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Living Together After Breakup

How Can She Heal from Breakup While Still Living Together?

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Updated July 18, 2012
Dear Emily,

I feel like my life is on hold. My relationship with my girlfriend has ended after nearly five years. Before we broke up, we had purchased a home with a high mortgage. We have certainly had many ups and downs in our time together, but always pulled through. So, when she told me it was over, and meant it, I was devastated. It's only been a few weeks and I am still very much hurting.

The problem is that we have to stay in the house together because neither of us can afford the place on our own. How am I going to heal while living in the same house with someone who doesn't want to be with me anymore?

Alienated in Arlington

Dear Alienated,

This does not sound like fun at all. And I am sorry that you have to endure a break-up and then see a constant reminder of feeling rejected all over again, day after day. With that said, there is definitely some good news to this!

The good news is that this is all happening for a very good reason. Strength is something that we acquire as we go through pain. Pain is great spiritual path toward your own connection with your higher self. The bigger the breakdown, the greater the breakthrough.

For starters, practice unconditional love and forgiveness. She is obviously in some kind of pain, as well. Compassion for her will give you relief. Once you can see that this is not about you, that this is her path and pain, your unrealistic view of personal rejection can be lifted.

You already know that your self-esteem could use a boost. Did you know that hers could, too? Do not place her above you. She is sitting next to you in this. You just haven't seen it that way yet. If you had, you would not be as devastated. You would see that you are both in the same predicament with one stance only slightly different than the other.

Being pro-active about your growth and healing is very possible while still living under the same roof. Set aside a space for yourself in the house, in any room other than where she sleeps (and do not sleep in the same bed with her). Request that she not bother you in that place. It may be a guest room, a living room, dining room or garage. It doesn't matter as long as this is only your space and she is not allowed in it. I would then get books, journals and other helpful healing tools.

Find somewhere you can go, possibly daily, to put yourself in a new environment. Take your journal to the park in the morning, join a yoga class, art class, kickboxing class, women's group or whatever it is that makes you happy. You will meet new people, have a good time and learn about yourself. Change your perspective!

Emily Wilcox is a lesbian advice columnist and author of 100 Lesbians Walk Into a Bar.... Follow her at @100lesbians on Twitter

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