I’m going through the biggest breakup of my life and even though your book, When Your Heart Breaks, It’s Opening to Love, has been a true blessing, this breakup still hurts. I was in a four-year relationship and had hopes of marrying her. But there is a lot I lack that is needed to be a good boyfriend or husband. I want to be better for myself, and for her. My friends tell me to be better for the next girl. I know there is a chance with someone new, but I want to do better by my ex-girlfriend. I want a second chance. I know she loves me and has some hope for our relationship, but I think she’s blocking that out to cope. Before this moment I never knew what it took to be a great husband, or how passionately I want to be a great husband for her. I had a lot of fear and paranoia that I needed to work on. I know it pushed her away. Is it too optimistic to hope for another chance with her?
Be assured that there are second, third and even 21st chances at love. But don’t count on it. That means while it’s possible that you and your ex-girlfriend will get together again, and while you can certainly hope for a reunion, don’t live your life expecting to be reunited with her. Can you discern the difference? It’s here: Be open to the possibility of reconnecting but don’t make that possibility the center of your life.
Every romantic relationship is an opportunity to grow in friendship with ourselves, and to learn to love another with greater intimacy and honesty. So be grateful for this breakup. It has inspired you to see that shedding paranoia and fear is essential to maturing in love. Paranoia is actually the child of fear. Both qualities block our freedom to love fully because they inhibit us from being emotionally available. Fear also distracts us from reality. When we are afraid, we are preoccupied by worries about what might happen or what could happen. What fun is that?
Trust is sexier than fear. After all, what’s more attractive or juicy than someone who can be relied on to tell the truth, and to live it? If you don’t know the answer, invest your heart in finding out. Start here: Your desire to become the boyfriend you are capable of being is a light in the darkness. Follow that flame until it guides you into a passion for truth, trust and commitment. The work of this journey will clarify whether you and your ex-girlfriend are right for each other, or if you are the right partner for someone new. Along the way, remember that while most people pretend to seek a soul mate, wh0 they actually choose is someone who tolerates their damaged, unhealthy ego-self. Don’t be shocked or embarrassed. We all have that aspect of ourselves. It shows up most often in romantic relationships, the best of which create the stability we need to heal and grow.
When a romantic relationship ends, we are faced with naming the ways that our unhealthy egos contributed to the breakup. Every trauma (and a breakup is a trauma) is also an opportunity to reflect and change. Ask yourself if you devote enough time each day to thoughtful reflection about the way you are living and interacting; whether your feelings are habituated or reliable; and if your integrity is intact or at-risk. If not, begin a daily commitment to meditation or journal writing. Reflection invites awareness, and awareness makes it difficult to repeat the same mistakes. That’s a path out of the heartbreak you’re facing.