The Journey from We to I: When Moving on After a Breakup Seems Impossible

Written by Rachel Burnham on . Posted in Dating

A Reader Asks:

 I recently broke up with a girl I had been dating for six months. We had so much in common, great chemistry, attraction, respect, shared common goals and values, and were heading toward engagement. Just as I was planning the perfect proposal, she called to tell me, she “just can’t do it.” I am beyond heartbroken. I don’t understand it and can’t get her out of my mind. I feel rejected, depressed, hurt, and unable to move forward. I don’t want to be with anyone else. Where do I go from here?


Dating Coach Rachel Burnham Responds:

I’m sorry to hear what you are going through. There are few emotional pains in life as great as the loss of a relationship. It hits to the core of who you are and it often disrupts your inner equilibrium enough to cause you to think it is the point of no return. A breakup can trigger a cascade of chemicals in the brain that can make you feel lonely, depressed, and worthless, especially if you are convinced you are meant to be with this person. You are not crazy, you are in a real state of chemical distress. Thankfully it is possible to recover.

Here are seven ways to help you move from “We” to “I”:

Resist Desperate Measures: The first impulse after such a loss is to try and reconcile differences. This can come across as desperate and insecure and it almost never leads to a successful reunion. Your ex has likely moved on and is not looking to work things out. Don’t allow this relationship to consume any more of the vitality, self-worth, and emotion you’ll need to build the life you are meant to live.

Mourn: Call out the pain and get it out of your system so that you are able to move on. This will allow you to prevent being stuck in the future.

Take a Strong Dose of Self Esteem: Knowing that you are valuable with or without any person, job, or accomplishment is one of the most valuable life tools. There will always be ups and downs. There will always be people that try to build you up and those that try to tear you down. The greatest gift you can give yourself is the development of a healthy self-worth, which will allow you to remain strong and confident through it all.

Be Thankful: Hard as it may seem, be thankful that the relationship ended. This is G-d’s way of hinting that it’s the wrong one or wrong time. Forcing a relationship will never create happiness.

You Belong Where You’re Wanted: It’s human nature to chase what we can’t have. In relationships, this delivers frustration, rejection, and feelings of unworthiness while robbing us of time and emotional investment. While it may not seem as glamorous, you’ll get better results with a man/woman who truly values what you offer without having to be convinced, coerced, or chased. Only in that space can you expect to be valued, respected, loved, and appreciated as you are.

Learn from Your Mistakes: Analyze what did and did not work in this relationship so you don’t repeat mistakes of the past. Too often we repeat relationship patterns that are not healthy, although they are familiar and comfortable, because we have not learned from our mistakes.

Get Back Out There: Often we are our own biggest barrier to moving forward. We make a lot of excuses about why we’re not ready to start dating again, inevitably taking time away from finding the right person. By all means, take some time to heal, but then get out there and make it happen! The ability to lean into the discomfort of starting again is an attractive trait to the people you’ll meet, and waiting longer doesn’t make that easier.

When you allow yourself to become powerless from a breakup, you have not only allowed this relationship to take your past but to steal your future. Don’t let that be taken from you. May the journey from “We” to “I” facilitate the shortest route to your longest relationship.

By Rachel Burnham


Rachel Burnham coaches Jewish singles, helping them gain and maintain clarity and peace of mind as they navigate the path to love, connection, and lifelong companionship. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.