Assess the Breakup | Table of Contents
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The first step as you assess the breakup is to discuss dealbreakers. These are reasons for a breakup that mean you should not give one more thought to reconciling, at least not for quite some time. Let’s dig into them and you’ll understand what I mean.
Dealbreaker #1: He Abused You
Under no circumstances will I help you get back with an abusive ex. No way. No how! You are a valuable human being who deserves to be treated with love and respect. Abuse, whether physical or mental, is not love or respect. It’s about power and insecurity.
If you are a victim of abuse, you need to seek two things. First, an environment in which you and any children or dependents you have are protected and save. This is not the home you shared with your ex, even if he left.
The second thing you need to seek is a good therapist. Regardless of how long you’ve just spent with an abuser, he has done significant damage to your mental thought processes. He’s made you feel worthless and deserving of his abuse. Undoing this damage goes beyond the scope of this site and requires professional intervention.
When you have healed, I welcome you to visit my site, Who Holds the Cards Now, for tips on how to find a great guy who deserves a wonderful woman like you!
Dealbreaker #2: One or Both of You are Drug and/or Alcohol Abusers
If one or both of you are drug and/or alcohol abusers, you need time to heal yourselves. This can’t be done in the company of another abuser. If he was a drug or alcohol abuser and you were not, then you were most likely an enabler and you still need to work through some stuff. If you’re the one who has been abusing drugs and/or alcohol, you need time to heal.
Again, this type of healing, whether you’re an abuser or an enabler, goes beyond the scope of this site and requires professional intervention. I suggest seeking the proper type of therapy for your situation. This type of healing takes months, when it’s done correctly, and must be an effort you pursue on your own.
Dealbreaker #3: You Don’t Have Enough History Together
As you assess the breakup, know that a new relationship often can’t be saved. What do I mean by this? When your relationship is new, you haven’t built enough memories together. One of the ways in which we’ll help him want you back is. by tweaking his positive memories of the two of you. If those memories don’t exist, it’s going to be very challenging to tweak them.
Relationships that are just a few weeks, or even a couple months old, often cannot be reconciled because there’s just no history between you. You haven’t had time to really share experiences and begin to build intimacy. Your breakup is more likely due to something like incompatability or a lack of chemistry and that just tells me you aren’t a good fit.
Assess the Breakup | Can You Move Forward if Someone Cheated?
While it’s easy to assume that if one of you cheated, it automatically means your relationship is over, the truth is you can still reconcile. Good news, right?
Don’t mistake the ability to reconcile with the challenge of doing so. Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it will be easy.
As you assess the breakup, understand that one main factor in a successful relationship is trust and when cheating occurs, trust is broken.
While building trust in a new relationship happens naturally as you get to know one another, rebuilding trust is a bit more challenging. Now, there is negative history behind everything and that adds a layer of challenge.
Recovering from infidelity will take anywhere from a year to two years and will be more successful if you engage a therapist who works with couples and knows how to move the two of you closer together. If the two of you work through it together, odds are your relationshp will be stronger than it was before.
The #1 Cause of Most Breakups: Failure to Communicate
It’s important to note, as you assess the breakup, that many relationships end due to a failure to communicate. In today’s world of immediate everything, this problem is only getting worse. You send him a text and he doesn’t text back for two or three hours, and then it’s three words.
You’re fuming by the time he replies.
Fair enough, but this is how men communiate. Men don’t feel the need to reply immediately. Their main focus often is not their phone and whatever messages might be there. They also don’t text in complete sentences, but in the shortest way possible to convey their message.
Other communication errors, made honestly, center around being more focused on having your own needs met than meeting the needs of the person with whom you’re trying to communicate. For example, if you want your guy to fix the leak under the kitchen sink, it’s your main focus. You’re sick and tired of dragging soggy containers out from under the sink and enough is enough. Fix it already!
As you probably know, that won’t get your plumging fixed. But what will?
“Hey Jack, if I help you get the lawn mowed and the trash out after work, do you think you could fix the kitchen sink? If you give me a list, I’ll stop at the hardware store and get what you need.”
This approach acknowledges that he has other things on his to-do list, and also that you’re willing to help. Give a little, get a little. I have written an entire book about communication, which will be very helpful to you in improving your communication skills and managing the difficult communication skills of others. It’s called, The Power to Communicate.“
Of course, you can get this book for FREE if you purchase our new book, Ex Back: The Five Step Process to Get Him Back. There’s a link above!
It’s Time to Remove Him From His Pedestal
Even though you’ve probably gone through some angry moments, you may still have your ex on a pedestal. If you’re blaming yourself for the breakup without assigning him any blame, this is most likely true.
When you assess the breakup, recognize this one thing: he is not perfect. He is not infallible and he does share blame for this breakup. It’s time to remove him from his pedestal and begin to look at him without your rose-colored glasses.
We all have flaws, but when we refuse to see the flaws of someone close to us, it only serves to cause more harm.
When you remove your ex from his pedestal, you begin to see him for who he truly is, for better or worse. It’s only when you can truly see him that you will be able to properly assess the breakup and the role you each played.
Assess the Breakup | What He’s Thinking Right Now
While you may think your ex has his act together because he initiated the breakup, the truth is, he’s a mess too. He doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going most of the time. He has moments when he questions the breakup. He’s asking himself as many questions as you are, albeit different questions. His thoughts are running more like this:
- Why did I break up with her?
- Why did she do that to me?
- Why did I do that to her?
- Why can’t I find someone to love?
- Why can’t I love?
- Boy it’s great to be single again!
- Is she going to date that guy from the gym, now that I’m out of the picture?
- What’s she thinking/feeling right now?
- Do I need a dog?
And as you assess the breakup, know that this, not the reasons he gave you, is why he ran. He’s confused and when a guy is confused or feeling emotional turmoil, he retreats so he can lick his wounds, figure out what happened and how to fix it.
The problem for you is that it’s in your nature to want to fix these things for him. Just reading this might have sent a pang of desire to go nurture him, but don’t do it. You can’t fix him. Only he can fix him. This will be true for your entire life and about any man, any person for that matter. You can only fix you.
It’s Time to be Honest With Yourself
This is one of those not so much fun parts of this process. It’s time for some brutal honesty and it will come in two forms. One, you can deal with now and the other, you can deal with at the end of step three.
When you assess the breakup, your honesty with yourself needs to be in uncovering what your role in the breakup was and, eventually, whether you truly want him back. We won’t tackle the second one for a while because your answer may change between now and then, so let’s deal with the first.
What was your role in the breakup? There are multiple reasons, some of them very innocent, while other reasons are things you truly need to acknowledge and work on.
Pam and Josh had been together for a few years when Pam got a new boss at work who made her life miserable. Pam would come home so frustrated that she would end up crying in a hot bath. Josh didn’t know how to help or what to do and eventually, he found comfort with another woman and their relationship ended in a very bitter breakup (Don’t worry, Pam is now engaged to a great guy and has a new job!)
Pam played a role in their breakup, even if it wasn’t really her fault. The stress of her situation not only took her out emotionally, but it wore Josh down too and he couldn’t fix it. Tired of a weepy girlfriend, he found solice in a friend and was soon cheating on Pam.
Other reasons guys leave including being over-nurtured, feeling smothered and not allowed to hang with their friends and panicking when they realize they’re in a monogamous relationship. In Step Three, you will learn how to avoid having some of these things in the future, but for now, your task is to examine your own behaviors during your relationship.
Ask yourself if there are things for which you might hold some responsibility. If there are, and I can guess that there will be, it’s okay. Your job right now is assessment. Set aside those things for later. Don’t beat yourself up. That isn’t the point of the exercise.
Additionally, when you’re being honest with yourself, you need to ask yourself whether you were truly happy in the relationship. Again, be honest. Did this guy really make you happy or were you afraid of being alone and therefore decided being in a relationship, unhappy or not, was better than being alone?
Finally, ask friends – good friends who will be honest with you – what they think your role may have been. If you do this, you have to be prepared for them to be honest with you, and don’t shoot the messenger. Remember, you asked, so be ready for them to tell you the truth.
WIth all this data in hand, examine what your role was and tuck that away for Step Three.
Assess the Breakup but Know That He Lied to You About Why He Broke Up
Chances are, your ex lied when he broke up with you. The usual excuses go something like this:
- “I just can’t be in a relationship right now”
- “I need some time on my own”
- “We need a break”
- “Things have changed. You’re not the same person”
- “I have stuff to work out” – also known as “it’s not you, it’s me”
The truth you need to understand while you assess the breakup is that none of these are the likely reasons for the breakup and him saying one of those confuses you and either causes you to take on unnecessary blame or have false hope. They’re confusing your recovery, and, quite frankly, that’s right where he wants you to be. Confused and hopeful.
Why he lied is anyone’s guess. It could be he wanted to spare your feelings or it could be that he honestly doesn’t know what came over him. What you need to know is that if he said something like this to you, he lied.
Do You Miss Him or Someone?
This is another moment where you need to be honest with yourself when you assess the breakup. Do you miss him or do you miss having someone in your life? It can be difficult to sort this one out sometimes, but if you look within, you can usually find the answer. Answer these questions. The answers will help you sort this out.
- How often do you think about him? If it’s just when you’re lonely, then you’re just missing someone, but if it’s all day long, you’re missing him.
- If he’s started dating someone else, how does that make you feel? If you weren’t thinking about him that much before, but now, he’s on your mind all day, chances are you’re experiencing jealousy and not any affection toward him in particular.
- Are you remembering your relationiship correctly? What I mean is do you remember the number of times he didn’t return a call or text for days, or are you conveniently forgetting those tidbits? It’s easy to only remember the good when your hopes are focused on getting him back.
- Do you miss cuddling or do you miss the cuddler? Do you miss having his arms wrapped around you, or do you just miss being cuddled? This one will take some thought.
- Are you missing your Netflix binge-watching buddy or are you missing him? Sometimes, there are just things between the two of you that occur when you’re watching something that only he can be a part of, but is it that, or is it that you’re watching alone?
- Do your pangs of missing him strengthen when you see other couples? Feeling that twinge of wanting a boyfriend because all your friends are dating doesn’t mean you miss your ex, it just means you miss being one of the couples.
- Your mind is consumed with wondering if you’ll ever meet a great guy, but this doesn’t mean your ex is that guy. Maybe he is. We haven’t figured that out yet, but know that having these thoughts doesn’t mean you’re missing him.
- Do you have moments where you realize the two of you were incompatable? These moments of clarity may be telling you something. We’ll sort it out in Step Three.
Do You Have Enough Good Memories?
You briefly read about this in dealbreakers above, but now, as you assess the breakup, it’s time to dig in a little deeper.
Intimacy is not sex. Intimacy is built when you share experiences. That’s why you can have sex with someone and not have any strong feelings. Those feelings are built when you do things together, like spend the afternoon kayaking or wandering through downtown streets gazing into shop windows. Intimacy comes from going through stuff together, like buying a puppy or supporting one another during a great loss or difficult time.
If you ever saw the movie Fever Pitch with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, you might relate. Barrymore’s character gets violently ill when they’re supposed to go out on their first date. Fallon’s character ends up spending a couple days in her apartment, holding her head and cleaning up when she’s sick, much to her horror when she realizes what’s going on. He wasn’t grossed out much, but it was something that built intimacy, for him anyway, and for her too.
If you don’t have enough of those moments between you, and enough is more than five or six, the chances of being able to reconcile are lower. Later, in Step Four, you will be tweaking his happy memories of the two of you, but if there aren’t enough to tweak, it becomes more difficult to overwrite the negative feelings he has right now with positive feelings later, and this is necessary in your reconciliation.
Is He Healthy Enough & Capable of Love?
Some people, men and women, just aren’t capable of love. In these instances, the odds of a reconciliation that will result in the relationship you want are slim. But how can you know if he’s capable of love? Assess the relationship by answering these questions:
- Does he make negative comments about you, or women in general? This is a sign of a mysoginist and he probably isn’t capable of love. He finds all women to be reuplsive or inferior and nothing you do or say will change him.
- Does he have a history of abuse or cheating? These speak to his character and these traits won’t change in him, just because you want them to. He’s unlikely to be the man you need him to be.
- Is he a user…of people? Not just women, but anyone. He may use people for financial gain or to get a leg up in his job. Sometimes people use other people to improve their social status. This type of guy isn’t relationship material and he most definitely isn’t capable of loving you for who you are – he might want to be with you because you can help him gain financially or socially, but otherwise, you’re a tool, a means to an end.
- Are his views on dating a little skewed? What I mean by this is does he view dating as a transactional event? He bought you dinner and now you owe him sex. He may have other odd views on dating that cause you to scratch your chin and say hmmmm. In this instance, he views you as an object, not a person he can love.
- Does he seem shallow? You’ll see this if he brags about only dating hot women or about his possession, rather than wanting to get to know you or what your’e all about. If this is so, he views you as a means to an end. You serve a purpose in his life – one that will help him feel better about himself…and he doesn’t really care what it does to or for you.
- Does he send you unsolicited photos of himself? This shows a lack of manners and empathy as most women don’t care for pictures like this. This is a selfish move on his part and he doesn’t give a hoot about how it makes you feel.
- Does he ever accept responsibility when he does something wrong? Admitting when you’re wrong is something people with confidence do, and it’s a loving gesture toward another person. Someone who can’t accept responsibility for their actions isn’t capable of loving someone else.
- Does he have an excuse for everything? He cheated on his ex because she let herself go. He didn’t get the promotion because someone must have bad-mouthed him to the boss. He hit someone because they deserved it, not because he lost control of himself. People capable of love don’t make excuses for themselves, they own their behavior and make a course correction – but they also don’t do these things to begin with.
- Has he ever warned you about himself? “I will cheat on you” or “I’ll hurt you” aren’t idle threats. They’re promises and these aren’t loving statements. Heed their warnings and get out.
- Is he selfish? This one is a no-brainer. Someone who is selfish has you in his life as an accessory, not as someone to love. You provide something that he benefits from, whether it’s social standing, financial gain or sex. Again, you’re a means to an end, not a person.
Be honest with your answers. You might not like the results, but better to figure it out now than later. It’s easy to overlook many of these signs, but as you assess the breakup, it’s important to assess whether the guy you’re wanting to reconcile with is even worth your tears.
Missing Him Doesn’t Equal Loving Him
You miss him. That’s a no-brainer, but does that mean you love him? Let’s find out.
Often when we’re reminiscing about relationships, we tend to focus on how someone made us feel, rather than their actions. This makes it easier to keep those rose-colored glasses on. Maybe by this point on the page, you’ve already taken those glasses off, but just in case they’re still perched on the end of your nose, let’s clearly decide whether to push them up or slide them off.
To miss someone is to regret their absence in your life. You can miss your high school soccer coach because he helped you strive for excellence, but that doesn’t mean you love him.
You can miss someone you wish to still be with you, but this still isn’t a strong signal of love.
When you feel love, you experience these:
- Your thoughts return to him regularly
- He makes you feel safe when you’re together
- Life feels a little more excitig when he’s around
- You want to spend a lot of time together
- You experience a healthy level of jealousy
- When you see him, you get a genuine rush or high
- You’re more open to experiencing new things iwth him
So now you can assess the relationshp and decide, do you miss him or do you love him?
What Was Your Role in the BreakUp?
Now comes the hard part. It’s time to honestly assess your role in the breakup. Just because you have a role in the breakup doesn’t mean it was something you did intentionally or that it was negative.
We examined Pam and Josh earlier. Pam definitely had a role in their breakup, but Josh also did because he wasn’t willing to set aside his own needs to put in a little extra while Pam was going through something difficult.
Answer these questions and examine these statements to help you figure out your role in the breakup:
- Did something drastically change in my life? Did I start focusing more on working out or a new hobby, spending much more time on that thing than on my relationship? Something like this can alter your goals, which might put the two of you in misalignment. You may no longer want to have children or you may want to delay having them, for example.
- Have you experienced this same type of situation several times in your life? The mathemetical term for this is common denominator. You, my friend, are the common denominator. This is what Step Three is all about, so no worries.
- When you talk about your breakup with your friends, is it crickets? If they don’t want to discuss it with you, there’s a good chance it’s because they don’t want to tell you that something was your fault. They’re trying not to hurt your feelings.
- Did you cheat on him, even if it was just emotionally? This always makes me think of an old movie, You’ve Got Mail. The Meg Ryan character tells her current beau that there isn’t another person, but there is the hope of another person.
- Did you check out emotionally? Sue and Dan had been together for a couple of years but Dan checked out. He started working through the night and coming to bed as Sue was getting up. He had emotionally checked out and Sue recognized it. She left him and he was very bitter for it, but the truth was he’d left her months earlier.
- Your friends and family aren’t shocked when you tell them about the breakup because they saw it coming. You’ve complained about every little thing he did and they aren’t the least bit surprised that he’s gone now.
- Do you miss the game of being in a relationship? Your relationship with your ex might have been drama-laden and now you miss that. Men aren’t into drama and if there’s enough of it, he’ll just say sianara. If he felt manipulated or as if you were playing with his heart, he won’t stand by and suffer it for long.
- Do you have an answer when someone asks you what went wrong in your relationship? This could be a sign that there were many reasons for the breakup and the chances are good that some of them rest on your shoulders.
- Do you feel relieved? When Joe packed up and moved his stuff out of their home, Sara felt as if an elephant got off her back. She felt relieved that it was over. This is a sign ahat Sara was already over the whole thing. Even though they had kids togethter and twelve years of marriage behind them, she had had enough. She had checked out and was relieved when he finally moved out.
- Do you feel a genuine need to apologize for something? Not as a form of begging him back, but because you genuinely feel as if you share responsibility. Trust your gut and dig into where this feeling is coming from.
Assess the Breakup | It’s Time to Move Forward
After you comlete your assessment and you’ve reined in your emotions, it’s time to move on to Step Three, Rebuild Your Confidence. While each step in the process is important, Step Three is one you will really benefit from!