Breakup Book


Transcript of Breakup Book

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Audio Transcript All Rights Reserved © 2007 Amy Waterman and No part of this transcript may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. The information contained herein is intended as the author’s personal opinion only and does not represent professional therapeutic advice.

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1. Hate and Loving Welcome to Triple O, the ultimate resource to get the relationship you always wanted. In this 11-part audio series on Surviving a Breakup, I’d like to share with you some personal thoughts and experiences. Like you, I’ve gone through some hard breakups, and I’ve lived through them. And the great thing is that each breakup has left me free to love someone new, and someone even more wonderful. You may have read these articles before on my blog, but this time I’d like to share them with you in my voice … just some straight talk from me to you.

In this section, I’d like to talk about hate … and loving. One of the things that constantly amazes me about relationships is how easy people slip from loving their partner to hating them.

If it were possible to interview every couple in the world at the moment of breaking up, what percentage do you think would still be able to speak friendly to one another, and what percentage would speak bitter words of anger and blame?

20/80? Or is that too pessimistic?

Relationships start going bad long before the breakup occurs. One article in Cosmopolitan magazine interviewed men about their reasons for breaking up. 100% of them said that they knew they were going to break up with the girl long before they actually did it. The time delay was due to a variety of reasons.

• They wanted to make sure it was the right decision first. • They weren’t eager to give up the sex. • They weren’t looking forward to hurting her. • They wanted to absolve themselves of the responsibility for breaking up

by trying to get their girlfriend to do it for them.

A man might have all or a combination of those reasons for taking his time between making the decision and actually breaking up.

Because he has had time to prepare himself, it’s relatively easy for him to sever ties and immediately hop back into the dating scene. For the woman, on the other hand, the separation is dramatic and traumatic. She doesn’t understand

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why. Usually, he isn’t doing any explaining, either … at least not giving her the real reasons.

It’s no wonder that so many women end up shouting as parting words: "You’re making a big mistake!"

Then, almost automatically, a good percentage of those women immediately turn their minds to scheming how to get him back.

It doesn’t work. It never works. And once it’s apparent that their efforts are fruitless, the only way many women can make sense of the situation is to badmouth him.

• "He didn’t know how good he had it." • "He was such a d*head!" • "I’m well rid of him anyway." • "I feel sorry for his nex girlfriend."

Words hurt. And the people they hurt most are those who speak them.

Every time you criticize an ex-partner, you’re criticizing the part of yourself who chose him. For clearly, at a certain point, you were besotted with him and felt that he represented all that was good in humanity. To find out that instead he was human is a cruel blow. You offered him everything, and he chose not to take it. What other way could you understand the rejection aside from believing that (1) he was stupid, or (2) he wasn’t the person you thought he was?

I can guarantee you one thing: he wasn’t the person you thought he was.

Even though we feel that we know our boyfriends intimately, having shared our thoughts, our dreams, and our beds, we never know anyone completely. So many of us are shaped by childhood experiences of which we aren’t even aware. There are subconscious influences affecting all of us that no one else sees … often not even ourselves.

The tendency to view our lover in a glowing light is well documented. Equally documented is the fall from grace, when you realize that he is only human. Sadly, the fall can happen earlier for one person than another, and it is the waning of romantic love that signals the end of most relationships.

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Real love—a commitment to respect, honor, nurture, and grow with another person—isn’t dependent on feelings of romantic love. Real love grows when two human beings see one another warts and all, and still decide to embark on life’s journey as a team. Growth can only occur through taking on the hard times together and working through challenges for the sake of the partnership, not the self.

It’s a huge task to ask of anyone. Even your ex.

The fact that he didn’t choose you to spend the rest of his life with does not mean that he’s evil, stupid, or completely mistaken. It simply means that he made the best decision he could for himself. The fact that he wasn’t thinking of you automatically disqualifies him from Love’s privileged company. When two people are truly in love, they put their partnership first, well above their personal needs, desires and doubts.

Can you truly hate him for that? Does his decision honestly merit verbal abuse?

It isn’t about you at all. It’s simply about not measuring up to Love.

His feelings for you didn’t measure up to true love’s standards, so you are well parted.

When you are able to face the dissolution of a relationship with the grace of acceptance and appreciation for the new opportunities that are surely in your future, you will have succeeded in what people fail at: a truly, wonderfully open heart.

You didn’t give in to the temptation of speaking words of anger and blame.

You didn’t give in to the temptation of hurting him to feel better.

You didn’t give in to the temptation of defending yourself with counterattacks and icy walls.

You kept your heart open and watched as, after sufficient time to grieve and mourn, your breakup ushered in previously unimaginable opportunities for personal growth, new friendships, and new hobbies.

Do you think that’s possible?

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I admit from experience: it’s awfully hard. It takes discipline beyond what most of us are asked to do.

But if you truly want to move past hate, anger, and hurt to the possibility of real love, you have to learn to put the notion of partnership first. A partnership takes two. If one partner backs out or can’t handle being part of the team, then the partnership is over. And it’s wonderful that you know your partnership wouldn’t have held up under the stresses of the world anyway.

May you never feel that you have to close your heart from hurt.

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2. It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken

Today I’m going to be reviewing Greg Behrendt’s book on breakups, It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken. Now, I am a huge fan of He’s Just Not That Into You, and I expected great things from the sequel.

It disappointed me. Not because the information wasn’t good. Not because the style wasn’t lively and engaging. It was simply because nothing was revolutionary.

He’s Just Not That Into You revolutionized my perspective on dating. Friends who read it suddenly "got" why previous relationships had dissolved. Greg explains that the simple reason why some relationships stuck together and others didn’t was because the guys who are really into you want to be with you … no matter WHAT.

Why didn’t he call after the second date? He just wasn’t that into you. Why did he dump you? Because no matter how he claimed he felt about you, he just wasn’t that into you. Why should you not want him back? Because breaking up with you proved that he’s not into you as much as you deserve.

The latter is the entire topic of It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken.

How a woman deals with a breakup tests her emotional maturity more than any other scenario. In order to grow as a woman, you MUST learn how to deal with breakups well, without poisoning your ability to love again. That’s why studying this topic is so important.

At Triple O Relationships, we receive emails from so many women wanting to know how to get their previous boyfriend back. In fact, it would be fair to say that getting an ex back is one of the top three issues women hope we’ll solve.

The problem is that 99.9% of these exes aren’t worth having back. Many of them are abusive, have a personal life in shambles, are already with another woman, or have proven through their actions that they’re unable to act in a mature way in a relationship or make the commitment to trying to become a better person and partner.

Yet these women would prefer to be with an imperfect partner than to be alone. Of course they would.

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We all prefer the demon we know. Being single again means facing the dating scene, the lack of someone to depend on, no one to cuddle with, and putting on false bravery to one’s friends. It is stressful, lonely, and hard to be single. It’s an emotional challenge to feel fulfilled when there is no "special someone" in your life to whom you can give the gift of your abundant love.

But Greg’s answer to the situation isn’t adequate, either.

In his book, Greg tells us, "You deserve better than that ex of yours. He just wasn’t that into you; otherwise, he wouldn’t have broken up with you. Never settle for that. Demand a man who’s truly into you."

Is getting over a breakup really that simple?

I don’t think it is.

Don Miguel Ruiz, in The Mastery of Love, explains that the amount of abuse we tolerate in a partner is equal to the amount of abuse we heap on ourselves. If a woman is used to telling herself that she’s ugly, that she fails at everything she tries, and that she’s not capable of performing in the world without someone holding her hand, then she’ll accept–and even feel most comfortable with–a man who reinforces these beliefs.

For example, if your partner makes a cutting comment about the horrible dinner you cooked that night, and one of your beliefs about yourself is that you are a bad cook, then you will accept his comment and berate yourself even more for not being better in the kitchen. If, on the other hand, you feel quite self-assured about your competence in the kitchen, you will challenge him on it and refuse to let his rudeness slide.

As a result, many women find it difficult to set higher standards for themselves in the dating world without re-evaluating how well they treat themselves.

Women who have a litany of negative self-comments running through their heads will accept partners who criticize them.

Women who don’t value or respect themselves will accept partners who don’t value or respect them either.

So what should we do?

Greg does his best to pump up our self-esteem. He calls us all "Superfoxes." He wants all of us women grieving over breakups to believe that we are totally

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hot babes who deserve princes. But (to point out the obvious) Greg doesn’t know each of his readers personally. Greg’s belief that I am a Superfox isn’t enough to transform whatever personal beliefs I have inside about myself.

The Seduction Genie’s perspective on breakups is much more simple. Yes, women need to improve their sense of self-worth. Yes, women need to set realistically high standards when choosing partners. However, the only thing that women need to know when a breakup occurs is this.

It wasn’t meant to be.

Can I repeat that? It wasn’t meant to be.

If he decides that he no longer wants to be with you, then clearly it wasn’t meant to be.

Let me explain.

A relationship is composed of two people. When one of those people backs out, then there is no longer a relationship. Even if the two people decide at a later date to get back together, they aren’t simply continuing the old relationship. That’s over. They are starting a new relationship, with new rules, that may be completely different from what they had in the past.

The number one thing women need when a breakup occurs is faith that things are happening as they are meant to happen, according to the Divine Plan that the Divine Power has for each one of us.

For me, my faith in the Divine helps me accept when life takes a different path to the one I desire. It doesn’t mean I’m fatalistic. On the contrary. When I am in a relationship, I am actively seeking to improve it, to be the best partner I can be, and to grow in love.

But I am in the relationship ONLY to give my gift of love and learn how to give that gift better. I am NOT in the relationship to ask for what I give to be given back to me.

Most people, unfortunately, operate on the barter principle of love.

• I’ll give you love if you give me love. • If I give you love that isn’t returned, then you owe me.

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• If I give you love, and you throw it back in my face and walk away, then I have the right to hate you, because you’re a bad person for not wanting to accept my love.

That’s just plain ugly.

If you want to learn to face a breakup maturely and grow even more beautiful, more loving, and more open as a result, then this is what you need to do.

Love through the breakup. Love him. Love him even though he isn’t yours. Send all your love to him as best wishes for his future. Use the opportunity to grow in love and embrace all that was best in yourself when you were with him. Don’t let the poison of the dying relationship enter your soul. Don’t take away from the relationship the arguments, the hurtful things he said or did, and the mistakes made. You can forget those now. It’s over.

Just take away the beautiful things. Take away how you felt in your best moments. Take away how you felt your heart open, how you learned to give him more than you’d ever given anyone else.

Then let him go with love.

I firmly believe that whatever happens, happens for a reason, and I trust that the reason lies in the Divine. I don’t have to know why a man broke up with me; I simply have faith that God is leading us both down the right path for each of us.

So when a man breaks up with you, all you need to do is recognize that this particular relationship wasn’t meant to be (even though you may start a new one later down the track with the same person) and let the decision rest with the Divine. Believe, if it helps, that he wasn’t the one who dumped you; it was the Divine Spirit acting through him for the benefit of you both. It’s called a breakup because life has different paths for you at the moment. Breakups don’t have to hurt. They’re only about rejection if you make them about rejection. You have the power inside yourself to decide how you are going to make meaning of the end of your relationship.

If you are a mature woman, you will bid him goodbye and bless his future with all of your continued love, and then you will turn to the Divine and meditate on the what possible plan the Divine has for you that requires your newfound freedom.

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If you are like most women, you will despise him, transform all the love you once had into hate, focus on the pain, and let your self-esteem plummet in the face of rejection.

Which choice do you prefer?

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3. Moving On: A Vow for Newly Single Women

In this section, I’d like to talk about what it feels like to be newly single. It’s funny. Sometimes all it takes is one relationship to make you realize why people are in relationships in the first place. Even though someone calls it off, even though memories of conflicts leave a bitter taste, even though it takes months of crying and grief before sunshine and spring flowers can feel like a cause for joy again … it IS worth it.

Why? Because for a short time the sun DOES shine brighter, hope and anticipation makes the weekends fly, and there is always someone else in the back of your mind. In my last relationship, I surprised myself by discovering how much I looked forward to surprising him with the little things, those things that I wished someone would do for me. In the process I discovered the exhilarating power of making someone’s life happier, more joyful, even better? for having shared it with me.

Why do so many people—once their relationship ends—revoke their feelings in anger, feeling embarrassed that they could have given their heart to someone who gave it back again? Through my work with, my colleagues and I often get emails from women angry at their partners for leaving them, yet desperately wanting them back. These women won’t deal with their own feelings of abandonment, resentment, and fear of being alone. They want a band-aid, as if his return will solve their problems.

Better to accept that not fitting into someone’s life simply gives you the opportunity to fit into someone else’s. These women don’t think once to say, “I’m better than this. I deserve someone who really loves me enough to work through anything. Someone who’s willing to let me go isn’t the kind of man that I deserve.”

Yet simply discovering that you loved your partner, even after he left you, is a cause for celebration. You’ve discovered that your heart DOES stretch bigger. Finding the capacity to love in yourself is an exciting thing.

Better yet, once you’ve loved someone, you never stop loving them. Yes, the relationship ended. Yes, the other person didn’t want it to continue. But the feelings you had then will always flow, if not to him in person, then to the memory of him from the time you were together.

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That’s healthy: no regrets, no anger, no need to lash out and hurt. Just recognition of the love that will always exist as a shadow between two souls who didn’t choose one another.

When my last relationship ended, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to write an ebook called "Your Guide to Stronger Relationships," which I sell as a bonus with my book on how to attract men at In the process of researching it, I realized why my last relationship wasn’t as healthy as I’d thought.

So few of us take the time to think about what would make our relationships healthier—not by finding a new person, but by finding better ways to relate to the person we have. It seems that the strongest relationships are those in which both partners expect challenges, disappointments, and difficulties, knowing that these are part and parcel of what it means to be with someone. They look forward to working through the challenges of life as a couple.

In real life, sadly, too many of us ignore problems hoping that they’ll go away, afraid to broach them with our partners because we know that our partners will respond with anger and hurt rather than understanding and patience.

Now, this is what I think all of us deserve in our relationships. If you are single right now, close your eyes for a moment and envision your perfect partner. Then repeat after me.

• I deserve someone who will always hold my hand and never let it go, whether walking together or sitting side by side, whether at the grocery store or at the doctors, whether happy or sad.

• I deserve someone who makes his own good spirits a priority so that he can enjoy life … someone who will soak up my happiness when I am happy … someone who will let me make him laugh when he is down … someone who never lets a day go by without a genuine smile gracing his face.

• I deserve someone who always seeks excellence in who he is and what he does … someone who is unafraid of growth and change despite the pain … someone who continues to stretch his own boundaries even as he stretches mine.

• I deserve someone who knows that Life obeys Murphy’s Law but doesn’t mind … someone who is committed to solving problems rather than complaining about the unfairness of life … someone who doesn’t see conflict as a sign that our relationship should end but rather embraces it as an opportunity for us to grow closer.

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• I deserve someone who can see when I am hurting and turn towards me, not away from me … someone who will comfort me through my pain rather than see it as a weakness.

• I deserve someone who will come to me with his pain and accept my comfort gladly.

• I deserve someone who needs me as much as I need him and is unafraid to admit it … someone who allows himself be completely vulnerable because he trusts me with his heart.

• I deserve someone who believes in me … someone who knows that “me” is my spirit, my mind, and my heart, those things that don’t age … I deserve someone who loves me simply for being me, not for what I look like today or for what I’ll look like tomorrow.

• I deserve someone who is unafraid to love. I deserve someone who embraces his love for me … someone able to admit it to himself, to me, and to the world.

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4. Country Lovin’

In this section, I’d like to talk about music and memories.

When I left home and started traveling around the world, the one thing I brought with me was country & western music. Collin Raye, Toby Keith, Trisha Yearwood, Deanna Carter. Country radio stations were nigh on impossible to find overseas (except for Oz, where CMT played along the sports channel in the bars). Country music brought me back to where I had been brought up. It was my link to home.

Country & western music has had a spotted reputation over the years. When I was in high school, my friends used to joke, “What happens if you play a country song backwards? You get your dog back, your wife back, your pickup back….”

A dear friend of mine told me that after his wife left him, he listened to Randy Travis over and over again. The grief in the lyrics expressed his own pain. It wasn’t until his daughter took his country CDs from him and threw them in the trash that he began to heal. He realized that the music kept him feeling sad and sorry for himself. He started to listen to Christian gospel instead and learned to praise the Lord every day for the blessings that filled his life.

Music can have a powerful effect on emotions, as it so easily brings back heartache. One of my girlfriends told me that when she wanted to hurt herself, she would listen to a tape that her ex-boyfriend had made for her. She could count on the music to bring back all the old memories of when they were together. The pain of their separation still cut as deeply as it did three years ago. She knew that that she shouldn’t listen to it, but it was the only memento she had of him. When she played it, she could feel a piece of him still with her.

I understood. The hardest thing is knowing how he felt towards you when he made that mixed tape or CD, how carefully he chose the songs, how he knew that it would remind you of him when you were apart … knowing all this, and knowing that today he is with another woman and happy and doesn’t even think of you.


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Of course he’s not a bastard. But it’s impossible not to feel that way. Men have a knack of loving women with their entire heart for a brief season, then transferring that love to someone else when the season of infatuation ends. Women are haunted by histories of loves reciprocated then repudiated, until every man offering love is an “Indian giver.”

That’s why we women need to learn to let go. We need to stop holding onto our ex-lovers and treading inch by inch over every worn memory we made during our time together. We need to let the men in our past move on and find a love more suited to their needs, even if we believe that we were what was best for them.

One thing I have learned in my short time on this Earth is that even when I think I know what’s best for me, the only one who truly knows is that Divine Power that guides all of our lives. We all need to have faith to accept what happens so that we can deal with it, rather than resisting reality.

Nowhere is this more true than in relationships. Men have the right to choose not to be with us. A man who breaks up with you has made a decision not to be with you. The decision may be right, it may be wrong, but he had every right to make it.

Yet you have every right to choose what you are going to do now. Are you going to listen to sad songs, cry yourself to sleep at night with his old t-shirt, and wear that kitschy necklace he gave you? Will torturing yourself bring him back? No.

We often believe that the measure of our grief indicates the measure of our love for him. If he sees how badly we’re hurting, we think, he’ll repent and fold us back into his arms again.

But love doesn’t work that way.

You can’t play the song backwards and get him back.

I am not going to recommend that you listen to Christian gospel, or even the wind rushing through a cracked car window, but I am going to recommend that you stop holding on to his memory. Let go. Take every item you have that reminds you of him–the mixed tapes, the stuffed bear, the necklace, the old t-shirt–and put them in a box. Mark his name on it and stack it in the most inaccessible part of the attic.

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It’s real now. He’s gone.

Fill that gaping hole in your life by making new memories. Start listening to a new genre of music. Wear clothes that had been stuck in the back of your closet while you were with him. Immerse your life with activities that have nothing to do with dating or relationships. Your life will get better without him. I promise you that.

And the next time “your” song comes on the radio, recognize that you have the power to do something. Turn it off.

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5. Breakups Don’t Break You

In this section, I’d like to talk about whether breakups really do break us.

When I was little, I remember hearing stories from young men coming back from Basic Training in the Army. They were horrible stories of getting shouted at, humiliated, and physically tortured with push-ups and fatigue. "Why do they do that to you?" I asked one time. The new soldier took my question seriously, with a thoughtful air of calmness and maturity that he didn’t have when he left a year ago.

"They have to break us to make us," he said.

As I grew older, I slowly comprehended what that meant. You have to be broken to be remade into something better. Even getting physically stronger is a process of breaking down muscle fibers so they grow back better than before. We all understand what "No pain, no gain" means in physical fitness, but few of us realize what it means for emotional fitness.

Can a breakup make us?

One thing is for certain. Rejection hurts. A breakup hurts. A divorce devastates.

But each of those experiences can lead to deeper emotional maturity, spiritual growth, and a greater sense of compassion and understanding.

Breakups don’t have to break us. They can make us.

I have never understood the stigma surrounding breakups. It can feel so scary to admit to friends and family that our relationship didn’t work. It’s as if we almost feel that they will side with our ex and tell us that obviously we weren’t good enough, because otherwise we’d still be with him.

No. No. No.

Stop believing that rejection, a breakup, or a divorce means that you are a worse person. It doesn’t mean that you are not worthy of love. It doesn’t mean you failed. It doesn’t mean you’re broken.

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It simply means that you’ve been given the chance to grow, learn, and heal your broken heart. You can heal in such a way that you become deeper, stronger, and more emotionally healthy than you could have if the experience hadn’t happened.

Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

All of us flinch away from pain. Who likes to be hurt? No one.

But those who use their pain and hurt as the crucible for forging a more mature, understanding, and forgiving self gain the ultimate prize: greater self-confidence, greater self-peace, and a truer sense of real love.

Is there anything that you can learn from your past breakups? If you’ve had a marriage that ended, what did you learn? Have any changes happened in your life since then, and are they positive? Have wonderful things happened that could NOT have happened if you were still in the relationship?

This method of revising the way we think about past relationships transforms a breakup from something that breaks us to something that makes us.

It’s OKAY if the two of you decide to split. It’s okay, whether it was his decision or yours. There’s nothing wrong about splitting up. You don’t have to be embarrassed or ashamed.

Be proud that you’ve been given this chance to learn about yourself. Use the breakup to ask yourself hard questions, such as…

• What did I contribute to the ending of this relationship? • What were the sticking points in our relationship? Have I experienced

these sticking points with previous partners? What could I do so that they don’t happen again? (And the answer is not finding someone different.)

• What can I accomplish being single that I couldn’t accomplish in a relationship?

I know that it’s hard. Surviving Basic Training is no easy feat. But if soldiers allow themselves to be broken and humiliated so that they can emerge stronger people, we can accept a breakup that will teach us emotional humility and ultimately emotional strength.

Sometimes we have to be broken to be made.

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6. Forgiveness

In this section, I’d like to talk about forgiveness.

Once you awaken to the reality of love, you start to be able to forgive.

So many people get mad at what their ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends did. They tell their friends, “Can you believe he said/did that to me? What a jerk! After everything I did for him?” Their friends respond, “Yeah, good thing you’re no longer with him. He didn’t deserve a girl like you.”

No matter why two people broke up, no matter what happened, no matter who was at fault, the same old script gets followed.

The person who did the breaking up was a jerk. The person who got broken up with was a victim.

The sorrow of a relationship’s end gets transformed into anger and blame. That’s what everyone expects.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though.

You don’t have to follow the script.

Feeling that you were a victim will only hurt you and poison any future relationship. You have a choice about how you’re going to react. The choice about how you’re going to react to a breakup is even more important than the choice to break up with someone.

Let me explain.

Most people aren’t awake to love. They don’t live love daily. They divide the world into people who do things to others and those that have things done to them. They seek social validation by telling everyone about what others did to them unfairly … or about how they got revenge in the name of getting even.

They even live their relationships like this, always weighing and measuring in the name of justice. They tell their partner, “I will give so much to you if only you give so much to me.”

It is only human to live like this. Everyone does it.

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Except the people who believe in love. The law of love is that there is no “justice.” There are no balance scales weighing what is fair and what is not. There is no getting back. There is no evening the score.

The law of love states that no matter what happens, love anyway.

If a man hurt you badly, don’t focus on the pain and injustice of his action. Instead, take your love elsewhere. Give your love to family and friends. Find a new hobby to love. Get a puppy to love. Transfer that entire capacity for love that you developed in relationship with him onto others.

If you do this, you’ll realize that he didn’t do something humiliating to you by breaking up with you. Instead, he gave you freedom. He let you free to love others. All that love that you had stored up inside yourself for him can now be scattered to the world like confetti.

Take your love now, that was once concentrated in him, and throw it into the air. Watch it expand into a shimmering cloud of pure love. Watch it float to the ground and cover like a blanket all the new people, places, and things that you can now love, that you’d forgotten or never seen with him.

Your love is greater now than before. Before, you loved only him. Now, you can love every stranger who crosses your path. You can love each leaf on the tree by your window. You can love the work you do, the friends you’re with, and the activities that bring you joy.

You will forgive him, because you will realize that he released you from a situation that–even if it wasn’t then–would have eventually become intolerable.

He gave you a gift by giving you the freedom to spread your wings and shower your love on all that was once darkened by his shadow.

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7. Dealing with the End

In this section, I’d like to talk about how we deal with the end of a relationship.

I hadn’t realized until it happened to me how few relationships end with the right things being said.

So many relationships (and friendships) end with a brief argument, both parties storming off, and simmering silence. In any further contact, clinical language replaces words from the heart. Blame and revenge replace honesty and vulnerability. All that matters is who was right, who was wrong. Injustice and hurt take over and crush feelings of sorrow and self-reflection.

For me, each time one of my relationships has ended, I have found myself regretting–months later–the words I never said.

Such as, “I love you.”

Like many women, I always kept those words back as treasures to gift at the right moment. Yet the right moment never came, and I often ended up watching the relationship disintegrate before I found the chance to say them.

Recently I’ve been reading David Deida’s book, Dear Lover. It’s a poem written to women encouraging them to reach into their hearts and open themselves to the Divine Love, gifting the life and passion of their feelings to the universe. For me, Dear Lover was a wakeup call.

I realized how much I held back in relationships because I felt it wasn’t appropriate to “show my cards” too soon.

I realized how much I held back because I didn’t want to show I cared that much.

I realized how much I held back because I thought that I was supposed to, because all the books on dating taught me to, and because I assumed that women who loved freely and openly didn’t present enough of a challenge to men.

So many beliefs I’d picked up throughout my life … and all of them were wrong.

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So let me tell you a story about a relationship that did end right, and what it looked like.

Anna loved a boy named Tom. They broke up, and Anna went for a year without seeing or speaking to Tom. She believed that he didn’t care for her enough, or he wouldn’t have broken up with her. She knew that she was a Superfox; she’d read He’s Just Not That Into You. She told her girlfriends that she was doing fine. She was proud enough that she would never tell Tom that he was always in her dreams. She was dating lots of men, and she knew she was going to be successful as a single woman.

But in her heart, she wished she would have been honest with Tom. She never had been. She’d never said, “I love you,” even when her heart was crying it out.

Anna knew that she didn’t want Tom back. A relationship ends with one of two people breaks it off; he’d broken it off, so their relationship was over.

But deep in her heart, she wished that, when they had broken up, she would have told him: “I love you. I will always love you. You can break up with me, and it doesn’t matter, because I will still love you. When I told you that what I felt for you was unconditional, I meant that my love for you was unconditional. I will love you whether we’re together or whether we’re just friends, until the day I die.”

But she knew that it would be difficult to say this in a way that would make him understand that it was a gift, that she wasn’t asking for anything back.

She knew that he expected her to not want anything further to do with him.

She knew that if she kept in contact with him, he would think that she was just trying to get back together.

How could she make him understand that love was a gift that didn’t require anything back? That a woman could give him love and not need to possess him?

But she had to tell him the truth, for her own sake. It didn’t matter what he felt. It didn’t matter if he thought she was trying to get him back. She needed to tell him everything … so that she could be okay again. So she called him up.

He was silent as she explained that she’d loved him. Then he asked, “So why are you telling me this now? I haven’t even heard from you in a year.”

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She took a deep breath, and she told the truth. “Because I lied to you when I said I’d be fine. I was barely hanging on, emotionally and physically. I was scared and crying myself to sleep most nights. Losing you was my worst nightmare come true, but I was too proud to ask you to reconsider. You’d made your decision. You didn’t want to be with me. It was humiliating, because I’d loved you so much. Afterwards, I went out on dozens of dates, only to reject them. I realized that I was always looking for you. I only wanted men who reminded me of you.”

She paused. Now it was time to ask forgiveness. “I hid too much of myself when I was with you. I didn’t share my spiritual side. I didn’t ask how you felt about me or tell you how I really felt about you. I refused to think further ahead than the present, so I never asked how you saw me fitting into your life, or vice versa.”

She closed her eyes. She knew that she was about to confess her deepest, darkest secret.

“Talking about my vulnerable feelings frightens me. It scares me to admit that I love you. It scares me to admit how deeply I’ve needed you in my life. It scares me to admit how much pain I experienced when you decided that you wanted to go on with your life without me.”

At that moment, Anna realized that saying this to Tom was no doubt frightening him. Women who’d been dumped never said these things to their ex-boyfriends. They couldn’t. It just wasn’t done.

“I’m sorry, Tom,” she said. “I just needed to tell you this.”

The silence on the phone grew long.

What did he answer? You tell me. Have any of you had this conversation?

I haven’t.

I should.

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.8. Wise Advice from Andrew at SaveMyMarriageToday com

In this section, I’d like to share with you a story told to me by my colleague, Andrew.

My colleague Andrew came to me the other day to tell me about a man who’d been corresponding with him via the free consultation offered with the Save My Marriage Today! package.

The man’s situation was this. His wife had been depressed for some time. She had been put on medication but was still struggling to get her life back in track. Her depressed state had put great strain on their marriage.

Often, when a person is unhappy inside, they think that the reason for their unhappiness is outside. In this case, the woman felt that her marriage was causing her unhappiness. So she filed for divorce.

The husband was distraught. He loved this woman desperately and couldn’t bear to see her throw away their years of marriage simply because she was depressed and not herself. He wrote to Andrew, frantic. How could he make his wife see the light? It was her depression, not the relationship, which was making her so unhappy.

The story tugged at my heart, but even more so when I heard Andrew’s answer.

He didn’t tell the man to talk to her doctor. He didn’t tell the man to talk to her lawyer. He didn’t tell the man to reason with his wife.

Instead, what Andrew wrote back was this.

“Your wife has started a chain of events that are outside of your

control. If your wife wants a divorce, you can’t change that. You

can fight it, and you can contest it, but you can’t change your wife

from filing divorce proceedings against you.

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Let’s focus on what you do have control over. You have control

over how you choose to react, whether the last period of time you

spend together is remembered for your fights or your acceptance.

You have control over how you let your wife leave, whether it is a

negative or a positive experience.

Sometimes you can protect people from making mistakes, and

sometimes you just need to let them make them. The important thing

is in building relationships where she knows she is welcome to come

back if she chooses to. At this moment, your wife is leaving her

marriage in the hope that this will fix the problems in her life. It is

unlikely that leaving the marriage will offer her the happiness or

fulfillment she is searching for, but that is not something you can

stop her from doing.

The harder you fight her, the harder she will fight you. Sometimes

doing the thing she least expects will bring you the most reward.

Thank her for being your wife. Thank her for bringing you years of

happiness. Thank her for being your friend. Tell her you will

always be her friend, even if she doesn’t want to be yours.

Kind regards,


That was a short one for today, but I think it was a pretty important message.

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9. Holding On

In this section, I’d like to talk about how we hold on to our exes, long after we should have let them go.

All weekend, I’ve been at an exposition. At our booth, we’ve been giving out information on dating resources, hoping to make people aware of the books out there on relationship topics. We brought our entire library along and recommended reading lists.

Of all the people who passed through the exposition and chatted with us, only once was I asked about my personal love life. I explained that I was currently single. I’d been in love, it hadn’t worked out, and I was giving my heart time to find itself again.

The guy waved at the rows of books and asked, “But what about all this? You of all people should know how to make a relationship work.”

The question stung me. What a horrible thing to say. How could I answer?

It’s not about keeping a man. It’s about learning how to let go.

The best way I can illustrate this is with an example.

Give a baby a toy that he is not interested in, and when you take it away from him, he’ll let it go without a fuss.

But if you give a baby a toy that he really likes, he’ll grasp onto it with both chubby fingers. Try to pull it away, and he’ll squeal and bawl and hold on even tighter until you have to pry it away.

Most people act like babies when it comes to relationships.

When you’re dating someone you really don’t care about, you will probably let the relationship break up and end without much of a fuss.

But when you are dating someone that you really like, you’ll resist a breakup with every fiber of you being. Your partner may be pulling away, but with baby fingers fisted you will just hold on tighter. It will take a violent wrenching to break that relationship.

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What did all your grasping accomplish? It hurt both of you. That’s all.

When one person is pulling away, no amount of grasping and tightening your hold will keep them with you.

People aren’t possessions.

Even though you might like playing with someone very much, he or she isn’t your toy.

All you can do is enjoy the moment while you are together and treasure every memory you make. Then, the end of the relationship will never be a loss. It will be a time to appreciate and celebrate all the beautiful experiences you shared together.

I should have told this to that man today.

I could let my ex-partner go simply because I have studied so much.

I know that there are many men out there who can love me. I am not afraid of letting go.

By letting go gracefully and lovingly, I show my appreciation for the man with whom I shared such an incredible part of my life. That is what a relationship expert does. A person who truly understands love doesn’t act like a child and treat another human being like a favorite toy being taken away.

But I didn’t say any of that. It’s not a thing that people usually say.

I didn’t have the words.

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10. Can We Handle It?

In this section, I’d like to talk about fear.

I’ve been reading a wonderful book by Susan Jeffers called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. It’s a classic of its kind that was published in 1987. At first, its relation to the field of dating may not seem obvious. What does fear have to do with love?

A lot, it turns out.

Jeffers’ premise is that "At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can’t handle whatever life may bring you" (p.15). Our fears keep us stuck in lives we don’t want. Our fears keep us from cutting loose a relationship that is unsatisfactory, because a better one might not come along. Our fears keep us in our comfort zone of habit and make us resistant to taking risks.

Fear of acting "stupid" or saying the wrong thing keeps us from being ourselves around men. Fear of loneliness keeps us trying to hold onto relationships with men who aren’t right for us. Fear of never finding real happiness nips at our heels as we stay at home watching television with a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s.

Fear is the single biggest challenge that single men and women have to face when it comes to finding a romantic partner. Men worry that he isn’t enough to keep her happy and satisfied. Women worry that she isn’t beautiful enough or fun enough to keep him interested. Both worry that if they share how they truly feel, they’ll scare the other person away.

The worst fear of all is that he or she will leave. Our partner becomes tied up with survival in our minds. A voice inside our head tells us that without him or her, we will lose all happiness, security, safety, and love.

Usually, when a breakup occurs, we find our fears manifesting themselves. Everything we dreaded came true. Life seems bereft of happiness. Panic attacks and insomnia strike. Our performance at work deteriorates. The support of our friends and family seems a poor substitute for intimate love.

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Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. Sorrow, pain, loneliness and anxiety are natural consequences of a breakup, but their strength and duration result, in large part, from how you deal with your fears.

Susan Jeffers counsels us to dig deeply underneath our surface fears (never being loved again, feeling lonely, being rejected) and recognize our power to banish them with one simple statement.

"I’ll handle it."

She explains how to banish the feelings of helplessness that result when life doesn’t turn out as we expected. We can either choose to throw ourselves a pity party and rail against fate ("Why did this happen to me?") or we can change our perspective and discover opportunity in the midst of pain and chaos.

By choosing the second option, we move from a position of pain as a victim to a position of power as a creator. We still feel fear about facing our changed circumstances, but we have the courage to do something about it.

Jeffers admires people who have gone through horrible circumstances (death of a loved one, serious illness, accidents) and come out the other side. People who’ve had to reach deep into themselves to survive despite great hardship learn that they can, indeed, handle the worst that life can throw at them. This gives them peace and the ability to face ordinary, everyday fears with a quiet confidence.

The fears that hobble us in relationships should not keep us from living our lives to the fullest. Fear of losing a partner should not keep you from saying what you need to say to him or her. When you learn to "feel the fear and do it anyway," you’ll find yourself able to be much more honest. You’ll know that whatever happens, you acted according to your heart and truest self, not according to your fears.

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11. Losing Someone

In this section, I’d like to talk about losing someone.

A long time ago, I underwent a hard breakup. It was hard because I loved him so much. Because I loved him, I supported his decision and accepted his belief that this was what was best. I took the opportunity to say goodbye properly: I told him what he meant for me and wished him the best of luck on life’s journey. Then we hugged and parted forever.

I have a survivor’s ability to detach from my feelings when my body senses that I am in crisis. I truly believed that I would be okay, because I was numb. I stayed numb for several days. Life felt surreal. I floated on an infusion of emergency endorphins.

When the crash came, it came hard. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing. I was afraid of facing the weekends, because for the past six months we’d spent every one together. I stopped eating and would have faded away were it not that I started getting dizzy at work. Panic attacks made me shake; my racing heart kept me from sleeping.

I had needed him more than I let myself believe. He had fulfilled me in ways that I couldn’t yet understand. I didn’t realize until much, much later how deeply I’d craved his acceptance and love. At the time, admitting those feelings to myself would have threatened my hard-won independence and sense of identity.

And yet I accepted this nightmare-come-true, because I believed that God had His plan for me. This would not be happening unless there was something I needed to learn.

God was right.

I am not different from any other woman who has experienced heartache. We all suffer. We all are frightened at the depths of our love for a man. When the relationship starts to crumble, we tremble with the panic of a psyche under siege. Being in a troubled relationship feels like being at war. No matter how hard we battle, sometimes we can’t win.

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The only respect in which I chose a different path than most women was that I accepted my ex’s decision. I loved him deeply enough that I respected and understood his desire to search out other alternatives, discover a different purpose, and try finding happiness another way. He was honest and frank with me, and in response I gave him all the love I felt as a gift to sustain him through the goodbyes.

Knowing that I loved him makes me stronger even now. I hold the belief that every person we love expands our heart. While many seek for their One and Only, discarding all former lovers as "false loves," I think they’re wrong. Yes, we may wish to find the one man that we want to live with forever, but the journey to finding him is made richer by the depths of the love we experience along the way.

I cannot claim that my positive outlook and robust character made me bounce back with ease. Yet I refuse to believe that there is anything "wrong" or "sad" about my experience. I’ve been able to truly experience being single. I’ve dated, I’ve made new friends, and I’ve danced in bars. I’ve pampered myself with beautiful clothes and painted fingernails. I’ve been a bit more risqué than I would have been if I was still part of a couple, and I’ve flirted with every man who can smile.

The depth of my grief does not mean that our breakup was a mistake. It simply means that I am getting closer to what it feels like to truly love.