Breaking up with someone is serious. Divorcing is even more serious.
It’s difficult to minimize the immediate pain of a difficult split. But at some point – maybe weeks, months or years down the road – you have to pull yourself together emotionally and move forward.
You should also learn to laugh at your relationship failures.
What? Yes, I’m serious.
If you can’t laugh at your matrimonial misfortune, for instance, you’re likely to be crushed by the weight of regret, guilt and blame. Don’t get me wrong. Laughing at a failed marriage doesn’t mean you didn’t take it seriously or that divorcing is a light matter.
It certainly isn’t. But if you carry the intense pain of a split for years after it occurred, you’ll be miserable.
Let me give you an example. Sometimes, people ask if I’m married. I used to say, in a somber voice, “No, I’m divorced. Uh, I’ve been divorced twice.”
I would feel like a loser, and the person asking me the question would be embarrassed.
Now, I’m more likely to say, “Yea, I’m divorced. I’ve been divorced twice! Can you believe it? My picker is really broken.”
With this response, I keep a black cloud from enveloping the conversation, and I show – to myself and others – that I’ve moved past my relationship failures.
I like that phrase. My picker is broken. If you’re divorced, you should too. The phrase doesn’t say that we’re broken – only that our ability to choose a romantic partner is broken. Big difference.
Don’t let failed relationships define you
Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you can’t snow ski, even though you’ve tried repeatedly. You don’t feel bad telling someone, “Man, I just can’t ski. I suck at it.”
You have to adopt that same attitude about your breakups or divorces: “Man, I’m just not very good at relationships. Don’t know why. They just don’t work out for me.”
That is, you aren’t screwed up – only your ability to sustain a relationship.
If you need help laughing at your failures, you can start by laughing at someone else. I found a website, appropriately titled MyPickerIsBroken.com.
“Stories of Real People’s Worst Relationship Choices,” the tagline says.
The site is run by a husband-and-wife team – he’s a comedian, she’s a marriage and family therapist. What a great combination in a marriage.
“It’s my hope that you will recognize yourself in one or many of these stories and begin to change and grow … or maybe just be able to laugh,” writes the therapist, Pamela Georgette.
On the site, you can listen to podcasts of Pamela and her husband, Todd Sawyer, interviewing people about their dismal – and funny – failed relationships. One podcast is named “Earl and the Redhead,” another “Janet and the Lead Singer.”
Check out the sites and read a few of the funny stories. You’ll laugh, and you’ll realize you aren’t the only bad picker out there.
Don’t let marriage or relationship failures haunt you. Learn to laugh at them – and even at yourself. If you let go of painful experiences, you’ll be more likely to find a successful relationship.