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The Short Version: Susan McCord is the voice and expertise behind Dear Sybersue, the online hub for men and women going through breakups. Dear Sybersue is a Certified Coach, published author, and relationship advice show host. Susan talked to us about the issues she frequently observes when people end a relationship and what they can do to make the process a little easier. By taking accountability and learning from unpleasant relationship experiences, people dealing with the end of a relationship can transform into better daters – and become versions of themselves.
I remember watching romantic comedies as a preteen and feeling that everybody was quite dramatic. I assumed, as many 12-year-olds might, that these movies overdramatized the moving parts of breakups. I figured that a breakup was probably unpleasant, but I was unconvinced it would ever compel someone to sob inconsolably in the bathtub while guzzling wine.
It turns out that breakups are often just that devastating, and crying in the bathtub isn’t that far off from what feels appropriate while processing the end of a relationship. As much as breakups suck, there’s often self-improvement and growth waiting on the other side of heartbreak.
As long as you can get through it. Many people who have experienced a recent breakup need extra advice and support to navigate this difficult time in their lives. People who are at the end of a long-term relationship usually need even more support as they adjust to the logistics of a breakup.
Seeking the advice of a professional is a helpful avenue to explore whether you’re struggling to come to terms with an unhealthy relationship or looking to gain back confidence after losing who you thought was The One. Breakup experts can help you understand past relationship patterns and process the storm of emotions that come with the split.
Susan McCord, otherwise known as Dear Sybersue, helps men and women going through breakups every day. She takes a no-nonsense approach that helps people take accountability for their past relationships and forge a future full of the kind of love they have been looking for, all within an easily accessible online platform.
“When you’re stuck in a place of repetition, it’s always helpful to talk to somebody about it,” Susan said. “Repetitive thinking can happen when we go through a breakup. It’s always good to get other valuable information and not just rely on your own, because sometimes we choose things because of our past experiences instead of something that may serve us better.”
Susan talks to many people fresh out of a relationship and in the thick of the early stages of a breakup. “The first thing that I find, with men and women, is there’s a little bit of a jaded attitude that comes from the end of a relationship,” she said. “They regret their decision to go out with the person they did because they’ve been so hurt, and it’s painful.”
It’s normal to hold some regrets at the end of a relationship, but Susan urges people to reevaluate why they’re feeling regretful. “I never want people to regret experiences in life. You have to take some accountability for the relationships you’ve been in,” she said. “A lot of people want to play the blame game, but you can only move on once you’ve faced your shortcomings.”
When people take accountability for their part in past relationships and identify areas for improvement in future ones, healing can begin. Susan said that breakups give rise to unpleasant emotions, and many of these feelings happen because breakups often signal some kind of rejection.
And rejection is tough.
“That feeling of rejection makes breakups really difficult for people,” Susan said. “We all have a little bit of ego, and when our ego is bruised, we can’t operate at our fullest. It also makes it difficult to move on.”
Susan said that when people can accept their past relationships and experiences and not allow their egos to control them, they can begin to rebuild after the end of a relationship.
Susan said healing from a breakup is a process of baby steps. “Each small part of coming to terms with a breakup makes a stepping stone on the path to moving on,” she said. “Each stepping stone makes it easier to move on and understand why you’re not supposed to be with this person.”
Susan said she believes that what will be, will be. “I always say, if it was meant to be, the universe wouldn’t make it so tough for you,” she explained. “But it’s tough to learn the lessons, sometimes.” Breakups are painful, but if people can be mindful of how they navigate the experience, they can learn so much about themselves and what they’re looking for.
An important part of healing from a relationship is deciding what to avoid in the future. Many people carry painful experiences from a past relationship into their next, and this is detrimental to the new relationship’s prospects. Susan said singles should identify and reflect on the things they liked about their last relationship, along with the things they didn’t like.
“I tell people to ask themselves what was good about this person in your relationship and what was not so good,” Susan said. “Then look and see what worked, what you liked, and what you would want to maintain in your next relationship. If something didn’t work, decide that that’s not going to be a part of your next relationship.”
Susan said framing a breakup in terms of learning and growth is helpful. “I think once you take on that reflection, you can start to look at the end of the relationship, and the relationship, as a valuable lesson, instead of something that just causes pain for the rest of your life.” This kind of framing also makes it easier to address harmful dating practices.
Old dating habits can be hard to break, though. It takes some reflection to dismantle the habits that may be leading them to the wrong people. “Some people are addicted to the drama because it’s what they know,” Susan said. “Some always go for the bad boy or the bad girl because it’s exciting. But, at the end of the day, what we all want is a consistent, reciprocated love connection.”
Susan encouraged daters who are trying to break their habit of pursuing unhealthy relationships to take things slow. “The bottom line is slow and steady,” she said. “When you’re meeting somebody, especially with online dating, you have to give the little things a chance to come up and kind of read between the lines for yourself.”
Getting back into the dating scene can offer some respite for people experiencing heartbreak, but Susan urged newly single people to take some time to process their breakup fully. “I like to call it a sabbatical from dating after you’ve had a tough breakup,” she said. “You’re not clear-minded when you’re leaving a relationship, and it’s not a good headspace to be in when meeting new people.”
Dear Sybersue offers resources for anyone experiencing heartbreak. Resources provide the support, strategies, and strength people need to navigate a breakup and come out whole on the other side. Dear Sybersue’s online collection helps singles rebuild their self-esteem, grieve their previous relationship, and become happier, more fulfilled versions of themselves.
Susan offers personal breakup and relationship coaching. In coaching sessions, Susan meets clients where they are. She helps them work through their past relationships while focusing on their hopes for the future. Susan has been helping people recover from heartbreak for years, so she’s well-equipped to guide any kind of broken heart toward healing. Feel free to reach out to her about working together through her email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Sybersue’s blog is always being updated with posts about a diverse array of topics. Susan explores topics like first date etiquette, co-parenting after divorce, and tips for setting relationship goals. She has articles that discuss topics relevant to all kinds of single people, whether they’re taking the time to focus on themselves or diving back into dating.
Dear Sybersue also takes the internet’s most burning questions about breakups and relationships. Readers regularly write in seeking advice from Susan. Susan approaches her readers’ questions with empathy and understanding but doesn’t mince words. She tells clients and readers alike what they need to hear, but not always what they may want to hear.
The end of a relationship can be a consuming experience. It can be difficult for people to put their situation into context and look to the future with excitement. With the right support and resources, healing from a relationship is not only possible but an experience brimming with opportunities for personal growth.
“The trick is not to repeat those bad patterns,” Susan said. “If something brought you pain once, it’s going to be the same the next time you try it. It’s essential to realize patience does bring great things and that we all deserve a great partner.”