Lisa Lo Paro
August 04, 2015 5:00 am

If you’re a dweller, if you’re that person who will re-think everything and over-analyze moments, words, and circumstances for months after a relationship ends thinking it could all have gone differently, then listen up. You’re not alone. So many of us spend weeks, months, sometimes years after a relationship ends with burning questions we wish we had answers to. We wish things could go differently, we wish that things hadn’t ended the way they had, we wish we could fit everything neatly into a box and understand what happened.

But most of the time, there are no clear-cut answers. There are only those burning questions, and a sense of loss. What can we do?

For the most part, these questions are normal. But dwelling on these questions and searching for simple answers is not only fruitless, it’s unhealthy. The only thing we can do after a breakup is try to accept it, mourn, and move on. Otherwise, these questions will only drive you insane.

Was it me?

We ask ourselves this question because after a breakup, many of us tend to blame ourselves for making a mistake. More often than not, a breakup is caused by a series of small things, not one huge event. So no, it wasn’t you. It wasn’t you because it was probably both of you. Maybe you’re just fundamentally incompatible—and that led to a series of rocky situations, and unhappy times, which eventually led to your breakup. You can’t blame yourself. Some relationships aren’t meant to last. Sometimes, you have to accept that, forgive yourself for it not working out, and recognize that it was, more than likely, inevitable and mutual.

What could I have done differently?

This question is unhealthy because it creates a huge barrier between you and moving on. Chances are there are many things you could have done differently, but dwelling on this question changes nothing about what actually happened. Instead of thinking about what you could have done differently in a past relationship, focus on the future relationship you want, and learn from your mistakes and past experiences. That’s the only thing we can do.

Am I good enough?

This question comes packaged alongside ridiculous notions like, “If I was better at sports/If I was prettier/If I were funnier/If I were skinnier…then we’d still be together.” There’s a sad tendency to think we’re not enough for a potential partner, that we need to change or hide our true selves in order to be lovable to our partner. This kind of thinking will only lead to unsatisfying relationships and constant frustration, because  we’re not perfect and we shouldn’t be expected to be. We’re awesome the way we are, and a relationship isn’t a measure of our self-worth. Putting that kind of pressure on ourselves is deeply unhealthy.

Was it meant to be? 

Many of us believe in fate and destiny, that there’s someone tailor-made for us out there, and that it’s written in the stars. It’s a lovely concept, but it can also end up being fanciful and unrealistic, and can totally drive you nuts after a breakup. There’s this tendency to think that someone we dated is The One, and while that may be romantic, it’s also kind of harmful. It becomes a problem because we end up thinking that we have no other choice but to remain in a dysfunctional relationship, all because we’ve romanticized this idea of The One.

Are they seeing someone new already?

You ask yourself this question so that you can gauge their life after you: so you can decide if they’re unhappy without you. But no answer to this question will appear on the Internet, because chances are they’re trying as hard as you are to move on and to look like everything is peachy. Everyone fudges the truth on social media, especially when we’re trying to keep it all together.

We also ask this question to satisfy our understandably fragile post-breakup egos. Assuring yourself that they’re not seeing somebody makes us feel better about our influence on them, and finding out they’re seeing someone else can shatter our already tenuous grasp on our self-esteem.

Take my advice after ending a relationship: do not stalk. Do not follow them on Instagram, un-friend them and keep yourself from asking questions of your mutual friends. You don’t want to know what they’re up to, and finding out will only make it that much harder to get over them.

What if I missed my chance?

So many of us what-if ourselves to the brink of insanity after a breakup. If you broke up, there’s a reason. If you can fix it and think that your relationship is worth saving, then do everything you can to save it. But don’t go back to a failing relationship simply because you feel like you have no other options. You always do. You always have the option to be brave, meet new people, and believe in the possibility of something better, something you deserve.

(Image via FOX)

Related:

All the signs you’re in a solid relationship

What my 20s taught me about relationships

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