Make a deal with yourself. Before you decide that you can’t be in a relationship again, do a structured “autopsy” on your previous relationships. Maybe you did something early on that contaminated those relationships and sealed their fate without even knowing.
By doing an autopsy, you take the mystery out of the train wreck. An autopsy can help you move forward with a healthy outlook — with ownership of problems that you played a role in creating, and with an awareness of what can be different. Here’s how.
- Identify what your problems and frustrations were with your relationship.
- Write down the problems your partner had with you. Be honest with yourself.
- Write down 10 key statements about the pain you still feel and the open wounds you still have. Again, honesty is essential.
- You need to reconcile each of the statements you wrote down. Ask yourself: What was my role in each of these? Own what you are responsible for.
- What choices did you make that led to the results you got in your last relationship?
- You teach people how to treat you. Did you teach your partner to treat you badly?
- What do you have to change to get over your last relationship? How do you need to heal?
- What do you want to leave behind from your last relationship? Only when you acknowledge it, can you take the steps to prevent repetition.
- You need emotional closure. To get that, you need to figure out what your “minimal effective response” is — the least thing you can do to get the closure. It may be yelling and screaming, writing your thoughts down, or actually talking to your ex. If you need to take steps to feel like you’ve stood up for yourself, do it.