Support Group

Thank you for stopping by Getting Past Your Breakup.  If you are reading the book and found your way here, we have moved the commenting section of the blog to a CLOSED Facebook support group which is a strong, tightly-knit support group.  New posts will appear here regularly, but to join in discussion or just read from like-minded people, join the FB group. If there is a post on this page you would like to discuss in the FB group, feel free to copy the link and paste into the FB group. IF you are looking for a topic and can’t find it, refer to this post for help.
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Bumps in the Dating Road When Getting Back Out There

rejectionby Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Part 1: Readiness and rejection

Getting Back Out There: Secrets to Successful Dating and Finding Real Love After The Big Breakup discusses the 5 R’s – Readiness, Rejection, Recycling, Rebounding and Retreating.

They are commonly experienced bumps along the dating road when you go back out after healing from a big breakup.

But LONG before you’re ready to date, you have to deal with the idea of rejection and reject the notion that it has ANYTHING to do with your self-worth.  So even if you’re NOWHERE NEAR READY to date, please read the REJECTION part of this and the book. It is VERY important.

Not everyone experiences them but most experience a few and some experience all of them!  Knowing that it’s normal and what to do with each will make it easier for you to handle. 

Readiness

You’ve done what you were told you to do in order to heal “properly”. You didn’t fall right back into a relationship after a breakup.  You gave yourself time to heal. You did the work and took your time. You’ve suffered alone even when your ex ran right into a new relationship. You resisted the urge to prove you’ve “moved on” and turned down the invitations and potential fix-ups.  You’ve resisted smiles and interest from cute, nice people. You’ve been all about being alone and learning from the breakup.  You have made you and your new life a priority. Yes, you’ve done all the right things.

It’s been x amount of time and everyone is asking you, “Well? When are going to start dating again?”  You are beginning to feel embarrassed and unsure.  How do you know when you’re ready?

  1. Don’t force yourself out into the dating road without even considering if you’re ready. Don’t allow others to pressure you.  Develop a few good responses to nosy Nellies who want to know “what’s with you?”

GBOT suggests saying, “I appreciate your care and concern, but I’m not ready yet. When I am, I’ll let you know.” or “I’m thinking about it. I’ll let you know.”  If they push, “What are you thinking about?” you can respond, “I’ll let you know.”  Keep the non-answers coming and they will get tired of asking.  Sometimes people seem to think that a single person’s love life is anyone’s business and it’s NOT. To set a boundary with really pesky people who won’t take no for an answer, ask, “What is it about me not dating that bothers you so much?”  Usually that will make even the most persistent person back off.

Pressure can also come from within. If you’re not interested after months of being alone, you may start to wonder what is wrong with you. While you want to be honest and be true to yourself, you may not be able to really gauge your level of readiness. It’s hard sometimes to know if you’re not ready because you’re still working through or because you’re afraid of being hurt.  Take some time off and think about it. If you’re still working through, that is okay. You can check back in with yourself a few weeks from now.

  1. You need to know exactly what kind of dating experience you’re ready for. Some people only want to date when they’re ready to look for someone who is interested in a long-term relationship. Others are ready for a “let’s see what happens…” and others are looking for fun in a short-lived fling. Whatever it is you’re ready for, you should define it clearly so that neither you nor someone else gives or gets mixed signals.  If you’re signing up on dating websites and getting responses only from those looking for a physical relationship or only those looking for serious romance, review your profile and make sure it’s sending the right message.  If you’re unsure of yourself, your profile will reveal that ambiguity and a mish-mash of people will be filling your inbox with crazy emails. It’s not just important to know if you’re ready but what you’re ready for! It’s also okay not to know (see below about “see what happens.”)
  2. Think about your first few dates out. It’s usually easier to make them informal, meet for coffee or lunch dates than to put pressure on both of you by making it a Saturday night date for dinner and a movie.  Keeping first dates light and short will go a long way in calming your anxiety.
  3. Think of dating as research.  Many people think that having a “let’s see what happens” or “whatever happens happens” approach is wrong. It’s not.

Even though the advice above states to know what you’re ready for, it’s okay if you don’t know BUT (and this is a BIG BUT) ONLY IF you can handle “whatever happens happens.” But THAT has to be an affirmative decision that you make, not something that just happens because you’re indecisive.  The difference is a) you go out not knowing what you want and not liking what you get and wondering what is wrong with the situation or b) you know you have no idea what it is you want and you’re cool with that…you’re going to go out and just “see what happens” and you GET that your ambiguity is going to lead to incredibly mixed results.  Make sense?

In the event you think you can handle whatever happens, make sure you still have standards you will not lower.  If people approach you JUST for a physical relationship, know whether or not that is okay with you.  Think about the consequences (like an STD) and if it’s worth it. Every single decision you make during the “whatever” phase still has to be carefully crafted by you.  You still have to be in charge of the whatever.

If you have a casual attitude just to gauge what’s out there and how you respond to it, you will do better than if you’re uptight and scared.  If you go out not knowing what you want but understanding that might lead to some pretty strange goings on, you should be okay.  Don’t put too much stock into ANYTHING that happens when dating, except making sure to keep yourself safe and enjoying yourself.  Yes, I said ENJOY yourself.

If you stop trying to gauge if you and your first date mate can bond and become an instant couple, you might end up having a good time.  Perhaps this isn’t a romantic interest but maybe this person can become a friend or a business contact.  Keep it light and breezy and think of it as something you do to put your finger on your emotional and mental pulse and to check out what’s going on in the world.  Use this attitude when you’re not sure what you’re ready for but you think it might be fun to find out. If you’re not someone who can be that casual about something like dating, this might be the perfect opportunity to let down that guard and try to have some fun. And remember, water seeks its own level.  So don’t be surprised if you don’t know what you want and wind up with others who don’t know either. If that gets to be too much, pull back.

Don’t take dating personally (more about this in rejection) and take it as it comes. If you’re not ready, you can go back to not dating any time you like.  Just take it down a notch in overall importance and you’ll have a pretty decent time.

  1. It’s okay to not be ready and pull back (more about this in Retreating in Part 2).

Rejection

Before you go back out there, know you will reject and be rejected. It’s part of the process. And it means NOTHING. Don’t take it personally. Yes, I said DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Be sure to toughen up before you put yourself in a position to be scrutinized. Make sure you’ve done your affirmations as suggested in Getting Past Your Breakup (GPYB) and GBOT and you have a new view of rejection. A continuing mantra must be, “I only want to be with people who want to be with me.” You must know you are a worthwhile person who deserves to be loved and cared for and if someone doesn’t value you, it’s not your problem, it’s theirs. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even about you. Even if they’re wrong. If they don’t want to be with you, guess what?  They’re wrong about you and for you.  Be grateful you know it early.

  1. Not everyone is going to want to be with you. That means NOTHING about what you are worth.  One man’s trash is another’s treasure.  Not everyone is going to like you in this world. If you’ve ever looked for a job, you may have come across the situation where the exact same resume for the exact same job receives a “Sorry, you’re not what we’re looking for.” from one company and then a “We are so glad we found you!” from another.  Dating is very much the same thing.  When you get feedback that someone is not interested in you, you may be used to feeling rejected. You may start to feel sorry for yourself and imagine that no one else is every going to love you again. All because someone who doesn’t know you doesn’t want you.  You have to start to understand, that is ridiculous.
  2. Many times rejection is not about what is wrong with you but what is right with you.  As it details in some of the client stories in GBOT,sometimes you give the clear impression that you’re a no-nonsense kind of person (at least you should be if you’ve worked through Getting Past Your Breakup!)  Someone who is about playing games is going to take a pass.

People with commitment issues don’t want someone looking for a long-term commitment but many times they will date them anyway. A client of mine was a serial dater and confessed he didn’t even know if he wanted a relationship though he was on sites that attracted people looking for serious relationships.  For him, it was about the thrill of the chase. I’m sure that many a woman went home from a fantastic date thinking she’d hear from him again.  She didn’t. She may have wondered what was wrong with her even though the lack of a next date had absolutely nothing to do with her.  You have no idea what is going on with your date. You don’t know if they’ve been honest with what they are looking for.  Don’t take it personally.

  1. If you’re so afraid of being rejected you may turn yourself inside out for the wrong person or miss valuable information that you need to have in order to decide if this person is right for you.  Most people treat it like a job interview, “I’m applying for this job because I really want this job.  Please hire me.”  You think you know enough about a company to go work there, but often we wind up working for the wrong people. We can always quit. But in relationships we have to treat it as if WE are the ones holding the interview.  Don’t approach it with this, “Please hire me.” attitude.  Instead, approach it with, “Do I want to hire you?”  If the person rejects you, you don’t want them anyway.
  2. When you enter the world of dating, you agree to judge and be judged. Many times people make snap judgments before they even know much about you. Other times you may have had 3 or 4 wonderful dates and think you are heading somewhere with this person who seems to feel the same and then, WHAM, they decide it’s enough for them. Even after just 3 dates, you can feel devastated and have the sting of your last breakup come back. You can feel horribly rejected by the end of what you thought was a budding romance.

Remember, you want to be with people who want to be with you. Don’t spend time trying to figure out how someone can have such a great time with you over the course of a few dates and then just turn off. There are a million reasons and sometimes no good reason.  It happens. It’s not about you and it’s not your problem. Turn the page and move on.

  1. Know that what you call rejection is simply someone making a decision that the two of you have no future. It has nothing to do with your value as a person or as a partner. It usually has more to do with them than it has to do with you.

Lose any kind of desperation you have about not being liked or thought of as attractive. This is not a judgment as to your worth as a person or your attractiveness in looks or personality.  It’s about the fact that it doesn’t quite fit.  You and this other person are just not a match and that is FINE.

If you’ve done the work in GPYB, you have learned that you do not get your value from someone else, you get it from you. You know you are valuable and worthwhile and this experience cannot and will not and must not take that from you.

You don’t need the whole world panting after you or wishing they were with you. That could get very messy very quickly. Don’t think you need to be better looking or younger or richer. Good looking people think people are only there for their looks, the rich for their money, the young for their youth. Everyone is insecure to some degree. Stop wondering, “What was it about me that didn’t work for them?” It doesn’t matter.

You don’t want to be dragging people into relationships that don’t want to be there. You don’t want to spend time convincing people you hardly know that you are worth their time. Once they make the decision you’re not, they are not the one for you.  Move on.

Finding the right person is about finding someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with them. Don’t take rejection personally; take it as a sign you dodged a bullet or that you are still standing and not enmeshed in a bad relationship.


Copyright 2007-2018 Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
All Rights Reserved No Duplication is Allowed Without Explicit Permission of the Author and a link back to the original content

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On-line Dating: Bathroom lady wall photo

datingBlog readers  might remember this gem:

I did a dating video on YouTube when I was writing Getting Back Out There. To check out the sewage on various sites (I needed profiles to read the forums), I actually put profiles up so that I could read and write in the forums.

This is my actual photo that I put up on all the sites. I took it from a graphics site that suggested it for the photo on the Ladies Room.

One of my profiles had very general likes and dislikes and on another,  the goofiest stuff in it that would you ever say (my idea of a romantic evening is you holding the yarn while I crochet you some nice earmuffs.  I also like Campbells Cream of Mushroom soup, singing Christmas carols all year long, and shopping for odd socks at the Salvation Army.)
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Beginning Anew


Your ultimate goal in life is to become your best self. Your immediate goal is to get on the path that will put you there.
David Viscott

Today is Monday.

Monday seems to be everyone’s “do over” day.  It’s the day to “begin” whatever new resolution you have, whatever new way of being you’re going to be.

How many times have you said, “TODAY things are going to be DIFFERENT“?  And then they’re not?  And then that defeat just keeps you tied into a defeatist mindset (I can’t do anything right!) and that keeps us from moving ahead.

Everyone is going to start everything on Monday (diet, exercise, doing things differently) or on January 1st. But a resolution stated once and soon forgotten about amounts to nothing more than a wish.   That is why, by Wednesday, the new way of being is gone and you are vowing, ONCE AGAIN, to start over on MONDAY.Resolve has to happen EVERYDAY, whether it’s Monday or Tuesdayor Thursday or July 15th.  It has to happen every day of every year.To change permanently, there has to be a commitment in place.  A commitment renewed every single day. Continue reading

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Great Expectations and Narcissists

narcissists

When someone shows you who they are, believe them. ~ Maya Angelo

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2006-2018 All Rights Reserved


Some of you may remember this post from the Mail. We Get Mail series.

Last year I received a note from someone who was coming out of a 3 year relationship. Before that relationship they had been friends. During that friendship she saw him date other women and be dishonest and commitmentphobic with them. So when they dated, she was SURPRISED by his dishonesty and commitmentphobia. Why?
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When The Person You Love Doesn’t Love You

breakupIt Doesn’t Matter, It Doesn’t Matter, It Doesn’t Matter

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed. Copyright 2006-2018

Author, “Getting Past Your Breakup: How To Turn A Devastating Loss Into The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You” (Da Capo 2009)

Author, “Getting Back Out There: Tips for Successful Dating and Finding Real Love After the Big Breakup” (Da Capo 2015)

Author, “Getting Past Your Past: The Definitive Workbook for Healing, Health and Happiness” (La Bella Vita Publishing 2013)

(to see the video of this post go HERE)

(to join our CLOSED Facebook breakup group go HERE)


It’s hard but it happens.

And it hurts.

You love someone who may have loved you once upon a time.

Or

You love someone who acted like there was a possibility of love in return,

but now there’s not.

Or

You love someone who simply doesn’t feel the same way

and isn’t going to feel the same way.

Ever.

Or

You loved someone deeply who loved you deeply and then this person just switched off and hurt you in ways that were unimaginable at the height of your mutual love.

Or

This person loved you and you loved them but then someone new came along and they left. Friends tell you that you are better than this new person in every way.

But your ex is still with Mr. or Ms. New Thing.

Whatever the situation, you’re left with excruciating pain.
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You Are So Not Who I Thought You Were

deception

Who Are You?

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Rerun based on a post from the FB group.

After my first few post-divorce breakups, I started to tell people that “anyone is capable of anything at any time.” It’s not that anyone will DO anything at any time, but they are certainly capable of it. It takes the surprise out of the equation when loving person X suddenly turns into Lastest-In-A-Long-Series-of-Mistakes X.

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The Wha Wha Wha FFS WTF Meltdown

Angry GirlNote: there are several GPYB “Wha Wha Meltdown” posts. There is the Wha Wha Wha Working Too Hard Meltdown….the Wha Wha Wha Why Me Meltdown…etc….they all have the same theme….we’re working hard while the world is off having fun and one day we just don’t WANT TO DO IT ANYMORE!!!  it’s OKAY, it’s NORMAL!

This is one of them:

Getting better is not a contest with our oblivious ex who is just going on as if nothing happened. It’s not a contest with our friend who left bananahead A and is now engaged to someone she considers the most wonderful person in the world. It’s not a contest with those who have what we want and why did they get it and we didn’t?

Getting better is our own deal. We compare our growth to our own…and we stop comparing our insides to others’ outsides. Here’s the “wha wha” post that I’ve written a few times. The “wha wha meltdown” is an inevitable place we all come to at some point:
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Trust the Process

trustby Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Working through unresolved grief can only work to make you stronger. As Stephen Levine said, people who work through their grief are the lightest and happiest of beings. It shows in their life, in their affect, in their ability to be “with” the world instead of looking on.

At some point in the grief process we feel “dead” and like we’re never going to be normal again. At another point we feel as if we are not making any progress despite how hard we are working. This is also part of the process. Things still seem surreal. We can’t imagine that we’re ever going to love again or trust again. We’re out of the deep, dark feelings but we’re not yet into the light. We’re in limbo somehow.

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Mail. We Get Mail on Recovery Tools as Weapons

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

I received this letter in 2006 and reran it in 2013.  It’s time for another re-run.

Please help me. I was involved with a guy with a severe drinking problem. We broke up and he went to AA and NA. He had a drug problem I didn’t know about. I gave him a second chance but he does whatever he wants and tells me that AA says it’s a selfish program (no further discussion). He also ws spending time with his ex girlfriend and told me he was doing his “9th step” and making amends. Sometimes I wish the old drinking guy was back. I feel guilty when I get mad at this guy who is trying to turn his life around. PLEASE Help

First of all, it sounds like your boyfriend is using the tools of the program as weapons. Continue reading

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No Contact: Searching and the Rules of Disengagement

disengagement

No contact is hard, but so important to healing

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Pining is the subjective and emotional component of urge to search for the lost object. ~ Colin Murray Parkes.

Colin Murray Parkes was a grief expert who studied the phases of grief and the behavior in those who are grieving. Searching behavior often explains why people try to connect with those whom they have just lost to death…but when the person is still out there, still “reachable,” it makes it difficult to suspend contact and simply let the searching compulsion pass without doing anything about it.  Hard, but necessary.

Parkes was one of the first to analogize human searching behaviors to that of animal species that mate for life.

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Fear and Resilience

fearby Susan J. Elliott, J.D.M.Ed.

Copyright 1999-2018

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

When we live our lives afraid, when we keep saying “I can’t”, we give our fears power over us and keep ourselves nestled in our old comfort zones. Continue reading

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Men As Stalking Victims, Part 2: 10 Things To Know For Safety’s Sake

stalkingWould Travis Alexander and/or Ryan Poston be alive today if everyone was duly informed about men as stalking victims?

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

 

There is a fine line between serendipity and stalking. ~ David Coleman

What Is Stalking

The reason the David Coleman quote above resonates with me is that a woman who appeared to be stalking a man called it serendipitous when she wound up in a club a half mile from his home, where he was known to frequent, on the same night he did.  She said to me, “It’s serendipity!” and I said, “No, it’s stalking.”  I don’t know when the quote above was made by its source, but I had this conversation 14 years ago.  Another quote that came to mind, is “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  She kept thinking that their “accidental” run-ins meant they were destined to be together.  It didn’t and they weren’t.  Thankfully she moved on, and no one died.

Stalkers Who Turn Into Murderers

It has long been known that female stalking victims have been killed by their stalker. Laws to protect people have been put into effect after stalking turns to murder. Rebecca Shaefer’s murder in 1989 led to stronger laws in California to hide addresses of public figures. It’s not a small thing and it’s not unusual. What is unusual is the small amount of attention paid to female stalkers as murderers and their victims. While we may pay attention to the murder trials, we have done little to educate everyone about how men can protect themselves if they have a stalking ex-girlfriend or obsessive girlfriend they can’t seem to get to go away.

The Murders of Travis Alexander and Ryan Poston

I examined Alexander’s killer, Jodi Arias, and her stalking behavior in Part 1 of this series.  I have drafts about Poston’s killer, Shayna Hubers, but as she is getting a new trial, I’ve kept most in drafts.  I wrote about my own experience with a stalker years ago HERE.  I wrote about obsessive “love” HERE. I hope to write more on this subject of male stalking victims.  If you have questions or comments, email me and I will answer in upcoming articles or videos.  To subscribe to our mailing list go HERE.  

This is to help anyone who thinks they are being stalked or a friend or family member of someone being stalked and that person is a man.

No one who was friends with Alexander or Poston should feel guilty that they didn’t urge either person to take stronger precautions.  This information is simply not known by most.  But now that there are at least two men – in the prime of their lives – murdered by their stalker – this issue should become better known.

Yes, there are others and there are even other high visibility cases.  For now, this is to draw parallels between these two murder victims and any man who may be in danger and not know it.
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On Revealing Yourself to Others

Sometimes you tell someone something, and sometimes you just keep your mouth shut.

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.


All the world is a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and entrances;
Each man in his time plays many parts.

~ William Shakespeare

It is important to reveal ourselves slowly when we first meet people. As I’ve said before, when we meet people, it is not appropriate to dump our entire lives on them in the first meeting, the first date, the first week, the first month. Getting to know someone, even a potential mate, is a slow process and SHOULD be a slow process.

Also there is no rule that says you have to tell everyone absolutely everything. Continue reading

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Journey From Abuse

Usually in February, I do some kind of hat tip to my journey. It started in February. I forgot to do that this year (internet stalkers and all). So I’m going to post this version of this post that I rarely run. It’s very graphic, violent and I pulled it down years ago trying to be sensitive to my ex when he was sick. I have told the stoy many times with less detail. The retelling of the entire spectacle is not to upset or embarrass anyone. It’s to help people who are struggling. So this is the “full version” post that I wrote in February 2007 on my 20th anniversary of my escape…when the blog was about 3 months old and had few hundred readers and no book was even a remote thought in my brain. I rarely run it and will probably pull it in a few days, so read while the reading is good.

This is the long version in its original 2/10/07 form.

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.– Anonymous

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
February 7, 2007

On February 10, 1987 my life fell completely apart. I had separated from my husband on February 1st and February 9th was our wedding anniversary. Although he was unfaithful, controlling and abusive, after our separation I could not deal with the void that rushed in, the pain that engulfed me and the horrible feeling of abandonment. Continue reading

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Courage, Hope and Change

sunriseby Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow. ~ Dorothy Thompson

Tough times befall most of us; some, it seems, more than others. While there is some level of self-pity in our struggle for wholeness, there cannot be too much. Self-pity will de-motivate you. No one loves me will de-motivate you and to change and grow and have a happy life, (yes HAPPY!), you have to be motivated to charge toward that life.

To overcome what has happened to us takes courage and that courage is the power to continue to believe that we are good, life is good and there is always tomorrow which will be better than today.

Trudging onward takes a lot of work sometimes and we get tired and sometimes falter. Continue reading

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