Filling the Ex Void

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When a relationship ends, for whatever the reason, we typically feel a sense of loss. We have a gap where something used to reside. Depending on the length of the relationship the gap can seem huge in our lives. Day to day activities that filled week after week and year after year are suddenly gone. The absence can pitch us head first into a hole of depression.

I hear story after story where someone is bitterly lamenting the loss of their sense of self without the edges of the other person to rub up against. What concerns me most is the tendency to consider it all a lie partly because the physical presence of their partner is absent. Part of the thought process I see in dismissing your past together is so often because we rationalize (wrongly, I might add) that what “we had together was a lie or he/she never could have …” ultimately have left.

My goal today is to point out another way of viewing the situation that might ease your pain a bit if you are willing to take a leap of faith. Almost everyone has lost a loved family member, friend or a pet to death. If you haven’t you are fortunate indeed. When the person dies, each memory you have of them lives on in your mind.  In loving through memory, you don’t have any limits on how you remember them. There body may be gone but all the love you shared with them is still intact, anchored in thousands of moments enjoyed together. You don’t throw it away because the physical presence is gone.

I know it is popular to demonize the rejecting party in order to get over the grief. But once you have spent a short time hurt or angry, I propose you move on to celebrating all the good moments that came from the relationship. Treasure the fun, silly, tender, passionate moments and appreciate that you had a hand in creating that in your life. You can do this in fifteen-minute increments if it is a real challenge to get started. Spend your typical time fuming about your loss then match it with equal time celebrating the best you enjoyed. Think of it as surviving a death. The body is gone but the history remains. It isn’t a lie just because the physical presence is missing or an unhappy ending skewed your point of view.

Trust you can create all that and more again with someone new. It turns your focus on validating your choice to enjoy that connection even if the choice is no longer a fit. It honors your good taste in the first place and increases the odds that you will draw in a relationship that has all the best of this one and more. That is my mantra for surviving breakups—in looking at what’s next I want all this and more!  More being the happier ending. The Universe wants you to have a better fit and your wise self knows this somewhere under the wounded ego.

It feels a whole lot better to be walking around in that place than it does stalking around in that hurt, bitter mind frame, muttering obscenities about the dearly or not so dearly departed. When you fill up the void with the best of what you had, you open up a world of possibility about what comes next. What have you got to lose except some anger, pain and bitterness.

Originally published on Truth in Hand


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