How to Know When It’s Time to Move On

How to Know When It’s Time to Move OnHow do you feel about the idea of quitting?

I mean quitting on a relationship when there is still a mix of both good and bad. Your stomach just rolled, didn’t it?

Yeah, I feel the same way. I don’t like the notion of giving up, either. And we’re not alone.

How many times have you heard, “Winners never quit and quitters never win?” Our culture has this shared conviction that it’s always noble to press on, even in the face of overwhelming odds.

That’s why we like movies about underdogs, from Rudy to The Devil Wears Prada.

But what if you’re after something that’s genuinely unattainable? What if you have a goal that you really can’t reach? What if you’re the underdog, but it’s impossible for you to come out on top?

Psychologists Gregory Miller and Carsten Wrosch asked that very question. They spent a year tracking 90 teenagers who were goal-setters. The ones who couldn’t let go of their unachievable goals paid for it with their health, showing early signs of conditions that lead to diabetes, early aging, and heart disease![i]

The researchers’ conclusion was simple. There are times when quitting is the best option.

Ready for this to get WAY more personal? Think about that truth in light of your dating life.

Which begs the question, how do you know when it’s time to give up on a relationship and move on?

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The Best Way to Move on After a Breakup

How To Move On After a BreakupI’m going to start by apologizing. I’m asking you to think about something you probably don’t want to think about.

Breaking up.

Breakups are no fun. Even if you were the one to pull the plug on the relationship, it sucks to go from being a couple to being alone.

And it doesn’t get any better with experience. It’s always miserable.

Because breakups are so unpleasant, most of us take the same approach. We try to get over them as fast as possible. It’s easiest to think about something else, try to meet someone new, or just move on.

Processing the dead relationship is the last thing we want to do.

Unfortunately, moving on too fast means you miss out on something VERY important. That’s especially true during the dark days right after a breakup.

Your girlfriends may want to get you out of the house for a night on the town, or come over with a sad movie and some Ben and Jerry’s, but trust me…

There’s a better way to process your post-breakup pain.

Researchers at Villanova University recently conducted a study all about dealing with the end of a romantic connection.[1] Specifically, they were looking for the best ways to move on.

The simple technique they recommend is easy to do and comes with some pretty big payoffs.

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Use this Force field on Your Ex

how to move on from a breakupIf a man you loved ended the relationship, does that say anything about you?

Did you do something wrong to make it end?

Did he see something in your personality that made him turn away?

Your answers reveal how well you deal with rejection.

That’s the word from a study published in the January 2016 Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.[1]

Taking the end of a relationship personally by blaming yourself makes it more difficult to move on and find someone new.

On the other hand, people who see breakups as something that happens to everyone can move on more easily. Their faith in themselves and faith in love remains intact.

Any time you open your heart to someone, you risk rejection.

Even if you marry the man of your dreams and celebrate your tenth wedding anniversary, you both retain the option to walk away at some future point.

So reducing the negative emotional impact of rejection is worthwhile for all women, whether they’re in a relationship or not.

Study authors Lauren Howe and Carol Dweck suggest the best way to thrive in the face of rejection is to realize that we are all capable of growing and changing as people.

Even if you did something to cause a relationship to end, you can learn from your behavior. You can use what happened as a springboard to become a better person.

But not everyone believes they can change. Some people believe that who you are now is who you’ll be forever.

This “fixed mindset” hampers your ability to recover from rejection.

If you believe you have some fundamental flaw that sabotages your relationships, you’ll be wary about exposing your true self to someone new. You’ll put up walls and hold parts of yourself back.

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The Pain of Letting Go

letting go of old relationshipsFinding the right person to spend your life with requires that you let go of many other people you meet along the way. Some dating coaches say dating is all a numbers game. You date enough people, and eventually you will find a mutually satisfying click. There is certainly some truth to this concept. The problem is, our emotions do not let go of people as easily as our logical reasoning does.

The plain truth of the matter is this. Letting go hurts. I’m not telling you to hang on to a man who’s not right for you. I’m just acknowledging the truth. It takes something out of you each time you have to release the attachment you feel toward another human being, even if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with that person.

As a relationship consultant and dating coach, I spend a good amount of time motivating my clients to get out there and take action on the dating scene. As you can imagine, my clients are not always raring to go right after letting go of a person. I have carefully observed the mindsets that seem to allow some people to let go more quickly (and with less pain) compared with others.

Here’s what I have discovered.

There is less pain when a woman focuses her mind on survival. Now allow me to explain that by defining the opposite approach. The opposite of focusing on survival is focusing on what is lost or what could have been.

It’s a terrible thing, but poachers in some parts of Africa use a special kind of trap to capture monkeys. They attach a jar to a heavy stone and bury the stone so only the jar shows on the surface of the ground. Inside the jar they put a piece of banana or other fruit. Then they stand back at a distance that makes the monkeys comfortable enough to climb down from the tree to retrieve the fruit.

As the monkey closes its fist around the fruit, the hunter charges forward with his spear. The monkey attempts a quick getaway, but the closed fist is unable to emerge from the jar. Only an open hand can fit through the narrow opening at the top of the jar. Refusing to let go of its prize, the monkey hesitates just long enough to allow the hunter to gain the proximity needed for a quick thrust of his spear.

Don’t be like the monkey. Do not be afraid to let go of the prize you have found in a man’s heart. Holding on too long gets in the way of survival mode.

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