Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rebounding vs. sensual celibacy

I've been talking to a friend of mine who's been going through a painful breakup with her ex. They'd been together for 5 or 6 years, and she's having a really rough time.

I think it helps if you don't have to see your ex on a daily basis. Unfortunately, with situations like office romances or parenting, no such luck.

I've always said that I'm not mature enough to have a friendship with an ex. I'd rather a clean break.

Many years ago, when I broke up with an ex, I had to continue dealing with him because of our child. I couldn't run away, although I wanted to. To make matters worse, he soon got married. I wasn't really dating, so you know how hard it is when your ex seems to move on without skipping a beat.

That's what's going on with my friend. Not only is the guy dealing with someone new already, she's young plus my friend sees them together a lot. She feels like he's flaunting his new fling in her face. My friend's a basket case.

I've learned a couple of things from this situation.

1. Breaking up doesn't get any easier as you get older.

2. I knew this already, but my friend's situation has really convinced me that there are no shortcuts to healing a broken heart. It's not an easy message to hear, and for years I wouldn't listen. Not surprisingly I kept repeating the past because I refused to deal with it. If you try and bury the thoughts, memories, and feelings, they'll resurface sooner or later.

3. Although sensual celibacy is the road less traveled, it really is an effective antidote to the heartbreak that often follows breakups and rebounding. I know, I know. Rebounding can be tempting, especially if the guy's some serious eye candy or he's paying you attention, but you and I both know this is a short-term fix. Plus, if this "relationship" ends badly, that's even more bad karma, more bad feelings.

If you're feeling the fresh, painful wounds of a breakup, take a few deep breaths. Having gone through this a few times I'm convinced that this rite of passage separates the girls from the women. If you can endure all the confusion and pain of the moment, you'll begin to see a light at the end of that long, dark tunnel. That light leads to a much more joyful place. Just trust the process, and pray a lot.

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