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Can You Love After Separation?

Oct 12, 2007
" 'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have lov'd at all" so Tennyson tells us.

But there are many now who would disagree with him. Time after time we hear of those who've loved and then endured the pain of separation. This appears to scar some people for life.

The question is not only can you love after separation, but how can you love after separation?

First, let's dispel the notion that it's easier for the person who leaves to pick up the threads of a new life - especially a new love life. Unless that person is psychologically unbalanced, (which does, of course, happen), separation from a loving partner is not something that most men or women undertake lightly - even in our "throwaway" society.

Separation from someone you love - however caused, and whoever is the leaver and the left - is always painful. The types of pain may differ, that's all. For example, the person who leaves may suffer guilt, anxiety, massive self doubt and recrimination, not to mention regret and grief.

The person who has been left of course will feel grief too, plus also self doubt, low self esteem, anger - even rage, and perhaps jealousy, especially if there's another party involved in the break up.

So you both hurt, let's make no bones about it.

Here are my tips for rebuilding your love life after separation:

* First, let yourself grieve. It's not going to be forever - nothing is. But you need to let it happen. Get counselling if you need to, but weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth are going to be there for the first few weeks probably. Maybe six months or so later you'll still get the odd wave of it. The point is, don't fight it. That just makes it worse because you focus on it more. If you allow it to play itself out, the effect will eventually be like the sun coming out after a storm.

* Second. After a major separation from a love affair, treat yourself to non-cerebral things. By that I mean you can't heal the pain of separation and loss by thinking about it. A shiatsu massage, on the other hand, can make you feel wonderful - even if the effect only lasts for a few hours. (By the way, this is as much for the men as for the ladies - we all need to feel good! The answer - again for either gender - is most definitely not in getting wasted every night with drink! That makes you feel stupid and ill!)

* Avoid vengeance on yourself. It's very tempting to go off looking for love substitutes following a separation. This can take the form of promiscuity, alcohol or drug abuse, or some other form of self harm. This is misplaced and displaced anger. Anger is part of loss, grief and heartbreak, but beat up a pillow, talk to a therapist - or if you can't find one or afford one - phone the Samaritans! You don't have to be on the verge of suicide to talk to them - and they really will help.

* Avoid taking out vengeance on your ex. This will again make you feel bad and, depending on how you do it, could even land you in court or jail. Actually, you won't hurt the other person as much as you think if at all - you'll only make yourself look and feel stupid. It's your anger, so it's your problem. The antidote is to reach for the next most comforting thought, which may not be the most noble at this stage, but could be something as simple as, "I won't always feel like this." Or, (a good one), "Actually, it's her/his loss. I'm a wonderful person." Then have a good gloat!

* Finally, the place to look for love after separation is within yourself. You can't regain happiness by trying to take the other person's life apart. Their not being with you anymore is your signal for a fresh beginning and a pause in your life to re-evaluate what you really want for your love life - maybe for the next five or ten years, (or weeks or months!), or perhaps forever.

Learn to love yourself again. Look for the good in you, not the bad in the other. Acknowledge it, accept it, and soon you'll love it - that's you - again.

And that's the beginning of love after separation!
About the Author
Trevor Emdon is a writer and workshop leader of many self help programs. His qualifications include Diploma in NLP, and he is a graduate of Anthony Robbins' Master University. "How To Love Again When Your Heart's Been Broken" can be found at www.wizardofwisdom.com/heartmender
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