Most of us have been there before: you meet someone you have great chemistry with and they feel the exact same thing. Your connection is ‘electric’.
You get to know each other some more, realise that there’s no one else both of you would rather be with, and you enter into a relationship that brings you years of affection, laughter, fights, tears, kindness, sharing, selfless giving, and intimacy. You build experiences, memories, and an entire life together, and you both think you’ll love each other for the rest of your lives.
Then the unexpected happens. It may have happened slowly, or suddenly without warning, but somehow your feelings changed. You feel less connected to each other and you’re drifting apart. The love you once shared becomes a distant memory.
Or perhaps you chose to simply end it because it wasn’t working – you cut off ties and go your separate ways. As beautiful and enriching as the relationship once was, you are now back to being two individuals with a past.
Finding your feet after a breakup
Healing relationship pain is no mean feat. It’s not easy to leave your past behind and move on to the next relationships in your life. Often there are too many cherished moments from when you shared a strong bond. And you can’t expect to feel nothing towards your ex with just a snap of your fingers. It takes time. You need to be ready to let go. You have to be willing to look forward into the future instead of back.
However, there is a way out. Therapy can help you leave your past behind and start a fresh and optimistic future.
Here is how a therapist can help you finally put that relationship where it belongs:
A therapist can help you understand what happened
An important part of the healing process is to unpack what happened in the relationship that led to its demise. While this can be more of a cognitive process than an emotional one, it’s valuable to understand your relationship strengths and weaknesses so you don’t repeat the same mistakes in the future. This kind of personal growth – albeit painful – often contains your most powerful life lessons.
A therapist can help you fully grieve
A therapist can help you understand that the best way to finally sever your attachment to a person from your past is to fully grieve the loss. Feeling sadness and grief is an important part of the healing process and helps you get closure and move on. An experienced therapist knows this and will help you become aware of how you might be getting in the way of your grieving process.
A therapist can help you turn to the future
As important as it is to fully grieve your loss, it’s also important to start to focus on your future. A good therapist will help you do both. Healing past hurts doesn’t have to be about finding a new romantic partner, since forming a romantic relationship takes an investment of time and emotions that you may not yet be ready for. But there will be value in you investing in other relationships such as your family or friends, siblings or children—anyone who belongs to your support system. When you fill your days with positive experiences shared with these supportive individuals, you’ll discover how little you need the person from the past.
A therapist can help you begin to heal
Going over and over past memories in your mind prevents you from fully moving on. So it’s important to accept your loss, feel your loss and embrace your future. By learning to let go of thoughts and feelings from the past and instead embrace possibilities of peace, independence, fresh ideas, new experiences, and being fully present, you can finally take steps closer to true healing and detachment from a past that will only hold you back.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.