Break Up and Divorce How To Re-Discover Your Identity After A Relationship Split

How To Re-Discover Your Identity After A Relationship Split

Photo by: JustCallMe_?Bethy?_

When you go through the recovery period after a relationship split, you will sooner or later notice one very disturbing fact:

You may have lost a good part of your true “self.”

You simply aren't the person anymore you were at the beginning of the relationship.

This partial identity loss is one of the main reasons you feel how you feel today, the feeling like someone pulled the rug out from under you.

What does this mean, and how is it actually possible to lose parts of our “selves”?

The Identity Loss After A Relationship Split

Most of us spend our lives in the pursuit of the perfect “one,” the ultimate partner.

The “perfect one” stands for happiness, security, love and intimacy.

Unfortunately, the “one” also includes the belief that all the personal issues we are struggling with our whole lives will just cease to exist.

Wiped away by eternal love.

Society reinforces such beliefs, (ask my twin daughters about princesses and princes).

Still thinking about your Ex? Click here to take the test to learn how long it takes to heal... and how you can speed up the process.

There are consequences for these unrealistic expectations.

Should we finally find this unique “one,” and this relationship can fill the emptiness we may have inside of ourselves, we will come to an inconvenient conclusion:

Our life's happiness and fulfillment depend on THIS very relationship.

So we do everything to nurture this belief.

We hold on tight to this relationship. We cling to it as hard as we can.

And why would we not? Our life depends on it.

Not all of us experience this to the extreme, most of us will find themselves in the middle somewhere.

I was an extreme case back then.

I used to tell myself over and over again that I couldn't make it alone.

I needed her in my life to survive.

I even told HER that.

And that's the biggest turn-off any partner could ever receive.

It means that you are dependent, needy, clingy and weak.

All of which are traits that will drive your partner away … guaranteed.

So how did we lose ourselves?

To lose yourself in love, may sound shocking at first, but it is not that unusual.

(MORE: How To Not Lose Yourself In Love)

When we are in love, we tend to wear those rose-colored glasses. Everything is so fascinating and exciting.

As the relationship continues, and we tie our life's happiness to it, we often end up sacrificing our personal needs.

But it's OUR own needs that nurture our “true self.”

Without them, we become someone else … and it doesn't feel right.

That is why it is so important never to sacrifice the very things you need to be YOU.

The relationship wouldn't survive without YOU.

And guess what happens should you ever break up?

Your world is in pieces, and so is your personality.

But there's actually good news now:

You can build you up from the ground.

Not only reclaim your true “self,” but also find a better “you.”

How To Re-Discover Yourself After A Break-Up

After being asked how to know who you are, Deepak Chopra said that this was only possible with practicing silent meditation.

He said that with time and practice, you would experience a “growing silence” inside. This experience is your real “self” that will guide you to your life-purpose.

Meditation is an excellent way to re-connect with the person who you really are.

If you manage to silence your mind, your fears, just be in the now, then what remains is simply good old YOU.

I know from experience that it is not an easy task to accomplish, especially not after a loss when you tend to be everywhere, just NOT in the NOW.

(MORE: Do You Have The Mental Strength Of A Masai Warrior?)

But I've had nothing but good experiences with meditation, especially through the turmoil of my own breakup.

(Sidenote: Please don't fall into the “I-know-this” trap. Try it now. There is plenty of information out there … you can start here).

If you have the persistence and endurance, I promise you that meditation will change your life.

Another great way to re-claim your “self” is to do the things you've always loved to do.

This may sound trivial and standard “post break-up procedure, ” but I've noticed that as the years pass by, we do the things that fulfill and define us less and less.

Maybe it collided with your Ex's interests, or life simply got in the way, but doing these things again is a direct way to recover what was lost.

Let me give you an example from my own life.

I was a guitar-player my whole life.

It started when I was nine years old, and as an adult even considered a professional musician's career.

I stopped playing cold turkey when my twins were born because I had no spare time anymore, and everything was more important than the guitar.

This was five years ago.

I started playing again recently, and it felt just as if a lost part of me was somehow unlocked again.

Making music is a deeply wired part of myself, and since I'm doing it again, I'm feeling happier and more balanced.

So much more “me.”

So do the things that define you and make you happy. Make them a number 1 priority.

It might also be a good idea to connect with an old childhood friend, to relive happy times again.

What I also do in my coaching, (and in the home-study version, the “DETOX Course”), I give my clients a list of specifically designed questions and exercises that will help you discover not only the real YOU but also YOUR particular life-purpose.

Because these are the two things – re-discovering yourself and finding your life purpose – that you must aspire to if you want to get the best out of this devastating experience.

And these – among others things – will also protect you in the future by showing you the path you should follow.

So that you never again derail from your predetermined path and stay true to the real YOU.

Your friend,
Eddie Corbano

  • Anonymous ⠤️ says:

    Hi, I just came out of a 8 year relationship, during the 8 years we broke up once before however we got back together and I moved back into his home. I thought things would get better, but things got worse. Before this last break up with him, it was coming to a point where he was talking down to me and telling me that I just complain all the time.I wasn’t complaining , I was always asking him for us to go out or for me to spend some time with him. I was even getting to a point of asking him to be intimate with me. I got tired of argueing with him and asking for some time to go out. So I had a long conversation with him and moved out. I feel ok at times and then I don’t. My job is falling apart and I have no interest to do things. He is now going out with friends and he seems like he’s moving on.Which I truely wish nothing but the best , but what is happening to me. When I text him to see if I can come to his house to pick up something I left behind, like my dogs medicine. He doesn’t reply. However when he calls or texts I get back to him. What is happening to me? Why do I feel so compulsive of calling him back and texting him back right away?

  • Thank you Eliot and everybody in this site.
    I am still in pain after an 8 years seem great relationship with my commo-law only after his and his mistress horrible fabrication to make police to arrest me for one night I was shocked. But only this incident finally gave me courage to say ” that’s enough!!!!!”
    I found out a lot of terrible staff about him from his ex girlfriend who actually was his girlfriend all this years when he lived with me. He just used the women. We are still in long process to finish with him bcz we have a big house and very serious business. It only 2 weeks after this crucial night but reading your article i found a lot of helpful for myself.
    I came from another country with doctor degree and two kids in my 40 s without one word English & was already supervisor in LTC in 2 years & bought my first house just 6 months after started my job as RN. And after already have 4 Rd house & two job with $100 K a year I meet “him”.
    By his advice I quite my job and we built new business from zero which now in 6 years cost 4 Millions.
    And now what I did with my heart and knowledge ” they both” decide to get rid of me and in very horrible way.” I need just few days to clean up your name ,” told lawyer to me. But how many years I need to heal from this ….. Sorry I can not even find right words. Please guys help me.

  • Hey Eddie,

    I just spent about 5 hours reading up on similar articles, but this one was the only one that really helped me at all. After two years with a very dependent and pleasing girlfriend (it was all about “me”), I realized I was no longer myself, and neither was she herself. It took my 5 months to work up the courage to finally break it off, for both of our sakes, and it has been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. She essentially did nothing to warrant a breakup and I really do feel quite guilty about it sometimes. This article pointed me in the right direction – I stopped doing the things I really loved and being around people who shared those interests, and it really took its toll on my psyche. Likewise, she stopped doing many of the things that made her truly happy, and attracted me to her in the first place. Anyway, thanks for the solid piece and objective view on the matter. Best wishes to everyone else out there.


    • Thank you Eliot for your kind words, I’m glad I could help and that you found your way…

  • Elizabeth Bennett says:

    Hi Eddie,

    I’ve just started following your newsletter and I’d like to thank you for sharing these very helpful tips and experiences with the rest of us. After an 8-year relationship I’ve been dumped for a woman he met on FB, who has two kids from her previous relationship. He’d been going on with the online relationship for 4 months before I found out about it accidentally, through posts they exchanged on FB. Within a few weeks after that he moved to another country, and is now living with her and preparing to get married. I’m on day 4 of the NC rule now, and even though I have sudden bouts of desire to contact him I maintain my discipline and haven’t written him since I committed to the program.

    What you describe in this article is exactly what happened to me. I stopped doing all the things I loved – reading, writing, drawing and painting, exercising – and focused on trying to present myself as a person I thought he would like. When his interest started to wane I even stopped taking care of myself, because I found no reason to do anything if it didn’t cause a reaction from him. After the first couple weeks of the breakup I felt lost and purposeless. I thought of myself as a failure and of everything I loved to do as useless. As you say I was seeking approval from him, and when the approval was taken away my whole universe crumbled.

    Now I feel more centered and focused. I’m beginning to forgive myself for who I am and what happened. I’m beginning to read, I started gym practice, I’ve picked up my studies of the Italian language again, and trying to contact old friends to go out and try to have some fun. I just want to encourage everyone else here and let them know that life does go on, and time will heal our wounds and help us see things more objectively. If we stay disciplined and strong there’s a light on the other side of this tunnel.

  • Hi, I have just come out of a long term relationship where we were both close to moving to marriage when I realised that he didn’t want to get married. His reasons were he didn’t want to move to the current city I’m working at despite promising me he would before I moved over which lead to more arguments between us. He also said he had an extremely unhappy childhood with his parents marriage because they fought all the time. The last few weeks coming up to the break up he has been binge drinking and doing things that were extremely hurtful to me which was why I decided to break up. Now I’m finally feeling better about myself and the situation I’m in. I’m grateful for the darkness I have been through in the past months as it has given me different perspectives in life. He has been trying to contact me after 3 months and I know he still cares a lot for me but he hasn’t got the courage to talk to me about the relationship. It’d be appreciated if you could give me some advice on this. Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you’re on the right track. You realized he didn’t want to get married… so you stopped everything in its tracks. It sounds like you did BOTH of you a favor.

      He needed to “figure himself out” and do more work on himself before marriage (and kids???) entered the picture. You gained perspective and grew as a person.

      I feel like the big challenge is, moving forward, not to view the relationship as “a waste of time” but a valuable learning experience that lead you to the person you are today. If he can’t talk about the relationship, move on. He’s stuck and needs more time to do more work on himself. You can’t put your life (and love) on hold.


    your emails pop up just as I needed them… you have immeasurable been an amazing strength in finding my way back to me…


    its nearly a year… and i barely cry feel pain or vengeance.. I have faith i am heading for an better future, and I am definitely happier than I have been in years!

    much love xxx

  • thnx eddie for your help, you are doing a great job for that hearts that are lonely…

  • Hi eddie,

    This is one of your great articles and I strongly believe in your statement regarding the post relationship split. To my personal experience, I caught up with photograph interest and it does make my day for coming up with this new hobby. From time to time, the pain subsides and comes with a bright new beginning of excitement. For those who stuck in the grid of relationship failure should try the No Contact rule and make an extension of 60 days to ensure that your heart and mind get more or less the most for your ex-clearance.

    Take a good care of yourself and live with appreciation,


  • I have been following your emails and it has never been the same, i felt good after i realized that it was not my fault and that my life does not depend on this relationship. thanks Eddie

  • Eddie,

    Thank you for sharing. I have been following your website for the past couple of months while I recover from my break up.

    Your words, direction and encouragement have helped me more than you’ll ever know.

    I’m getting there…..slowly!

      • Arun Kumar says:

        Dear Eddie,

        You are a wonderful writer. Your writing has such a calming effect on all of us. After 1 week of break up saw your blog. It made me realize that problems & break ups are sometimes just for our good in some way.

        Thanks Eddie your help is God sent will always pray for your well being.

  • Hi Eddie

    I’ve read this article over and over and realize it is so helpful in identifying other aspects of my life and not just this broken relationship. It forces you to look within yourself and try to figure out what is really going on. It’s ironic that my ex once told me one of the things he admired most about me was my giving spirit. No kidding Sherlock! I did get lost and morphed into whatever shape or form his dreams were all about. I am sad however excited that I have untapped “stuff” that needs to be released. Your words help me to let go of my fears. Thank you so very much for your great insight.

  • Hi Eddie,

    Thank you for a fantastic article. It’s through your website that I began the No contact rule sixty something days ago:) I am now stronger but there are times of sadness that I was holding on and trying to make a wrong relationship work- lost myself- but I am now on my way to recovery. I used to watch cartoons alot but slowly stopped because my ex said it was childish–have tried to go back to watching again, doesn’t appeal so much but I will try to rediscover myself again!!! Thanks so much!

  • Eddie, thanks for this article. I always start off relationships strong within myself, but as things go wrong I adapt to meet my partners needs and it is not always reciprocated… plus I work so hard to make them happy that I lose myself, and that is not appealing, because part of what brought us together – me – disappears. This last relationship I did it more than any other, I wanted it to work so badly, I loved him more than any other even though we had so many issues, and even after breaking up I couldn’t let go for years, felt so lost. A lot of resentment at the end, some at myself. I am getting back to the person I know I can be and it is a painful process, but I know this time I have to find a way to hold onto myself no matter what with my next partner. I’m looking forward to becoming that person again, or better yet a move evolved version of that person.
    Thank you for all of your great posts!

    • Hi Lau,

      Thank you for sharing your story and your kind words.

      I remember back then when I did the rebuilding work that for every “piece of me” I was able to get back it felt like retrieving a long missed friend. You won’t believe how important this really is until you’ve done it.

      All the best for your journey!

      • Hi Eddie,

        These words truly confirm what I’ve been trying to do since my husband left me. My poetry is flowing through me onto paper. Although dark, it’s somewhat of a purging that needs to happen. A cleansing of sorts. I’m on day 3 of NC and I will try to remain strong. Thanks again

        • Hi Sue,

          Excellent, writing poetry is a great way to unlock your true self!

          Hang in there!

      • Thanks Eddie for your inspirational words. I am going through a terrible time at the moment due to my wife of 12 years saying she does not love me and has started an affair. I have been discarded like an old sock and I am experiencing something close to Post traumatic stress. Your words and information has helped me come to terms why she dumped me so easily (I read your ‘7 reasons why you should not get back with your ex’. I still feel a combination and emptiness (it is 2 months since breakup) but I know I will get better. The worst days are when you slip back (this happened 2 days ago) but I do know that every day steers me (albeit a small amount) towards recovery. Thank you.

        • Hi Tony,

          In our place, it is very surprising for a woman to do that to her husband. Men usually do the cheating. I salute you for being brave enough to face your challenges. I know it is not easy. Been reading these articles in order to help me get through this. Since your post was still last November, I do hope you are doing good now.

      • Veronica Nissan says:

        Hi Eddie, I’m probably the most improved, new found wisdom & self confidence “Stuck” person you could meet.. My experience is truly a living hell, furthermore I answered 8 out 10 of the above questions (wanting a guy who) with a yes(he did those for me) making me question what I know to be true. My ex is a narcissist. I also believe he did love me. He left me for the natural mother of his first born son that I raised with him for 11 years. She didn’t ever call once in 11 years. The ways they abused me and torment me are horrendous. Now, because of my label (diagnosed bi polar in 2002 seeing a doc for 10 mins) the courts have given custody of our son to them. They have criminal pasts and past violent situations with children. The courts never have examined my claims and my provided evidence in my case. My ex husband left taking the boys from school straight into her arms therefore I’ve never had the respect of being told what or why he did and is doing all he is to me. The open wounds drain daily, though I’m not missing him, I’m intent to not be fooled again. I like his personality (except his dominated tough guy routine) and am looking for similar characteristics in another man, but one who is righteous and honest, capable of both loving and accepting love in return. Do you have any special criteria for my situation? I won’t give up my son and right now I’ve zero rights to him tough he’s in the care of two narcissistic, manipulative, compulsive liar abusers. I’m in the process of beginning a revolution. @thejniss or Veronicajniss

        He left Dec 13 2013. He me, my oldest son and my family. The only real family he ever had. I don’t recognize in the slightest the man he is now. In any way.

        • Veronica, that’s terrible. Is there something you could do judicially? Are all possibilities exhausted here?

        • Janet Lynn Starcher says:

          I forgive both of them. I don’t believe they are horrible people. I actually grew to like her. Mural respect and appreciation. I don’t believe they are more qualified to raise my son. My values, morals and ethics are very different than theirs. I want to raise my son differently than how they believe. I’m not better, just view differently, how to best raise children to become quality human beings, teaching them exceptional life skills which will enable them to have successful lives. I specifically feel that my absence in my son’s life, prevented from being involved his upbringing_ undenibly “alters” his future and all that entails. With me, “mom” raising him with, (values, morals, ethics, principals, standards, beliefs) which I believe to be best for my son_ he would grow up and become someone “more or less” based on my parenting style with the aforementioned. I’ve been removed entirely from my son’s life, completely stripped of my right as mom or ability to be in his life. He is being raised with their belief systems and standards_ regardless of whether “right or wrong” his beliefs, his life experiences and choices, completely different and will affect who he becomes as an adult. What kind of person he becomes, choice of career, who he chooses as a life partner, how he will raise his children, who he chooses as friends and role models. All choices, eventually leading to his fate proceeding death. An entire life and afterlife “destiny” altered by changing his life course, nature of his upbringing_ in an instant. Causing emotional suffering, confusion, insecurity and fear. Of course, we parents so concerned with attending to our own bruised egos and wounds, sadly don’t realise the harm, (sometimes irreversible) inflicted on our children and the lasting effects they will struggle with, sometimes for the whole rest of their lives. 🙁 This my most heart felt regret. Daily, I think about the positive and helpful ways I could influence my son’s happiness and development as he grows. I only get to think about it, I only get to wish. I’m not so sure I will be around a whole lot longer, It devastates me to think he may never know how very much I love him. How hard I fought to change the situation, or his being able to ever know the person I’ve become. My determination to be someone great, for the love of both my sons. Someone they could admire and trust, someone they could count on through thick and thin. I messed it up before. Selfish and unaware how precious time is_ how we chose to spend our time. Some of us, don’t get second chances. This why a child’s upbringing is so important. Their upbringing will affect not only their life experiences, their upbringing will determine the quality of lives of their children. All their fates. I failed my children. I failed myself, my husband and future grandchildren. Tough reality to bear. My cross. I have been trying extremely hard in hopes of restoring what I damaged. Forgivness for my selfishness and ignorance. I don’t know how a primarily good girl, who loves so passionately and strongly_ could have been so careless and reckless, not to have been concerned about losing what is loved the most. I am aware now. Also alone and unable to care for myself, my children, earn a living, provide for a roof over my head or even drive to the locations of where my children live without me. Growing distant from their memories of our times together, losing the “bonding” and connectedness we once shared. I would give my life in exchange for their having great ones, full of love and happiness, wisdom and kindness_ shared with others. I pray for their forgiveness and that one day, they find out all I did because how much I love them. Cherish your families, choose your battles, spread goodness and forgive one another. I didn’t know how to forgive. I do now. I think it’s too late.

    • Based on what you’ve shared, it seems that you should not pursue a new relationship and continue working on you because if you are still getting back to the person you say you know you can be, it implies that you are not still there. Leave meeting a man alone for now. I can relate so much to what you have stated. Please allow yourself not just time to properly heal but really discover who you are otherwise you will relive your past relationships. You said it took you years to let go of a breakup.t After going through similar breakups it should no longer take one so long to move on. It sounds like you are much too hard on yourself. Forgiving myself is when I started to learn to stop tolerating being mistreated or settlling for less than what I knnow I require to remain satisified in a forever relationship. I had to learn to lower my tolerance for abuse. People will only do to us what we allow. It can take years to find yourself if you allocate time for meeting a man. Focus solely on you for now. I have finally come to that place. Am 49 years old and in the last 13 yrs have wasted time with the wrong men for fear of being alone or growing old alone. However now I rather grow old alone then continue wasting more time, energy and giving love to those who do not know how to receive it. Be Happy and forgive me if anything I shared my seem of of boundaries to you.

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