Throughout the course of your life, it’s common for other people to do puzzling, confusing, strange and odd things that you don’t exactly understand when it comes to leaving relationships.
And, a large number of the questions that I get on a daily basis are about the circumstances around a breakup or promising date and subsequent failure to launch, like:
“Why didn’t s/he call?”
“Why did he leave?”
“Why did she go cold?”
The person you were with might have seemed super interested one minute only to completely pull away and become impossible to contact the next. They might have told you they loved you, then dumped you. They might have finally warmed up, only to run off with the nanny weeks later. They might act cold and aloof but constantly tell you they love you. They might act like they love you but never say it. They might run off with Barry from accounting.
The possibilities for why relationships wither and die are endless.
They could have been eaten by alligators (unlikely). You could have turned them off. They could be a total commitment-phobe. They could be secretly married, dating someone else, or not like your flavor. They could have grown bored, became sad and despondent, and given up on their life and you. They could secretly want to join a cult. They could be having a quarter-life, mid-life or late-life crisis. They could be pining away for Barry in accounting. They could have a secret sexual fantasy that they’ve been dying to play out on a grand scale without your knowledge. They could secretly hate redheads. They could be shallow and insecure. You could have gotten clingy and needy.
The potential here is really endless.
The hardest thing about spending your emotional energy asking these questions is that the answers do not matter. Even if you magically knew the exact, true reason why the other person dumped you cold or didn’t call you back after what felt like a promising date, it just doesn’t matter.
What matters is the meaning you choose to assign to the event and what exactly you intend to do about it.
In lieu of moving forward, people become fixated on getting answers, as if having an answer will provide the magical solution to a real or sometimes imagined problem with the relationship (I use the term “relationship” loosely here, depending on the particular circumstances).
Whatever it is, the answer only provides another way for us to beat ourselves up in the wake of a broken relationship that could serve as a learning experience if we let it.
Knowing what happened and/or getting “closure” doesn’t equate to healing or fixing that event.
I get it. Sometimes we might feel as though if we knew what really happened, then we could tie up this messy event with a neat bow and then able to either fix it or be free to finally move on. However, it is in this desiring for answers that we keep ourselves firmly stuck in the past.
The truth is, the story we tell ourselves about the past is our choice. Actually, after a breakup or mysterious disappearance, it’s about the only control we do have.
We can choose mercy or we can choose violence. But whatever we choose, there are consequences.
For example, let’s say I choose to believe that my lover left because I’m a terrible person who has no redeeming qualities. Zilch. Nada. None. Every moment with me was absolute irredeemable agony. Life with that belief is going to suck. If I choose to believe that, I’ll probably sink into crushing shame, guilt and depression. Lots of tears and time could end up wasted.
Even if my lover TOLD me specifically what an awful human I was in that relationship, my belief about the event is still my choice. I can take him literally at his angry, bitter words, or I can say to myself, “well, that just didn’t work” or “he was right about some things but not others” and I can move on.
I’m doing emotional violence to myself if I choose to do anything with that information besides evaluate which part of the criticism might be true, resolve to do better and move on.
The pain I heap on in the present moment is entirely my choice. Losing someone involves grief, but it doesn’t have to become my life’s defining moment. We have the power to choose which parts of the event to carry into the future.
It’s the interpretation of any event that gives it any emotional significance at all, and we can choose what that interpretation is. This is freedom.
As Ayn Rand said, “we can ignore reality, but we can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” And if someone has gone, that’s the cold, hard reality.
However, you can frame that however you want. You can be thrilled at the freedom. You can be relieved you don’t have to cope with their mother. Or you can decide that you’ll never love again. Completely up to you.
My suggestions is that whatever you do, stop letting them negatively hijack your mind long after they’ve left you in their wake.
Resolve to make the most of the event instead of perpetuating the emotional violence on yourself by choosing negative thought patterns.
Choose today to stop any quest for answers and bring your thoughts back to nurturing yourself. You’ve got to be loyal to you.
You’re number one.