Excerpt from Susan J. Elliott’s
Getting Past Your Breakup

When I’ve asked my clients, seminar students, and my blog readers what is the single most helpful thing I’ve said to them, “Love is an action” is in the top three on most lists.  It’s what you do, not what you say.

The other thing that is important, they say, is the distinction that good relationships make your life larger instead of smaller. Destructive love affairs make your life smaller because you lose important things such as sleep, family, friends, material objects, money, and time at work. You also lose self-respect, self-esteem, and your ability to think clearly and independently. But that is not what love is or love does. Dysfunctional relationships are not about love; they are about trying to win over the struggles of the past….

Real love doesn’t make you worry, wait, and wonder what will happen. In dysfunctional and destructive relationships, you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. When you are unhealthy, that uneasiness captures your attention. As long as your attention is captured, you are not thinking about leaving or making your life better. Instead, you are always focused on your dysfunctional mate. It is hard to find the energy to leave while you are constantly embroiled in arguing or dysfunction….This is damaging and narrowing, where love should be self-enlarging. If you find yourself in these situations, it is time to assess and get out.

Susan J. Elliott, Getting Past Your Breakup: How To Turn a Devastating Loss Into The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You. Cambridge: De Capo Press, 2009. 196-198.