THE BLOG

4 Reasons to Swap Regret Over Your Breakup for Excitement

07/03/2013 08:21 am ET | Updated Sep 02, 2013
  • Michael S. Broder, Ph.D. Psychologist; Author, 'Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential', 'The Art of Living Single', 'The Art of Staying Together: A Couple’s Guide to Intimacy and Respect', 'Can Your Relationship Be Saved? How To Know Whether To Stay Or Go', and 'The Secrets of Sexual Ecstasy'
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If you've recently experienced a relationship breakup, regret is one of the many emotions you might be experiencing. But regret is usually just a form of temporary and needless pain. Here are a few perspectives to make the end of your relationship an exciting and bright start to a new beginning for you:

There are a lot of things you don't miss. This might come as a surprise, but I've never met anybody who wanted actually wanted their ex back! Usually what people want is a loving, cleansed, varnish-free, more enlightened version of their ex. And unfortunately this fantasy doesn't exist or you'd still be together. If you were the one who ended the relationship, remember you did this for a reason! Something wasn't working with your ex partner or the relationship you had. If it wasn't your choice to end the relationship, you might be missing a version of your ex who loves and appreciates you more and can pull off a better way to dealing with conflict than running out the door. It's easy to reflect on the positive parts of a person or a relationship once it's ended; but remember, that's only one part of the story. If you're missing parts of the relationship, don't forget about all the things you don't miss.

There's a moral to your story. The end of one relationship is a great time to take a look and rediscover what you really want. Whether or not you're willing to admit it, the relationship ended because it wasn't working. And if your relationship was working only for you -- that's not enough. The good news is there's probably a lesson to be learned. Was there something you discovered about yourself regarding what you want or need so that your next relationship isn't a repeat of this pattern when you're ready to move on? While things are fresh in your mind, make a list of these insights and resolve to follow them in this most important part of your life. And if you find that you are labeling yourself a "failure" or putting yourself down in some other way; remember that relationships don't fail, they run their course. Sometimes one or both partners outgrow each other or the relationship ends for one or more of a million other reasons. But it's your choice as to whether the breakup remains a source of pain for you or an invaluable basis for personal growth.

You now get to focus on yourself. Being single frees some space for you to reconnect with yourself and perhaps others in your life that you may have had little time for. Maybe with the gift of time that follows a breakup, there's a new area you'd like to cultivate: a hobby you enjoy, a project around the house you've been putting off or a trip you'd like to take that didn't fit in with you ended relationship. My book Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential might be a good place to start evaluating and either tweaking or making major changes to various parts of your life. And, there's no better time to start than today!

Discover new outlets. What is it that you liked about your relationship? Is there a way to find or replace that in your life with something else? For example, if it was nice to have someone to debrief your workday with each evening, maybe you can reach out to friends or coworkers to meet for happy hour after work or grab dinner. If there was a certain activity you liked to do with your ex, find a way to continue this. Perhaps join a group of people in your area with similar interests to yours. If you and your ex went running on the weekends or enjoyed seeing movies, join a running or film club. Even more importantly, don't be afraid to try certain activities by yourself that you may have only done as part of a couple; such as going to a nice restaurant, the theatre or ballet.

We all have the power to pick our attitudes. Look upon being free of a relationship that wasn't working as a good thing. Expect sad moments here and there, but don't forget that the relationship you're ending was not without pain either. By utilizing your inner resources and the sources of support you already have around you, resolve to make this breakup the start of an exciting new beginning!

For more by Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., click here.

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