I was heartbroken.
In less than 24 hours, this man went from “You’re my wife!” to “I need to think things over.” As I wept in the car outside his apartment, I asked him what he meant by that, although in my heart, I knew the truth.
The next few weeks were hell. I cried hot tears every night, and a few seeped out while I was in my cubicle surrounded by my grad school peers. “How did I get here…again?!” I kept asking myself. I saw the signs about this guy, but I ignored them.
He didn’t have a steady job. “But he has dreams to be a recording artist,” I reasoned.
He had a daughter by another woman that he didn’t ever see or support. “I’ll be able to influence him,” I thought.
He picked fights with me, called me names like “Lazy bum,” and put me down for getting a PhD, claiming that I used big words on him on purpose and that I hid behind my work instead of spending time with him. “He’ll change in time,” I decided.
He pushed me to become sexual, even when I said no. “It’ll be alright because we’re getting married,” I hoped.
My pain turned to anger as I thought about how much I’d compromised to be with him. I’d given so much of my time, money (he actually asked for my credit card to go shopping!) and body. I allowed myself to open up to another man after healing from a broken engagement and here I was, devastated, broken and alone.
Although the breakup was one of the worst experiences of my life, I overcame it and less than 1 year later, I met my husband. If you’ve found yourself suddenly single again and you’re considering closing down your heart to love, let me share with you the exact steps I took to cure my heartbreak so you can learn to love again.
Grief is letting go of what you can not keep. It is what empowers you to let go completely of the relationship. You need to grieve your hopes and dreams for the relationship, acknowledge the fact that you loved the person, and then clear out your hurts and regrets. If you just numb out or shut down, you’ll stay stuck in your pain. Grief helps you redirect your focus on what you can have in the future and allows your scars to become memories.
2. Tell Yourself the truth
“We simply have a tendency to ignore bad behavior if there is something important we need from the person.” This is what Dr. Henry Cloud said when writing about how we end up in bad relationships. We will miss or ignore character problems in someone we’re interested in because there’s a payoff. They give us something we long for–companionship, attention, affection–so we overlook the deeper issues that cause us pain.
According to Cloud, character is the set of abilities needed to live real life, but the fantasy that we create when we’re in love, causes us to push past any gaps in the other person’s character. For example, if a man is going to be a good partner, he needs a stable job, conflict skills, communication skills, the ability to take responsibility for his actions and more.
I had to tell myself the truth that I was living a lie by dating a man who clearly wasn’t relationship material. The truth set me free!
3. Interrupt the pattern
On the surface, this guy was different from my ex-fiance. But I was showing up the same in both relationships. I was giving love to get love, and it cost me dearly! I had to spend time looking at my patterns and then learn new beliefs that would keep me from making the same mistakes. It was painful but empowering because I realized I could learn how to choose a better man!
4. Fall In Love With Yourself
Lovability is your capacity to love and be loved. But it’s deeper than just being open to a relationship. Our deepest fear is that we are unloveable. And until we give up the loveless images of ourselves, we’ll keep choosing partners who confirm that belief or who we hope will prove us wrong (but they end up leaving!)
Through a step-by-step process, I discovered that I had deeply rooted beliefs of shame that affected ALL of my relationships. I was a people pleaser, a perfectionist and believed God was angry with me. I lived my life as an apology, hiding my true feelings and needs from others. No wonder I chose men who controlled me, cheated on me, and used me!
I had to be transformed from the inside out, until I believed with 100% certainty that I was the GIFT. I learned to believe that there was man out there whose life incomplete because he didn’t have me in it. I had to learn that I was The Beloved and I was already accepted by God, and had nothing to prove to anyone. This inner transformation spilled over into other areas of my life. I let my self-image catch up with this new belief about myself and attracted an amazing man in my life.
You can learn to love again, too, when you learn to relate to yourself in a new way.
Tell me, what’s your greatest challenge in this area? I want to show you how to move on get back out there with confidence!