It’s Over, Now What?

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You thought you had this relationship thing down to a science.

You’ve read countless books on love, listened to books on tape about love, had lengthy conversations with your friends about love, and felt pretty confident in your abilities to sustain a healthy and loving relationship. Yet another one bites the dust. Your heart is aching again, and you thought for sure, this time, you’d found “the one.”

Sound familiar? We’ve all been there, done that, at one point or another in our lives. It all appears to be going well, then things shift, and you are no longer a couple. You are left feeling empty, and the pain is often unbearable. There are no guarantees in life or love. Now that it is officially over, what do you do next? How does one pick up the pieces, and move on?

Dating and relationship coach Toni Coleman says, “Every significant loss results in feelings of denial, anger, fear, sadness and guilt. Although these emotions are ’normal,' we need to go through a grief process in order to fully recover and move on to a healthy, new life and relationship.”

To achieve this, Coleman makes the following suggestions to help you manage this process and achieve closure.

Acknowledge Your Feelings: Give them a safe and appropriate outlet for expression. Too often we minimize, cover up or just deny painful emotions.

Take Care of Yourself: During this difficult time, it is critical to maintain healthy eating and sleeping habits. This can be a real challenge as appetite and sleep are disturbed by emotional pain. Preparing and attempting to eat three meals a day, adhering to your normal wake/sleep pattern and making an effort to do at least a half hour of exercise each day can be your life raft when in the middle of an emotional storm that threatens to destroy you. If necessary, seek professional counseling and/or help from your physician.

Build and Strengthen Your Social Supports:  Too much alone time can foster withdrawal and increase feelings of isolation and loneliness. Reach out to friends and family for help and nurturing.

Give Yourself Time to Heal: It will seem like forever, but it isn't. Rushing the process and jumping into a new relationship too fast can be disastrous. If the wounds are still raw, you are at a higher risk for regression, relapse and failure.

Set New and Realistic Goals: This is a great time for new beginnings, which include new goals. Have you been putting off looking for a better job, buying your own home or going back to grad school? Perhaps you felt that your own goals needed to wait until you were settled with Mr. or Ms. Right. Decide on one or two new goals and write them down with an action plan for each. It suffices to say that none of this will be easy. Take it one day at a time, and remember: This too shall pass.

©2006. LaVerne is currently working as a Senior Editor and Freelance Columnist, with nationally published works to include “Love…According to L,” a monthly AOL Black Voices column; and “L’s Motivational Minute,” a monthly motivational women’s column for Soul Sistas She has also interviewed celebrity personalities and written for Upscale You can e-mail her at: with your comments.

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