A relationship break-up is devastating. It is like grieving the loss of a loved one, losing your job or having a business fail. For all these work on similar dynamics.

It is like grieving the loss of a loved one, losing your job or having a business fail.  These work on similar dynamics.

Yet it is also different.

It is deeply personal. Especially if the other person initiated the breakup. It feels like the person you were closest to in the world has rejected you. Because it is so personal and intimate, it can feel like someone has seen deep into you and decided you weren’t enough.

There can be betrayal.  Either as in cheating or just the promises of forever being shattered in a moment.

It is devastating because whenever you thought of the future, it was with a vision of you and your Partner. You imagined growing old together. And now it feels like your future has been snatched away. And you can’t imagine a future without him.

The alternative seems to be future loneliness.

The Endless Questions

With no one to care or look out for you.

And if it didn’t work out with her, why would it with anyone else?

Is it you? Maybe you suck at relationships and you’re destined to always be alone.

If he didn’t want me, who will?

What if no one wants you?

What if you can’t find another lover?

And so these thoughts and questions torment you. Playing on every fear you have.

The Thoughts That Torture

Then when you’re at your lowest, you remember the things you loved most about being with him.

Then when you’re at your lowest, you remember the things you loved most about being with him.

The way he’d look at you filled with love that made you feel the most desired woman.

The way she’d laugh at your jokes.

How safe and warm you felt wrapped in his arms.

The smell of him when you lounged in his t-shirts.

And it hits you like a hammer blow to the stomach.

He’s gone. And all that is over now.

Forever.

Sitting alone staring at where he used to sit, the tears well up. And you cry and cry. The tears spilling out until you feel utterly empty.

Then it goes one of two ways.

Either you find some energy in anger to galvanise yourself.

“How could that no-good shitbox do that to me?”

And you rip into that piece of shit. Ranting how you are well rid of him. Listing every little thing that worthless toerag ever did.

Or…

You think over and over all your interactions.  Desperate to find some answers. You know he loved you. You could tell.

When he would hold your face softly in his hands and kiss you with such passion. You couldn’t just fake that or do it without feeling something… could you?

The things she said show that she cared. So maybe she’s just confused and needs space.

What if he misunderstood you. He’s stressed with work. That’s it… he’s struggling and can’t cope and he needs support. I should be there for him.

Then when he knows I care… we’ll sort everything out. It’s probably a big misunderstanding. I should be the bigger person and reach out to her.

I’ll send them a text to let them know I’m thinking of them. Then we’ll clear this all up and be back to how things were.

And you flit between the two. Like the good cop, bad cop routine designed to break you down.

And so you type out the text and send it…. And nothing!

No reply. And so you wonder… why didn’t he respond?

Is she busy? You see that they’ve read the message. You look online to see if their Facebook or Instagram account tell you what they’re up to.

They look like they’re having a ball.

How come they get to be out enjoying themselves while you’re sat here devastated?

And after you went out of your way to be sensitive and caring. And now you feel vulnerable and stupid for misreading the signs. That insensitive bastard. Well fuck him… I’m going to show him.

I’ll Show Him!

And so you go through your phone to see who you know could ease the loneliness. So maybe it’s a friend and you chat.

For hours about him and how it hurts and what it used to be like and so on… and on… and on.

A good friend will be there for you, but everyone has their limits and there’s only so much sympathy they can give. There’s only so many times they can drop everything and go over and over the same ground.

Or maybe it’s a guy. Ah, he always fancied me! Maybe I’ll say hi. So perhaps he flirts back and the attention distracts you from your loneliness.

Or he doesn’t and you feel even worse. So you try someone else. Or you download Tinder. So you get a hit of feeling wanted. And maybe you even go on a full out sex spree. Why not? You’re single and having fun.

But then…

You get stood up.

Or he goes as soon as he’s satisfied and leaving you feeling used.

Or maybe you just look at him and realise why you avoided his overtures before.

Perhaps it does scratch the itch for a while.  Sooner or later though you’re back thinking about him… and us.

The us that is no longer. And the sadness hits you and drops through the emptiness inside. And the tears start again.

And around and around it spirals. From one emotion to another, like a rollercoaster ride, with you a helpless passenger.

But we’re going to change that now Missy!

It’s time to take control of your life.

The Five Stages Of Grieving

We’re going to use Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s Five Stages of Grief as a framework. Elizabeth Kubler Ross spent years studying the process of grieving. In essence, the death of a relationship is a very similar dynamic.

She saw these five stages.

Not in this exact linear order, because people process things differently. But for our purposes this framework makes the most sense to work through.

What’s Happening? Is This a Joke? WTF

Stage 1 – Shock and Denial

This journey is an emotional journey.  If you ride its wave it will change so much in your life.

If you let it, you will look back on this as the springboard to living on a whole other level. But this can only happen if you’re willing to feel every emotion.

The more you shirk from feeling, the slower and less complete your healing will be.

So if all you feel up to is bawling on the sofa with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and your Adele Album, then bawl away.

Cry, punch a pillow and swear at God, whatever it takes until the emotions exhaust you.

At this stage, you don’t need to judge how you should be feeling or put any expectation on yourself. You need to feel the emotions to process them. There’s only so much raw emotion we can feel, before you’ll burn out and that’s when you’ll be ready to move on to stage 2.

So here’s what you need to do at this stage. The quicker you do it, the faster you can move on.

Accept It Is Over

First off, the relationship is over. Your job here is to accept that. Some people yoyo between break up and getting back together. You might be hanging on and hoping that this is the case here.

But do you really want that kind of up and down relationship?

If you do, then this path isn’t for you.

I’ve written this assuming that you right now want to heal. And if you do decide to get back into a relationship, it will be when you’re ready for it.

Then it is going to be the happily ever after type that most people aspire to. You know the kind with mutual respect, trust and all that boring stuff.

At this stage, you aren’t able to look dispassionately at your relationship and judge if it’s what you want. You need some distance and to heal. So if you’re adamant you just want them back, then the rest of this isn’t for you.

This guide is for those people that want to heal and then decide what relationship is right for them.

Still here?

Good. Then let’s move on…

Now you need to cut every line of contact with your ex. If you must have contact… to discuss kids and finances etc… then work out that with as little contact as possible. Preferably, through a third party.

The only way you can fully heal is when you stop poking and re-opening the wound. You need to accept that the relationship is over. This might sound harsh, but pretending your ex has died is a way to cut off all possibility of a future together.

Delete all their contact numbers from your phone. Unfriend, unfollow and block them on every social media or messaging app.

You can heal from this and you can even be friends with them, but not yet. Right now, you and I are going to go do our Jedi training. When you come back you’re going to be a different person. If you want to have a different relationship with them then, you can make that decision later.

Right now, you and I are going to go do our Jedi training. When you come back you’re going to be a different person. If you want to have a different relationship with them then, you can make that decision later.

Get yourself a book, an app, or somewhere you can keep a journal. You’re going to need to come back to this later and you’ll forget how you felt unless you have something to remind you.

Write whatever comes into your head. Write notes to the future you. Whatever you want… it’s your journal.

One thing you must do is write something along these lines…

“I’m drawing a line in the sand. This is rock bottom. This is the start of my new life and I’m never, ever going to feel as bad as this.

I will never again…”

And here you write all the things you feel now and during your relationship.

All the things you hated or made you feel like shit

All the behaviours that you hated

All the things being in the relationship led you to do that you regret.

For now, though, you need to burn that bridge. Otherwise, it’ll be the thing that torments you night after night.

Fuck You!

Stage 2: Anger

Congratulations! You’ve moved on. We’re making progress.

You’ve moved on. We’re making progress.

Denial is about shock and devastation. That is a stage of gradually come to terms with the new reality. Back there you had to be gentle with yourself so you could wrap your head around what had happened.

But now things have moved on. And so must we pick up the pace.

There’s an emotional scale. A range of emotions from hopelessness and despair to joyful elation. This is the ladder we’re going to climb from devastated to being awesome.

There are two axes that determine your emotional state.

How much fear you feel and how much control you feel over the situation.

Rock bottom is about feeling hopeless and worthless. It’s about feeling powerless to change things and being afraid the future won’t get any better. It’s when this emotion becomes all pervasive that people commit suicide. Because when you can see no way of ever improving how you feel… why would you want to go on?

Anger Is The Kickstart To Your Recovery

Anger is progress. While fear is what fuels you, you now have a focus for what is the obstacle between you and feeling happy.

The fear that you won’t get to live out your future dreams and knowing it’s because of that ‘bleeping dipshit’… brings rage. Rage gives us a sense of power and control. It’s still negative, but we feel alive and have energy to do something. This is progress from despair, which is when we feel powerless to change things.

So your emotional journey is about feeling a sense of control and power over your destiny. And eventually that will lead to forgiving and even feeling love for your ex.

Not in the getting jiggy with him or getting back together in any way, but in not feeling any animosity. Kind of when you see him in five years time and think ‘wtf did I ever see in him’ or ’I’m glad he’s happy at last’.

Now I’m getting ahead of myself now because right now that may be way too big of a jump. Right now rage might feel better. You go ahead, blame that lying son of a bitch and put his picture up on the dart board.

Don’t go too far though!

Leave the kitchen knives where they are.

In your head you can be mad as hell. He or anyone else doesn’t need to know about it. Because your anger is a tool for now. It is to get you feeling more in control. Then you can work your way up to understanding. And eventually up to neutral and then forgiveness where you can move past him.

So while I’m not advocating violence or suggesting you should be angry for long, it is a stage on the journey. And so what we need to do now is use the surge of energy anger gives you to move forward.

So you need to strategically use your anger to motivate you. Hundreds of people achieve things because they feel the need to show others. To prove themselves etc. So use that fuel to get you to do what you need to, to move on.

Stopping The Rollercoaster: Physicalise Your Pain

When all you can think about… or feel… is the loss of your relationship… you are in no place to try and think your way out.

I’m the first person to argue that we are all only one perspective away from happiness. But when the emotion is so powerful that it hijacks you, you have to find a way of regaining control.

The problem is that you have developed a thinking habit. One that transports you into a pain cycle that you can’t rationalise and reason your way out of.

That’s why it doesn’t matter how many chats you have with your friends. How much you read. Or how much you try and think it through.

Emotion and logic are like oil and water. They don’t mix. You can’t change one by the other. So at this stage thinking isn’t the solution.

So what is?

The problem is that your emotions have you in such a tight grip that you can’t escape their clutches. Your body is wound up like a coiled spring. So it’s time to put the e-motions into motion.

The basis of martial arts is to never use force to meet force. Instead you go with the flow.

So the problem is feeling in pain from the tension. You can’t relax and so rather than try to fight it, let’s use it to redirect your energy.

Start getting busy. Get all your housework done. Start working on all those niggly projects that you’ve been meaning to get around to.

If you don’t already exercise start. Start at whatever level you can. Find yourself some challenge where you can see yourself progress. For most people, it will be wanting to lose a few pounds and tone up. Use some way of measuring your progress so you can recognise your wins.

If you’re not looking to get in better shape, find some other goal. I always need a challenge to motivate me to exercise. Without something to aim for and measuring what you’re doing you will drift. When it gets tough and you want to give up that is when you use your anger to give you a whole new level of determination.

Physical Pain Can Teach You How To Deal With Emotional Pain

You see, at this stage, working out is not primarily about looking or feeling better in the long term.

Both of these are goals that later on will be part of the process. You can’t enjoy life as much when you’re carrying around 100lb of excess weight, but that’s not our main focus here.

The main reason you need to exercise and push yourself in physical challenges is to physicalise the pain. When you take pain that you can’t control and bring it under your direction, you have started to claim back your power.

It is much easier to deal with concrete concepts than abstract ones. Likewise, it is easier to deal with physical pain than emotional suffering. So by creating physical pain you are able to make pain purposeful.

The physical suffering to achieve your chosen goal, becomes a metaphor for your emotional suffering. And so you begin to see a path to healing.

The process of becoming fitter is about pushing yourself beyond your current limits. To build a muscle you have to flood it with blood until it bursts and tears. And this is desirable for women as well as men to achieve a toned look and to be in your best shape.

That, and giving your body the nutrients and the rest that it needs, is your job. The body heals over the next couple of days. Then it rebuilds stronger than before to cope with the extra demands placed on it.

Your exertions – the physical suffering – is the stimulation your body needs to grow stronger.

That, and giving your body the nutrients and the rest that it needs, is your job. The body heals over the next couple of days. Then it rebuilds stronger than before to cope with the extra demands placed on it.

No one likes exercising. It is uncomfortable. Yet many can learn to associate it with winning and with feeling good and so they associate those feelings with exercising.

It’s the same thing with all forms of work.

No one actually likes housework. But some people grow to love the association they have with housework. Accomplishing something, having a clean and tidy home, caring for their family and so on.

Everything we want to achieve. Developing rewarding relationships, hobbies or career goals, all involve developing skills. That involves frustration. It’s the feeling we get after that justifies the effort.

Everything worth achieving takes time and effort.

Never Let Pleasure Come At The Expense Of Long Term Happiness

Pleasure is about the here and now. The entertaining tv show, the chocolate cake and the thrilling sex.

Fulfilment comes from investing your time, energy and attention in achieving a goal. Accomplishments. Great health and a great figure. A loving and rewarding relationship.

Again and again, we face the temptation to put pleasure before fulfilment. Yet when we prioritise pleasure over fulfilment we become fat, weak and empty.

Pleasure seeking alone is unsustainable. Fulfilment builds stores of future pleasure.

At the deepest level, this moment of your life isn’t about the crisis of a relationship breakdown.

Relationships don’t matter… individuals matter.

This is about you. The relationship was always less important than you… or your ex. Relationships, and all forms of organisation, exist to serve individuals.

The pain you feel now is really spiritual exercise that you need to grow into a stronger person. Understanding and accepting that changes completely the perspective of the suffering. But we’ll build on this later

Keep journaling through this stage. Use your Journal to store all the things about your ex and your relationship that made you angry.

No Going Back!

Stage 3: Bargaining

The third stage of grieving is where you’ve been in pain for so long you just want some respite. You’ve been through the worst and there looks like there might be light at the end of the tunnel, but it flickers in and out. Maybe it’s a mirage. You’ve done this for long enough and you just want it to be over. You want to settle to normality and have an end to it.

This is the stage where there’s a lot of doubt. People who wanted out of their relationship will start to doubt that the grass is greener. Did they make a mistake? They miss aspects of the other person… or maybe they’re horny, lonely or bored. So they reach out.

The person who was dumped is still vulnerable. He sees a chance to salve all their pain. And this is how people break up and get back together over and over again.

Someone was unhappy enough to break things up. Thus the relationship didn’t work. It won’t work again.unless you’re both different people and in 99% of cases it’s over.

However, that doesn’t mean your future is over. It might be that you’ve lost yourself and any clear view of what your dreams really are. Whatever the case, your future is never tied to one person. It’s independent of any other individual.

It’s when we forget that, that we tie ourselves up in knots of despair.

My aim is for you to only ever get into a relationship where you make a conscious transaction. In other words you both understand why you’re together. What your needs are and how you will get them met.

To do this, you need to develop the self-belief that you know you can cope alone. That you know you can create an awesome life. And you don’t need anyone else in your life, but you’ll welcome them with open arms…

If they can make it better.

Yet, to do that, they had better have their shit together… just like you will have.

You see, a relationship is only as strong as the two individuals in it. Two strong, independent people can have a much healthier relationship than two needy, insecure people.

If you were running a marathon, would you want a Partner that you knew was going to be leaning on you to complete the race?

And what if you needed them to support you to complete the course? Going the distance is looking less and less likely.

So… how do we get you to the stage of being strong and independent and open to love, but not needing it.

You Can Change

The first step is understanding and knowing that You aren’t fixed. You can evolve.

There are certain attributes about you that you can’t change. You can’t change;

  • Your height
  • Your basic physical structure
  • Your temperament, this is different from your personality. It’s your basic characteristics
  • Other genetic factors such as your intelligence, ethnicity, sexuality and so on

However, almost everything else is under your control.  Such as;

  • How much effort you put in
  • Where you spend your time
  • Whether you’re fat or thin
  • How confident you feel, how happy you are (Cheerfulness is temperamental. Happiness is down to you)
  • How socially skilled you are and how good you are at relating to people

Most of us rarely challenge ourselves. We aim for comfort. Developing skills pushes us out of our comfort zone, so we rarely do it without being pushed. So often life has to give us crises that force us to grow. What we actually see as suffering, we will actually later see wasn’t. It was the emotional equivalent of us bashing our head against a wall.

It might sound crazy, but if you stick around for long enough I’ll explain how this break up isn’t your Ex’s fault or bad luck or one of those things. It’s Life telling you, you need to upgrade your Operating System. What hurts us is what we do to ourselves. Or fail to do for ourselves.

What hurts us is what we do to ourselves. Or fail to do for ourselves.

Some people will read that and dismiss it because they’re not ready for it. Some will find it outrageous because they see that as an accusation.

Yet, the flip side is that if you’re hurting yourself… you can stop doing it. The alternative is to be a victim and to be at the mercy of circumstance. I always prefer to believe I have some control and can affect the outcome.

While we’re still breathing there’s always room for improvement

Like computers, we are both hardware and software. There are some things we can’t change and there’s a lot that we can.

We can overcome our cultural conditioning.

We can learn new skills and improve others.

We can change habits.

We can change the way we relate to people.

And the huge one is we can change the way we see the world and so how we react to it.

It’s Not About Being Comfortable

Earlier I touched on the fact that humans seek comfort. All civilisation has been a movement towards more comfort, more safety and security.

We no longer have to worry about animals attacking us We no longer have to find shelter from the elements. Or worry where our next meal is coming from.

We don’t even have to work as hard to clean our clothes and house as our Grandparents did. Walking any distance is pretty much optional. Heck… we don’t even have to get up to change a channel… or even find the remote.

Waiting is uncomfortable… so now we have almost all our entertainment on demand.

The courtship process is awkward so we have dating apps to cut out the hassle and rejection. In fact, our phones are becoming neuro-chemical transfusion.

Feeling lonely? Click this app to connect

Need some attention or validation? Click here to get people to like or rate your picture

Want to feel productive? Set up your apps to organise and focus you

The nature of capitalism is to sell people what they want. Yet what people want is often not what they need. I want coffee and walnut cake and to sit on the sofa and binge watch a season of Game of Thrones.

Yet my body needs foods rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats and sugar to fuel it. I need to move my body for it to stay agile and healthy. My mind needs to challenge and my spirit needs to feel like it’s contributing something.

Time is a currency like money. It can be invested or spent.

So I can sit on the sofa and stuff myself, which is easy and comfortable.

Or I can go and do something less immediately pleasurable, but later makes me feel like my day has been productive. I go to sleep feeling at peace, tired and ready for a sound and restful night. And tomorrow I wake up in a better place than I was yesterday.

The Peril Of Seeking Comfort

So let’s apply this to dealing with a break-up. So how do people typically deal with a break-up?

There’s usually lots of tears, lots of drink, chocolate, shopping and huddling on the sofa binge watching Bridget Jones etc.

What’s that about?

It’s seeking comfort.

During and after a break-up, we feel the pain of loss, rejection, fear and all this stuff that is overwhelming. When we feel bad, we are motivated to change that feeling. So we reach out to our friends for validation.

  • Tell me nice things about myself.
  • Tell me he/she’s a dickhead and there’s nothing wrong with me.
  • Tell me it will all work out ok.

The drink, chocolate, the shoes, the tv are all easy ways to feel comfort and soothe ourselves.

The body always seeks to return to normal. Homeostasis. And any good friend is going to care about your feelings and reassure you and say all the right things.

But your feelings are wiser than your friends. You… and your friends just want the easy route out of this. Most people want to see the obstacles and the hassles of life as some random bad luck. They want to bury their head in the sand and hope that it goes away so they can feel good again.

This is like wishing you win the lottery. Or wishing the Fairy Godmother will wave her magic wand and things will all be ok again.

The reality is, you feel broken because you are.

Whatever has been going on with you, in your relationship, in your general life, you weren’t fully being you. Your life isn’t exactly as you want it to be and that’s what your feelings are telling you.

You can take the easy path. You’ll soothe yourself back into feeling like everything is fine again. Sooner or later though, something will break through the facade. And then these feelings will erupt again.

My mission is to solve problems. Preferably before they occur. Meaning I try to project likely minefields and avoid ever tripping them.  My job here is to warn you of the dangers of giving in to the easy choice.

We all love comfort and hate discomfort.

That’s why we have an obesity epidemic. That’s why we have addictions whether it’s to drink, drugs, work or our phones. Yet comfort never really gives us fulfillment. It’s like chocolate. It makes us feel good for a moment, but then we feel worse afterwards.

Discomfort can bring pain. It’s like exercising. It is pushing us to do what we really don’t want to do. Yet in the longer term, it is what makes us feel better. It brings us lasting satisfaction and makes us a stronger person.

Overcoming The Temptation of Comfort

We are wired to seek comfort. That’s our default mode. We have to override this to meet the challenge of life.

Your challenge in this process is to resist the temptation to give in to comfort. Stay strong and endure the suffering and you will be rewarded with all that you wanted.

Many, many relationships are broken because of the foundations they rest upon. Two people seeking a crutch to lean on. Then they’re mad the other one ‘wasn’t there for them’.

People get into relationships for the stupidest of reasons. People get blinded by physical attraction. They are so desperate to be loved. They’re bored. Lonely. They want regular sex.

And so they make unconscious contracts they can’t keep.

You have a chance to heal from all your past relationships now – romantic or not. But only if you take this chance to be alone to heal. Then when you are ready. When you can stand alone without needing to lean on anyone. Then you can base a relationship on solid ground. That is the kind of relationship you’ve always dreamed of.

If you can’t tolerate the discomfort of being alone. And so you rush into another relationship, you are starting the cycle again. I wouldn’t even recommend using dating apps as a distraction yet.

The Dangers Of Dating Too Soon

Because the most positive outcome of dating apps etc is a long-term relationship. And honestly, you’re not ready for that to work as well as it could right now. If you can delay this now, you’ll be much more successful when you do go for it.

Even if you’re horny or lonely going on a dating app now will cause you to get sucked into the game. Like gambling, online dating promises easy rewards for no effort. Yet the reality is it rarely works like that. Dating can be addictive for the attention, and the thrill of the chase. And all this will take time, energy and attention. You need those right now focused on this process to complete your transformation.

Moreover, there’s a cost in the hassles of using them. Dating apps are a minefield of unhealed people seeking to ease their pain and boredom. You need to be standing on solid ground to deal with these people. Otherwise you’ll end up going on another emotional rollercoaster.

Satisfying your deeper longing, with a quick scratch, will distract you. As a result you’ll end up weaker than you would if you let yourself sit with the discomfort for a little while longer.

If you can hold off you’ll be able to make a clearer decision about what you want from dating. Then when you know where you’re going you’ll be in a much better place to get the most from dating.

Relationships are the most difficult challenge we face.

Life is a big enough challenge. When you complicate things it by adding another person into the mix, you’ve made it harder. Adding in others, such as children, parents and ex’s and you’ve made it almost impossible.

So often people seek in a relationship what they can’t find for themselves. And all they end up is feeling more hurt and lost. All the things you’re looking for… you need to give to yourself.

When you are whole and complete, then you’re able to stand solid and be yourself. See, lots of people go into a relationship hoping that the other person will give them what they’re missing.

But relationships are essentially transactions. People don’t want to look at them that way and so they imbue them with all these romantic illusions. When you look at them deeply and honestly, they are unconscious transactions.

People go into them hoping that the other person will make them feel special, loved and adored. Yet, they’re unconscious transactions because we don’t want to feel we’re trading. We want to believe that we are this special person. And the other will adore and nurture… well because… hmmm… because I’m me… and I know I’m worth it.

Five or ten years later, she hates her Partner because he’s a controlling, narcissistic fuck face. “I don’t even know who I am any more. He made me scared to say what I thought. I lost myself in keeping him happy”.

That’s an unconscious transaction. You went in expecting to get something essentially for nothing. Without knowing what the cost was for you.

So did he!

So now there’s two people even more broken than they were at the start. And now they’re bitter and sure that all men or all women are this and that.

But then they weaken again and are willing to bargain.

But this time it’s two people with bigger wounds and bigger walls and quicker to mistrust.

Here’s another jumping off point. If you’re sure that this person is different or this time is different. And you want to jump back on the horse… then it’s time for us to part company. Because nothing I have to say from here on will be of any use to you.

To proceed from here you need to not be tied to any outcome. To not want a certain relationship. You need to be open minded at this point. We need to get you clear on what’s right for you. Then you can think about what relationship is right for you.

Still here?

Fantastic. I knew you were a smart one.

Ok. So what makes people bargain?

Weakness.

It’s the same reason why one person sells their business for a fraction of the value at the first offer. While someone else waits until they get a multi billion offer. It’s confidence, belief and trust.

When people don’t trust they have the ability to change things that they are willing to settle. Relationships are always transactions. They’re not usually trading in money. Usually it’s because someone makes them feel good. Or because they feel like with this person they can achieve a better life.

Why We Need People

A Psychologist, Craig Hill, developed the Interpersonal Orientation Scale. This is the four motivations we have to engage with others. These are;

  • Emotional Support
  • Attention
  • Stimulation
  • Social Comparison

Relationships work on transactions. So now before you move on, you need to look at what is the currency in your last relationship.

What is it you are looking for in a relationship?

“Don’t fool yourself here and say it’s just X, I love him.”

That’s a copout!  It just means you’re not aware of what you’re really seeking.

What is it you love about him?

Why?

You need to keep going until you get to the root of it.

Journal this all down because it’s going to come in handy later. Here’s some questions to guide you in developing more clarity. You need to fully understand your motivations and drives.

So let’s look honestly at the relationship, or more specifically your thoughts on it…

This quiz can give you some prompts and insights into your relationship. https://relationship-closeness-inventory.com/

What do you miss about your Ex?

What did you like best about the relationship?

What attracted you to him/her?

What were the best times?

Why?

What broke the relationship?

What things made you resent/angry/bitter?

Emotional Support

How well supported did you feel? In what ways was that?

Were you a better or worse person for being with them? In what ways?

In what ways did being part of a couple differ from being single?

Attention

Did you get the attention/affection you wanted?

In what ways?

How did that make you feel/affect you?

Why was that important?

Were you a better person for that? How?

Did you feel validated by them?

How did this change you?

Was it warranted, false or unrealistic?

Stimulation

Did they stimulate/encourage/entertain you to do things you wouldn’t have otherwise do?

In what ways?

What aspects will you miss most?

How can you recreate the feelings you got from them without the negatives they brought? You see, what you really need is to identify what they brought to your life. Then you can work out how to replace that in a new way.

Start a new page with two columns.

Put in one, the best pic you have of him and list the best qualities and things he brought to you. Things you’ll miss.

In the other, use his worst pic and list the worst qualities and things he brought to you. Things you won’t miss.

List of what you need/want from people/life that you no longer get from this relationship.

How can you get the same feelings, but from a different source?

Have A Memorial Service

Rituals work for a lot of people. They signal closure. So maybe holding a memorial service for the relationship might help.

You could bury or burn photos or belongings representative of your relationship. Just not the house car or your Ex’s Crown Jewels. I want to add a disclaimer here that I am not responsible for misuse of this idea.

Give a speech of what the relationship meant to you and what you’ll grieve in its ending. Wish him/her well and then mourn.

To heal you must get to a place where you forgive fully and hold no resentment or bitterness. The extent to which you do this, is the extent to which you become free. Your grudges tie you to the other person.

Your mission at this stage… should you choose to accept it… is to not give in to the easy solutions. Stay strong.

Over the next few steps we’ll be taking a good look at your relationship and life in general. Then we’ll try to identify what was broken, so that you can evolve into the bigger, stronger and wiser version of you.

What’s The Point? I Give Up! I’ll Be a Crazy Cat Lady!

Stage 4: Depression

By now you’ve worked past the bargaining stage. You don’t want to settle for the easy life. But, you don’t quite believe you’re going to end up where you want to be. So this is the stage where people swear off relationships. It’s where people post lots of dark, comic memes of them being eternally single etc.

This is the stage where many people stay stuck for years or even decades.

But we haven’t come this far for you to stay stuck in this no-man’s land. We’re going to work through this final stage, just like we’ve worked through the others.

This might take a bit of work because this isn’t about one break up. It’s about any issues that have scarred you in any of your relationships – romantic or not.

If you’re going to live the future you really want… you’re going to have to be open to life. While you’re closed off, defensive or suspicious, you’ll turn away people and opportunities. You will have a a few lucky escapes because of his. Equally, you’ll miss opportunities to live your happily ever after.

So the depression here, happens when you start to see the mistakes that make you miserable. Yet the task to overcome them seems overwhelming. It’s the doubt that you’re not the person that can do it, that makes you feel like giving up.

But as you learned in Stage 4, you know you can change. You can develop the skills and changes in perspectives you need. The downside is, like anything, it takes effort. It takes time. And it takes the humility to be open to learn it.

None of us like feeling incompetent. We spend most of our lives trying to feel competent and even look smart. Especially when we get to our 30’s, 40’s or 50’s. We don’t want to feel like we have to go back and learn something that seems so basic.

Shouldn’t we have this mastered by now?

Is it worth the effort?

It’s ok to loiter here for a while as you decide. The truth is, there is no alternative.

You’re breathing. You’re alive. So there is only one game in town. To live as happily as you can. The alternative is to camp out in this bleak, desolate clifftop and live a dull life. Never really feeling alive.

So… here’s the next steps… waiting for whenever you’re ready to pick them up.

Waiting patiently.  Well as patiently as I can be 😉

Answer nagging questions

One of the killers in trying to move on is all the nagging questions that go over and over in your mind.

  • Why doesn’t he want me anymore?
  • How can he move on so easily?
  • What if I’d done things differently?

There’s one answer to all these questions. And that is it doesn’t matter. People tie themselves up in knots to try and get answers to these questions. Yet there are no real answers to them.

Let’s look at this realistically. Even if our ex knew the answers to these, which he probably doesn’t, would they be honest enough to tell you. Most people shy away from the brutal truths that they think will devastate someone.Alternatively, when they’re hurt and angry they want to hurt the other person. So either way, can you know for sure what they really mean?

Alternatively, when they’re hurt and angry they want to hurt the other person. So either way, can you know for sure what they really mean?

Relationships are deep and have layers and layers of complexity to them. We can know ourself, if we are really honest with ourselves and take the time and effort. But to know someone else…

That’s just not possible!

We can think we know them. In truth, we are only touching the tip of the iceberg. People change all the time.

Hopefully, in the time you’ve read this page you’ve made some shifts in how you think.

One Simple Shift In Perspective Can Change Everything

That changes you and it changes relationships in subtle ways. When you are reminded to give people the benefit of the doubt on some Facebook post. And then instead of reacting at work you pause and are more tolerant of your colleague. Which prompts him to feel able to share some trouble he is going through.

Do you see how one shift causes ripples throughout your life? Changing the way you react and so the interaction and relationship and so how life evolves for you?

Life is fucking complex and there’s so many mysteries that we can never know what’s going on.

We lived for thousands of years without knowing about Oxygen or Gravity. We even thought we could fall off the edge of the world. There’s a ton more stuff we aren’t even aware that we don’t know about.

Let it go! Some things in life will always be a mystery.

If you really want to be tortured, there’s clubs you can join for that kind of thing. Go knock yourself out, but don’t keep poking that open wound and expect to heal.

Ok. So how do you move on from here?

I’m not going to bullshit you or tell you that the secret to life is in my £97 ebook or my £800 course. Because we all read and ‘know’ stuff intellectually, that makes not a jot of difference in our life.

Because it’s not what we ‘know’ that matters. It’s what we do.

Life is fucking hard!

And none of us have all the answers.

Not even the white toothed Guru with the ‘amazing’ life. Not even the mysterious meditating Mystic. We’re all fumbling along in life and doing the best we can. Because life isn’t about having all the answers.

Life is about discovering who we are… as we face challenges.

And this, Buttercup, is one of those challenges. So is everything else that you thought the Universe sent to mess up your day.

What matters most is the spirit and the attitude that we live with. Being open to life and always adapting and evolving based on our experiences.

Having said that, insights, experiences and frameworks can help us organise our experiences. They can help us see what we would miss otherwise. So I want to give you a couple of frameworks that can help you. So that your final ascent can seem less overwhelming and more do-able.

Emotions can be overwhelming and it can seem like they come out of nowhere. The key to navigating through life though, is in your emotions. You need to develop a stronger relationship with them. Clearer lines of communication.

You know how Dr Doolittle could talk to animals and make sense of their barks and meows. You need to get that relationship with your emotions.

See, most people feel angry and lash out. People feel fear or whatever and try to get rid of the feeling. They don’t even realise why or what they are doing.

Emotions become pests to them. Interruptions rather than the guides and allies really are.

Remember our little chat about getting comfortable being uncomfortable? This is how you get to understand what the emotions mean. And knowing this guides your next steps.

I’ve been working with people professionally since 1994. Figuring out how to deal with stress, improve relationships and living happier lives. And I’ve always struggled to feel comfortable in any of the boxes people put me in. Possibly, because of the stage I was at, at the time.

I’ve been a Therapist, which didn’t feel quite right. It felt like people lost responsibility. They felt like they could go off and come back to get a different problem solved. Rather than taking responsibility for themselves.

Then I was a Coach when Coaching was just beginning. One of the catchphrases people used then was… Everyone Needs a Coach.

I don’t believe that. Because we have the greatest Coach of all. Our emotions.

Our emotions.

I do believe enormously in the value of books, courses and so on. We always need other people’s views and perspectives. But when we understand what creates our emotions and the logic behind them. Then we know what to do next.

People beg and plead to their Gods for signs of what they should do. Not realising that She is sending them signs every moment.

So… after that long detour, let’s get to this framework I promised you

The Source of Emotions

There are three universal questions that we are constantly asking ourselves. These are the Key Performance Indicators for how we are doing in our life.

So whenever something happens we relate it to how are we doing in relation to these three questions. Whenever someone slights us, it is in how it relates to these questions.

  • What am I good at?
  • Why will people like or love me?
  • What do I do that makes a difference in the world?

These questions relate to the three basic universal human needs.

Survival – To feel good at something.

Belonging – To feel loved and accepted.

Contributing – To feel like they matter.

Watch anyone who’s upset, i.e next time you’re unhappy about something. Identify what has upset them and you’ll find it is because;

  • They fear their ability has been brought into question. By themselves or someone else. So they fear they aren’t good enough and thus their survival is at stake.
  • They fear someone doesn’t like them or consider them important. So they fear no-one likes them and they will not be accepted in the pack.
  • They fear that nothing they do has any purpose or meaning. Thus, their life will have been wasted and them forgotten forever.

We have a habit of taking an incident, catastrophising it and generalising it to all future events. The fact someone rolled their eyes makes us feel our belonging in the pack is at stake.

So whenever you feel a strong emotion, you need to look at where the fear is.

Emotions are a kaleidoscope, but just as all colours emanate from light and dark… all emotions are created from love and fear. As you remove fear from your life you will feel more love, which we experience as happiness.

The stage of depression here, is about being overwhelmed and feeling like you don’t know what to do. Or know if you can do it.

No one can know it all.

What makes the difference is developing an inner relationship with your emotions. This enables you to navigate your path through life with them lighting the way.

Yehaa! We Made It Up The Mountain.

Stage 5: Acceptance

Now is the time when you’re ready to start looking or thinking about dating again. Your task at this stage is still to work on yourself.

Remember we talked about relationships being transactions?

We all want the best deal we can get for ourselves right?

So what do you do to get a better outcome in a transaction?

You make your side of the deal as appealing as you can.

One of the most important things that I’ve never heard anyone talk about are thresholds. What I mean by thresholds are people have different levels they can tolerate.

So… you can set up the worst dating profile and 5% of people would talk to you. Then you could improve your profile and now 40% of people will engage with you.

Thresholds work in everything.

So… the more attractive you can become… the bigger the pool of people who will be interested.

The easier you are to talk to… the more people you will be able to get to know.

Then of course there are the deeper aspects. The more together you are… the more people will be compatible with you over the longer term.

Compatibility is about how your attributes mesh with someone else’s tolerance thresholds.

So the more you evolve, the less needy and demanding you become. As a result, there are more and more people who COULD get along with you.

Including the big one…

Yourself.

Because whatever we do to others… we do many times worse to ourselves.

So when we are hard to get along with… we’re hard to get along with ourselves and so we don’t feel so good about ourselves.

So develop yourself in all ways as much as you can. When you find fear… work to understand and then overcome it. You’ll like yourself more… need others less and be happier.

The Realisation of Evolution

And it’s here we realise that we’re ok with being single. We can cope. And we could stay single and lead a happy and fulfilling life.

But…

There’s always that urge for most people to find someone else. Relationships can challenge the fuck out of us like nothing else. It’s easy to lead a quiet serene life as a Monk.

It’s damn near impossible when your Missus is nagging the ear off you because she’s been wound up to the hilt by the kids.

There’s also another realisation at this stage.

When we’re sitting at the bottom of the mountain, it looks like everything is rosy and tranquil at the summit.

But life is always a challenge.

There’s always something else to upset the applecart. There’s always another summit that we want to get to.

It can feel a little like you’ve been cheated. That you reached the promised land and it wasn’t what you thought it was.

But that’s what life is.

You see, we understand life at the level at which we have evolved to. So at the bottom of the mountain, you expect it’s going to be everything you wanted.

But when you reach the top, you have changed from the journey. And now you are looking up at a different future that you want.

So… what you’ll find in going through this process… is that what you want and demand from a relationship will be different as you evolve.

To use the analogy of the Promised Land in the Old Testament. These people were told of a coming Messiah and they read into it something literal. When the Messiah of the New Testament turned up, they judged him against their expectations.

No Crown tick. No thunderbolts to their enemies. Tick

And so the person sent to save them was killed. Because they didn’t understand what had been promised and how he would show up.

In exactly the same way, everyday men and women are being rejected by potential partners. Because they don’t show up in the way the other is expecting them to show up.

People have their rigid rules about dating. They have their checklists of what makes a good partner for them. And then they claim there aren’t any good ones left.

People decide too soon. Some to reject and others to commit.

He’s not for me. If he was… he’d chase me… I’m worth it.

She’s the ONE for me… she’s so beautiful and she’s interested in me.

You don’t even know yourself, let alone another person. All you can know is you like the person and want to know more. Whether it is for ever… for years… or weeks… is all to unfold.

Savour the journey, because that’s all there is. An endless journey of new summits and new mountains to climb.

You signed up to CLIMB mountains, not sit on them. Go climb!