Losing the person you once called your “better half” can be devastating, and the road to re-partnering is not easy and often frightening. Breakups of any kind challenge your sense of identity – who you are, who you’ve been and who you will become. Therefore, before embarking on the journey of re-partnering, you must first rebuild and strengthen your SELF. The following 10 tips will guide you through the process.

1. Go Ahead and Grieve

It’s okay to grieve the loss of the relationship. Your love took time to develop, and it won’t die quickly. Don’t circumvent the grieving process. Where there is loss, there is pain. Experiencing all of your raw emotions will help you open up and trust again.

2. Make the Choice to Recover

You can’t change what happened, but you can change how you will respond to it. Remember, there is life after grief. You are more resilient than you think.

3. Take Responsibility

Take responsibility for your role in the collapse of the partnership by looking at your SELF through a microscope. This is a hard but necessary step in rebuilding. Be radically honest; ask yourself the following questions: Was I the partner I wanted to be? Did I turn to my partner when I needed to depend on myself? Did I believe it was my partner, not me, who needed to change in order to have a better relationship? Did I always need to be right?

4. Reinvent Yourself

Use your breakup as a catalyst to reinvent your SELF. Ask yourself: Who am I without my partner? How can I be a better partner?

5. Gain Independence

Build up your underdeveloped SELF. Fill in the deficits and identify your assets. Learn new behaviors. Develop your independence muscles.

6. Make New, Healthy Choices

Learn a new relationship model. It takes three to make a partnership: you, me, and we.

7. Learn Boundaries

Develop healthy boundaries and honor your partner’s need to do the same.

8. Invest in You, Me & We

Get to know your partner. Invest in their growth, as you do your own.

9. Find Balance

Learn how to stay separate and connected. Seek closeness without loss of your SELF.

10. Play on the Same Team

Understand that conflict is an inevitable part of the relationship. Develop good conflict resolution skills without forgetting that you are on the same team.

Remember, contrary to the popular romantic notion of “you complete me,” you actually complete yourSELF. If you want to get it right the second time around, you must first take a closer look at YOU – for without a well-put-together YOU, there is no well-put-together WE.


Author of the recently released book, “Who Am I Without My Partner? Post-Divorce Healing and Rediscovering Your SELF,” Deborah Hecker, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist with over 35 years of private practice experience. She received her Master’s Degree from Columbia University and her Ph.D. from The Union Institute. In addition, she is certified as a psychoanalyst and has extensive training in the following areas: addiction counseling, grief counseling, collaborative practice and mediation. For more information, please visit www.drdeborahhecker.com.
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