Hi! Can share a little about yourself and what you do?
I’m a television writer, offically. But I also write books. And somewhere in the process of tackling my own, somewhat massive, relationship issues, I started writing about relationships and it took on a life of its own, so that now I’m a quote-unquote relationship expert, too. I joke that I only call myself a relationship expert because Oprah did, when I appeared on her show Super Soul Sunday. The bigger point is that I’m not one of those relationship experts who speaking to you from my vantage point with a PhD and a thirty-five year marriage. I’m the lady who had a super-traumatic childhood, who was raised in and out of foster care, and as a result ended up married and divorced three times. In the process of identifying my issues in relationships and healing myself, I’ve learned a lot that I can share with others. Sometimes I think of myself as a sort of jailhouse lawyer — I’ve done so much work on my own case, now I can help you with yours.
Can you tell us about a significant heartbreak and how you recovered?
When I discovered my third husband was cheating in 2005, I was devastated. We’d been married less than a year, but I loved him deeply, and my then 8-year-old son was bonded to him, too. The beginning of the recovery process was actually just admitting to myself that it was happening, and being willing to let go of the relationship. It would have been easy to stay in denial that this man was not fit for a relationship and instead, “try and make it work”. Once I let go, moving through the process of the breakup was, of course, pretty excruciating. But the key to it for me was going “no contact”. For at least 30 days — 60 is better — do not write, call, text, go anywhere you even might run into them, see mutual friends if that is going to trigger you, or, god forbid, send a naked selfie. That means not taking a call, or responding to an email, or text. It is really hard to do! But nothing sets the stage for a sane breakup like going no contact. And the paradox is, if there is going to be a reunion at some point, it sets the stage for that, as well. Why? Because it allows you to get clear on your part in the breakup, start therapy, step-up an exercise program, and otherwise get into the business of taking deep, loving, and sincere care of yourself.
What are major red flags for you when you start dating someone new?
All the major red flags are inside me. Here’s what I mean by that: I’ve learned that the energy patterns in my body are actually very reliable indicators. Much more reliable than guessing who the other person is, or even asking the other person questions about who they are. What you want to do is this: go through your relationship and crush history and identify “how you felt” when you first met the notable people on the list. Then identify what the major issues were in those relationships and what the outcome was. For example, when I go through my relationship and crush history, one thing that becomes clear is that I have had a very particular kind of high attraction to two or three men — I mean super-duper highly attracted to them in this one very specific way that I can feel but not quite put into words — and those men have certain qualities in common. They have quick tempers, they are dependent on the attention of women, they are extroverted, they can dance. (It gets that specific!) But the point here is not about the men — it’s about me. When I meet someone and I feel those energy patterns that I have identified as having negative, challenging, or unwanted outcomes — THAT IS MY RED FLAG. It’s inside me. I know who people are by knowing myself. There are also “green flags”, so to speak. I have another type on my list of relationships/crushes that has a certain friendly, calm feeling to it. I’ve had three or four relationships with this particular energy pattern and they’ve been very enjoyable, functioning relationships. The point is, do this exercise, and you will start to see that certain sensations in the body often lead to certain outcomes — because your body knows what’s up way before you do.
What are your favorite mood elevators to uplift and inspire you?
I love hiking, traveling, riding a bike somewhere new. Traveling is a big passion. I love Europe and try to go once a year (at least! lol) I even like “traveling” in the city where I already live. There are lots of little pockets of Los Angeles I haven’t seen before. I also love learning — going to museums and talks, and reading the New York Times.
Do you stay friends with your ex? Unfollow or follow them on social media, etc?
Sometimes it’s possible to be friends with an ex — but only after the relationship has reached resolution. As I said, I would unfollow immediately. If you run into them on the street two years later and there’s not a single ripple on your inner lake and they send you a request, maybe accept it. But I wouldn’t seek it out. Why would you? That’s the question you have to answer. Basically my rule of thumb would be this: if you have an urge (even a little one) to be in touch with someone, don’t. If you don’t care one way or the other, maybe then it’s fine.
Any tips for our users on moving on from heartbreak?
Go to therapy. Discover your patterns. If you’re over 35 and find that you have relationship patterns that keep repeating, there is probably some trauma there that needs to be addressed. Learn what it means to love yourself! Because the only relationship that you’re really having is the one you’re having with yourself — then you replicate it “out there” with other people. Heal that, and your life will change.
For more information about Tracy and her writing, check out her website.