This used to be really hard. It often felt like the pain would never die and life was coming to an end. Add the effect of social media and we have a whole new type of catastrophic experience on our hands. Let's first discuss that added piece of the already difficult situation,
Depending on how deeply invested you are in social media, this will often have a direct correlation to the severity and duration of your reaction/disappointment/mourning of your relationship. There are so many factors involved in this complex healing situation, but social media does play a lead role. Let's explain why...
In order to move on after any loss, closure is a necessity. Knowing that things will not change allows us to accept a new reality. That acceptance is vital in coming to terms with the reality that what was lost must be substituted for, in the best way possible. Death is the obvious example. While coping with the pain of bereavement, a crucial step towards relief is the acceptance that things cannot revert to the way they used to be. The skills, assistance and personality of the one lost will never return -- as painful as that is to consider, it's acceptance will ultimately lead to returning to a healthy lifestyle.
Now, when it comes to social media, let's be honest. Most people are stalkers. Not the creepy "I-always-know-where-you-are" type, but more along the lines of being a friendly observer of your story. The socially acceptable way to say it would be, 'Keeping up to date with friends...and competition...and people that I really don't know but would love to meet'. After all, that is why social media was created!
The urge to stalk grows proportionate to the pedestal we grant to the people around us. The greater the pedestal, the greater the urge to 'keep up to date'. Our 'ex'es are likely sitting on the highest pedestal. Are they really over me? Have they found someone else? Do they look genuinely happy? Who are they spending their time with now? Are they even posting? Keeping track of their social media only leads to more questions, suspicions and often a conspiracy theory or two. But mostly, these are based on speculation. We become experienced private detectives and keen psychologists to determine their emotional state based on a picture and a caption.
Back to our topic though...closure. It's impossible. With all these thoughts opening the door to a hundred more, we are holding on to hope that things will return to the way they used to be. As an aside -- with relationships, things can. But only through a different pathway (more on this in a future blog).
Closure demands that we move on after accepting that the old will not be resurrected. Maintaining hope that he/she will come back for you will negatively impact our future relationship possibilities. After time, that rocky relationship (isn't that part of the reason it ended?) becomes aggrandized in our memories, leaving little room for any future relationship to compete.
But letting go is hard. It means starting all over. Realizing that days, weeks, years (Oh God!) were wasted. It would be so much easier to patch things up. To hope that we can do things better next time around. To try to be the person he/she wants me to be. Maybe. Sometimes that can be true. But more often -- I'll tell you where our thinking went awry.
Relationships have the power to dramatically change us in so many ways. That's part of the reason we become so connected -- the relationship taught you things about yourself, molded your personality, allowed you to forge new experiences. Wait a second. We might be on to something here.
Relationships might end but their impact is everlasting. Often, the pain of losing a partner is compounded by the subconscious pain of feeling that you will be losing everything that you've gained within the relationship. But that doesn't have to be true. And it usually isn't.
Relationships are primarily about two people joining together. But equally significant is how it affects each individual. And that is never lost. Taking stock of the valuable changes that you've developed in your own life and considering how the relationship has transformed you; those are key factors in reaching closure and realizing that the relationship was purposeful and necessary. For you. Individually.
But that's hard. It's much easier restarting than starting all over again. True, But you're probably a better person now. More developed. More experienced. Wiser and more mature. I definitely wouldn't call that starting from scratch.