11/04/2011 12:54 EDT | Updated 01/04/2012 05:12 EST

After a Breakup, the Home Is Where the Heart Is

After a breakup, you realize that on top of losing your romantic partner, you lose many other aspects of your life as well. Topping the list: community, family, companionship, security, stability, and the hardest one of them all -- your sense of home.

It's a scary feeling facing these losses when you've invested your energy and heart in creating these parts of your life with another person. Sometimes as a result of integrating two lives in a relationship, you lose some of your own individuality. So when the two of you detach from each other, it feels like parts of your being have been ripped apart. It feels like a large part of you is missing and suddenly, it's as if you are no longer whole.

These moments feel terribly painful. But, remember, there was once a 'you' before you became a 'we.' You'll recall that there was a time where you were fully whole -- without anyone completing you. There was once a time that you created community, family, stability, and security all on your own. That you is still there. It may have leaned on the energy of another for a while, but that strength and independence is still within you. It always has been.

I'm learning to regain my sense of self, my identity, as a single person. An exercise that has helped me, is listing everything I felt I 'lost' after the breakup. Then, for each loss, I've determined different ways to regain that part back again, through my own means. For example, loss of community was a major casualty of my breakup. Thus, some action items for me to regain that community include increasing the amount of time spent with good friends, volunteering and spending more time with family. The missing still remains a backdrop, as it will for a while. But slowly I'll regain these areas back again. And in the process I'm realizing the control I have over the creation of my life moving forward.

It's been tough -- since I've realized how much of my life and energy I poured into the notion of 'us.' But my hope is that as I slowly rebuild, I will build my strength and find myself again. And then, someday, one day, I will be in a healthy state to finally meet another love again. And when I do, that person will not complete me. He will not make me. But he will add to the strong foundation I have already built. He will add to my life, not become it.

The road of healing is painful and sometimes I find myself in a very dark place. But I'm discovering that as shaken as I may be, my strength, my resilience, my self-worth and love are all within me. I may have lost my way for a while. But I'm finding my way home again. Slowly, but surely.