What to Do When a Relationship Suddenly Ends

By The Love Goddess

break-upCharles left Miranda one day after a six-month love affair, with no satisfactory explanation. He just announced, during a good solid start at long-term love, “Sorry, Miranda, I guess this isn’t working” — said it not even kindly, at that. He wasn’t interested in hearing why Miranda thought that in fact it was working, quite wonderfully actually; that it was a relationship and relationships needed a little working out now and again. No, he didn’t want to hear it. For him, it was over. So was all discussion on the topic.

When a relationship ends, it always seems unthinkable, this scenario in which a lover leaves abruptly; runs you over like a train, as if you were just something to be left on the side of the curb like road kill.  How do you ever find closure with a guy who heads for the hills and never tells you why?  It’s gut-wrenchingly hard, but you have to find closure within yourself.  Here’s how.

Cut your losses. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. You don’t decide that because he didn’t tell you anything, the cause of his departure are your thighs, or a fight you had, or your bad mood last month. A man who is too withholding and cowardly to explain himself has to be excised as brutally as he excised you.  You tell yourself, “I don’t want to spend my precious time with someone who doesn’t want to spend it with me.” When all is said and done, isn’t that the truth?

Do not call him. He doesn’t want to talk? Then believe him. No quick texts; no trying to locate him; no flaming e-mails; no late-night calls begging for a reason why you were so unceremoniously dumped. (Do you really want to hear, “Oh, it’s you. Um, yeah, right, hi.”) You remind yourself—a thousand times, if you have to– that while you still want him, you do not NEED him. You have a roof over your head. (I remember, eons ago, when women literally needed men to have a life!) All that you need is good food, rest, exercise—and some calm downtime to get yourself up and ready to meet someone who wants you.

Do not idealize him now that he’s gone. We all tend to turn people into saints once they’re gone, but this person didn’t die; he bolted. Resist the urge to make him more desirable simply because he’s unavailable. And resist the corresponding urge toward self-blame. (The thigh thing again.)

Take your power back. Remember what it felt like—really felt like—to be with him. I don’t mean how you thought it could be if he loved you more; I mean most of the time. Were you exhausted? Walking on eggshells? Pushing to get closer? If so, you were at your worst and will never be at your worst again. If it was truly wonderful….then the man isn’t just cowardly, he’s psychotic.

Don’t think, “I should have known better.” You couldn’t have known. You can’t spot one of these guys; he doesn’t wear a sign saying, “I’m a disaster.” The only way to avoid a man who can’t love you is to remember what it felt like in the past. When you’re with someone the next time, you’ll have a sense memory: a feeling of being exhausted, off-balance, nervous…. and you’ll run.

Meanwhile, lay low. Nurse your wounds—the way a hurt animal would. Don’t date; you’re not ready. But one day, you’ll meet an earth guy who loves being intimate; who wants to please you; who gets you, who makes you feel comfortable in your own skin… a man who can express his feelings. And that man won’t sap your energy—he’ll make you feel alive again.

Dalma Heyn, M.S.W., Founder of The Love Goddess, is the author of several bestselling books on marriage and relationships. Dalma is a widely read columnist and sought-after speaker. She has appeared—without her wings–on national talk shows including Oprah, The View, Charlie Rose, Good Morning America, and Larry King Live. For more information visit www.thelovegoddess.com or dalmaheyn.net.


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