to make him desire marriage. You can, however approach your own needs differently. Never assume your partner desires a committed marriage just because you do.

Be honest immediately with yourself about how long you will allow yourself to be invested in a relationship, if you both are not aligned with the same goals. Now that you are clear about wanting marriage, use each relationship as a testing ground before you commit your whole self physically, domestically, or emotionally.

Above all, follow a man's actions, not his words. If he only makes time to see you on the weekends, then he is showing you that he is not fully invested in the partnership.

Gently explore your relationship pattern that may be reoccurring unconsciously and attracting you to the wrong partner. It may be that you don't feel valued, that you have to chase love, that you are not at choice, or that the man decides how the relationship will go, etc. Then connect back to your earliest painful memory of when and how that was downloaded for you, either with a parent or a partner. This awareness will help you be conscious of this pattern.

Denise Wade, Ph.D. |

Barbara Williams

Barbara responds ...

Thank you for reaching out. I admire your courage to seek for answers to possible underlying concerns.

Im sorry for the ending of your relationship. It sounds as though each of you were looking for something different, which is neither good, nor bad. Itís just the way you are, which should be respected and honored. I'm sure you have known this now for some time, but was still willing to tolerate the situation, for whatever reason. Honor the fact that he did what he needed to do for him, and now so should you.

Since you are looking for a relationship, it's important that you clearly understand what you require, need, and want in and from a relationship; so that initially you won't need to waste another five years filling someone else's need, and leaving your own unmet.

Sounds like you have a void you're trying to fill. Get clear on what that could be, and get the support you need to help you move forward. I invite you to connect with me to help you get some personal clarity, which will enhance your internal radar for the next guy who comes along.

Barbara Williams |

The opinions stated are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the staff, members, or leadership of Relationship Coaching Institute.

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.


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Darlene Steele | Editor, Couple for Life News | CONTACT DARLENE
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