When it comes to relationships of any sort—whether romantic, social, professional or otherwise—I tend to be in them for the long term.
I am the first to admit that it is hard for me to let go. However, it inevitably happens that relations end. Sometimes the parting is amicable. Other times, not so much.
When the latter happens, more often than not it’s the result of something one party actually did or was thought to have done. It’s these situations that can drive me crazy.
Like many, I have a tendency to obsess over what went wrong.
I take comfort in knowing I am hardly alone.
Writer Elizabeth Wurtzel recently noted: “The brainpower necessary to solve the troubles in Iraq and Palestine is instead deployed in the tender analysis of destructive dating behavior. It does not matter that it is obvious we are wasting our time.”
While I do agree, I would amend destructive dating behavior to include destructive relationship behavior as well.
The truth is, none of us is perfect.
Sometimes the reason a relationship fails is primarily our own fault, sometimes it is the fault of another and many times it is combination of both.
While there is something to be said about learning from mistakes and moving on, we need to remember that nothing good comes from constantly dwelling on a scenario and going over it again and again in our heads, all the while wondering: “What did I do wrong?”
In some cases, the answer may be: Nothing. Or rather, there is nothing we could have done to prevent the end of a relationship.
Despite the fact that both men and women can fall prey to this, I feel women are more prone to these cycles of thinking. In some ways, it makes perfect sense.
Women are known primarily as the peacekeepers. We want explanations and like it or not, we tend to hold onto things far longer than our male counterparts.
Many years ago, I worked with a woman who was a retired prison guard. She once shared that when it came to guarding violent inmates, the men tended to be easier to deal with because, as she says, “They just beat, stabbed or did something and let it go. The women were the ones who were continually fighting over the same thing.”
This is an extreme example, but nonetheless there is some truth to it.
When I think of the time we spend on dwelling on past failed relationships I can’t help but feel somewhat embarrassed as well mournful when I realize that I could have spent that time on much more productive things.
In any case, it’s good to vent, it’s good to mourn—but dwelling seldom makes anything better. Still, if we do find ourselves spending an inordinate amount of time on any particular subject, don’t make it worse by dwelling on the reasons for that.
Sometimes we are better off just offering things up to the universe/fate/God and proceeding from there.
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Alli Sarazen
Photo: Jason Eppink/Flickr