The 9 Nastiest Myths and Half-Truths About Breaking Up
No doubt you've heard these lines after a breakup -- You'll get over it in time or the best way to get over a man is to get under another one or you guys can still be friends. Somebody's lying to you, says motivational speaker and author Jonathan Sprinkles. Sprinkles uncovers nine "myths and half-truths" about breakups that keep us from moving on in the right way.
Time heals all wounds
We have all heard this before, we have all said this before. And we were all wrong! Time does not heal all wounds. Time gives the wound an opportunity to get infected if it isn't treated properly. If you sliced your finger, the doctor wouldn't say, "Just don't use it for a few weeks." She would apply medicine to remove the bacteria and, if necessary, stitch it up to ensure it doesn't get worse. If this is the procedure for a simple cut, wouldn't emotional wounds (which are much more complex and deeply-rooted) also require intentionally to facilitate adequate healing? Time alone doesn't heal. It will, however, provide you with the opportunities you need to "medicate" yourself visa vis reading books, journaling, prayer, counseling, etcetera as you go through the healing process. Time-A Plan = A Mess Time + A Plan = Maturity, Perspective, and Growth
Finding a new man will solve everythiing
Whoa there! Drama is a team sport. Let's not forget you contributed to half the problem. While I do believe that some relationships truly are a bad fit, don't overlook the fact that in every conflict, you had a role. Even the things you didn't say could have factored into the demise of your relationship. Casting all the blame on him is not only immature, it also robs you of the invaluable experience of conducting a brutally honest examination of your performance within the relationship. If you are unwilling to own up to your flaws, you will inevitably carry these bad habits into the next relationship. They can even materialize in your children. "New" doesn't always guarantee "better," it only means you've got someone different. Until you change your patterns, you will feel like you're having the same relationship over and over, only with different names each time. If your goal is to ultimately have a lifelong partnership, you will need to learn to stop searching for "new" and figure out how to "renew" what you already have.
We can still maintain a strong friendship
You're setting yourself up for failure. Women are wired differently than men and you will almost always end up on the losing side of this endeavor. Life coach Lisa Nicole Bell suggests, "Women wrap up too much of our identities in relationships to be friends with an ex without a cooling off period. Healing and re-centering is not a group project." You will only confuse yourself when you are revisited by feelings of what it was like to be "his girl" (and possible anger about the breakup) when you two converse or interact face-to-face. You have to wait until your feelings for him totally subside, if they ever do. Don't fool yourself into believing you can downgrade from a relationship to a friendship without turbulence. The truth is, you're being greedy. You want to preserve the part you enjoyed most, the emotional intimacy, without letting him go completely. In your mind, you have the best of all worlds. So you think. Men are very black-and-white about this. If you two aren't dating anymore, he will be pursuing other women--instantly. Are you ready to be talking to him while he's texting his dinner date? How does that sound...pal? There isn't a rule that says you two have to maintain a friendship, or that you should even make an attempt to. Friendships exist for a purpose Unless there are children involved, what purpose does it serve for you two to continue to occupy space in each other's lives? If the two of you couldn't make it as a couple, what about your relationship suggests that being close platonically is the solution? I have seen it happen successfully before, but only in the smallest fraction of relationships. It almost never works out the way you intended. In most cases, the two of you should do each other a favor by agreeing to stay away from each other.
I never saw this coming
Yes you did, but you missed the warning signs. Whether he tries to or not, your partner is always cluing you in on where he stands within your relationship. Most men aren't communicators, so you shouldn't expect your man to turn off the football game, sit you down and say, "Baby, I'm struggling with my emotions right now." The two biggest red flags are found on your watch and your calendar. If your conversations are becoming increasingly short, chances are he doesn't enjoy talking to you. If you don't have any dates or romantic events planned, chances are he doesn't enjoy being around you. If you are ever confused about certain behavior patterns, don't assume -- ask! Most importantly, if you're interested in preserving the relationship, find out if there is anything you can do to fix your part of the problem.
Dating someone of a different race will alleviate the problem I had in my last relationship
For the record, I believe that the same God made all people. I believe that love is not exclusively bound to a color or culture. However, I have a problem with people who naively espouse that being with another race is the panacea for all their dating problems. Black men didn't invent cheating. Cheaters come in all flavors. Black men don't own a patent on lying and misogyny. This unfortunate behavior transcends every demographic. While searching for greener grass on the other side of the fence, remember that everyone has a few weeds in their garden. Before you trade in your Apple Bottoms for Gap khakis, consider that there are advantages and disadvantages to dating outside of your race. It is not as simple as you think. Think about how uncomfortable it can be when you: Come to bed with your hair wrapped in a scarf or do-rag. Hang out with his friends, family or coworkers who may not be ready to accept that he really wants you for you and isn't just "curious." Have to choose which radio station to listen to while driving around town. Explain why you can't wash your hair every day. Granted, these scenarios are all resolvable, but they do illustrate the undeniable complexities that have a compounding effect on interracial couples. Many couples who have professed to adore each other simply tire out from all the "extras" that come along with the package. It isn't easy.
Succeeding without you will be the sweetest revenge
If losing your man causes you to finally get in the gym and shed 20 pounds, put the TV remote down and pick up a book, and get a hairstyle that is more flattering, you two should break up three times a year! Seriously, your personal success is your personal responsibility. Too often, women use heartbreak as a catalyst for undergoing a metamorphosis that they could have had during the relationship. Perhaps your reinvention would have kept your man more engaged and preserved your relationship. Men can smell "fresh on the market" a mile away. Any time a woman goes through an obvious major change (i.e. cutting all your hair off "just for a change of pace"), it screams, "I just got dumped." We will still pursue you, but it won't be for a relationship. We'll be there to service your physical needs, but there's no way we're going to be your rebound man. Your best bet is to be proactive and not wait until you have lost your relationship to tighten up your game. Don't go get fly just to spite him, get fly because you deserve to look, feel and be at your best!
One last (conversation/kiss/sex) will bring closure
Men love to hear this, especially the sex part! Women are emotional creatures. It is impossible to separate what you do from how you feel. Going for "one more round" doesn't close the door, it prolongs the process. You are giving yourself fresh memories to replay in your mind over and over again. If you are done, be done. Period.
Staying busy will make it easier
This is actually true...if...you are doing the right things. The hardest part about breaking up is what you do with the free time you just inherited that used to be devoted to relationship activities. From phone and text conversations to date nights, you are giving up a significant portion of your life's real estate. Use your newly-renovated schedule as an opportunity, not a funeral. As you erase one set of habits, replace it with another. Revisit lingering projects--your to-do list, reconnect with family members and most importantly, revamp your outlook on life by reading personal development books. Avoid the temptation to go into a protracted state of mourning or mentally recycling thoughts of what went wrong. Chose not to be a victim. Choose to be better. Choose to see this for the blessing that it is.
I want him back. Something is better than nothing
You don't really want him back, you just don't want to be lonely. There is a reason why the relationship didn't work, regardless of who officially did the breaking up. Dr. Phil McGraw points out that when we consider rekindling old flames, we don't think about the whole picture, we only remember the pieces we enjoyed about them. When you're around him again, you are quickly reminded of those little things that got on your nerves. "I forgot that he sucks his teeth after he eats." "I forgot that he is always late and never calls to tell me he's delayed." "I forgot how much he brags about himself during our conversations." Choosing someone because of limited options makes you look desperate. He knows it and will exploit it to no end. You'll never get his best again because he knows that he doesn't have to give it to you in order to keep you around. Don't settle for what's familiar. Don't compromise your integrity. Don't ever adjust your expectations downward to compensate for your partner's lack of performance. Be willing to go through the hard part (loneliness) in order to get to the good part (true love). Just be patient.
About Jonathan Sprinkles
Motivational speaker and author of "You Were Born an Original, Don't Live Like a Copy," Jonathan Levine is known for always "keeping it real." He encourages corporations, student bodies, and individuals to always strive for the best.