QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking
behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy
or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed
in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of
other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.
I'm dating a woman who was in a long term relationship for eight
years. She and her old lover broke up a few months ago. I'm afraid I may
get hurt if she's rebounding. Is there a recommended time for grieving old
relationships before starting new ones?
This is a very good question. When a long time relationship ends,
both members have grieving to do. The one who chose to end it may have made
the right decision, but it's still a loss. Grieving involves sadness and
anger and can't be hurried -- and it takes some people longer than others to
do the emotional work. Also, sometimes part of the grieving happens before
the couple has officially ended their relationship -- that's because one or
both of them may have realized it was over long before the public ending. I
really can't give you a recommended time for grieving. What I suggest you
do is look at whether your new friend is still expressing anger, sadness,
or other strong feelings about the breakup and, if so, if she's able to
recognize those feelings and deal with them. Emotional health isn't
necessarily being done with a process: it's having the ability to recognize
what you're feeling and respond in a healthy way.