Posted in Dating / Relationships, Separation / Divorce

Reclaiming Places After A Breakup

It’s been weeks, months even since your break up. Maybe she left you for another man, maybe he wasn’t right for you and you broke it off, maybe it fell apart after a major argument and devolved into petty recriminations – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a head full of memories that include some favourite places you enjoyed together.Only one day. you’re driving, or walking, running somewhere and you catch yourself in the middle of one of these memories. Maybe you see a road sign to a place you once used to spend your free time as a couple, perhaps you haven’t been back since and desperately want to go back. Perhaps now you are with somebody else and want to show them a place that’s so important to you.

It’s unreasonable for your ex, for yourself, or your new partner to expect never to visit places you went with an ex. If you did, think of all the beauty spots, restaurants, towns, cities, theme parks, holiday destinations, hotels, boat trips, rail journeys, photo opportunities etc that would be out of bounds to you for the rest of your life. There would be massive areas of the map we’d never permit ourselves to visit again! It’s unreasonable for your ex to get upset that you’re taking your new partner there, especially if they were the one whose actions led to the destruction of the relationship.

Derdle Door, Dorset. If this was a place you enjoyed with your ex, there’s no reason for you not to visit on your own or with a new partner. wikimedia.org

You or your ex may wish to keep your memories sacred, but it’s the memories, and not the place, that should be sacred, cherished and remembered. After all, they are part of the past and your new relationship is the present and the future. The places you loved with your ex are probably still there now and will be there for many years. It’s unreasonable to think you will never see that place again or not to allow yourself to visit that place again out of a misplaced sense of loyalty.

Following the end of my marriage, I felt a desperate urge to visit some places we had visited together. This was mostly to try to enjoy those places in their own right, especially in areas where my family and friends live and hers do not. There was in most of those cases a very strong chance that I would visit them again, either as a couple when I met somebody new or on my own. This was especially true of the area where certain family members used to have the holiday home which also happened to be quite close to my university city.

It became important to me that I understand that these places were no longer “us” places, but “me” places – places I enjoy, places I love chilling out at, places I enjoy taking pictures and visiting regularly to compare how much they have changed over the years. I needed them to be “me” places so that I may one day comfortably introduce a new partner to that place and not have memories of the past encroach and feel I am doing something wrong or betraying memories of past events.

Never let a broken relationship dictate where you may or may not visit. Knowing that you may never visit that place again with your ex may make you cry or smile, or both – but it is still there. Visiting these places when you are ready to may even end up being a significant part of your healing process.

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

6 thoughts on “Reclaiming Places After A Breakup

  1. Dude, I like the way you think! Truth be told, it has been 3 years and still, to this day, I avoid the places that remind me of my Ex. I know eventually I’ll get over it but for now, I find it best to just stay away because any memory/reminder of him conjures anger or a sense of disgust.

    1. That’s perfectly understandable 🙂 For me, it was a case that I couldn’t avoid some of them (because of the holiday home) and in other cases because I simply felt the need to reclaim them as a form of self-empowerment in not letting the memories turn to despair – if that makes any sense.

  2. Its like thos article was written to me by me. I have the same mentality with places. Im very “outdoorsy” so a lot of the places i visited with my ex are places i love to go. Some of them have such strong memories tied to them, i cant tell stories to a new girlfriend because id have to bring up an exs name. I started taking back all of these places for my self, and even though some of the new memories were lonely, they were all me. And if i took someone new there, it was empowering to know that i had reclaimed the environment and was ready to make new stories. Thanks for sharing. I didnt know if i was doing the right mental healing, but finding that you do the same, it feels right.

  3. Wow this is a great article.
    I am a very outdoor type and my always had a very special place that I never (I insisted) took anyone there because of this exact thing (And they have been my special places for the last 30 years!). I am the type who loves extremely deeply by the way so its not just a case of get over it! My ex , after a lot of convincing, got me to take her there (to several places)because she wanted it to become “our” special places. She even insisted on “really making it our places” , if you get where I am going. Anyway its only been 3 months for me since the breakup and I actually decided today that it might be a good idea to go to one of these places this weekend (will be 3 months to the weekend since we were there) and relive it, deal with it and forgive and let it go. Yeah will most likely cry like a bitch but I feel it may be very beneficial and healing.
    I guess I recon I may as well face it now and try release it instead of going back sometime in the future and having it all come back then?
    Honestly I am scared of what it is going to bring up and even though I don’t really want her in my life, it is still scary how these memories and emotions can still be in us if left undealt with!

    Wish me luck!

    1. Best of luck. Even if you do “cry like a bitch” 😀 it’s therapeutic and you can return again in future having made it your own.

      Thanks for your comment. I am so glad I’m not the only one to have gone through this.

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