If statistically, you need to go through all those relationships to get to the person you're going to be with for the rest of you live, then breakups are inevitable. But breakups also suck — and they can also mess with your health and the health of your love life.
The average women will experience two heartbreaks in her lifetime, says a 2014 study by eHarmony. She'll also have two long-term relationships and seven relationships over all, before finding The One. If we do the math, that means the average woman is going to endure roughly nine breakups, even if only two of them result in her heart being splattered all over the floor. That's a lot of breaking up and probably more than anyone would want to sign up for, if they had a say in the matter.
"Breaking up hurts, even if you are the one who wanted to end the relationship," Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, psychotherapist and author of Smart Relationships: How Successful Women Can Find True Love, tells Bustle. "You feel sad, fooled, lonely, and a bit scared... So, you break up, and you decide to think carefully about what went wrong. Good idea! But before you take a chance on love again, make sure that in your quest to understand what happened, you heed the warnings that could save your health and love life."
If you want to avoid causing yourself more pain, here's what you need to know.
1Realize Time Isn't The Only Factor
"Don't measure your 'readiness' to love on how long it has been since you broke up," says Dr. Wish. It's important to realize that you're ready to move on when you feel that you're ready and it's not based on some sort of time minimum. The amount of time is subjective and different for everyone.
2Don't Blame Yourself
No matter how the relationship ended, you can't blame yourself. Even if your actions weren't exactly on the up and up, it's important to realize you were reacting to something that maybe you can't really define.
"Yes, love is a two-way street, but when you blame yourself too much, you set yourself up to tolerate too many things that you shouldn't accept in your next relationship," says Dr. Wish. "You don't want to end up getting very depressed or being victimized."
The last thing you want is to allow yourself to be walked all over in your next relationship because you absorbed too much of the fault in your last relationship.
3Focus On You
Dr. Wish is adamant that once a relationship is over you need to focus on you. Don't focus on your partner or what was "wrong" with them, but what it is about you that you need to work on before you're ready to be in a relationship again.
Dr. Wish explains: "You are not really ready to move on and find love again until you can at least answer the following questions: 'Why did I fall in love or get married when I did? What was going on in my life that could have accelerated my feelings and blinded me? What did I learn about me and my relationship patterns of behavior?'"
With the end of every relationship comes the opportunity to grow and evolve. It's a chance to learn a lesson so, ideally, your next relationship can be even better.
4Don't "Swear Off" Love
As much as you may want to "swear off" love after a breakup, don't do it. You may not realize it, but it does more bad than good.
"Being 'down' on love is a failed way to deal with you, your issues, and your not-so-good choice of partner," says Dr. Wish. When you do this, you allow yourself to believe that love will come when you least expect it and in doing so, you take a back seat to your love life. You should never take a backseat to any part of your life; it's your life.
5Don't Hand It All Over To Fate
When you settle for the mentality of taking a backseat, you also, in essence, hand over the reins to fate. Do you really want to do that?
"Are you really willing to turn your life solely over to fate?" asks Dr. Wish. "Dropping out of the dating scene leaves you vulnerable to grabbing a 'good-enough' person when the going gets rough in your life." When you give in to fate, you also given in to mediocrity. Definitely not a wise choice for your health or love life.
As much as it might hurt like hell, it's important to do what you can to put a positive spin on things and not let yourself end up in a vicious cycle. Even the worst breakups end up teaching us something and, in the end, we're healthier for it if we really take a moment to learn the lesson we've been given.