Relationships

What to do After a Breakup: Relationship Autopsy

My most recent relationship which lasted about six months ended in October. It was one of those endings that felt impending for a while because something just didn’t feel right, but it’s disappointing regardless. At the end of a relationship it’s so easy to start wondering what’s wrong with me, or victimize myself or turn my ex-boyfriend into an antagonist or “bad guy”, but those things are rarely helpful. Do any of us really know what to do after a breakup? I didn’t want to fall into the same traps of self-pity parties or the blaming game or even diving straight back into the dating apps— so instead dove deep into a “relationship autopsy” to figure out what happened, my role in it, and what I could do next time to make sure I don’t find myself in the same situation.

What to do After a Breakup: Relationship Autopsy

A relationship autopsy is a perfect practice for those of us who don’t know what to do after a breakup or find ourselves seemingly in the same relationship or situation over and over again.

You know the ones– for some reason I always end up being the person who ends up giving more than my partner, or I keep dating the wrong types of people who makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me, or sometimes I end up dating cheaters or liars or users over and over again.

The relationship autopsy is tool, used and perfected by author, lawyer and inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant, designed to help people to get off the carousel and answers the question of what to do after a breakup.

In her YouTube video she walks through the steps of how to do a relationship autopsy after a breakup. She describes the autopsy as something to do once a relationship is over or something to do as it seems the relationship is heading in that direction.

A relationship autopsy helps us understand the ins and outs of a relationship, why it ended, what went wrong, and what our role was in it ending.

Side note about Iyanla: she’s fucking fabulous.

I want her to be my aunt. I’m not sure if she was the original creator of the idea of a “relationship autopsy” but her video is the one I found to be most helpful. She’s straight to the point, no bullshit, a little kooky, and absolutely love-able, heart warming and comforting. I love her and am thankful to my friend for introducing her work to me. 

How to do a Relationship Autopsy

Anyway. Back to what to do after a breakup.

The relationship autopsy is a tool to answer the question: “What happened?” It’s a set of questions, some of which are simple three word answers and some of which are a bit complicated. By diving deep into some of the questions the relationship autopsy poses, inevitable learning happens through it, such as identifying what you want out of a relationship, and what you don’t want out of a relationship. 

Why Clo Bare did a Relationship Autopsy

I did the autopsy because I don’t want to continue making the same mistakes in the next relationship I enter; because I want to move on from this successfully; and because I realized that the relationship which just ended mirrored so many of the relationships I’ve had previously.

So I decided, why the fuck not. I want to learn and I want to have better relationships in the future. I refuse to allow my past to create my future, so let’s go.

For more about my past and how I tackled it head on visit “What to do When Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You.”

Let’s do a relationship autopsy. Let’s figure out how I found myself in this situation again, and let’s see if I really do know everything there is to know about why I do things so that I can successfully move forward in a self-aware and confident way. 

Going into it, I felt cocky, like I already knew my answers. But actually taking an hour to intentionally think about and work through the demise of my relationship as well as investigate my role in its ending ended up being pretty helpful. I learned a few things I thought I already knew, and I noticed some growth edges I might want to work on in the future.

So, without further ado, my relationship autopsy. As a note, I wrote this back in October when the relationship ended and am only now publishing in January. At the end, I’ll describe how the experience of reading this autopsy was after a few months of space, healing and development.

Let’s get into the gnarly grit of it and work out where my autopsy might’ve been a little clouded in that fresh breakup angsty goo at the end.

What to Do After a Breakup: Clo Bare’s Relationship Autopsy

1. How do I feel now? 

Today I felt like shit. I felt angry and sad and upset by how deep this rejection feels. I kept thinking about how such a small conversation negated so many good times I thought we had. My mind kept stalling on the thought of how it was for him to toss me away– how replaceable and disposable I am.

But tonight, I feel good. I feel good that time is now totally and completely mine again rather than spending nights in an anxious thought loop, wondering what that “just isn’t right” feeling means and what I can do about it. Waiting on texts and calls and plans that never materialize. I won’t ever have to worry again about him texting me or wonder how he feels or wonder how I feel.

I’m done and that feels like a huge weight off.

Read more about Clo Bare’s anxious thought loops in “How to Start Dating Again.”

Ultimately, it wasn’t ever going to work out.

I don’t believe in the idea that there’s only one one, but he wasn’t an option long-term. I gave him a second shot and he quickly showed me how little he valued me.

But. I did learn that I was right about him from the beginning.

That’s good that my internal judgement or gut or whatever you want to call it is tuned accurately to recognize people from the beginning. I knew even before I met him that he seemed to be a self-centered and not super deep person, but he was cute and charming and I didn’t mind at first. I decided to push it under the rug because I liked spending time with him and it was fun. 

But I guess I’m glad it ended. He was only interested in a relationship that catered to his needs and existed on his clock. I want more than a relationship that is okay and I want to be with someone who sees me as something more than just a weekly obligation. 

2. What three words best describe how you feel about the current status f your relationship?

Sad

Angry

Disappointed

Relationship autopsy quote: if you feel like a weekly obligation to the person you're dating, it's not the right relationship for either of you.

3. What three words best describe how you feel about the other person?

Longing

Annoyed

Unappreciated

4. What three words best describes your past experience and your future vision for the past relationship?

Hard– it never felt right

Fun– we had some really great times

Simple– not a deep relationship, very surface level

5. What three words best describe the nature of your last communication with the former partner?

I have too many words for this one:

Impossible/forced

Uneven/one-sided

Upsetting

Cold

6. What three words best describe how you felt during the last communication with the former partner?

Resigned/Surrendered

Annoyed

Angry

7. What three words best describe how you feel about that communication today?

Pissed off

Disappointed

Surprised

8. Did you share the truth about how you were feeling during the communication?

Yes. I told him I felt like I wasn’t a priority. That him not wanting to see me again was a perfect example of how often I put him first and he’d cast me aside unless it was convenient for him. 

9. Describe what you believe happened to cause the final breakdown in your relationship?

The more I noticed the one-sidedness of the relationship, the more anxious and fed up I got and the more withdrawn he became. When he prepared to leave for Europe, our communication almost completely halted, but I kept trying to continue it.

He ghosted me for ten days and I realized during that time I was done. When he came home he said he’d forgotten his phone, so I decided to give him another chance because he made it seem like he wanted to give us a shot for real, but five days later we ended officially when he realized he couldn’t give me what I needed, ie, an equal partnership.

This isn’t really why we ended though– we ended because the relationship has been uneven from the beginning. The ball has always been in his court, and I let it happen. I’m tired of coming last as I continue to give 120%, and that’s not something I can change. It’s been this way the entire six months of our relationship, but I only recently started seeing it.

Read more about Clo Bare’s experience with Dating Anxiety.

10. How does it make me feel now? This experience?

Honestly, it makes me sad that it happened this way. But it does make me confident that I’m standing up for myself and what I think I deserve. I know I made the right choice.

Based on what he’s shown me, he won’t be enough for me. I can’t be with someone who is self-absorbed and unable or unwilling to put forth an effort in our relationship.

My needs are important and I can’t be with someone who doesn’t care even the slightest about what it is I need. I also just feel confident that I was right from the beginning. I recognized his character from the beginning but made a conscious decision to give him the benefit of the doubt.

This experience makes me realize I need to trust that. I need to trust how I feel from the very beginning because my gut is usually right. 

woman looking left and thinking about how to get over a break up in 60 minutes: dealing with the hurt through a relationship autopsy

11. What went wrong in the relationship over the long haul?

I didn’t tell him how I felt until the end of our relationship so I let the behavior normalize in our relationship. I let him tell me over and over again how I felt about the relationship, and by doing that I invalidated my own feelings and replaced them with how he felt. He was always content with how things were, and that made me feel crazy for being even a little bit anxious about our relationship.

But my feelings were valid.

I should’ve listened to those feelings and made my needs clearer from the beginning so we could’ve come to this conclusion, this ending, faster at the very least.

Couldn’t I have said– I want you to ask me what you can bring to dinner? I want you to offer to cook sometimes. Can’t you make plans with me more than just a few days in advance? Why don’t you ask about me? Why don’t you give a shit about what I give a shit about? I want you to give, even if just a little. 

But I didn’t.

I just kept giving and wishing things would change, while he kept taking and I kept giving.

And you know what else?

I think I tried to hard too force the relationship that wasn’t meant to go anywhere. I wish I had bowed out when he wasn’t sure what to call our relationship when it was so clear to me that we were exclusively boyfriend and girlfriend.

That red flag is something I should’ve taken at face value and honored the feeling that– this is not how this should feel. This is not how this should be.

But instead, I tried to force it on us because I wanted so badly for it to be what we were.

Why do I still do that? After everything I know and have figured out? Perhaps it’s because it felt like a healthier relationship than I’ve been in before so I felt the need to make it work.

But forcing commitment where there isn’t is never the way to go.

Next time I’ll know that if a man is hesitant about me from the beginning, I’ll take it as a sign for me to get the fuck out. 

Read more about how fear of abandonment caused Clo Bare to reach outside herself for security.

12. How do I feel about myself as a result?

I feel like I need to constantly re-root myself in who I am and what I need. So often with him I found myself in two extremes shrinking or over-inflating, but I don’t want to be with someone who sparks that in me. Although I do know part of it has to come from within, probably the bulk of it.

Ultimately, it’s time to really, friggin’ trust myself and how I feel because my feelings are so goddamn valid. I was not making things up just to be anxious like he liked to make me believe– my anxiety showed up to tell me THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP FOR YOU. ACT NOW.

13. How do I feel about my ex?

I feel like he was hiding something from me. Whether another relationship or something else. I know he likely isn’t but that’s the feeling in this moment.

I do think he’s a good guy, a simple guy– but we aren’t actually compatible despite all the ways I thought we worked. Based on my experience with him, he’s the type of guy who when in a relationship will always expect to come first, have things catered to him, and only worry about his own life, needs, wants. He almost completely and totally lacked empathy, even in the times Ii needed it most.

But likely that’s too much of a blanket statement and behaviors reflected a deeper lack of interest to do those things for me, specifically.

There was clearly dissonance between what he thought he wanted and what he actually might want or need. He’d tell me constantly that I was everything he’d ever wanted– that it was hard for him to accept because it was so totally different from relationships he’d been in before. But I think it might’ve been like one of those scenarios where you think you know exactly what you want, and when presented with it– you realize that’s not what you want after all. Like a novelty that lost its shine. 

14. What role did I play in the ending of the relationship?

I think I kind of covered it. I didn’t tell him how I felt. Over and over again I let him invalidate my feelings instead of trusting my own. I continued the pattern of unequal giving, and I ignored my gut trying to convince me something was off. 

The thing is, I kept thinking I was thinking with my trauma brain instead of my rational brain, but you know what?

I don’t think with my trauma brain anymore.

I’ve worked through my trauma and now I’m aware of how I feel and why I feel what I do. I don’t have to question how I feel anymore, and you know what else? I’ve done so goddamn much work on myself, unparalleled to anyone I’ve ever dated. These men I’ve been with– not one of them has put in even half the effort to know and understand himself in the same way that I’ve put in the effort to know and understand myself. If anyone should be questioning their feelings and thoughts, it sure as shit shouldn’t be me. 

I also forced something that wasn’t right. Why? I don’t friggin’ know. Because there’s still a part of me that thinks I need to work hard for someone’s love. Like if I work hard enough someone will love me. That’s not how it should go. I shouldn’t have to force a label or force a commitment with the right person. When it’s with the right person, those things will be so easy it’d be nonsensical to dispute what we are and how we label ourselves. 

We broke up... now what? dealing with the hurt with a relationship autopsy

15. What worked for me in the relationship?

A lot of things actually, and I think that’s why this breakup is a little bit tough on me. His presence was oddly calming, and when I needed to be reassured he’d offer it up even though he was also the source of my anxiety many times. When we’d make plans, he’d stick to them. It was fun and easy when we were together– we never ran out of things to talk to and we simply enjoyed spending time with each other whether cooking, playing games or just talking.

I liked being around him. Being with him felt really good.

I liked that we are both frugal and didn’t need fancy things. I liked that we could talk about money and careers and it was never weird– it was always supportive and exciting. He wasn’t intimidated by all I do and how much I’ve advanced in my career in a short period of time. I liked that he talked a lot and he was simple without being simpleminded.

Also, he was just a nice person. I liked that he was friendly and kind and easy to be around.

16. What didn’t work for me in the relationship? 

He never fully opened up to me. I supposed that was my expectation– you know, I opened up and became vulnerable (I think) so I suppose my expectation was he’d do the same. But expectations aren’t reality, and yet I hung on to those expectations too hard. It never happened– he never really opened up.

And that’s probably a big indication that I wasn’t someone he wanted to open up to and be vulnerable with because something was missing. Because of it, there was always this disconnect for me. Like we had such a great time and I wanted to connect in a deeper way– but I just kept running into a wall when I tried.

Little things weren’t working for me too.

He talked about his ex’s all the damn time, telling me stories over and over again about his “crazy” ex’s. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about the inner workings of his last relationships and I should’ve known that was a warning sign from the beginning. 

I noticed a lot of subtle slut shaming and misogynistic comments– like asking me how many men I’ve slept with, joking that a man who inappropriately and randomly sent me $100 while we were dating was just paying for “services rendered”, not wanting to discuss women’s rights (or any marginalized community’s) politics, and sending me misogynistic memes he found on the internet. He’d make comments about how I’m not like other women he’s met, and seemed to identify women as a lesser class of human.

When I’d call him out for it, he’d overcorrect and so I never let it be a deal breaker because I thought he was just miscommunicating.  

Read more about Clo Bare’s Deal Breakers.

He invalidated my feelings and gaslighted me constantly.

“It’s all in your head”, he’d say after I told him I felt like we weren’t connecting. “It’s not about you” he’d say when I’d tell him about how I felt like he was pulling away. “You’re making it up” he’d lament when I’d call him out for something I found disrespectful.

And I believed him, and chalked it up to my trauma brain.

He had good intentions. But I gave him the opportunity to tell him how I felt instead of trusting my own damn feelings so this unintentional gaslighting occurred.

But he also put forth no effort.

Sometimes not even the bare minimum. Even as I look at the list of things that were working for me– those things are the bare minimum. I think it’s because I’ve dated so many crap guys that those things felt amazing, instead of recognizing that those things should actually be the baseline for any future relationship.

Read more about Clo Bare’s past relationships in 13 Ways the Gaslighters, Cheats and Liars Show You Who They Are.

I’d cook for him all the time, and never once would he offer to bring something over. He’d never make plans in advance and if I tried, he’d tell me he’d get back to me after he checked his nonexistent calendar. He had no issue putting me out extra money if it meant he could spend less, even if I had to spend three times more. When we bought luggage for Mexico, we had thought it’d only be $50 per person, and when it ended up being $100 per person, he told me he’d only anticipated spending $50.

So you know what I did? I paid $150 so he would only have to pay $50 even though I had already paid for 80% of the entire trip. He then immediately went and spent almost $600 on Away luggage for the trip.

Not to get on a rant of all the things he did wrong. But, while we’re at it:

Stop letting other people dictate how you should feel. You are the world's leading expert on you.

Everything was about him.

Everything. Every conversation was an opportunity to talk about himself. Any time I talked he’d find a way to bring up one of his own experiences. If it wasn’t about him, he didn’t give a shit. He wasn’t super deep and only wanted to discuss surface level everything, and he wasn’t creative.

This relationship has made me realize that maybe I need someone creative because I think creative minded people think a like.

I feel like with creative people, non-creative people see us as unicorns and are interested in the beginning because we’re such a novelty to those who aren’t creative. So things are fun and shiny at the start of the new relationship, but novelties wear off \ their newness and then we just become different.

I don’t want to be a novelty– I want to be understood. And I don’t think he would have ever had the capacity to understand me beyond the surface level even if he appreciated me at times.

17. What characteristics demonstrated by him had a lasting negative impact on me to this day?

Self-centered

Negative

Victim mindset

Shallow

Selfish

Bad communicator

Afraid

Non-introspective

18. What character traits demonstrated by me have created a lasting negative impact on your partner to this day?

Selectively insecure

Anxious

Bossy

Pushy

Controlling

Anal

Type A

19. What do you think needs to happen in order for this relationship to be healed?

For me, I need to recognize that it was wrong and there’s nothing that can change that. He wasn’t going to wake up someday and suddenly want to give a shit. He was never going to decide– today’s the day I’m going to be what Chloe needs.

It wasn’t right for either of us. Is that healing?

I think I need to let go of my anger at feeling rejected. I feel rejected that he didn’t care about me or try in the same way that I did.

And that’s what makes me feel mad. But feeling mad, while it’s okay and makes sense and is totally allowed– it’s not exactly healing.

As of writing this, we broke up a week ago and I still feel really friggin’ mad with how easy I was for him to toss away. 

But…

But, him not being able to recognize my value does not take away from my value.

Him not wanting to be what I needed has nothing to do with my worthiness.

Us being incompatible in what we need has nothing to do with whether or not I’m lovable.

We were a relationship with an expiration date and we ran our course, and that’s okay.

Doesn’t really matter if he had another relationship on the side.

Truly isn’t important that he never stepped up like he said he would.

Because what happened in this relationship was what was supposed to happen– it ended.

20. What could you have done, if anything, to save or heal the relationship?

Honestly? I did so friggin’ much to try and keep the relationship alive, I don’t think there’s anything I could’ve done except step back and stop trying. Maybe that’s the issue– maybe I shouldn’t have been doing so much. Maybe I should’ve backed off and let the relationship live or die without me trying to control so much.

If I could do it over again, we wouldn’t have become exclusive until exclusivity meant the same thing to both of us. We would’ve had the hard conversations before we decided what we are and what that meant to us.

Let’s talk about Exclusivity

When we became exclusive, to me that meant commitment, but to him, I’m really not sure what he it meant. I tried to talk to him about it, but talking to him about it was like trying to draw blood from a stone.

He shut down. He said he didn’t know, and I gave up and trusted that he was figuring it out on his own time.

If I could do it again,  I would have told him sooner how I felt taken-advantage of, and I would have never forced anything. I don’t want to force a relationship. I do not want the pressure of a societal timeline to drive a relationship artificially.  And I would’ve left when I realized he didn’t want to label our relationship when I thought we’d already done it after our exclusivity conversation. 

I would’ve listened to how I felt and allowed myself to act on those feelings rather than let him invalidate them or tell me how I was supposed to feel.

Stop letting your hopes of what could be or should be get in the way of acknowledging and accepting what is. Accept what is so you can make the change you need within yourself.

21. What are you willing to do now to bring healing to this relationship?

There is no healing of this relationship. There is nothing left to do. It is dead and over. What I am willing to do for myself in the healing of myself toward this relationship, is to let the anger I feel towards him go and recognize the relationship for what it was and what it wasn’t. 

It was fun and good for a little while.

It wasn’t a committed relationship and it didn’t have legs for the long-term.

22. What are you not willing to do?

Talk to him. Try again. 

23. What would be the benefit of having that relationship in your life?

I wouldn’t have to get back on the apps and try dating again. I’d be able to keep the fun and good parts around. The good sex, the fun dates, the nice conversation and the light heartedness of being together. I wouldn’t have to miss it and I wouldn’t have to spend the holidays alone or go to a wedding alone or go to my company holiday party alone.

Although, in truth, I’d probably still have to go alone based off the pattern of the relationship. He wouldn’t show up. He wouldn’t be available or wouldn’t want to come and I’d have a worse off experience than if I’d just shown up alone. 

24. What has been the benefit of ending it?

I no longer have to kid myself that this relationship was something it wasn’t. He was never going to show up for me, and I kept waiting for it to happen. In my head, a change was going to occur and that’s just not reality. 

I have a new, revived confidence and strength within myself. I trust myself more and my anxiety has been cut in half. And I get to be open to a relationship that’s actually a right fit for me while no longer wasting time with someone who was never going to be what I believed him to be in my head.

25. What are your behavior patterns?

Oh man. I have a whole series on this:

Giving too much

Not saying how I really feel

Letting it boil over

Asking someone to tell me how I feel or validate my feelings

Asking someone to give me security

Forcing something that isn’t working

Not having clearly defined boundaries.

Expecting things to change.

To name a few.

26. What patterns do I allow?

Someone taking advantage of my niceness.

Allowing my feelings to be invalidated.

Letting people cross my boundaries.

Not demanding what it is I believe I deserve.
Giving away my power to decide how I feel and act accordingly.

27. How do they kill a relationship? 

These issues boil an anger inside of me until I let it explode. I create a pattern of giving too much without reciprocal expectations, and people get used to it. It’s not sustainable or healthy or what I want so I kill the relationship. 

I allow people to make me less of a priority and it infuriates me. 

I might have too many expectations, which I imagine would be difficult to date. In my head there’s all these ideas on what should happen or how someone should act. I need to shake those out of my brain and instead focus on what is. Accept the scenario for what is rather than ruminating on what I think should be. Because ultimately “should” doesn’t exist, all that exists is what people actually do. That kills a relationship with the same kind of anger that comes from feeling taken advantage of or feeling like I give too much.

28. How does the pattern begin?

It begins with me performing desirability. I try to make people like me, even if it means smooshing down parts of myself that I love. And then it continues by me not being my authentic self in order to gain and maintain love. From there it normalizes and continues.

29. How do you engage the pattern?

I make excuses for it and keep trucking along. I get mad and let it simmer in the background until I pop. The expectations? I think in a world of “Shoulds” that don’t exist and I don’t allow myself to accept what’s in front of me. The reality of the situation always seems like something that can be repaired or changed, which is a great way to keep me hoping and expecting more to magically happen.

30. What does this pattern have to do with the other party? 

I usually date people I think I have to earn love from. Like they’re somehow better than me and in order to win their affection I have to perform desirability and change who I am. Their affection feels like a prize and I work hard to win it. It’s part of that achiever part of me, which I talk about in my Enneagram post and my dating the wrong men post, and my savior complex post. Clearly a pervasive part of my life.

It’s not really all that reflective of them though is it? It’s more reflective of my own insecurities and projections. Cause if I loved myself even more, even the parts of myself I generally don’t like– would I allow for the imbalance I describe in this post? Would someone even be able to make me feel a certain type of insecure if my love for myself were immovable?

Probably not.

People can’t actually make me feel insecure if I really fucking love myself and feel uber confident in my self and worth.

Damn it. Hi, growth edge.

31. What forgiveness do you choose to offer yourself?

I forgive myself for finding myself in this situation, again. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to my gut and I forgive myself for trying to make it work. This time around, I did my best and learned a lot and for that, I’m glad it happened. But I forgive myself for wanting it to work, trying to force it and being disappointed when it didn’t work out.

32. What forgiveness do you have to offer him?

I forgive him for leading me on. Part of him believed he was actually invested in this relationship, but clearly a larger part of him wasn’t. I forgive him for trying to force it too and I forgive him for taking advantage of me. I’m sorry for not being totally authentic in how I felt, and I forgive him for not loving who I was but instead liking what I did for him. 

Stop waiting for someone to change when you have absolutely no reason to believe they ever would.

What did I learn from this?

Oooff. It’s hard to go back and read what I wrote in October. It’s definitely cringe-y and filled with so much angst. Part of me wanted to just put the blame on him and call it a day– label him as a d-bag and move on but first scathingly nailing him to a cross in my writing.

I was clearly very angry and trying to find meaning in the break up but ultimately what happened was: two incompatible people decided to admit that they were indeed incompatible.

All the other stuff? The ghosting, the anxiety, the feeling unappreciated and mad that he wasn’t giving me what I wanted?

Those were all just symptoms of being in the wrong relationship with the wrong person.

In question nine, I blame the relationship ending on him not being what I needed: “This isn’t really why we ended though– we ended because the relationship has been uneven from the beginning. The ball has always been in his court, and I let it happen. I’m tired of coming last as I continue to give 120%, and that’s not something I can change. It’s been this way the entire six months of our relationship, but I only recently started seeing it.”

But that’s not actually not actually the reason the relationship ended at all. It ended because we just weren’t totally right together.

The reason he didn’t want to give the relationship 100% is because there was something missing.

Again– his lack of participation was just a symptom of us not being in the right relationship, whether we saw it that way or not at the time.

Power Plays

I also think it’s interesting how my perspective in this autopsy is very much focused on a power imbalance between my ex and I. That’s not a super healthy way of approaching a relationship. There shouldn’t be this insecure need to assert power or be the one in control simply for the sake of control.

Instead there should be open communication, vulnerability, collaboration and an equal desire to connect and share. This whole power play thing is something I want to avoid in the future, knowing that if I feel that odd imbalance that sparks a power war within me, there’s likely something misaligned.

Ultimately, that’s work I need to do on myself– not blame people for making me feel a certain way. That kind of power play comes from a place of insecurity, so I think working on self-love on those trigger points will help massage out those mental kinks for myself.

Get over your heartbreak in 60 minutes or less

Was it healing?

Yes– I think so. I feel smarter and wiser now and much more confident in myself. I think it is healing to tackle and write out your anger, trying to get to the seed to understand why you’re still doing what you do and feeling how you feel.

It was honestly more beneficial going back three months later to see what I’d wrote and see how much growth I needed and I’ve done just since writing this.

Good news: I’m not mad anymore. I’m grateful for the time we spent together and I appreciate that we had a pretty healthy short term relationship filled with lots of fun.

Why am I sharing this?

You’re probably wondering why I’m sharing this. It’s pretty terrible– the way I deflect acknowledging the real reason the relationship ended and instead focus my energy on talking about all the ways in which he wasn’t the right person for me.

I thought about not posting this because in truth, it’s kind of embarrassing. It’s opening myself up to be slaughtered on the interwebs for going on a self-indulgent tangent about my ex while owning nothing and yadayada yada.

Well, first off– fuck that. Troll away.

Secondly, this blog is about growth. Including the embarrassing things I do in order to eventually grow. This autopsy was part of that process and it did help me grow. It’s sticky and gross and kind of messy– but that’s how growth looks sometimes.

The important thing about the autopsy is that it HELPED at the time. It helped me see what I needed to do in order to heal. I also let myself feel the feels and didn’t shove them up under the rug and pretend I was fine with the way our relationship ended. I wasn’t– and you know what?

That. Is. Progress.

Feeling the feels and allowing myself to process them? That is progress from just avoiding them and letting them come out in other ways.

This blog is the anti-highlight reel which means it includes even the truths that I’m not proud of. I don’t want Clo Bare readers to think I land it right every time. It’s a process. I didn’t land it totally right this time– there were no clean actions or steps to get to healing, and that’s totally fucking okay.

I did the messy work, learned a few new things, and used the autopsy for a catalyst to recognize my own bullshit, and move on.

That, my friends, is growth, with all its hairy scares and slimy glory.


Want more? I dove deeper into the analysis in a YouTube video! Check it out for more thoughts on the relationship autopsy in the Relationship Autopsy & Growth YouTube episode.

Curious to see more in the day to day of Clo Bare? Follow me on Instagram @clo_bare for daily insights, growth tips, direct connection to me and unflattering angles of my chin.

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Relationship Autopsy: What to Do After a Breakup
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Relationship Autopsy: What to Do After a Breakup
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What do you do after a breakup? A relationship autopsy. A relationship autopsy poses important questions to help understand why your relationship ended and how to heal from it. Clo Bare shares her recent relationship autopsy and analyzes the ways she's grown since writing it.
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Clo Bare
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