I’ve long stated that speaking badly about your ex only reflects negatively on you. And that’s still true: if you spend lots of time and energy painting your ex as a wholly no-good, dirty-down, stayin’-out-late cocker spaniel… well then, you’ll have to admit you’re the one who committed yourself to a dog. Isn’t it better for your own ego to (at least publicly) focus on the positive attributes of the cocker spaniel?
That said, there is something to be gained by examining the flaws of an ex. But it’s not your personal power and self-confidence, it’s a deeper understanding of yourself. Do you have a history of attracting the same type of mate? Are you drawn in for the same reasons in the beginning, and turned off for the same reasons at the end? Are you a sucker for an Aloof Bad Boy? A Cold-Hearted Bitch? An abuser? An addict? A manipulative narcissist?
Have you ever considered your romantic relationships to be a mirror through which you can study yourself? Not just your potentially bad choices, but the underlying needs those choices illustrate. Have you traced patterns back to your childhood? Are you seeking a familiar wound in an attempt to heal it? Is there a lesson your soul needs to learn to reach fulfillment?
…That probably sounds a little heavy, and I’m not a therapist so I don’t want to get too deep. I’m simply suggesting that the Gift of Self following a separation doesn’t lie merely in the free time and new space. Partners have a way of both happily and unhappily waking us up to who we are and what we need. Don’t be afraid to look a little closer, you might find a clue to help you heal towards your higher self.
Does anyone have a relevant personal story to share?
PS… In the middle of writing this, I got distracted and read this fabulous piece from Danielle LaPorte, in which she similarly discusses betrayal as a painful yet positive turning point.