Reconnecting After a Painful Breakup; Can It Be Better the Second Time?

An answer to an email question about reconnecting after a painful breakup. -MR

Hi Margaret Ruth

I don't know if you'll receive this or not, but I just read your article in the Huffington Post about breakups. I have a follow-up question.

So, I've "acted as if" my ex and I will never get back together for over 2 years. Chris (my ex) and I have only seen each other a few times in the past 2 years (despite my efforts to stay away entirely) and both of us have had new relationships (which did not work out) and claim to have "moved on" with our lives after our breakup (which was unbelievably painful at the time). However, recently we reunited and found that we are both single and both still frequently think about one another. We both agree that the energy between us never really went away. I've joked with my friends that ever since the breakup Chris's shadow constantly follows/haunts me almost everyday.

Both Chris and I are agnostic, but pretty interested in mysticism. I just got back from a trip to India and can already see that my life has changed dramatically. Other changes that I've made since the breakup include: getting sober (Chris's been sober for 4 years, and I have just over 2 years now), going back to school (I'm applying for MSW programs this fall as well), going back to therapy, and becoming financially stable and independent. He's changed too: he's doing art again, he's traveling more, and he's gotten better about talking through his feelings.

Here's the thing - I still love him so much, but a relationship never worked before and I don't know if it'll work now. Our breakup was so incredibly painful that there were days I didn't know if I'd make it. I broke up with him for so many reasons that I don't even know where to begin. (I was an active alcoholic and cheating on him - which he knew about - and he was a dead-beat 'dry-drunk' who was unsupportive of everything in my life. We were horrible for one another, but very much in odd as that sounds.) So now I'm 26 and he's 37 and our lives are still very different, but also very different from when we were romantically involved. The agony of trying to figure this out is becoming a challenge and a distraction, but I know there is a solution and I believe that everything will work out in the end.

Obviously this is just a short summary of over 4 years of a very intense relationship, so I understand that your advice will reflect the circumstances.

Thanks, Josie C.

Hi Josie,

Thanks for writing me! I hope very much that "acting as if" was the right way to go for you; it sounds like it. I have noticed that when people act as if the relationship is over for good, they turn around and make decisions that expand their life. So, in a case like this where the energy is not over between two people, at a minimum you are a happier, more whole person when you meet again. It seems that you did indeed accomplish this and I hope you will give yourself a huge pat on the back and appreciate what you did for yourself.

As for the future, I do know that it takes two healthy, joyful, whole people to make one healthy, joyful, whole relationship. There are no exceptions to this to this not only metaphysical law, but also logical observation. If you are in love with someone who isn't quite there yet, it can be quite upsetting. Also, if you are not quite there yet, the results may not be perfectly satisfying.

However, if two people decide they would like a healthy, joyful, whole relationship and commit to holding up their half in this way, it can work well. The tricky thing is that it takes two people agreeing to head in the same direction of becoming more whole and alive peopIe at roughly the same rate of movement. I wrote a book, "Superconscious Relationships: The Simple Psychic Truths of Perfectly Satisfying Connections", that has presents some ideas and some exercises that can be helpful for this. I suspect that not everyone would get it or find it useful, but some do. My basic intent here is to encourage finding resources that would get both people moving towards becoming happier and more whole as individuals. Moving towards this ensures that future relationships (with anyone) will be happier and more whole.

Does this make sense? Let me know,