“Who is your emergency contact?”
For the first time in ten years, I couldn’t list the person who had been my partner.
Writing my parents’ number on the form brought up subconscious fears, some of which involved too many cats and the words ‘Old Maid’.
Becoming single again has brought many firsts.
First time being single as a self employed person with a TBI. First time making a conscious effort to maintain a positive connection with a former partner. First time viewing the process as initiation rather than a measure of self worth. The emergency contact incident has been put into perspective as weeks of self care have helped me create a foundation for a new life.
If you find yourself newly single, here are a few things that made a difference for me, and may be helpful to you.
Cry Yourself Snotty
No one said healing was pretty, but among all the contributors to climate change, used tissues rank low on the list, so let loose. If you can’t express your grief openly all the time, that is understandable, but make space to cry powerfully.
Connect with your people. I am immensely grateful for the friends and family who checked in, reached out, broke bread, and listened, without judgment. Feeling the love and support of those around me was incredible. Connect with others and let them hold space for you. Be mindful, however, of the nature of your connection. It was important to me to connect with others around my pain, my fear, my grief, without descending into man bashing or former partner bashing.
Relationships serve significant purposes, regardless of how long they last, whether they end in marriage etc. Decide what boundaries you need, regardless of factors like guilt, longing etc. Respect the boundaries of your former partner. We didn’t speak for about a month, and then, gradually increased contact, mostly around practical matters. We now talk regularly on the phone. This is not a forum for challenging each other’s boundaries or trying to influence each others’ decisions regarding the relationship.
We are continuing to discern new roles in connection to each other. When is it appropriate to reach out for support or assistance, and when is it putting one of us back into an old role?
The breakup occurred shortly before the Great American Eclipse.
I wanted to spend the once in a lifetime event with him.
Until I remembered that our connections span lifetimes.
And it is no longer his job to be the person to spend special once in a lifetime events with. Instead Spirit urged me to use this powerful event to usher in some deeper healing.
As an Intuitive Coach, I am often asked when or if people should contact a former partner. I don’t believe in formulaic answers to this.
It may not be possible for everyone to maintain contact, but it is important to be honest with yourself about your agenda. It may be tempting to pop in to surprise someone at their home or workplace, but it is important to ask “What is the purpose of doing this? Who is this serving?”
As For Facebook
Speaking of boundaries…..
While I have not had this experience, many friends and clients have stories of post breakup Facebook nightmares. With the exception of stalking, harassing, abusive or threatening behavior, when it comes to post breakup social media, the Al Anon slogan applies:
What other people say about me is none of my business.
Before checking his page ask yourself “what purpose is this serving?”
The energy and time spent trying to figure out who that new woman is who popped up on his newsfeed, or in a picture someone uploaded etc. is better spent tending to yourself.
I have heard friends share their salt-on-the-wound experience of seeing online flirtations or passive-aggressive posts. Maybe a jab, a defense, a desire for connection on the part of the other person, in any event one thing is definite- it is out of your control.