If you were to believe the tabloids, Demi Moore texts Ashton Kutcher several times a day, despite the fact that they've officially split and he's been widely photographed with new girlfriend Lorene Scafaria. The gossipmongers claim that Demi wants her 34-year-old ex back, and is still infatuated with him. Not surprisingly, these articles never name their sources, but expect us to believe that "a close friend" has provided these intimate details of Demi's broken heart.
I'll admit, celebrity gossip magazines are a fun way to waste some time at the hair salon, but I don't put much stock in their verity. Nevertheless, there is one truth about Demi that I can state with absolute confidence. She can find love again.
How do I know this? Because in my long-term study of marriage and divorce, which has been ongoing since 1986 and is funded by the NIH, I have seen many brokenhearted singles find happiness with a new partner, seemingly against all odds. We have studied hundreds of divorced spouses before and after their breakup to see if we could learn their secrets of success. We uncovered some significant findings that Demi and other singles can put into practice, which are presented in my forthcoming book, Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship.
First and foremost, meeting a wonderful partner after a serious relationship has ended is not luck. In fact, my research showed that singles who repartner successfully share certain behaviors that make finding love again much more likely.
Based on these new findings, here are five strategies Demi can adopt, which will get her in the right frame of mind to look for and find love again with someone new. You, too, can try the strategies.
Let it out.
Negative emotions fester and get worse if we obsess about them and hold them in. They also make us unhappy, which is not a good state of mind for attracting love. Instead, find constructive ways to let out your anger, frustration, grief, resentment or bitterness. Vigorous exercise is one way to release pent-up emotions. Writing your ex a "letter not sent" is another way -- get all your raw and honest feelings down on paper, and then toss it or stash it, but don't send it.
Blame the relationship.
My study found that divorced spouses who blame themselves or their ex, rather than the situation or the relationship, have more anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and overall health problems. Singles who have a less charged, more neutral perspective tend to be happier. A healthy way to heal from the hurt is to replace "you" or "I" statements with "we" statements. For example, "We wanted different things," or "We grew apart."
Get rid of emotional triggers.
Discard or box up objects around you that remind you of your ex and trigger negative feelings. These might be anything from a dress he bought you, to photographs, to furniture. You'll find them in your house, your car and even your office. Freshen up your surroundings with items that you love and are meaningful to you. This simple technique makes you feel better because it gives your brain the message of positive change all around you.
Meet the new you.
After the initial shock waves pass, spend some time in self-reflection. What was your role in the relationship? What's been your pattern, and how would you change it? The divorced spouses in my study who were most successful in finding a great match the second time around changed something significant about themselves -- for instance, they lost weight, they went to a therapist, they quit smoking or they stopped working 60 hours a week. Change yourself and you're less apt to fall into the same pattern.
Don't go it alone.
After a big breakup, it's tempting to curl up on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry's and wallow in your misery -- and then to sleep all weekend with the shades down. It's okay to grieve, but don't do it alone. Ask for help. Read a self-help book. Seek out the advice of trusted friends and family members who you know won't mind lending you their shoulder and their ear. If you're feeling really distressed, by all means see a therapist or counselor. A compassionate, neutral perspective can really help.
For more by Dr. Terri Orbuch, click here.
For more on relationships, click here.
For more on love, click here.
 Terri L. Orbuch, The Early Years of Marriage Project. University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research. Supported by a grant from NIMH (MH41253).