Dating after a 10 year relationship
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Breaking up with someone is hard. Seriously, nothing is harder than relearning the dating essentials: flirting, first kisses, sex, and beginning a new serious relationship. Either way, these 5 tips will help you jump back into the saddle and learn how to date again.
It's tough to part ways with a partner at any stage of a relationship, even in the early days. But if you go through a breakup after ten years togetherit can come with a new set of difficulties.
First of all, "a breakup after having been together for around a decade is a substantial change," Lauren CookMMFT, a clinician practicing emotionally-focused therapy, tells Bustle. By the ten year mark, you're way past the honeymoon stagewhich Cook says can last for up to two years, and well into the committed, companionship stage.
10 things you should know before dating after a long-term relationship
You aren't just dating anymore, but have truly become a solid part of each other's lives — with a shared routine and shared goals for the future — making it more difficult to adjust to a new life. There's also the fact that, the longer you're in a relationship, the closer and more interconnected you become as partners, Dr. Carla Marie Manlyclinical psychologist and relationship expert, tells Bustle.
Going through these things together forms bonds that become key elements within your psyches and the relationship itself, Manly says. You don't just know each other, you really know each other, so the idea of no longer having that connection can be incredibly painful and disorienting.
To add to this, there's all the growing you did as individualsas well as a couple during this time. You've not only gone through a lot together, but are entirely different people from who you were when you first met.
When to break up and end a long term relationship
Maybe you grew up together, and went through a lot of firsts, like new jobs and big moves. Or maybe you helped each other overcome obstacles, in order to learn more about yourselves. While all of that is still true, and it still happened, it can be tough to look back on the time spent together. In many ways, when a breakup occurs, it might even feel like you're losing all your memories, Manly says, and all that history.
To untangle your lives at this point can also be tough logistically. Of course, it's always possible to amicably part ways and feel ready to move on, no matter how long you've been together.
But many times, "recovering from a breakup of a long-term relationship can take quite a lot of time, particularly if the breakup was sudden," Manly says. Whatever the case may be, if your relationship is ending after ten years, it's possible to make it easier on yourself, usually by quite literally taking it easy.
It may even help to chat with a therapistas they can be "incredibly helpful in addressing underlying issues such as anger, sadness, and grief," Manly says. You can also talk with friends and mentors about your emotions and progress, she says, and any sense of "stuckness" you may be feeling.
Breaking up after only a few years together can be extremely difficult, but make it to that ten year mark and you may find that it's even trickier to part ways, and find your footing again. Since the process will likely be different, be sure to take your time, talk about it, process your feelings, and you will eventually be able to adjust. By Carolyn Steber.