Nobody wants to go through the pain of a break-up. You feel like the bottom has fallen out of your world, the trust you had in your partner dissolves. You probably feel worthless and unlovable. But still, getting hurt may be the best thing to happen to you.


Because it is probably the best opportunity that you will get to take stock of what you put into a relationship, what you take out of it and how you choose a partner.

I work quite a lot with women who have been in abusive relationships. While there are certain features of abusive relationships which, happily, are not replicated in healthy relationships, there are other features that are pretty consistent.

Firstly, a lot of women rush into relationships with their hearts beating fast and their eyes closed. We all believe in the power of love. We also believe in the power of hope. If people love each other, everything else will sort itself out, won’t ‘ it’?

Statistics suggest that ‘it’ doesn’t in about 50% of marriages alone.

If we rush headlong into a relationship without first finding out what our partner thinks about key values, the chances are that things will go wrong. These key values on which partners need to see eye to eye include:

· Fidelity
· Money
· Family
· Children
· Ambition, or lack of it
· Work ethic
· Values

Abused women are especially poor at:

a) listening to their intuition – they usually get an intimation very early on that they are making an unwise choice. But they override it.

b) Registering whether their partner is likely to respect, value and cherish them. Or not.

Admittedly, what happens in abusive relationships is always more extreme than what happens in relatively functional relationships. Still, an awful lot of women go into relationships without first stopping to consider whether their partner is likely to acknowledge and meet their emotional needs.

So break-up time presents a huge opportunity. Yes, you may want to wallow in your misery for a while. That’s only human. But, once you have got over feeling truly sorry for yourself, once you have stopped mourning losing what might turn out to be the very last fish in the sea, it’s time to think constructively.

This is your best opportunity to:

a) learn the key lesson from the relationship – because if you don’t, you’ll just keep repeating the relationship until you do, finally, ‘get’ the message

b) explore your own unhelpful relationship patterns – whether you are excessively demanding, or else don’t have any boundaries; whether you fear intimacy, are insanely jealous, or manifest any other damaging tendency, you really need to know and work on it

Break-up time is the time when you can think things through and start behaving differently.

Of course, you can just go straight into a rebound relationship - which is most likely to end badly because of the premises on which it began. That it is why it is so valuable to take some time out to learn to love and value yourself, and to work out what you really want in a relationship.

In the great scheme of things a tight butt, cool clothes and great taste in music will not be enough to sustain either partner or the relationship. And opposites may attract in the short term, but over time unless there are common values underpinning the differences, those differences will start to grate on the partners' nerves.

So post break-up is a great time to ask yourself:

· what was good about the relationship?
· what was bad about the relationship?
· what qualities did 'he' have that I really value?
· what did I find intolerable about him?
· which aspects of the relationship did I manage well?
· which aspects of the relationship did I manage badly?
· how do I want my next relationship to look?
· how, specifically, do I want my partner to be?
· how do I want my next relationship to make me feel?
· in what areas do I want to 'grow' myself, in order to ensure that my next relationship will work better?

The bottom line is the more you know what you are looking for and what it takes to make you happy, the more likely you are to find it. Don’t wait until you fall in love again to try and see things clearly.

The best time to negotiate your steep learning curve is when you are hurting. Nobody is suggesting that you will like it, or that it will be easy. But in months and years to come you will see that it was the best thing that could have happened to you.

(C) 2006 Annie Kaszina

Author's Bio: 

Annie Kaszina Ph D, is a coach and writer who has helped hundreds of women to rebuild their confidence and their life after an abusive relationship. Annie is the author of "The Woman You Want To Be". This ebook will teach you how you can love yourself first, so that you can create strong self-belief and build the fulfilling future you're looking for on firm foundations.

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