Endings expert Matt Shumate believes multiple breakups are the best thing that ever happened to him.
Breakups suck. No matter who called it off, or what the circumstances, it’s going to hurt. Life as you knew it, is no more.
In any significant relationship, part of you becomes dependent on the companionship and bond that you once shared. Now that she’s out of the picture, there’s a gaping hole and you’re feeling like a shell of your former self.
I’ve been there. I am a product of a failed marriage. I thought I would never get divorced. Coming from the Midwest, which adopts a very family-oriented mentality, it just didn’t seem like an option. As years of negativity piled into my toxic relationship, there was no other choice.
We just weren’t right for each other. We never were. When I met her, I had a tendency to try too hard to please people. I thought I could make it work and help her change in a positive way so that we could be happy together. I stuck with it for way too long. Ultimately, she pulled the plug and I thank her for doing so.
After the divorce, it was a little bit of a whirlwind. Being alone sucked. As much as I dreaded coming home to my ex-wife, arriving to an empty home was just plain sad, so I’d go out a lot.
Happy hours after work, knocking on colleagues’ doors to see who would want to grab a beer. Doing whatever I could to keep my mind off the fact that what I’d worked to build over the last seven years was completely gone.
I traveled, reconnected with old friends, and overall, had a great time, but it was wearing my body down.
Months went by without meeting a girl that I could envision dedicating significant time with, but then I was hit with a bolt of lightning one hot summer night at a house party. I met a woman I thought was “the one.”
I sprung into a rebound relationship head over heels, fast and furious. I started envisioning our future and became so happy at the prospect of what a real, healthy relationship would be like.
I pulled out all the stops. Day trips to the Florida keys, candlelight dinners. I even had our favorite local band record her favorite song as a birthday present. Life was good. Then it wasn’t.
Out of nowhere, she broke it off. She too was emerging from a devastating relationship and wasn’t ready to dedicate herself to someone new. Fair enough, but damn, that hurt. Probably more than the divorce.
After a few rough days coping with another failed attempt at love, I started to realize that she was everything I wanted to be. Positive, happy, living in the moment, appreciating the little things. I aspired to have these traits. They were gaps in my own personality due to the toxicity of my previous relationship. I tried to fill that void through her companionship.
When she left, it all came tumbling down and it crushed me, but it helped me more than anything. I realized then, that you can’t depend on somebody to “complete you.” Jerry Maguire was full of crap in that sense. You have to complete yourself, through building self-love, confidence, and developing your own unique awesomeness.
On October 5, 2014, I vowed to change. I was driving from Park City to Utah on the way to a business trip. I spent the day with a good friend driving through the mountains, and getting lost repeatedly on the narrow mountain roads.
Fall was in the air. There was an amazing spectrum of orange colors draping the tall aspen trees. Taking in that the changing landscape, I dedicated myself to my own personal transformation.
It was time to heal, to grow, and be awesome in every facet of life. To put my faith in karma that if you do amazing things for yourself and the world around you, positive energy will flow back your way.
Think about it. What better time to do this than after having your world shaken by the end of a relationship? After a breakup, you now have a fresh platform to rediscover and redefine exactly who you are. There’s nobody holding you back now.
Here’s what I learned about what I had to do and what you can do if you’re ever confronted with a bad breakup.
It all begins with how to mourn the death of your relationship properly. Getting over a breakup requires the same grieving process you undertake when the big man upstairs takes a loved one away. You must learn to accept that what once was is no longer.
Next up is an overhaul of your mind, body, and soul, constantly pushing out of your comfort zone in new ways. You have a lot of work to do on yourself before you can love another.
Once you’ve achieved a sense of inner-peace and self-love, it’s about getting back out there into the game and avoiding the typical dating pitfalls.
You have to dedicate yourself to change. You’re on a deserted island. You must build the courage to nail the boards together and sail away to new horizons. Only you can do it. Your friends, boss, parents, and colleagues can’t save you. It’s on you.
Start by taking a picture of yourself. Jot down a few notes about how you’re feeling. Put them in a drawer. Make a note to open that drawer back up year from now. If you dedicate to positive change of the mind, body, and soul, and you’ll be surprised how much positive change there will be.
Let’s go. Your future self awaits …
Excerpted from the book From Broken up to Bro 2.0 by Matt Shumate.