June 28, 2021

Hey Christina, My girlfriend and I broke up and I am feeling lost. I agreed with her that a break was a good idea, but I can’t stop thinking about her. I am scared of committing 100 percent of my time, 100 percent of my energy and 100 percent of my attention to someone, and can’t help but wonder if this got in the way.

– In the Muck

Dear In the Muck,

You mentioned that you are feeling lost. Break ups tend to do this, but they can also shift us into a space that feels better… eventually. In saying this, there are a few things you can do to help you understand what’s going on and how to navigate it, so I’m going to share a few things with you:

I strongly suggest reading the book Attached by Amir Levine. This book, I believe, should be read by absolutely everyone. There is a quick quiz in the book that helps you apply what you are reading to yourself, and specifically to your attachment style. Attachment theory is all about how we show up in our relationship. There is also a quiz for you to fill out on behalf of your partner, or previous partner. It’s quite enlightening when you learn your attachment style (from the first quiz) and then your partner’s (from the second quiz). Then, as you read about how the styles work, or don’t work together, you have some pretty powerful insights into what happened or what is happening. It also gives you tips on how you can be better in your relationship as it relates to your attachment style.

You mentioned that you are scared of commitment. We can often hold beliefs about things that are not true. Did you and your partner share the same perspective on commitment? Is it reasonable to give someone 100 percent of your time? I can’t help but feel the understanding you hold may not be what is actually expected in the relationship. Therefore, I can see why you feel that you have a hard time with commitment… because it sounds stifling. Yes, commitment means you have their back always, but is it reasonable to give someone 100 percent of you? 100 percent of your time? 100 percent of your attention? 100 percent of your energy? If you are sitting in this belief, you may subconsciously resist giving even 60 percent of yourself because you may be resisting “commitment”, as your definition of commitment is too much for you, or rather not what you want. Does this make any sense?

When it comes to break ups, one of the most challenging, yet most powerful pieces of advice I can give, is to stay out of the other person’s head. We often ruminate on, “How can she/he feel this way?”; “What is she/he doing right now?”; “How can she/he think (blank)”; “What did she/he mean when she said (blank)…”; “How can she/he be okay with this?”; “She/he told me (blank) and now she’s/he’s (blank)”. Trying to understand what they are thinking (and could possibly be thinking), does not serve us. It keeps us in the untrue shit. It’s also what we can never truly understand, as they are someone else’s thoughts. We need to turn inwards. We need to ask ourselves what it means to us – what we want and what it truly was to you. It is about knowing where YOU stand. How YOU feel; not being in her/his head, but in your own.

This can be tricky when people say things to us that we just can’t shake. This is called a trigger. This is worth looking at, and when I say “look at”, I mean turn it inwards and ask questions. The words that we hear can cause us to pause, react or ruminate. These are the ones that are tapping on something that we need to look at, because it will show up again; I can promise you this. What I mean is, when a thought keeps coming up, truly think about it. What do you hear? There is a story or judgement in there, and our stories are simply not true. What are the thoughts that keep playing for you? Write them down and ask over and over if they are true. This tool is THE BOMB. Sometimes we get stuck on one thing someone said and continue to sit in it, but if it’s not true, that sure is a lot of time spent on something that is untrue, and at the end of the day is a complete waste of energy.

You may feel that you’ve “lost” your person, and this is tough. I know it well, and while it hurts, it is my belief that our lovers are our greatest teachers, provided we turn inwards and take a look at what we are hearing. The role of relationships and dating is to heal the past, so I can’t help but feel you are already on this path, because you reached out.

In closing, our sadness can often feel deeper than it truly is because we attach it to what we believe we’ve “lost” and not to what it truly was. We have a tendency to get stuck in our heads about it and what we wanted it to be, as opposed to what it was. I am not certain this is the case for you, but I can say that this is true for many people that I talk with.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank anyone and everyone who has uttered the words,

“So I asked myself… what would Christina do?”

** This platform has been inspired by you! **

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