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Sex with Dr. Jess


September 18, 2020

Starting Over After A Breakup

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Amira de Vera joins Jess on the podcast this week to share her experience after a breakup with a long term partner at the age of 34. They discuss how she went from lying on the floor crying to feeling happier than ever. Amira opens up to discuss:

  • Overcoming the fear of starting over in your 30s
  • How to identify what you really want in a partner and relationship
  • Multiple approaches to getting over a tough breakup
  • The importance of sitting in the pain and using pain to heal
  • How to shift from focusing on others to focusing on yourself
  • Getting over the idea that you must hit specific milestones by a specific age
  • Breaking free of negative spirals
  • Amira’s path to self-love
  • The role of journaling, therapy, nature, friends, and creativity in healing
  • The fallacy of someone “completing” you

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This episode is brought to you by Provacare.

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Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

Starting Over After A Breakup

00:00:05 – 00:05:20

You’re listening to the sacs with Dr Jess, podcast sacks, and relationship advice you can use tonight. Pay Hey just a rally here your friendly neighborhood sexologist and I’m flying solo today without brandon but I will have a guest joining me in just a moment to share her story Amirah is going to talk to us about her recent break-up and her story is real and raw and really inspirational and interestingly I think what she has to tell us really aligns with what the research says about getting over a breakup and I also want. To answer a question related to this topic that somebody sent in about an extra cheated on them. But before I do a shadow to Provo care a brand I’m partnering with four pro. V. Talks on instagram be sure to follow them because their product uses probiotics to treat and prevent yeast and bacterial infections, and they’re also working to create content and really community around overall sexual health vaginal health all that good stuff they are by Provo care. On instagram and you can find them in my profile as well in the show notes so. You know I’m excited to talk to Amira. But I I want to answer this question about how to get over an axe. Who Cheated, and you know this is a question that I get often because I think that you know cheating sexual infidelity, whatever you call it is is more common than we realize that the data puts it in the range of twenty, four percent. So about a quarter of all relationships, but that data only reflects people who are willing to admit to it. So the reality is. You know many of us have cheated and we want to admit it to ourselves. We’ve kind of told ourselves the story that we’ve erased that and people certainly move on after cheating either with the same partner with a new partner and so what I’d say to this person who who sent me this message is that first and foremost really give yourself permission. To feel. Sad or mad or scared, or insecure, ensure, or excited or embarrassed or hopeful that full range of emotions that you inevitably experience after a break-up because breakups are. Inevitably going to involve a period of grieving and the feelings of loss are not necessarily lightened or swayed by the fact that your ex cheated, you know your ex was imperfect or your ex was awful. So you can be relieved to be rid of them and still miss some of the feelings and experiences you shared This doesn’t mean that you’re week. This just means that you’re human and I. OF COURSE, I’m not suggesting that everyone who cheats awful not what I meant, but I mean that even if you Aren’t. Into your acts you’re still grieving the loss of that relationship, and so I think that’s the first piece is go ahead and feel what you’re feeling. And and then you know you can move on to Kinda thinking a little bit more rationally about the cheating knowing that it wasn’t your fault and knowing that you’re not responsible for anybody else’s behavior because one script or theme that I see and hear often is that people say all this happened but maybe if I had done this differently but ultimately, you know your partner’s behavior is their own and it’s it’s not on you and I know that you know if you have difficulty trusting. After an ex cheats I think it’s important to remember that. Trust is something that we decided to give. It is not something that we always earn and I know that runs counter to. The language that we use around chest, which is you have to earn my trust, but the reality is most of the trust that we share or issue or offer in life. Is Not earned. We trust complete strangers. We trust people that we don’t like we trust people with whom we have a rocky relationship. We trust people whom we didn’t choose like family members you know parents, cousins, aunties uncles children. We have to give them some amount of trust, and so I would say kind of look at ways you can build your own self esteem so that you are more open to trusting others and connecting with others even if you’re not ready. To date again, and one thing that I often ask clients to do around self esteem is to make a list of all of your best qualities and and this is a weird thing to do to keep track of your highs, your accomplishments, he no new experiences, compliments proud moments and I think it can you know people think that it’s either a cheesy or that it makes them self absorbed But if you do want in the future To pursue and continue to build healthy relationships, you really have to know what you bring to the table.

00:05:20 – 00:10:04

And you know I just want to offer the reminder that there’s no evidence that. Because an ex cheated that future partner will cheat. So if you are ready to date again, focused on kind of being in the moment getting to know the person or people with whom you’re spending time in tuning into what you feel in their presence rather than you know looking for every red flag or sign or assessing whether or not. They’re similar to your acts because they may have some things in common with your ex but you cheating is is a specific behavior that that people often do so I wouldn’t wanNA measure future partners I against your. Accent so I hope hope that’s a little bit helpful You know we have research on how breakups work the stages of breakup end, how how to break up with compassion and that’s actually something I’d like to talk about in the near future but I thought I really think that it would be most helpful to chat with someone who recently went through a breakup. So joining me now is Amir d’Hiver the owner of project for Public Relations She represents some of Canada’s top talent in the entertainment and lifestyle industries and recently went through a break-up. Amir. Thanks for being here. I was so drawn to your story after reading your instagram post about a break-up in your thirties and you wrote about not wanting to start over again going into a negative spiral feeling like you weren’t where you should be on paper and then moving toward healing and self love and ultimately honoring yourself and I think you’re post has inspired. So many people I have you heard from many people that the ultimately going through the same thing? I did actually which was when you post something like that. It’s very scary right because you’re very vulnerable on you don’t know how people are going to take that. But since I posted it Ipod so many people reach out. You know people who are going through breakups themselves or divorces, and you know just basically say you gave me some hope and some late in terms of you know not feeling like I failed or. Not, feeling like I’m in a place where I can’t get back up and move forward I. Think you know I started my post we put so much pressure on ourselves. We compare ourselves to what our friends and our family members are doing. You know in your mid thirties you’re supposed to be married. You’re supposed to have kids you’re supposed to have this. Perfect. Family but obviously sometimes things happen and it doesn’t go as planned but it doesn’t mean that you’re behind it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. It just means that you get to start over again and rewrite your chapter in the way that you want it in the way that’s best for you so you know having people Reach out to me and say that this post inspired numb. It makes me feel so good to be able to share my story and you know let people know that it’s okay. It’s okay to start over again and again you can change your narrative the way that you want it. Awesome. And I definitely want to talk about that. You know keeping up and expiry and due dates for life accomplishments but let’s start at the beginning. So you were dating for a while you were together for a while. Tell us your your story. Yes. Oh, I was with this perner for almost a decade eight years to be exact and you know at the time I thought things were going in the direction of marriage of future together and I was set for life to be honest I was like, okay I don’t have to look again I remember thinking wow, I never have to go on dating APPs number because I when I first started dating this person you know there were no dating apps everything you meet people in person you know you meet people through friends there was no tinder or hinder any of that stuff so I felt very set for life. And so when the break-up happened, I was basically shattered I was very very surprised by the whole thing and it really left me in a state of. Confusion but also I was terrified I was incredibly terrified because now you know first thing that ran through my mind was okay I’m thirty four where the way meet people. There’s A pandemic. How do I meet people in the pandemic? So all these things were running in my head I’m but even before all that you know one thing that people kept saying to me was now’s the time to really focus on yourself.

00:10:04 – 00:15:24

Focus inwards. Don’t worry about dating or finding people worry about yourself. So. That was hard to be honest. Finding self love after giving love to somebody else and giving a lot of your all to somebody else finding self love was probably the most challenging thing that I had to face during this break up. And so how did you even begin that process? So first of all I have to say thank you for sharing all of those feelings because I don’t think we talk about being scared enough like we we. We admit that were hurt. We admit that were sad. Maybe we even admit that we’re lonely but the fear of you know maybe not finding someone else the fear of being alone can be overwhelming for many people and of course being single doesn’t mean you’re alone you can have a much stronger social support network than many people who are married. But how did you move through that fear? Absolutely and yet you’re you’re so right people don’t talk about fear of breakup. You know for me obviously I was devastated I was sad I was I was you know it was it was it was a scary time but the fear part came from the fact that like I thought, okay, I’m thirty four WHO’s GonNa WanNa date me and it’s it’s such a crazy thought because women I. Think we put so much pressure on ourselves. We think that at a certain age were no longer like hot commodity quote Unquote but you know it’s so it’s that’s i. think that’s where myself love really stemmed from it was figuring out how can I go back to my roots of just being confident in loving myself and really focusing on me I had given myself to this person for the last eight years. So now is the time to really Sit here and figure out how can I give not love back to myself. One of the first things that I remember thinking what is I was a whole person before I met him I can be a person after after after him as well and I think that’s what we forget. We know we think that after a break up we break, but you can put yourself back together. You can do that and. For Me Finding Self, love story with okay. It wasn’t like. Let’s put a face mask on. Let’s think about all that stuff it was how gained myself confidence back how do I do things so that I feel that I am more than enough that I don’t need someone to make me feel like I’m complete I don’t need someone for me to enjoy the things in life. to be honest I started by looking for a therapist and again that’s something that’s scary for a lot of people seeking help professionally. But I think it’s so essential because he gives. Obviously, you have your girlfriends you have your friend of your family to sound off to, but they can only be there so much and they’re so close to you and close to the situation that sometimes it’d be. It becomes bias and. You kind of talk about the same thing over, and again, you don’t have that opinion that you really need from professional person. So you know if you’re lucky enough to be able to seek professional help that’s where I started and being able to talk to someone really helped me see things outside of what couldn’t see you know for example, one of the things that a therapist was able to show me was I need to stop filling someone else’s Cup when my cup is empty. and. That was an I opening a statement for me ’cause I. I always thought. Okay. Well, if I feel someone’s cop, I’m happy because they’re happy. But then what about me whether about me being happy so that was number one was being able to hear those kinds of words and advice from someone who does this for a living? the other things that I started implementing in my in my daily routine was journaling journaling was huge for me because I was able to write down my thoughts I was able to write down things that you know when you’re when you’re going through something really hard can spiral into negative thoughts you can getting Zaidi from all the thinking. So I think writing down your thoughts is super helpful because it helps you. It helps you see it from a different perspective from a different angle. It’s also an outlet for you to. Kinda. Get everything out. So journaling husband huge for me going for walks in nature that was another thing for me just being in the quiet and the stillness of. Being outside That was huge. So I’ve been implementing daily walks by the water and just kind of sitting there with my thoughts. A lot of podcasts. I all the PODCASTS, which is great because again, there’s so many people going through a lot of hardships and being able to hear what other people are going through. Kind of gives you that inspiration reading self help books, Glenn Doyle is someone who I really think helped me through my break up I’m she’s incredible and she talks about. You know forcing yourself to sit in the pain and forcing yourself to sit through the hardships because once you do that, then you really learn the lessons and you can really start your healing process from that so And then other things that I would implement is you know seeing my friends talking to friends and also on finding things that brought my soul joy like doing things that I didn’t think.

00:15:25 – 00:20:01

You know I had time for, but I started making time for like, for example, interior design was always something I was very interested in I redecorated my apartment, which was amazing I. I used to take dance classes obviously with co, but it’s Kinda hard but then I, you know there are some places that were offering outdoor things. So I did not working out was a huge thing for me. Cooking. So I was doing all the things that I now had more time for and also made me. Happy. So these are all the things I implemented and I’m still implementing in my journey in my life because it really is about making yourself happy and putting yourself I and I think that’s the number. One thing that I took out of this break up was finding happiness for myself by myself. I love that and as you describe your journey of therapy journaling walks podcast reading friends seeking joy cooking exercise One thing that really stands out to me. Is sitting in the pain because all of those practical approaches that you’re mentioning it’s what you know. Any experts going to tell you to do, and it’s like you did all of them you did. Everything on the list, but the big thing is also being willing to admit that like this hurts this sucks. There’s research showing that fueling badly after a break up as opposed to trying to distract yourself actually helps you to heal and I think that’s a step. That oftentimes for Western people and I think a lot of kind of a type people and people who are into self development. We often forget that it’s okay to just it’s okay to cry and feel sad and be down and be unproductive and that often leads to these other pieces of production you’re describing and another thing that strikes me. The linger used about you know having given yourself to another person and how you had given him your love and you had to find self love. It sounds like your therapist really hit on the head with regard to you know pouring from an empty glass So it’s really there’s the practical side. There’s the emotional side there’s the social support network side, and then there’s also the shift in perspective and I’m very curious about how you shifted your perspective with regard to. Expiry dates for life accomplishments that are so strongly rooted. I think in socio cultural norms of gender I. Don’t think the pressure for, for example, a man in his thirties is necessarily the same as the pressure for a woman in her thirties and. You, know we have these check boxes like by this age I will do that We don’t WanNa fall behind how did you begin to move past that? Honestly going back to what you said about sitting in the pain i. think that’s when my perspective change one thing that I remember when the breakup happened in happen during you know still stage one of Kobe’s and I remember panicking because I said Oh my gosh. I can’t go out can’t distract myself. I can’t run away the Spain I literally have to sit here and sit with this pain and I remember being extremely terrified of this but honestly it’s what changed my perspective because being able to sit there and just feel the pain and really let it teach me what I needed to teach me and that was you know The lesson that really taught me was. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves in at a certain age as women? Yes. Of course, there is the biological factor which you know. I mean, it will put the pressure on you if you’re looking to have kids. But at the same time you know. We don’t necessarily have to follow social norms. I think at the end of the day for me the biggest lesson was. Realizing that I never wanted to settle. For less than what they deserved anymore, and that was a huge lesson for me because I was always under the impression that okay you meet someone it’s great and you love that person. But is it really as great as you think it was Were you in it because you wanted to you know you want the marriage he wanted the kids wanted the family, the white picket fence all that stuff is that what you really wanted or what was it right so I think for me learning that lesson of you know what I am not settling. Istat. Honestly I thought there and I. wrote down everything that I needed and wanted from a partner.

00:20:01 – 00:25:09

It started off with one thing I’m and it turned into five which turned into like ten things to like fifteen things and you know it’s not just things like, oh, I want this person to look like this. It’s like what values and morals as this person Hob that I need from a partner and being able to see that down on paper. And realizing realizing that maybe that’s not what I had. You know the last. Eight years you know gave me that perspective Kate. You know what find someone that fits this fits what you want and don’t saddle and everything else will fall into place. I’m a huge believer of the universe giving you exactly what you need what you want, and I’m very spiritual. I’ve not sentence. I think changing my perspective and really believing that things happen for a reason and things that are meant for me will happen for me as long as I stay focused on what I want for myself, it will fall into place and slowly you know the pressure of it all started you know. Wilting away and it made me really believe more in myself. I get back to the whole self. Love thing. It really made me believe in myself more and what I want when I’m looking for, and that helped me in terms of changing my perspective. As women also like with jobs, right? Like we we tend to shy away from like what we need. We don’t ask for a bigger salary. We don’t ask for the things that we really deserve. So like you know, why can’t we apply that to our personal life to of asking for what we deserve asking for what we need and going after that? So. That’s where my perspective changed. You’re the second person in a couple of weeks and the other one’s a big name, a genie my from the real said the same thing that she wrote down everything she wanted in a partner after after her divorce and she feels that she thinks she used the word like genie fest did it as opposed to Manhattan? You know she’s recently engaged in found what she wanted and I’m GonNa Atalay or to that. Love the idea of writing down everything you want in a partner because I, do think it helps you kind of organize your thoughts not to necessarily make a checklist, but to understand your desires more clearly, and then my second piece of that would involve me writing down everything you bring to a relationship because I do this exercise with with groups, and in the beginning I asked them to write down. You know one thing that makes them a great partner. One thing that makes their partner A. Great Partner and one thing they do really well together and what I’ve observed is that people can very easily tell me what they do well together and what makes their partner great but there’s so reticent to say what makes themselves great and I think we need to also kind of have an inventory of how great we are and what we bring to the table and I just I love hearing your story I think it’s interesting that it’s that that same process and I do want to ask. You know you talk about giving your love giving yourself and it sounds as though to some degree you know your happiness was contingent upon making someone else happy and so I’m curious if and when you were to get into a new relationship, what might you do differently? I mean that’s a great question because I love what you said about. What can you give to another person in a relationship too I think that’s something you after a break up we also forget I’m you know what can you offer and what can you offer differently than what you had learned from your pass relationship I think for me I’m really. You know what I’m looking for in terms of a partnership in what I’m hoping to offer and give is an equal equal partnership. I think that’s so important. I think we forget to do that when we become comfortable and complacent in the relationship you know it’s always one person who is doing more than the other person the night I know I’m not alone in this. You know a lot of people go through this and I think for me the number one thing is, how can I find someone who I can? Openly communicate with who I can you know we we I always say like you need to meet someone who is just of a whole of a person you are so that you guys are not filling each other’s cops it’s really like you guys get together. You have very filled cups and you’re still working on yourselves but you complement each other I actually don’t like the term. This person completes me because I don’t think anyone should be able to complete you I, think you complete yourself and then you find someone that compliments not. Compliments, your life I’m so for me, I’m looking for really a person who? Shares. The same values and morals as me wants to seem things for the future. But the most important thing is finding someone who is always willing to grow not just in a relationship together. But I their own person I, think that is something I’ve learned really really well since this breakup happened, it’s you know not necessarily depending on someone else for your happiness, but still continuing to provide that for yourself.

00:25:10 – 00:30:02

While at the same time you know growing together in within your relationship as three different people complementing each other. If that makes sense. Yeah absolutely and I think it’s interesting that sometimes we learn about ourselves and about relationships in the disillusion of relationships and I often talk about the fact that I don’t think that the measure of success in a relationship is necessarily at sustenance or longevity. But what you know what you both take out of it so a successful relationship can, in fact, be one that ends and we see this in consensual non monogamy communities I certainly saw it in my in my parents marriage I saw. I don’t know if I’ve ever really talked about this much publicly. But you know my parents had what I call a good divorce when I was in my teen years they they split They’re very kind to one another thoughtful of one another. They still are you know my mom brought me banana bread yesterday she also brought a low from my dad like. She’s just you know she’s very thoughtful and kind and generous with him and I think he’s you know fairly appreciative of. Different personalities, but I consider it a very successful relationship and maybe maybe that’s not the perfect language. But that’s just my language because they are good to one another and they continue to enrich another’s lives in a less active but still a very meaningful and and loving way you don’t have to be together. So yeah I I yet really thank you for sharing your story. I’ve I’ve learned so much in a what really resonates with me is that piece of sitting in pain? And not not being able to distract herself not being able to run away from it but using that pain as healing to get over some of these socio culturally prescribed norms and move onto really honoring yourself. So before I let you go any last thoughts on how folks can honor themselves within the relationship or after a break up or while dating. Yeah and you know I, I mean first of all. Thank you for having me on your show I. Think this is You know this is amazing and I’m so happy I was able to share my story with your listeners going back to what you said about your parents I I actually I love that so much I think it is possible for two people who love each other to part ways and part ways in a way that’s not painful and that’s I mean it’s could still be painful, but it’s not as harsh as some breakups. Could Happen and I think that’s from being so good with yourself that you’re able to communicate with your partner, whatever it is that’s in your head and a worker that out together whether it stay together, not staying together. So I, think that’s the number. One thing is You know if you’re in a relationship right now, really make sure that your happiness is not coming from the other person coming from within yourself and make sure that your partner feels that same way too because at the end of the day if you’re both happy on your own. If you’re both you know willing to work on yourself. Your relationship is going to be that much much much stronger. So that’s you know that’s what I’m looking for. Now you know in a new relationship and and I think a lot of people forget got part. And then you know if you’re going through a break up and if you’re in the midst of it, this is your time to really get to know yourself and as painful as it is I promise you. I’m proof I’m proven I promise you you get out of that I’m, but you have to sit within that pain because that’s the only thing that’s going to be able to teach you and help you move forward. Don’t distract yourself. You know don’t find things like if you have to cry cry if you have to scream scream you know do all the things. That you need to do because guess what like I this I. Think it’s been three months now and I feel fantastic like I can authentically tell you that I feel great and I started by lying on the floor for seven hours crying. So the fact that I’m even sitting here having this podcast interview, it’s a huge huge improvement for me and that’s because. I sat in the pain for at least a month and learn from it grew from it and I’m continuing to heal and grow from it, but you become stronger every single day. So just you know this is your time to really focus inward self love antique care of yourself and really figure out what is it? That makes you happy not what someone else’s? Doing to make you happy. Thank you so much. I three months seems like such a short time. So I’ll just remind people that again like you don’t have to measure yourself against anyone else’s speed or process, but I’m so happy to hear you are where you are folks you can follow a mirror devora on instagram linking in the show notes and of course. Check out their work also with project for public relations that you rep some of Canada’s big talent in the entertainment and lifestyle industry.

00:30:02 – 00:33:52

So I’m sure people will be falling along I’m learning him you professionally Oh and also your fashion she’s the. Best dressed person as I sit here in my jogging pants and ripped t-shirt. And make sure you look and. I feel cute but I I love seeing your your picks on instagram. So thanks again for chatting with me today. Thank so much. You know a MIRA’s insights and process really reflects ole all of the advice your you’ll hear from experts you know she talked about seeing a therapist and opening up using journaling to reduce anxiety using movement going for walks in nature looking at self development learning from podcasts and books spending time with friends seeking joy in things that perhaps she didn’t make the time for when her time was more dedicated to the relationship. So she mentioned interior design and online dance classes. Being creative she mentioned cooking and getting exercise, and so this is quite a list of things that she’s integrated into her life But what really stands out for me is the sitting in the pain. And I think dominant ideas with regard to self care especially after a break-up. They tend to focus on being positive and socializing as a form of destruction and trying new things. Post break-up an all of those things of course can be helpful. But what we often miss relates to the less shiny emotions, right the sadness loneliness sense of loss grief. And instead of pretending to be happy and forcing yourself to be upbeat right away to distract yourself. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with a break-up or another type of loss, really encourage you to consider leaning into the negative negative emotions allowing yourself to be sad for a period of time if that’s what you’re feeling because you’re more likely to reach acceptance because when we think about grief and loss, we think about that DAB dubbed process with acceptance being that last Asian of course is not linear, but you’re more likely to get to this acceptance and overcome. Or work through feeling if you acknowledge it and you know ignoring feelings of course, we’ll do nothing to eradicate them and we do have research showing that dwelling on a break-up can actually help you to get over the breakup more effectively. So don’t feel guilty don’t feel ashamed don’t be hard on yourself if you’re not back to your. You know happy joyful south, and of course. I. Say this all the time that nothing is linear. There’s going they’re always going to be these ups and downs so Whether you’re dealing with a break-up or a loss of a friend or the growth associated with change the loss of a job or any loss or pain that maybe arises from just setting boundaries in your life. I hope you give yourself time in permission to feel what you’re feeling because that’s how you work through it. It’s really about working through and feeling what you’re feeling as opposed to getting. Over it or ignoring or denying the experience. So wherever you’re at and wish you all the best with all of your feelings, the good the bad and the ugly thanks for being here today if you like what you hear, please subscribe share feel free to write us a review to and I hope Amira Story Really, resonates with you in some way wherever you’re at have a great one. You’re listening to the sex with Dr Jazz podcast, improve your sex life, improve your life.