No one ever said a breakup is easy. Learn how the process can look different for everyone, and get advice on how to heal after a breakup. Join Master Certified Matchmaker Genevieve Gresset and Certified Dating Coach/Matchmaker Heather Drury as they dissect a man’s observation of his exes moving on quicker than he does.
Heather: Well. Hello, Genevieve. How are you today?
Genevieve: I’m good, thanks. Heather. How are you?
Heather: I’m doing so good. Thank you so much. Well, let’s get into it. I’ve got a letter that comes in from somebody that is looking for relationship and dating advice. They’re going through some struggles, so let’s just dive right in. This person says: “Every girlfriend I have been with has universally moved on light years faster than me. Almost half of my adult male life has been mourning the losses of a girlfriend who left until I eventually I meet the next great love of my life. And I never seem to have anyone come back or reach out to me. Even this is five girlfriends in my 35 years on this earth, the average length of my relationship is one and a half years or so, another one was eight years. Not a single one has come back in touch or reached out. Either ghosted, cheated on, and in two cases the breakup was more normal and discussed and mature. Anyone experienced something similar?” And just to kind of clarify, the subject line says: “All my girlfriends have moved on vastly quicker than me,” so I had thought initially this letter, as reading it: “moved light years faster than me” meant that they were moving into the relationship faster. But what he’s saying is that they’re moving on, they’re cheating and ghosting. I don’t know. That’s a hard situation to invest so much of your time and energy into just to have them move on faster than you after the breakup.
Genevieve: But why is he worried about what they’re doing after the breakup? You know, at the end of the day, if the relationship is over, it’s over. You kind of got to get on with life. And it sounds a bit like he’s expecting them to come back when he said they ghost him, they completely block him off. I would encourage him, with my coaching hat on. to actually look at what are the patterns here. Is it that he’s going for the same types of women that perhaps don’t work with him? Is he going for avoidant people? Is he highly anxious? Does he make people feel uncomfortable? Is he the one who’s trying to fast track the relationship? I have so many questions for this guy. If he was sat right here in front of me, I would be digging deep right now to understand a lot more. I think he needs to have a little bit of soul searching going on and understand what it is that potentially really has gone wrong. Really, he needs to sit down with a coach. He really needs someone to unravel and understand where his anxieties are coming from. I think the question is, “How can they move on so quickly? If they were in love with me and I’m still sitting here pining, not able to move on as quickly with another relationship when when they’re moving on.” If people have cheated on him, he’s got to perhaps take some responsibility as to why they’ve cheated on him. Has he not given them enough attention? Has he been fully invested in the relationship when he’s in the relationship? Or does he expect the emotions and everything else to come from the partner that he’s with? So there’s loads of questions. This could go in a million different directions.
Heather: Absolutely. And I have to say, reading through this ,and again I don’t know him. We don’t know everything. But here’s my analysis of this. The messaging of this letter itself is muddled. The consistency of what topic he’s on is inconsistent. Even he says the really the average length of relationships are a year and a half or so. But one was eight years. In just the letter itself, I think you’re right, we need to really get to the nitty gritty of what it is that you’re seeking to find the help that you’re looking for, taking just what we know and hypothesizing. I just wonder if there might be a frustration so much from the other party that they feel the need to just walk away. And the hard part about somebody just walking away is it’s not fair. It’s true. It’s not fair that somebody you’ve invested in just walks away and you get to suffer. It’s not fair, but sometimes we don’t get those questions after answered after somebody is so done. I like this self exploration of really being able to master the skill set of identifying your core human need. What do you need to fill your love bucket, right? Also be able to openly share that with a partner and then also ask and identify what her needs are in a relationship. “Needs” are a little bit different than “Values,” right? This is something that not a lot of people often will identify themselves for entering into a relationship. How beautiful is it then when we understand what we need, we’re able to give kind of the instruction manual to our partner, right?
Genevieve: But only when we know ourselves.
Heather: But only when we know.
Genevieve: We can’t do that until we understand! Actually, you don’t know yourself until you are in a relationship and everyone that you’re in a relationship with, you will be different with each person. You’re never the same person that you were with previously. We evolve, we grow, we learn about doing things differently and taking our learning experiences into the next relationship. I think it depends if this guy is learning and is understanding what he’s doing wrong and really exploring that, then he should be going on an evolution process in this journey and embracing that. But part of me wonders if he’s stuck a little bit. And I’m wondering if the eight year relationship was the first relationship that went wrong that he got burnt with and then having the shorter relationships after this. Perhaps there’s some unfinished work that needs to be done from the longer relationship that he was in. So, to me, it could often be if you’ve been very damaged and very hurt and you’re holding on to that and you’ve not worked through it, you will go into a number of shorter relationships thereafter and you won’t be able to maintain a long committed relationship. It’ll be too hard for you to process that. I have so many questions. But these are all hypotheses that, you know, we’re sort of trying to go down different rabbit holes here to get to different solutions. Someone like him, for me personally, he really does need to work through it with with a professional. A dating or relationship coach that can sit there and invest some time with him to unravel all of this and give him the confidence and tools to go into a relationship in the right way with the right person.
Heather: One thing that we do offer as an exercise in coaching, which I think if there’s one little nugget that we could give him, maybe it’s just this exercise. It’s hard to go backwards and talk to the person that left you. The odds of you discovering or getting what you need to move on from them is is very minimal. So oftentimes what we’ll say is write a really honest soul-pouring handwritten letter to your ex. Asking these questions, exploring what happened. “Did this happen? Did that happen? It felt this way when this happened. I wish that we had this.” Then you burn it! It’s not a letter that you’re going to hand to somebody, but you’re asking questions that probably other people can’t answer for you.
Genevieve: Exactly. And share your vulnerabilities within that letter.
Genevieve: And the power in that letter is actually reading it aloud three times before you burn it, read it aloud the first time and sit with your emotions. See what comes up. It might be that you need to add more to that letter. And then read it out loud again. Sit with it. Often by the third time that you read it out loud, and this could take maybe 2-3 hours, you’re actually clearing the emotion from your heart, from your head, from your body. I always say, once you’ve done the burning exercise, go have a cool shower or even a warm, slightly warm bath. Just wash everything away. You feel clean. I told this to some people who live near the beach. Go for a swim or if you’ve got a pool, just go for a swim there. Something magical happens in water. There’s something about sort of letting go and, you know, just literally shaking, shaking the emotions away from your body. That’s cathartic. It’s powerful. It sounds a little bit out there, but believe me, it works wonderfully. It’s a very healing process, snd I think sometimes we don’t do enough healing when we’re holding onto trauma, when we’re holding onto pain.
Heather: You are right, they’re just layering on instead of letting go and not starting anew, taking what you’ve learned from that previous relationship, sitting in it and allowing your brain to kind of understand where you can improve, what you need to improve the environment, you need to be able to grow and flourish. We often times kind of forget that stuff and then we replace that person with another person and get swept away in it. Inevitably, if you don’t do the work, guys, I gotta kind of “push pause” here, If you don’t do the work to cleanse and heal, you will repeat the same pattern, and pain will be a constant in your life.
Genevieve: It’s Groundhog Day, Heather.
Heather: Totally Groundhog Day! I love that movie.
Genevieve: You deserve so much better. You don’t deserve to be moaning and sitting in this grief for as long as you are. You know, there comes a point where life’s too short to keep holding on to these things, and you deserve more. You deserve to invest in yourself and move on in a positive way.
Heather: Absolutely! Oftentimes I will share this as well. It seems this gentleman, he did share his age and in his little subject line, he’s a little younger. He’s over 30. And I will say that if we don’t work on this pattern today, trust me when I say Genevieve and I are working with people that are–
Genevieve: –double that age.
Heather: Exactly. That are just now starting to unwind and heal. So this pattern of behavior is something that you have to stop. You have to stop and you have to stop expecting others to give you the answers. It needs to be your journey.