A4P Guest: Hi Missy, I am writing to ask you some advice on breakup/end of a relationship. When a relationship ends, it is usually accompanied with hurt and pain . Even if we know for sure that the relationship has to end for the good of both parties, coming to terms with the end is usually devastating due to the attachment that was developed. This can also apply for friendships and relationships in the broader term. My question is: when we are heartbroken and deeply hurt about the end of a relationship, what are some tips to move on, to let go, and to move forward? What practical things can one do to heal from the end of a relationship? Thank you for your time and answer.
A4P: I wish this question was written like this: “I just broke up with my boyfriend last October but I still feel like I broke up with him just yesterday. The emotional pain I have in my heart is still fresh. We ended our relationship knowing that it is good for both of us. But I feel stuck in this emotional turmoil that doesn’t go anywhere. I always think about him. This season being a holiday season, I constantly think about him because we spent such a wonderful holiday together last year. Everything seems to bring beautiful memories of him. The cold weather, snow and rain, everything! What can I do? Where can I go? How can I move on with my life? What should I do to forget him? Should I ever be able to forget him? If so, what is the timeframe?”
Do you know why I like this kind of question? Well, it is so personal that it motivates me to take my time and address the questions. It gives me that sense of responsibility that says, “I am helping a real person with a real problem.”
The above questions sound too general, a kind of question I get asked when I give a seminar to church family and young adult ministry leaders.
And the other thing is, when I see personal questions, I want to ask the person, who asked the question, different questions that may help me to get to the bottom of their questions.
So, this, in a way, is my advice to some of you who may send me your questions via email in the future (email@example.com).
Even when you ask questions on a post on the Appeal for Purity Facebook page, try to ask personal questions without risking your privacy. Just know that it is not only you who live on this planet but all of us and the problems you are facing today are not new for some people since they have already faced them. So, these people who went through what you are going through today may come and reply to your comment and help you find a solution or an answer.
This is the kind of helpful community I dream to raise on this page, especially among Ethiopians. Because of our culture, we all tend to suffer in secret; but that is not good for us. We need to do better than our fore-parents. Even if this is our culture, hiding and covering up our real lives from others, pretending that everything is okay with us, we should refuse to hold on to this “not so good culture” and replace it with a good one: Leading an authentic and transparent life before God and man, for our own good and for the glory of God we profess to worship.
I got carried away! Sorry!
Let me get back to the questions.
But before I do that, let me say this to the person who’ve asked the above question: Don’t feel bad for not making your question personal. It is okay for now. But next time, please ask me personal questions, not general ones.
So, here are your questions: “When we are heartbroken and deeply hurt about the end of a relationship, what are some tips to move on, to let go, and to move forward? What practical things can one do to heal from the end of a relationship?”
1. Well, first things first!
Give yourself permission to grieve your loss.
I mean, you spent time with your boyfriend, not just as a friend but as “a potential life partner.” So, it is not easy just to forget him and move on with your life as if nothing happened.
Knowing and accepting this fact frees you to feel what a human being feels in the same situation.
Your loss is the relationship that you hoped to last forever crumbled before your very eyes. So, you need to grieve your loss appropriately.
2. Know that you need people
While you grieve your loss, don’t run away from people, people who know you both together, as a couple.
It is okay for people to hear about your breakup and to say to you things like, “Oh, no! I thought you guys were a perfect couple! What happened?”
Remember, you don’t need to give them detail answers. You can simply say, “I know! What can you do? Life sometimes takes unexpected turns. But all is well. God has a better plan for both of us.” Or, something similar.
Doing this helps you to grieve in a right manner and talking to people makes your grieving process short and meaningful!
Hiding from people makes your pain worse! It sometimes makes, especially women, to think irrationally, such as, they start to believe that they have to pray “hard” to bring the man back or they literally go to the man and beg him to come back. This is not only wrong but also dangerous as the woman’s action may actually backfire on her in the most ugliest way.
This is like, after you get wounded, you get up and go to war to get another multiple shots. Nobody does this unless they lose their brains!
So, not running away from people while you grieve your loss will protect you from doing crazy stuff only people with no brain do.
Once you accept the reality, that the guy is not going to be yours but somebody else’s, sit and reflect on your relationship.
Ask yourself different and difficult questions and be honest with yourself. For example: How come I didn’t see this coming in the first place? Your answer might be like: I did see it but I ignored it. (Lesson #1.) Next question: Does this relationship help me to be strong in Christ or weak? Your answer might be: It made me weak. The follow up question is: Why? Answer: I saw my ex- as my source of joy, comfort and peace! That means, he was my idol. (Lesson #2) The next question: Then I sinned against God. That means I need to ask God to forgive me for that. (Lesson #3) Next question: What should I do next time so I won’t repeat this mistake in my next relationship? Answer: I need to make my relationship with Christ my number one priority in life by making prayer and studying the Bible the things I do every day no matter what. (Lesson #4)
Wow! This kind of “question and answer” exercise helps you to learn many lifetime, different and valuable lessons.
And when you do this exercise, do it in writing (typing or hand writing) so you can come back to your notes to refresh your memory or to hold yourself accountable.
4. Don’t spiritualize this incidence too much!
For example, don’t say, “God had told me to stop this relationship but I ignored Him! That is why I am feeling so much pain and suffering right now!”
Don’t even go there because there is no perfect “cause and effect” thing in our lives. Just live one day at a time and handle the issues as they come, one issue at a time. Even if God had told you to stop and you ignored Him, why are you beating yourself up with guilt and shame now? No point! And God doesn’t want you to do that either! Read Romans 8.
God knows how to make this breakup to work together with other life issues that had passed in your life for your own good (Romans 8:28). Because of this breakup, the Spirit of God may teach you how risky it is to ignore God’s word. This is what you call “spiritual maturity.”
5. Destroy any reminders of your ex- from your life!
Don’t say, “Now we are good friends.”
My friend, there is no such kind of joke in life, at least for us, Christians. Know this fact, please! Don’t play with fire!
Let the man go from your life not only physically but emotionally and mentally too by destroying everything from your life that reminds you of him.
You don’t need his phone number. So, delete his number from your phone even if you know his number by heart. It is okay. Through time, you will forget his number, his name as well as his face.
Hoping that you haven’t been sexual with him, he will soon be to you as one of the three or four billion men roaming in this world.
Trash all the pictures and videos you have with him. Believe me in this: You don’t need any one of them if you have a plan to get married with the man who loves you and build a family with you. If that is your plan, then you don’t need any of this other guy’s thing to live with you.
Destroy also any gifts that you might have received from him. If they are expensive, like perfume, give them to other people. If they are purse, shoes and things of that nature, give them to Salvation Army or take them all to Ethiopia and give them to poor people.
Remember, you are not doing all this because you hate your ex-; but because you want to let him go emotionally and mentally out of your life, heart and mind and you want to move on with your life. Your ex- IS NOT YOUR MAN. Period! He belongs to somebody else!
Swallow this truth and say, “Amen!”
6. You don’t need to pray for your ex-
Don’t say, “But I will continue praying for him. Since he is a nice person, I want him to get married and have his own family.”
Believe me in this: There is no biblical reference for that kind of thinking. This is your flesh talking to you. So, what you need to say to your flesh and the devil is this: “I ain’t my ex-‘s mama or sister! I ain’t praying for him!”
You see, “I will pray for him” kind of thought may look and feel “very spiritual” from the outside, but inside that thought has nothing but hidden agenda to destroy your life. So, say no! It is not your business to pray for him.
Again, this is not “out of hatred” but out of love and care for yourself and for your ex-. You do this because you want to let him go so you move on with your life.
7. Stop expecting his calls or text messages!
Do you hear me! Don’t! It may be “easier said than done,” but if you have friends who hold you accountable, this is doable!
Don’t expect his “Happy Birthday” wishes to pop up in your phone or social media news feed. If they do, you don’t need to reply to him directly. Wait for your friends to send you their happy birthday wishes and say to everybody, including him, “Thank you my friends for your nice birthday wishes!” Period! That is enough!
By you doing that, you help him to move on with his life too, if in case, he is expecting a personal reply from you. (The assumption here is both of you agreed to end the relationship.)
8, Don’t pray for God to bring you two back together.
I know, this sounds very “non-Christian” advice. But it is not.
Many young Christian girls waste their precious youthful years as they pray for a young man that left them three or five years ago.
This is not “spirituality” but “stu…y!”
You don’t want to be one of these girls. Move on with your life. You are a woman! If the guy thinks that you are the one, let him go through the process of convincing you and bringing you back to his life.
Woman of God, be a real woman of God by gently moving on with your life and expecting precious things from the Shepherd and Overseer of your soul.
Let me say this before I wrap up this long post:
Have a fresh start! Godly men are looking for a real woman of God! They are tired of seeing weak Christian women who are desperate only to get married, not desperate to be the women God called them to be.
Most young Christian women complain saying, “What is the point of being a godly woman? There are no godly men today.”
No, don’t listen to that. Just strive to be a real woman of God first. Then, for your surprise, you will start to realize that real godly men, single ones, are actually everywhere and they are searching for a godly woman. So, be still knowing that God is God!
God says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”” Psalm 46:10 ///