How to reinvent yourself after a relationship
The first time I reinvented myself I was 25.
I was divorced after a one-year marriage, in a dead-end job and, not wanting to waste my 20s, decided to move to a new city, become an exotic dancer and “find myself.”
Six years later, I thought I’d found her: she was a journalist and comedian so I quit stripping, went back to school, got my ass on stage, and moved in with the man who would become husband number two.
Six years after that, when our relationship was on the rocks, a fluke led me to a career in corporate communications and I said goodbye to comedy for the time being.
When husband number two and I split up six years after that, I said goodbye to not only him but most of my social circle and began the process that led me to a new career as a dating consultant.
Today, after the end of an 18-month relationship with someone I had thought I would grow old with, I find myself reinventing myself yet again.
Starting over sucks.
It’s like having a root canal.
The only way to get through it is to, well, get through it.
But one thing I’ve learned in all of these experiences is that as much as breakups hurt, they are in essence a calling to connect with something greater: the person you are now and the person you are meant to be.
If you’re wondering how to survive this journey, here’s what I’ve learned about what works.
Take your time.
Feel what you need to feel.
In between the tears, make a list of 20 things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t.
Go out and do at least two of them.
Retreat when you need to. Then get out and do three more.
Cry and miss your ex.
Alternate this with the conviction that you’re better off without them.
Rebound with a new boyfriend or girlfriend who seems perfect only to realize they absolutely aren’t.
Retreat some more.
Do more of that stuff you’ve always wanted to do.
Tell yourself how awesome you are.
Reflect on what went wrong with the new person you thought was so perfect.
Reflect on what went wrong with your original ex.
Become aware of your patterns.
Get out there again with those new things you’ve always wanted to do.
Get really angry.
Then forgive the person who devastated you.
Write a letter telling the entire story of your relationship – the good, the bad, the things you learned. Thank your ex for whatever you learned.
Then, destroy this letter.
Get out there again doing the things you love that you never did with your ex.
Make new friends, meet new people, start dating again.
And when you do, tell yourself you’re not going to do that thing that you did in the previous relationships that made your previous partners not good for you.
Then, in a moment of weakness, do that very thing.
Recover faster this time.
Get up and try that new way of being again.
Keep doing it.
Get out there and meet more new people, make more new friends, and go on more dates.
And, as you do, keep playing at being this new person you want to be.
Don’t give up.
Wake up one day and recognize with astonishment that you have become a new type of person: a person who is a far better match for you than your ex ever was.
Attract a new type of person.
Recognize with astonishment that this person is also a far better match for you than your ex ever was.
Take a deep breath.
Open your heart to this new person.
And let love in.
Repeat as necessary.
That is how you reinvent yourself after a relationship.
Looking for a shortcut? Sometimes kick-ass haircut can help you skip a few steps. 😉