When Love hurts.
Sometimes Love is just amazing, from the start. And this is the fairytale love that we are all seeking. But are these Love relationships real?
Love is best when it’s equal, when there is not only attraction but respect. There’s no fairytale, Love relationships require time and effort.
In the early days the lust and attraction is of course vital, and we fall in Love with people in accordance with how this goes. But we don’t always get to know the person behind this attraction that well.
People don’t always show their true selves, particularly in the early days. We want others to see the best of us, and so we give them the best version of us. We are able to do this because we spend small pockets of time together, which slowly increase. It’s exhilarating, exciting and a little bit exhausting!
As the time together increases it becomes harder to hide the ‘warts n all’ and that’s fine, this is where we make it or break it usually. And the amount of time in this period of ‘courtship’ is completely variable: days, weeks, months…
It’s the endings that cause us the grief. Usually one person is less keen for the ending to happen than the other, and this causes us emotional pain. Even if it is us that is creating the ending – because we know that this other person is not good for us.
Endings of relationships can be overlooked by those around us with friends saying things like, ‘well you knew he/she wasn’t good for you, so this is the best decision’ and when we are still struggling to get over it a little later on… ‘just move on, I don’t know why you’re still giving them your emotional time and effort X was a complete shit’. It helps that the friends are sympathising, but it doesn’t help that they are rushing your recovery.
There is no time factor here, on when you are supposed to be over it. Even in the shortest of relationships, there can be such a big impact on you for a variety of reasons. The other person obviously and their personality – the way they made you feel, but also where you are in your life, what you were hoping for from the relationship, the connections that were made for you socially because of that person, and more.
When Love hurts there are no limits on how you get over it, the time it can take, and the noticing of the absence, the aloneness that can come despite friends and family members being around can feel painful in itself.
What to do
It’s so important to acknowledge these uncomfortable feelings: sadness, loneliness, anger, bewilderment – whatever you are feeling is important, real and must be expressed in order to heal. A period of wallowing in one’s own misery is almost mandatory. But at some point we reach a point where it is time to pick ourselves up off the floor and start to look around at the world and into ourselves in preparation for moving on.
There are things we can do at this point to support ourselves, into growth and learning from what went wrong. These are mostly to do with paying attention.
We all experience negative thought patterns or emotional habits that we slip into and these come in the following forms:
- Catastrophising – ‘I’m such a shit human being, no one will ever want to be with me’
- Jumping to conclusions – ‘this is all my fault’
- Taking things personally – ‘even though she said she wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, I know that there is actually something wrong with me’
- Maximising the negatives or minimising the positives – ‘I can’t be trusted to get into relationships, I make the worst choices’ or not being able to accept compliments from anyone ‘I know they all said… but they are all wrong’
- Externalising or internalising – ‘this is all their fault, my behaviour was impeccable throughout’ or ‘it’s totally my fault, there’s something wrong with me’
- Mind reading – making assumptions about what the other is thinking ‘he knows that I don’t like that, why is he doing this to me?’, or believing that others should know what you are thinking ‘she knew that I needed that, I told her when we first met’
There are probably more and you can probably add to every one with examples of your own. And of course they all overlap and one thought can fall into more than one category, we humans are messy. Point to remember – any amount of stress increases the amount we do this.
To notice what we are doing to ourselves is the first step – Wow, look at that I wouldn’t talk to my friends the way I’m talking to myself. And then try this exercise:
“What other story might be true?”
Write the sentence down: ‘I will always be alone’
And then write 4 or 5 sentences on who you are and how your day was today if this statement was true. What would you be doing, who with, how are you feeling and behaving?
Now write an alternative truth: ‘I know I will meet someone special soon’
And then write 4 or 5 sentences on what this is like for you if it were true.
Notice how you feel when you get to the end of that. What have you learned?
Remember that your mind is always listening and so if your inner dialogue is always tuned into the ‘crap channel’ then this is what your mind believes to be true. When you start to challenge your thoughts and emotions in this way, your mind is being given the opportunity to believe something new about you. It is only you that can impact your mind in this way.
This is where we start to develop internal resilience and post traumatic growth can start to kick in, rebuilding, reprogramming, and nurturing ourselves towards our comeback.
Look at what we’re doing here: acknowledging the hardship – ‘this was so painful, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone’ and then choosing life and to move forward – ‘BUT, I’m astonished at my ability to take better care of myself, and the kindness I have experienced from others’.
When Love hurts, when it ends, it can feel like the world is ending, but it’s not. Be kind to yourself, take care of yourself and know that you can get to another place of understanding and that you can figure out some of what went wrong, and why this ending was probably one of the best things to happen to you!
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