You Just Need to Find Someone New

Have you ever noticed how much free advice you get when you’re going through something difficult? I can tell you…it’s a lot. Everyone has an opinion about what happened, what kind of person would do that, and how I should handle it from here. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I’ve certainly given my fair share of advice over the years. So if you’re one of the people who has shared your thoughts on this subject, don’t get your panties in a wad. This is not a personal attack…it’s merely an observation.

There seems to be a common thread in people’s responses as I’ve shared my story of love and loss with those around me. From my ex-husband, to friends and family, to people who’ve read my blog and hardly know me, most people are quick to assure me I’ll find someone else. And that may be true. I don’t have a crystal ball and I’m not ruling out the possibility. I have a lot of love to give and I would certainly like to be in a relationship again someday. But what if finding someone new isn’t the answer? What if feeling lousy is just part of the process of losing someone you love? What if I’m not supposed to figure out how to get over it?

When my boyfriend left, my ex-husband told me I just needed to find a new man. I understand many people deal with a loss such as this by finding someone new. But that’s not my way. And what’s really important to me is I do this my way. When he suggested this, the wound was still pretty raw. And the thought of being with someone else made me want to vomit. I literally had a visceral reaction when I thought about it. Aside from the fact I wasn’t interested in being with someone else, I just didn’t think that would be very good for some guy’s ego. Hey…you seem really cool, but the thought of being with you makes me want to toss my cookies. I can only imagine what kind of reaction I’d get to that!

A few weeks ago my neighbor invited me to go to a blues festival with him and his wife. They are lovely people and I truly appreciate how much they care about me. But I still have my days where I don’t want to be in a crowd of strangers. And I still have my moments when I fall apart. So I’m pretty particular about who I spend my time with. It doesn’t always feel safe to break down in front of just anyone. I politely thanked my neighbor for the invitation and told him I’m just not great company right now. His response was pretty typical of what a lot of people tell me these days. If I don’t get out, I’ll never meet anyone. Apparently that’s the answer. Or not.

Part of becoming me is choosing how I deal with the difficulties of my life. In the past I would listen to other people’s advice and do what they suggested because I believed I was doing it wrong. I didn’t even stop to question it. Now I’m choosing to do things my way more and more. Even if my way doesn’t make sense to other people. Even if it doesn’t always make sense to me. It may not be right for you, but it’s the path I have to follow. Everyone, including me, gives advice based on their own experiences, fears and beliefs. While I know that advice is well meaning, I can’t follow it if it means ignoring my own inner voice.

I have also come to realize I wouldn’t follow some of the well-intentioned advice I’ve given others in the past. Are you guilty of this? I know I am. You tell a friend after a breakup, “he just wasn’t right for you.” Or, “there’s someone better for you out there.” And maybe that’s true, but it does not ease the pain of the loss. It’s amazing what you can explain away…until it happens to you. I may change my mind on this, so don’t quote me. But right now, in this moment, I don’t feel that relationship is replaceable. So many memories, connections over the years, shared dreams and hopes about our life together. I do believe I may find another relationship. I just don’t know that I will have another one like this.

I’ve been told by friends who know, that the pain of a devastating breakup is similar to the pain of the death of a loved one. I don’t know…I can’t make that comparison. But the thing I am grappling with is you would never tell someone whose loved one died, that they just need to find another mother, brother, friend. Those relationships are irreplaceable. When someone dies you encourage that person to talk about their loved one. So why, when a relationship ends, do we discourage people from talking about the person they lost? For me, those memories are still a part of my life, my experience. And I still want to talk about them. I don’t want to censor myself because we’re not together anymore. Or because it makes other people uncomfortable.

The bottom line is this. I don’t need a bandaid. And that’s what someone new would be for me right now. I just need to give myself the space to let the wound heal. In its own way. In its own time. However long that takes. This is where I’m at. And this is how I’m dealing with it. It may not be the right way…but it’s my way.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shawn
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 12:53:14

    I love reading your blogs…you have put into words thoughts that have gone through my head at times. Sometimes I think “that’s what I would have done” or “that’s how I would feel if that ever happend to me”. I don’t think you can go looking for a relationship. I do think it will find you when you are least expecting it.


    • Shannon McDonough
      Sep 21, 2011 @ 08:20:17

      Thank you Shawn! I always love hearing your feedback 🙂 And I agree, my best relationship dropped in my lap, out of the blue. That I wasn’t ‘looking’ made it that much sweeter!


  2. musingsforyoungwomen
    Dec 13, 2011 @ 13:11:16

    Dear Shannon,
    I have just found your blog and love the things you write about. This one in particular struck me. I am just starting to become the person I know I will be, but I find myself struggling with many of the same questions and circumstances. Right now, I am also grappling with the loss of someone I loved very much. This is new territory for me, and it gives me courage to know I am not alone.


    • Shannon McDonough
      Dec 31, 2011 @ 13:55:19

      J…Welcome! I’m glad you’re here. Though I wouldn’t wish this kind of loss on anyone, I know you can get through this. And someday, maybe even see the purpose in it all. At the very least please remember you are never alone 🙂



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