November 16, 2007

Is grief just for death?

Grief can definitely have an effect on the type of person you choose for a relationship while you are still actively grieving the loss of a previous relationship. Many people do not realize they are grieving when a relationship ends, which actually places them at risk of choosing dangerously while being impaired by their grief. Some people assume that grief is related only if your partner has recently died and if you are currently still saddened by the loss. But actually grieving occurs when any relationship ends—whether it is anticipated, desired, prepared for, or not. The longer the relationship existed, the longer the grief normally takes. Some people should seek counseling because they are not sure what happened, what will happen, and what’s next. When you are coming out of a relationship, you are in pain even if you aren’t acknowledging it or if you were the one that planned for it to end. When you are hurting, that is not the best state of mind for decision making. When issues of the previous relationship are not resolved, many people go on to choose someone just like the person in the relationship they ended. Subconsciously they are trying to work out those relationship issues but with a new person, instead of the one they just left. Many people jump from one relationship to the next to avoid being alone. Alone does not necessarily have to mean loneliness. Some people don’t really care about the quality of the next relationship they only desire to avoid the feelings of the lost relationship. These are issues for the person to work out with a counselor because people who cannot be alone are at a significant risk of choosing anyone to avoid being alone. The baggage we carry from the last relationship has the ability to impact current and future relationships. Ideally, none of us want to hurt new relationships with our old relationship issues that are unresolved. That’s why time off can help us get some distance so we can assess the good and bad things of the relationship, our part in it, the types of people who we tend to select and whether we need to make some changes. These insights do not happen overnight or even within a few weeks. You might need a few counseling sessions to work out your anger, fear, or look deeper at your selection patterns. In other words, the type of men you are attracted to. The longer you wait, the more you can work on yourself in between relationships, the better chances you have of bringing a more healthy self to the next relationship and be able to spot potential bad dating choices.

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Darla said...

This is so true! The end of a relationship is very much like a death--not only of the relationship but of all those might-have-beens. And our society isn't very good at handling grief for death even, so when it's for a relationship, there's even less understanding and sympathy, and there's the expectation that you should just get over it already.

Thanks for this post--it's an important topic.

katherine. said...

very true...I have a quote somewhere about going from alone to lonely...I'll look for it.

(its in a book...totally old school...)

Wenchy said...

I can identify with so much that is written here.

baby~amore' said...

wow -that image is brilliant and the post too.