You were deeply unhappy in your relationship, but now you’re out. You craved something different. You craved peace, serenity, even joy, and now you have the opportunity for it. But in those moments of post-breakup relief, you feel guilty: you know your ex is struggling and the fact that a part of you feels so much better seems unfair. And in those fleeting moments that you enjoy yourself without guilt, you feel selfish…and then you feel guilty for being selfish. This is a cycle that manifests in all kinds of scenarios having to do with all kinds of choices and circumstances, but today we are going to look at it in the context of your post-breakup life. After a breakup, is it selfish to actually enjoy yourself when you know your ex is heartbroken, or are you prone to guilt because any positive emotion would feel selfish?
Does it seem like you’re in a cycle of rejection—like every relationship ends in being dumped? The cycle of rejection is ugly, painful and humbling. It decimates you self-esteem, and gives you ample opportunity to say to anyone who will listen, “See, I told you so: I am damaged goods, an unlovable loser.”
You just had the best first date. It’s the beginning of something great. There was absolute connection and immediate intimacy. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I do believe in the certainty of an intense connection. I believe you can have a first experience with a person that’s so powerful it encourages you to imagine a future full of possibilities. What happens when he says he’ll call the next day and he doesn’t? When he hasn’t returned your texts?
You join a gym but can’t stop smoking. You finally pull free from a destructive relationship but are binging on junk food. You stop wasting time on mindless TV, but then compulsively check Facebook. Does it seem like pushing forward in one area of your life must be balanced by slipping backward in another? For many of us, the deep-rooted belief that we don’t deserve good things makes us resistant to taking care of ourselves as fully as we can.
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