Rewriting the Past

Have you ever noticed that in the aftermath of a breakup we often focus on the good things about our ex or the relationship, and tend to gloss over the things that weren't working?
You keep thinking about how fresh her hair smelled, and forget about her habit of interrupting you in the middle of a sentence. You focus on how nice he was to your dog, and draw a blank on the fact that he forgot your birthday, your anniversary, and Valentine's day.
There's no absolute answer on why our memory suddenly becomes so selective right after a breakup, but one thought is that when a relationship ends, one of our biggest fears is that the investment of our time, energy, and hearts wasn't worth it since the end result wasn't what we had expected. One way of protecting ourselves from this fear is to emphasize the good parts of the relationship and ignore the less-good parts. This way we don't feel like we were wrong or stupid to be in it in the first place.
But if we're willing to accept that the relationship can have had value and good things about it, AND that it ultimately didn't work for us and wasn't meant to continue, we don't need to rewrite history and torture ourselves with the thought that we've lost this (supposedly) beautiful, perfect thing in our lives. We get to see the relationship for what it really was, appreciate what it gave us and taught us, and move forward in our lives to greater happiness.
~ Notes from BreakUp Land, by Sasha Carr, Ph.D.


Unknown said...

wow this is the best advice i have found on breakups!
thank you!
did you ever do the post on how to occupy yourself during the 60 days?

Sasha Carr, Ph.D. said...

No, I haven't yet. I am looking into creating something more comprehensive online designed to support people through breakups and that has been taking up much of my time and energy. Stay tuned for updates and thank you for your comment!

LC said...

I have just broken up with someone and am trying to keep myself busy - well, at least for the first week. This is what I am doing so far -

Monday - went drinking with friends - commiserated

Tuesday - worked late

Wednesday - went out with coworkers

Thursday - taking driving lessons

Friday - (I have nothing to do) I fear I'll become weak on this day.

Saturday - working a part time job

Sunday - working

Monday - having dinner with a friend

Tuesday - going to a movie with a new guy.

So, I've been pretty busy. It is already going better than my past breakup.