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I Am Not Where You Left Me: Moving On After a Breakup

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Some people are better at breakups. They can move on, get a new partner, and keep churning. I’m not like that. I learned over the last 10 years of post-breakup dating, that I was going to have to focus on a HEALTHY relationship above all else, or I was going to continue to fail, over and over again.

Let’s Talk About After You Leave

I’ve written a bit about post-breakup strategies. I’ve also struggled to sever the connections between an old lover or two. I don’t let go very easily. The longer I stay emotionally connected to this former lover, the longer it’s going to take for me to rebuild, reset, and resume my quest. (SEE: The Golden Thread)

I’m one of the people who love deep connections. And when they are no longer a part of my life, I’m still reminded of them and often want to send them a song, a meme, or a historic photo that connects us. I have learned more recently that this process requires some attention. For example, I am still seeing great memes that would be (could be) helpful to my previous partner and her son. But, the attachment is mine. And my own lack of detachment plays into my own struggles with letting go of former partners.

Here’s how the process should look:

  1. End the relationship with a face-to-face meeting. Be kind. Be simple. It’s not about hurting the other person. It’s also not about teaching them about what they did wrong.
  2. Take a break from dating, and reassess your part in the demise of your relationship.
  3. Do some research into yourself and your joys. Learn what you love to do, even when you are alone.
  4. Reset your goals for dating.
  5. Rejoin the dating pool. Remain diligent about your goals.

Reassess and Reset Your Relationship Goals

My goal was to find another long-term relationship. I wanted a lifetime partner, but that’s a stretch even to write down. The clarity came when I understood that I was not dating to have fun, to have sex, or to be entertained. I was looking for a new partner.

I wanted someone with:

  • time
  • kids
  • joy
  • fitness
  • emotional integrity
  • attractive to me
  • also seeking a long-term relationship
  • finds me desirable

Once I began to value my time more than my entertainment, I learned to narrow my targets. In online dating, I refocused my preference and my approach to conversations that might lead to a “hello date” or a “nope.”

Play to win:

  • join all the major sites
  • set your preferences and your standards (keep to your plan)
  • always talk on the phone before an “in person” meeting
  • listen for red flags, emotional intelligence, and joy
  • make sure your profile is clear about what you bring and what you want

Use Research and Data

Online dating is all about the numbers. You only need ONE partner to have a match. But a match is only the first step. Getting into a relationship with a willing and joyful partner is only the first step. Building a relationship from scratch is about communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution.

Learn how to streamline your dating process.

I remember one point on my journey, I had three different women in “conversations” as I was working to get to a first date. I had to build a presentation to keep track of my conversations. I had their name and my favorite photo. Then, I would keep notes on the pages. It’s embarrassing when you say, “I told you how much I love cheese…” and your date says, “Nope, I have a cheese allergy. That must’ve been your other date.”

The steps for finding a partner are simple:

  1. reach out
  2. communicate
  3. ask good questions
  4. meet
  5. only continue if there is a spark of potential
  6. drop all near-misses
  7. keep going

Never give up or give into casual dating behaviors. When you are IN be all in. (You can only kiss one person at a time.) When you are OUT, leave immediately with kindness and honesty.

The process is that simple. The haystack requires a bit more work. And finally, the online dating ecosystem requires safeguards and strategies to keep from wasting time on fake accounts and bots designed to get you to pay for the advanced online dating features.

You can find your next lover if you put in the effort and keep your eye on the prize.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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Dating 2.0

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