Step 1: Get some paper and a pen to record your observations

Step 2: Take down the basics that you can identify right away – what your partner looked like, their likes and dislikes, their faults, their talents, bad habits, background, and so forth.  Be very objective…what did other people see when they met your significant other / got to know them?

Step 3: Take a closer look and take note of things that “don’t add up” or seem “out of place”…what values didn’t match yours?  Were they honest?  Did their ‘real self’ match your first impression?  Were they liked by the people you care about?  Were there red flags at the beginning that you ignored?  Put everything under the microscope.

Step 4: Look for wounds on the body.  Were your actions, behaviours or attitudes hurtful to them?

Step 5: Dissect the relationship – were things going along well and then things took a sudden turn?  Or was this a slow process?  When you really look at everything, can you determine the ‘time of death’?

Step 6: Interview witnesses – ask the people you care about for their opinion.  Based on what they witnessed, what do they think happened?

Step 7: Look for similar cases – when you compare this to your previous relationships, what themes or common things emerge?

Step 8: Make your determination about the cause of death.  In your informed opinion, what happened here?  What lessons did you learn?

Step 9: Learn from it.  Become a better person and a better partner.  Watch for red flags.  Avoid making the same mistakes.  Believe in love.