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Relationships have seasons. Some of them take several years to bear fruit. Others grow like a weed. While others fall apart in the time of year known as Breakup Season.
September not only ushers in the return of children to school and young minds to University, but it also marks a little known time of year known as Breakup Season.
Is this an official season? No. However, after seven years as a breakup counselor, I’ve witnessed a surge in my sessions around September with a peak in January.
Some people laugh when I refer to the holidays as Breakup Season. It’s odd to think that there is a time of year where relationships are more prone to dissolution. However, relationships don’t exist in a vacuum. They are subject to external and internal pressures.
To be clear, a relationship is an energy or entity that is formed when two people merge their lives, hearts, minds, feelings, money, time, and bodies. A relationship is it’s own thing, with its own personality and characteristics inherited from the people forming it.
Some relationships begin in the fall, during breakup season, and as such have the buffer of romance to protect against annual traditions. That being said, a lot of people find themselves in a three month cycle where they had a date to do things with from October to January but before the New Year, the sex wasn’t enough to hold the bond together and they get dumped then finding themselves in a series of three to six months affairs for the next few years. According to Urban Dictionary, this is called “Churning.”
Then there are those relationships that extend about a decade or more past their expiration date. These are the people that stay together for the kids or some sort of unspoken obligation. Sometimes, to survive financially, both people tolerate one another and end up preserving a decaying union. I have members of my family that have wanted to leave each other several times throughout the years of their marriage but disease and other burdens kept them in their status quo.
Can people break up at any point in the year? Of course. However, the erosion of the relationship seems to be most apparent after Halloween has passed. This is a time where we focus on families coming together and “giving thanks”. But, in reality, the holidays suck. They are stressful and driven by greed and consumption.
The natural cycle of putting on winter fat is exaggerated by the excess ingestion of sweets and massive meals. Loneliness has a sort of death grip in the shorter days and darker nights. We feel our mortality in the cold of winter. Things in nature slow to a near halt. Conversely, society speeds up to a fever pitch in complete contrast to what would normally be a time of rest and reflection. We can literally feel our discontent being masked by the distraction of religious appropriation of Celtic and pagan traditions–otherwise known as: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
This is the time of year where we are supposed to celebrate multiple harvests beginning in August and ending on October 31st. However, during Breakup Season, what each person feels in the relationship is unbridled discontent and a sense that justice must be served in the new year. This is also the time of year where addictions can spiral out of control because excess is a part of our western perspective on how to celebrate the holidays. So, we drink more, smoke more, eat more, seek more entertainment, and lose our connection to what matters most.
It has been shown in the 75 year Harvard Longitudinal Study that consumption of alcohol is the number one predictor of an unhappy marriage and a major contributor to divorce and separations. The booze flows freely as soon as the holiday parties begin. And while we want to get together with people we enjoy, that enjoyment can often be mute depending on what is happening for us internally during Breakup Season.
So, now assess where you are in your relationship cycle. To elucidate where the cycle begins is in being single. Some people do well in this phase because they have a disposition and survival strategies that allow them to feel comfortable being independent. These folks are known as lone wolves. However, very few of us who are not psychopaths stay in this phase our whole lives. In fact, even psychopath narcissists don’t’ stay in this phase their whole lives. I know because I’ve dated them.
The drive to belong to something often registers as desire and lust that motivates us to share our bodies with a stranger. Some enter courtship by hooking up. Others prioritize intimacy and take time to be friends first. Regardless, the next part of the relationship cycle is dating. I’ve been guilty of playing “wifey” in as soon as someone paid attention to me and have totally skipped over the step of applying discernment to the person who was about to take up space in my life.
I share this to say, there are nuanced moments within each relationship cycle that are subtle. Being discerning is one of those moments. Another is going at a moderate pace where neither person is rushing to define the relationship but rather allowing the relationship to be defined by how it progresses and matures. This takes time.
The dynamics of a relationship begin to show up as demonstrations of affection, caring, and communication when a relationship is healthy. However, if it is a sick, the relationship will be filled with drama, love-bombing, codependency, bread-crumbing, and lies. Without professional help sick relationships don’t get better and often destroy the people involved in them.
The final turn in any relationship cycle is commitment. It is something that will be revisited through all seasons, through aging, and through the metamorphosis of each person within the relationship.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse that show up during Breakup Season are distraction/neglect, avoidance/deceit, betrayal/apathy, and abandonment/grief. They effect every turn of the relationship cycle. They dominate Breakup Season.
So, by the time January roles around last year’s taxes have been filed. The man in the relationship has moved into his tiny bitterness-filled bachelor pad, the wife keeps the home, and assets are being prepared to be divided. Divorce papers will be served in the spring and a new cycle will begin.
Breakup Season then gives way to the journey of grief and rebirth.
If all of this sounds daunting to you, it is. No one should go into this season blind. That is why I’m writing this article. I’m bringing awareness to how programmed we all are and how out of touch with nature and ourselves we can become.
Rituals to Survive Breakup Season
As a practicing counselor and Medicine Witch, I’ve found great solace in the shifting of the seasons. Pagan tradition reminds us to pay attention to the subtleties that go along with life. And while many people would never imagine that creating an altar with candles and pictures of loved ones, taking salt baths, burning incense, praying, and honoring what was, is and will be could be the antidote to a season that tears couples and families apart, those small rituals can have a major impact. Some may even bristle at the thought of engaging in witchcraft as a way to heal strengthen their relationship. To this I say, if you research Wicca tradition you will see how similar it is to the widely practiced self-help and self-development movement.
I bet you didn’t think and article about Breakup Season was also going to point you in the direction of rituals that celebrate nature and our inner god and goddess. I was raised Christian so I practice in a way that makes sense to me. The ceremonies within pagan culture mesh with the structure of my religious background. I share all of this to say, that we have a choice in how to enter into, endure, and thrive through Breakup Season. Book a Session
The 5 Questions We Ask when Deciding to Break Up or Stay Together.
If you want real answers, just hire me. But in the mean time, for those of you without an extra 10K for life changing guidance, I hope this article helps.
The 5 Questions:
- Is my boyfriend a narcissist?
- How to I overcome conflict in my relationship?
- What are signs of abusive behavior?
- How do I save my relationship?
- What are signs that I’m in a good relationship?
This isn’t an easy article to write because there is no one “right” answer to those questions that is specific to your situation. However, if you are reading this it’s because you are in that really shitty place where you don’t know if you should try harder or cut your losses. I’ve done my best to summarize answers that will move you forward. Chances are that you are attached to the person who is inspiring this type of Sherlock Holmes gathering of information. Your mind is like, “If only I can get to the bottom of this then life will be bliss.”
How do I know all this? Because I’ve lived it multiple-times over.
I’m not only and amazing counselor/witch/healer, I’ve also been in the dating pool enough to know to learn how to swim.
The 5 Questions We Ask when Deciding to Break Up or Stay Together.
Chances are if you are asking this question, Is my boyfriend a narcissist? it’s because you want to blame all your shit on your partner. Is it okay for a man to be abusive self-centered dick? FUCK NO IT IS NOT!
However, why are you dating someone that has you asking the question, Is my boyfriend a narcissist? What half-baked pop-psychology shit have you been rifling through to circumvent the very real fact that your choices create your life.
If he is a narcissist, that means you can’t change him. If he isn’t, you still can’t change him. And if you stay with him, then you get to be just as fucked up as he is. So, start with the wo/man in the mirror.
You could try to be the “better person” and look at if from a spiritual lens.
It sounds like this:
“Well my boyfriend may be acting like a narcissist but that doesn’t mean that is who he is.” Great, you separated the behavior from the identity. But, dating someone who only thinks of themself all the time feels like shit. I mean, some of us submissive types go along to get along. But if you think for yourself at all, there is a good chance being with a “Narcy” isn’t a good match for your overall well-being.
Sucks for you that you got addicted to them though, which brings me to the next question:
How do I overcome conflict in my relationship?
“Well everyone has fights.” That’s true. But, if you are focusing on that chances are little attention is being paid on how cooperative your partner is. If you are thinking, “They reject me most of the time” then get out of that martyr situation. I mean, burn off your Karma, and then a better situation will show up.
But, if a better situation seems far away, we can get stuck trying to fix the shit we are in.
If you are asking, What are the signs of abusive behavior? then you have experienced abusive behavior. People don’t ask this question unless some shit has gone down.
When people fight, many of us seek to destroy the other person by undermining their character, points of view, and sometimes we physically harm the other person. This is not how healthy people fight. Healthy people say things like, “I’m so angry right now I could scream my head off but instead I’m going to walk away and come back when I’m calm.”
The reality is “blowing it out” might feel good in the moment but it locks both people in an addictive cycle resulting in a dysfunctional relationship.
Please click this: Signs of Abuse
So if you got to the question, How do I save my relationship? after having gone through the thread of finding a diagnosis, learning about conflict resolution, looking over signs of abuse, you are not going to save a healthy relationship. You are just trying to find out how to put out a tire fire with your body.
However, if you began the search for answers with How do I save my relationship? there are a few factors to look at. The first one is, Why? According to John Gottman 68% of couples have the same recurring fight for the duration of their relationship. So, the quick and dirty answer to preservation of what you’ve got is to pick your battles and forgive quickly.
This then brings us to the award winning question, What are the signs I’m in a good relationship?
- Cooperation: The ability to turn differences into relational strengths.
- Contribution: Self reflecting so that you give the best of you to the relationship.
- Communication: Tell the truth every time.
- Consideration: There is more than just me involved in my decisions.
- Christ: Have a spiritual foundation to turn to in times of trials and celebrations.
A lot of people will tell you that it’s better to be single than to be in a bad relationship. I disagree. Being single is a bad relationship if you keep attracting bad relationships. Being single is a critical time to examine your inner critic and see how kind you are to yourself. However, that will get you only so far, so we need bad relationships as tools of refinement. The really hurtful abusive relationships that echo shit childhoods can fuck right off though. Those are ecosystems of destruction and death; that require more than a life-coach to repair. Eh-hem.
In short, this life is a journey and no one is going to care about your legacy 100 years from now. You have to care about your time more than anyone else. To make the most of it I suggest reading Breakup Rehab and learning the skills that produce happiness, prosperity, and good feeling relationships. Help is here as well. I offer integrative sessions that combine psychology with psychic insights so that you can get to where you are going faster. Book a session now.
And thanks for reading. I hope this helped.
DISCERNMENT IN RELATIONSHIPS AND CONSCIOUS RELATING
If you feel like you are going to fall in love with someone, hold yourself back, keep your eyes open. This is a very important learning and very necessary for you to become mature and wise. To be swept along by impressions and infatuations, to allow yourself to be seduced by others, to be overtaken by beauty, wealth or charm is such a form of self-betrayal. It is such a dangerous involvement. It has such profoundly difficult and unfortunate consequences.
You have to be very careful here. Who you associate with and how you associate with them has all the bearing for your life and the kind of life you have and the opportunities you have. Likewise, do not become sexually engaged with anyone unless it represents a real partnership for you, for sexuality is a commitment by its very nature. You may think of it as a casual involvement, but emotionally it is never casual. Your relationship will never be the same. And if it cannot fulfill itself at a greater level, it will be disappointing, and that will generate resentment and failed expectations, disappointment.
You can not always just be a friend with someone who was once a lover, for you have crossed a threshold where you are pretending to be in a real relationship even though perhaps you never were. Sexuality is wonderful with the right person and damaging with the wrong person. Never treat this lightly. Never think of this as a casual, recreational kind of involvement. To your body it is the real thing. To your emotions it is serious because it is consequential.
Here you may have to hold yourself back and learn to restrain yourself, or you will give yourself away recklessly, hopelessly and cause great damage. And as a result, you will never know what is really true within yourself.
Read the full article Here
I imagine a situation where the blue light of the computer is filling a dimly lit room, there has been a somewhat frantic internet search happening for the last hour, and nothing particular has shifted, yet a sense of groundlessness has taken hold.
We do this. We feel lonely. And much like some physical anomaly we would look up on WebMD; we turn to the web to try and help us untangle our mixed emotions.
If the search for answers has been fueled by the question, “How do I find my person?” there are normally some significant variables involved. For instance, we can date pretty good people, average people, and sometimes just use people as substitutes like we use sweets for “nutritional” purposes. And in the instant we realize that there could be someone better “out there” we go searching for, “How to find a better person than the person who I am with; who is actually just filling a gap in my life because I’m lost and afraid to admit it or I just don’t have it in me to face my insecurities.”
There is a formula for that.
Sometimes our search for another person who will become your person has less to do with wanting a better relationship and more to do with just not wanting to be single any more. Once almost every show on Netflix has been watched, once the dating app world becomes redundant, and it’s too soon to be a crazy cat lady or lone wolf in the woods, it is next to impossible not to wonder, “Where is my person?”
There is a formula for that too.
I’m also aware of the people who had their person and are not wondering how to find them, but rather asking how the lost them. In this case, we can wonder, “How could my person find something new?
There is a formula for that as well.
We get hit hard when we are with not quite the right fit, lonely for too long, or had a good thing going only to watch it leave. No matter where we find ourselves on the dating spectrum the crux of the formula is to find ourselves.
- Be in the moment:
We want things we seemingly can’t have. Anticipation creates more pleasure in the body than satiation. So, the initial component of the three step formula for finding your person is to learn how to let the moment fill us—how to become ripe with pleasure and embolden by pain.
We want life to be reliable but not too predictable. So, we keep busy. If we are to let the moment fill us we cannot “Wear busyness as a badge” as Brene Brown says.
A full breath must be reveled in. We are still breathing. About half the portion of food that we ingest can fill us if we pause for two seconds with each bite and taste the bounty of flavor in something as simple as a ripe strawberry. Our muscles have a chance to sing out in celebration from a simple cat-like stretch as an acknowledgement for the unending work required of them.
Yes, each moment is full of miracles if only we can pause for two seconds—just enough time to notice them. Then another two seconds—just enough time to recognize the simple miracles unfolding. Then another two seconds—just enough time to appreciate the fullness of the moment. Then another two seconds—just enough time to mourn the moments passing and be filled up by the cycle of birth and death in a matter of seconds.
Simply, when searching for our person, be mindful of all the moments on the journey to the destination.
2. Take the Journey
This initial part of the three step formula can take a life-time to master. So, the concurrent initiative is to enjoy the journey. The formula isn’t one that goes in order. It runs parallel. It intersects with conflicting desires. It is in the foreground and background. And we forget all about it when we buy into the belief that finding our person will mean something. It doesn’t. It is just a part of the journey. We come across all sorts of people in our lives; each of them offers a unique contribution.
So, when we start to make our person significant we make them a destination and even an object. An object is something we can own—temporarily. Therefore, in addition to being drunk with the miracles that happen in the moment we also need to set each moment free by enjoying the journey.
3. Remember what matters.
Lastly, the third part of the formula echoes the first two parts in that, “Everything matters. Nothing matters.” Enjoy the moment or don’t. Sink into it or speed past it. Focus on the now or something else.
The truth is that in our search for a formula, a person, an object, or an experience is really the search for how we can become more of who we are. We long to be at home in our bodies while simultaneously defending against our bodies decay. And we often search to reconcile this disparity through “finding our person”.
Give up on finding your person.
We can still want to find them.
We get to feel our feelings and have our desires.
And the real formula is to be the person you want to be with in each moment, on the journey, and though the profound and trivial unfolding that is our lives.
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa
The fields of our lovemaking have yet to be harvested. I planted plenty of seeds, and seeds have been planted in me.
But none have borne fruit that ripened; rather, they have rotted inside a chasm called desire.
This has shown up in my every attempt at a relationship because, I suspect, my heart knew it was not you. You would never ask me to live in a moldy basement, to be shackled by debt because you lack vision, and you would never ask me to surrender the parts of me that make me whole.
I am and have always been whole. I am built this way.
But the men I’ve been with picked me apart like crows feasting on a carcass. I was a threat. We briefly weaved our lives together like a revolutionary flag to be burned by the very revolution it represented.
Some compare the feeling of loss after a shoddy lover leaves to a heart breaking. My heart has never broken fully. It just opened a little more to create room for you. But, the scars are there—burn marks from lovers who lied, for whom I overcompensated.
And I’ve often wondered why you haven’t done what was needed to find me sooner.
Where are you? Are you on a grand adventure? What preparations must be met for our meeting to coalesce? Don’t you want to have sex every day?
I’ve been told not to beg for you. I’ve been told prayers of beseechment are futile. And I must confess, I’m not doing a very good job of holding space for you. My mind gets cluttered with expectations of others and is in constant atonement when the man I meet isn’t you.
I’ve seen myself in the women who are past the time allotted to have a child. I’ve seen the question marks of failure on women’s faces that point to having to wait too long for a wish to be granted. Today, I feel like those women. The only distinction is my beliefs.
I believe if I ask for what I truly want, then I will experience it. So, I’m asking.
Lover of mine, find me. Don’t wait a moment longer. Come create with me. Let’s elevate our minds and our lives together. I’m exhausted from dumbing myself down so other men can catch up. Let’s hit the ground running. More than this, let’s wake up every day and choose each other.
I have created my life to be an invitation to those who want to peer into existence and see that they are the great and mighty Oz. I wish I could hear you calling to me, because I can’t stand all that is getting lost in translation.
I’m tired of being misunderstood. I’m tired of love being confused as a lesson. I’m tired of sex being an afterthought. I’m noticing a trend. I’m not sleeping beauty, though.
So my prayer is this: “Let’s wake up together.”
Come get me.
In America, we are raised on romance—the notion that there is a perfect “forever” for us.
Of course, this is a template that has been handed down through generations of traditions, stipulations, and dictations. A lot of us think that being in a relationship will elevate our status. If we date someone with money, who is hot, who has connections, who can support our dreams, or who, at the very least, will sooth loneliness, then we can feel good about our lives.
But, what happens when we get into a relationship that breaks us down instead of builds us up?
An event called cognitive dissonance, which is when our external reality does not match the internal imagery of who we think we are, can lead to us confusing love with abusive or demeaning behaviors from our partners. Furthermore, our internal world acts as a filter to external input. So, we often cannot see the subtle degradations that chip away at our well-being.
We will often choose oppression and suppression over separation from our investment. And, that’s what a relationship is—an investment of time, energy, and resources.
Things are even more complicated when we are married to dysfunction—that is to say, that the contribution of both parties involved in creating the relationship are infusing it with distorted communication. This results in a toxic, yet often addictive, environment.
It can feel like a cage. It can undermine self-esteem. We can be aware of the discomfort, but at a total loss on how to shift it. In fact, we can keep making choices that reinforce our perception of being trapped.
Some of us attempt leaving the situation only to be pulled back in. Some of us wall off and withdraw from our significant other as a form of punishment. Some of us try to change who we are so we can manipulate our partner. At times we are aware of how we are contributing to the chaos. But, most of the time we are reactionary, which is born from our survival instincts.
When life is constructed from the energy of survival our choices become limited to fight, flight, freeze, or using sex as a means of control. Relationships are formed by two people contributing to a third entity. It becomes the vehicle that both sets the trajectory for each person, and helps to map out how each person is to behave in order to keep the wheels from falling off.
In an almost automatic fashion, when troubles arise, one person may want to veer off the road, while the other one wants to push harder on the accelerator. Each person has a choice to approach or avoid the conflict that shows up by virtue of habits, belief systems, and systemic issues. Suffice to say, we often cling the tightest to the thing we need to let go of the most.
Ironically, the action we need to take may be the last thing we perceive as accessible.
If you want to experience freedom then the right thing to do is break up. Actually, it isn’t even the right thing to do, it will inevitably be the next thing that happens because the soul is not meant to be confined.
Our birthright is to live an expressed life. We are the keepers of our fate and the arbiters of our destiny. Relationships have many functions. They can be a classroom and teach us. They can be a museum and help us archive memories. They can be a theme park and thrill us. They can be a spiritual journey and elevate our consciousness. But, rarely, are they meant to be a prescription to quell the persecution inflicted by life’s challenges.
Furthermore, although it is touted as such, self-love is also not a prescription to living a happy life. So often we search for reconciliation of our discomfort through intellectual means. We seek to explain away pain and to justify our folly. But, none of this is necessary. Freedom is immediately accessible if you are willing to let go.
The mistake we make when approaching breakup from frenetic emotions or analysis is to believe we have failed in some way. This is simply not true. Freedom comes when you remember you have, and always have had, a choice in the matter.
Living life as if it should have a defined outcome will ruin it. Don’t plan on forever with someone. Plan on spending your life having experiences that enrich your awareness of who you are and how you can use that to live your purpose.
Loving yourself simply means coming to full acceptance that you will be in a relationship with yourself for as long as your body lingers on this earth.
So, don’t think too hard on whether you can save your relationship or not. If you are asking that question, the answer is “No.”
Release it. Let go. Experience freedom and breakup.