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Sep 25, 2008

Respect Yourself During a Breakup

After the relationship ends, how can you behave in a way that says you respect yourself? It's hard because being dumped or just ending a relationship can make you feel you've failed somehow. Still, it's important that you respect yourself as a person and carry on. Let's assume you are a young woman whose boyfriend has just told you he wants to break up with you and see other women.

    Don't beg. He broke up with you. He's already made up his mind. No matter how shocked, panicked, and in pain you are, don't beg him for another chance. It's very hard to do, but to let this end leaving you with some shred of dignity, try hard not to cry too much - of course, it may be impossible not to cry. But crying a little, then saying, "I'm so sad about this, but if that's your decision, I have no choice but to accept it," is much more dignified than screaming, "No, don't leave me! I'll do anything you want me to!!" Let him leave and then pitch your hysterical fit.
    Gather your supporters. Now is the time you need your friends and family, more than ever. Call them and tell them you've broken up with your true love. They will come flying to your side to comfort and keep you company while you nurse your broken heart back to health. Don't try to go it alone.
    Recognize when it's no use trying to talk to him any more. He may keep calling you, trying to let you down easy, saying he still cares about you, or many other things. But he still won't commit himself fully to you, doesn't really want to be your boyfriend any more, etc. Let him go, girl. It's no use. He's trying not to be seen as a bad guy, but he's done with your relationship and moving on. It's time for you to try your hardest to do the same thing.
   Don't let him string you along after the fact. He's told you he plans to date other girls, and maybe he's even said he will "keep you in mind, just in case things don't work out." Even though you still love him, this is a losing proposition for you. This man wants to have his cake and eat it too - he wants to keep you in his pocket as a consolation prize, in case his plan to find a Playboy Bunny fails. What a jerk! No matter how much you love him, tell him this will not work for you, and let him know that it's over. Period.
    Never let him see you sweat. Once the big breakup is over with, don't keep on letting him get to you. Even if you don't feel like it, go get dressed up and go out with your friends. You don't have to get drunk, or try to pick up guys (like they may be doing), but just to go and hang with pals is a good thing. If you see him while you're out, just smile and nod. If you feel like you might cry, excuse yourself and walk to the restroom. Do your crying in there, and don't come out till you look strong again (even if you feel shaky inside, you must try your best to look like you're okay).
   Review the relationship. There's a good chance that now that he's gone, you can look back and realize there were a lot of warning signs about this guy. Reviewing the relationship and recognizing where the problems began can be valuable in later relationships - they can clue you in to danger signals in new men, or let you have a chance to adjust your own behaviors, if you really believe you had some fault.
    Listen to breakup songs and stories. It helps fill you with a positive feeling of power to hear songs like "I Will Survive," and "You Oughtta Know." It can help to hear your friends tell their breakup stories, too. Just knowing that others have gone through similar heartaches can help you feel less alone. Crank up your stereo and rock out - it'll help, too, knowing that someone wrote a song you can relate to now. You go, girl!
    Let done be done. A lot of guys break up with girls, then want them back later. This is hardly ever a good idea. Once he's gone, let him live with that decision. Going back together time after time is a bad idea for a number of reasons: 1. It lets him know you can accept being treated badly and still let him come back, so he's more likely to treat you badly again. 2. It makes you seem weak in his eyes - that's not good if he's controlling or dominating to begin with. 3. It lends an aura of inevitability to the relationship - in other words, you can start to feel like this is your destiny and your doom, that no matter how you try to break away, you will always end up with him. 4. It desensitizes you to his disrespect of you.
    Recognize that no one will respect you unless you insist. If you don't respect yourself, you're giving others the go-ahead to treat you like dirt. Don't you dare do that to yourself! Stand up and insist that you be treated with dignity, the way all human beings should be treated. Allowing a guy to walk all over is the worst disrespect in the world - this is supposed to be the person you're closest to, trust the most. And this is as good as you can ever expect from him? No way! You deserve better. Kick this dude to the curb and find a real man, who is ready to love and treat you with the respect you deserve.

     Don't try to do this on your own. Get your friends to help you with your heartbreak.
     Do a lot of active things - it will help distract you. Exercise, sports, movies, beach trips, outings with girlfriends or relatives, these will all help you pass the time, and show you that you can have a good time without him.
     Don't expect it to be all better overnight. It takes a season of healing. But if you're honest, each day things get a little easier, as you begin to figure out ways to live as a single person again.

     Don't let him beg his way back into your heart. He's much more likely to break it again than you can believe.

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