Breaking up is hard. Even when the relationship ends on civil terms, memories and emotions linger on. After a few weeks, the things that led to the breakup don’t seem quite so bad after all, and many of us begin to romanticize a past that was, in reality, less than romantic.
While some couples do get back together after a breakup, there’s something to be said for giving one another space. Too often we try to rekindle old emotions after only a short time apart, looking back with nostalgia on the very things that caused the breakup in the first place.
If you need motivation to keep a breakup broken up, here are five reasons to leave your ex alone for a while—or maybe for good.
- It promotes individual development. Taking time apart allows both parties to grow individually. Being in a relationship doesn’t hinder individual growth, but it may cause it to slow down as we take the other person into consideration before pursuing big dreams and plans. Before contacting your ex, consider the things you are free to do while single. Make a list of the goals and plans that may have been set aside while you were dating, and think about how you can achieve those in this new stage of life. This is the time to embrace your development as an individual, which will equip you to enter your next relationship with a greater level of self-awareness and confidence.
- It grants perspective on the relationship. Breakups can leave a sweet or bitter taste in the mouth, but the time taken afterward will determine how accurate those perceptions really are. Contacting your ex too soon can skew your perspective of the relationship. Whatever the reason for breaking up, take time to get perspective. Look at the reality of what happened and ask friends for input. Assess what went wrong and think about what you could change for a future relationship. This self-reflection can’t happen if you’re busy trying to rekindle the relationship too soon.
- It prepares your heart for where God may be leading you. Allowing space after a breakup opens your heart to God’s leading. This is the time to pour out your heart to God, sharing your fears and failures. Don’t settle for a “good enough” relationship just because it’s familiar or easy; ask God to guide you to the person who will help you honor Him. Ask God to mold you into a woman whose priorities echo Christ’s. As you draw near to God, He will open your eyes to the opportunities—and relationships—that are best for you.
- It prevents the “fallback mentality.” People like what’s familiar. We’re uncomfortable with awkward feeling of newness. But while old relationships might be familiar, they aren’t always healthy. We can defeat this “fallback mentality” by restraining our desire to contact old flames and trusting God for what is in store. If you knew something better was coming, would you settle for less? Give yourself enough time alone to seek God, wait on His timing and trust that He will make clear the next step into bigger and better things.
- It facilitates emotional freedom. Finally, leaving your ex alone allows your heart—and his—to begin the journey into emotional freedom. Whether or not you get back together, leaving one another alone allows you to acknowledge your feelings and address them honestly. Moving too fast—whether to get back together or jump into another relationship—can hinder healing and growth.
Don’t be surprised if, a few months post-breakup, you find yourself searching old Facebook messages and feeling nostalgic about times past. But before you send that “Hey, I was thinking of you…” note, consider the benefits of giving yourself space. Bring your heart to the Lord. Tell Him your feelings. Don’t be afraid of waiting for God’s timing. God rarely rushes, and the doors He opens swing slowly, but the wait is worth it when you have His peace.