Your partner walks out on you and into the arms of someone else. What are you going to do? Live in the past or move on?

Your partner walks out on you and into the arms of someone else.

What are you going to do?

Live in the past or move on?


A beloved friend has been married for around 15 years. That’s about double the length of time of an average marriage in the UK.

Her husband met another woman (no, not a younger woman) and after months of secret contact and secret Skypes  he left his loving wife for the new woman in his life.

The breakup was very painful for my friend who said she felt the emotional pain at one point “had brought her to her knees.”

It is obvious to state that the end of an event marks the start of a new one. We cannot really  start something new without making a change with regard to the old.

There is a process of moving on from the old. That may require a purposeful intention otherwise the breakup of a marriage or relationship can result in becoming a prisoner to the past, emotionally handicapped in the present and unable to see a vision to the future.

If you have spent years, if not decades, living with another, you can find the experience of living alone extremely traumatic. Some of us love our own company. We have actively sought out solitude and made it a feature of our lifestyle. We know the difference in our feelings between love of aloneness, as much as any solitary Buddhist monk  happy in his cave, and feelings of loneliness.

A dear friend nearby told me yesterday he had a wonderful Christmas. He had a very quiet day and didn’t speak to a single soul. He is happy to be with others and happy to be with himself.

That is often a minority view.

There are some real blessings about NOT being in a relationship. After some natural sadness over loss and separation, the recognition of the blessings need to start to emerge. The Buddha emphasised the important of intention and resolution in such matters rather than waiting and waiting for change of feelings and mood to happen. You can live in the past for years this way.

Some of the blessings of being single include (alphabetical order) our capacity to:

1.      Adapt one’s home to one’s wishes – aesthetics, diet, sleep times, books, TV programmes. 

2.      Clear out the past at home or create a new home and inwardly move on from inner and outer stuff belonging to the partner who has left. 

3.      Consider to downsize for a simpler and more sustainable way of life

  • 4.      Develop skills for heart, mind and body
  • 5.      Draw up a list of things you want to do and are now possible.
  • 6.      Explore in new ways the Dharma of teachings and practices for awakening.
  • 7.      Feel fully empowered to make one’s own decisions or with supportive friends. 


  • 8.      Invite friends around for evening meals and events at home. 


  • 9.      Opportunity to explore creative possibilities in numerous areas of one’s life – home location, travel, personal retreat, social contacts

10.  Rent out home, if possible, as holiday let and use money for travelling.

11.  Visit family and friends  

12.  Finally, after exhausting the shadows of the past, you might consider developing a new relationship, if possible.

One day, your thinking might change to the opposite. One day, you might be thinking.

“Wonderful. I have got my life back. I am now exploring a liberated way of life.”

My friend emailed me this month: “I have largely moved on now. There is joy and happiness back in my stride.

“My heart has remained open through the fire of life’s fierce embrace. 

“I’m still adjusting to my new status as a single person and not being in a committed relationship.  A new freedom.”





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