This post is basically an elaboration on point 2 of my ‘breakup journey’ from Clarity Beyond The Tears. However, I also talked about the importance of having a ‘breakup analysis’ in I Love You But.
2. Realising that actually I had a lot to do with the breakup too, and there are personal character flaws I need to work on. (Those flaws contributed to this breakup, and will lead to issues in the next relationship unless I deal with them)
- Blunt/abrasive delivery – I promise that I definitely think before I speak; however, he did say that it’s not ‘what I say, but how I say it’ that was sometimes an issue.
- Not choosing my battles wisely – I’m one of those people that can turn everything into a problem. Looking back, I definitely didn’t need to ‘sweat the small’ stuff. Even though I hate to admit it, alternative ways are equally valid. Honestly it sounds simple, but I can be so picky that you’d think I enjoyed confrontation when I actually don’t.
- Silent treatment – THIS. Dear, oh dear! I’ve come to depend on silent treatment so much that I’ve definitely turned molehills into mountains. It baffles me how guys sometimes don’t know what they’ve done wrong – seriously? However, leaving them to figure it out is a lose-lose situation.
- Unapologetic – I don’t know if it’s because I hate being wrong, but I sure did struggle with saying sorry.
- Mood swings – it’s mad how quickly I can go from zero to a hundred! In my case, I don’t get angry/loud – I just go super quiet and the atmosphere takes a dip. Learning to let something go after receiving an apology is also really hard for me. I definitely think I’m now much better at controlling my emotions (*sigh* teaching has that effect), but relationships can be very testing so we’ll see…
- Insecure – I was suspicious about compliments. Although there was absolutely no reason to doubt he was being genuine, my “awww thanks” usually disguised “does he really mean that?” or “I bet he’s just being nice.” Being confident in my own skin has definitely been a journey, but I’m encouraged by the sentiments of True Beauty.
- Overly sensitive to criticism – a healthy relationship is one where both individuals encourage and facilitate growth. In some respects, I made that difficult by getting defensive. It’s already hard for someone to tell you something you don’t want to hear so I need to be more mindful of that as I respond.
Whether you’ve recently been through a breakup, or you’ve been single for a while, I’m sure you’re not hoping to have exactly the same relationship but with a different person. A new relationship doesn’t mean that all the old issues will disappear with your ex. By being reflective and realising that there are improvements you can (and should) make, you’re building a solid foundation for your next relationship. Can you prepare for everything? No. A friend of mine was apt in their reminder that whilst I’ll be aware of, and try to mitigate, the issues from my last relationship – a different person brings different issues. In my case, I’m just trying to avoid dealing with new and old problems, together. Why make things more challenging than they need to be?
At the very least, ask yourself the following:
- What went wrong in the relationship? [the breakup is the outcome of various contributing factors – what was the underlying cause/s?]
- What did you do wrong or could have done better?
- What do you want your next relationship to look like? [everybody wants a ‘good’ relationship – qualify what that means for you and work towards it in singleness]
I hope you’re not putting the blame for your breakup squarely on your significant other. Even if there’s just one thing you could have done better, that’s something that you can work on for next time.