Select Page

The ‘It Was Such a Waste Feeling’ – Dealing With The Loss

As you face down the task of doing No Contact, a deep sense of loss can kick in and it can all feel like such a 'waste' because you may have invested months or years, or compromised yourself by doing things that in retrospect you don't feel were worth it because here you are hurting and empty handed. The risk didn't pay off.

  • Being super tolerant and patient of someone who had pushed your boundaries to their limits didn't work.
  • Having an affair didn't work.
  • Trying to run from your problems didn't work.
  • Making concessions didn't work.
  • Trying to reason with this person or have them see your point of view or even exhibit some compassion and empathy didn't work.
  • Painting code red behaviour green didn't work so the very things that you've turned a blind eye to or are hoping that they'll get a grip on and change so that your relationship can proceed didn't work either.

The pain at times can be excruciating and as you grieve the loss of your relationship, that It Was Such a Waste Feeling can leave a sour taste in your mouth and have you anxious and sometimes fuming with anger. It's all normal and you will come out the other side if you don't let it have a stranglehold on your life and you adjust your perspective.

You cannot avoid going through the stages of grief. Well actually, you can, but you will wind up in far greater problems with far greater regrets because ignoring your feelings will mean that your perspective doesn't change which means that your life and how you feel about you and your relationship doesn't change either.

Grieving the loss of the relationship means that you need to feel all of the attendant feelings but also change the meaning of them.

If you're grieving the loss of your relationship and thinking that it means Relationships are shit OR I'm not good enough OR It's all my fault OR I'm never going to love or trust again OR It was a great big fat lie (even if it wasn't) OR This is punishment for X that happened in my past, you are going to be in a lot of pain for a long time.

You cannot change what has happened in your relationship nor can you change what's happened with the breakup. You've possibly tried, possibly even numerous times. To persist is not to 'work' at your relationship; it's to engage in relationship insanity - carrying the same baggage, beliefs, and behaviours and expecting a different result.

You cannot change what has happened including the loss and pain you've already experienced so texting them, trying to gain their attention, re-engaging in awkward conversations where you hope that they see the light and all of this other malarkey is only delaying the inevitable. You still have to deal with the loss.

You will begin to heal when you're not taking this loss and beating you up with it.

You start to heal when you feel the feelings and don't equate them to meaning something awful about you. 'Terrible' feelings doesn't mean terrible you. It's not like we only experience loss or 'bad things' because there's something wrong with us.

The thing is, it's not such a 'waste'. A 'waste' would be to never have tried and then sat around regretting it. A 'waste' would be to try and to walk away from this whole thing with a greatly distorted view of you based upon a greatly distorted judgement of you that you've made as a result of this experience and to carry it forth into your future and affect your life for many years to come.

A 'waste' would be to give up on you, as if this person you've broken up with was your only option out of 7 billion people.

A 'waste' would be to decide that because you're X age, you might as well hang up the towel when people of all ages find love again.

A 'waste' is to invalidate every good experience you had with this person or all the other good things outside of them that you experienced during your time with them and be all "Sod it, we broke up so I'm just going to erase a year, or five or more."

You don't have to be so all or nothing.

The fact that your relationship didn't make it doesn't mean that it was a waste. We don't know what does and doesn't work for us by not trying and certainly not by not investing ourselves.

A relationship can reveal where we need to grow. When I was ready to pay attention to me and my life, I realised that my choice in relationship partners was telling me how I felt about me, so if I wanted a better relationship partner, I needed to change the way I felt about and treated me. Anything that you expect from others is all that you need to be and do for you. If I wanted respect, I had to be respectful to myself. That was a sobering realisation for me.

We don't know where we need to adapt our thinking and behaviour without experiences that teach us some rather hard earned lessons. Yeah I'm sure you might feel that you could and should have gotten out sooner - I think it's important to acknowledge that regardless of when it happened, you're out. You don't know that if you had tried to exit sooner that you wouldn't have knee-jerked back. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time.

It's not a waste. What are you supposed to do with the rest of your life? Not bother anymore because of this experience? That looks like more of a waste than anything you've ever been and done in this relationship. Regret is what happens when you wake up in six months or a year, or five or whenever and realise that how you see things and what you're doing hasn't changed. That's more of a problem than ever having been in this relationship.

There is an opportunity here because if you grieve the loss and experience the positives like a better relationship with you, possibly a better relationship with your loved ones, and eventually a better relationship, where is the waste?

Whatever your relationship is supposed to have been, it's been, even if you would rather that it was something very different.

Not all relationships can or are meant to last and the truth is, you may have wanted or even needed this relationship to last, but that doesn't mean that it was supposed to and when you look past your hurt, you will recognise why this relationship had to end.

You also weren't alone. Yeah I'm sure there were things you could have done differently but so could they, and fact is, even if you did do things differently, that has no bearing on whether they would have done.

Right now your focus will be on everything you didn't get and there may be a sense of injustice that comes with this. When you mourn the loss, you can recognise the good as well as the bad times without romanticising things. Remember who they were and why it's over even if there are good times but don't waste your time and your life devoting your energy to remaining in pain over what didn't happen when you could be getting on with your own life and making things happen now and in the future.

Time itself is not going to heal, just like giving more time to someone isn't going to going to cause them to spontaneously combust into the person and the relationship that you want.

Time is a great healer...when you're doing stuff with the time, even if it's going through the grieving process and trying to push on with your life instead of putting your efforts into avoiding your feelings or stewing in regret. You can spend from here to eternity waiting for time to pass and not really doing anything in the meantime, or you can be a part of your healing and support you. None of what you're doing now or even the past is a waste - it can help you to understand you far better and articulate and go for what you truly deserve - a happier you, in or out of a relationship that isn't selling themselves short.

How can you change the meaning? Take whatever you feel or a specific perspective you have and intercept with a new meaning.

"I feel so rejected... I'm not good enough" can actually be "I feel so rejected... but I know that this is not unusual after a breakup and actually, I'm more than good enough. We just wanted different things. I rejected what was on offer (even if you didn't verbalise it, you did via actions) because it wasn't working for me."

And don't forget: The more that you try to control the uncontrollable including trying to take ownership of other people's feelings and behaviour by trying to influence and control them by being pleasing and at the other end, by being controlling, is the less control you have in your life. The moment that you take all of this and use it to take command in your own life, is the moment that you are converting all that has been into more meaningful steps to go forwards.