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How to find yourself again after a long relationship

How to find yourself again after a long relationship

Just experienced a breakup? You haven’t lost anything, Susan Smit can tell you from experience. On the contrary. You’ll be surprised how much you will retrieve.

Maybe you’ve been through it, just like me. Someone ended the relationship. And maybe, after the break up, you realised how this person had been disengaging for a while – in baby steps. You probably didn’t want to feel it at the time, but you noticed all of it. Every formal hug. Every dutiful ‘I love you’. Every strayed look. Every routine kiss. Every dull goodbye. Every soulless lovemaking. All of it.

Because you sense every imbalance in your relationship, you’re not mad. If a heart that is so important to you, remains locked to you more and more often, you notice. It feels as if you’re delightedly standing on their doorstep with a package, but the mailbox is nailed up. There you are, strolling with your package, going home eventually, planning on trying again tomorrow.

On your toes

You’ve worked harder and harder for less and less love. But the more you try to to delight the other person and the more you are on your toes, the less fun and attractive you are. At the same time, to you, your disengaging loved one becomes more and more eligible (love’s economy is so unfair!). He or she isn’t entirely available, and a love you have to fight for becomes more and more important – to you.

Sometimes, you’re so crazy in love, so scared of losing your beloved, you don’t even notice what it is you’re throwing in the fire just to keep it burning. You throw in your self esteem, the comfortable jeans that he or she doesn’t like, your true opinion about the other’s project at work, your high heels –to make sure we don’t tower them-, your razors because she likes beards, your vulnerability, your morning mood, your exuberance that’s experienced as hysteria. Until all that is left is a sad pile of ashes.

You’re still here

And there you are, after it finally ended. On your own, gazing at everything that’s lost. That’s OK – keep on gazing, for as long as you want to. But don’t forget you’re still here. You! And realise that all these things –from your strong opinions to your exuberance or your shyness – aren’t in that pile of ashes. They are still hidden inside you, and all they want is to appear again.

You haven’t lost anything, I can tell you from experience. On the contrary: there is so much you will retrieve.

Text: Susan Smit – Photo: Christian Gertenbach

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