Relationships, as we all know, are a tricky business. Even though the way they’re portrayed in the media is rarely the way we experience them in real life, most of us still hope and wish to find that special fairy tale romance – it’s what keeps us going through our dating years. People often say that upon meeting their future mate, they just “knew” they’d found the one. But until we actually experience that deep feeling of “knowing”, we can spend years in the dating pool, learning about ourselves, and learning about what works and what doesn’t. Inevitably, we will encounter relationships with those whom we might mistake as “the one”, and these can be difficult and painful, albeit necessary, learning experiences. So what happens when we get involved with someone who logically we know is not our future, but are having a hard time letting go of? Moving towards the future is impossible when you’re still tied to the past…
Tips for Letting Go
1. Get Rid of the Evidence. This is especially important during the early days – any physical reminders you have of them like mementos, presents, etc. should be removed from your daily exposure. Chances are the person is going through your head enough without you needing any extra reasons to think about them.
2. No Cyber-Stalking. This can be enough to drive you crazy! Remove them as your friend, delete their number, block them from your MSN. Until you make an active choice to do what’s best for your future and your sanity, you will stay chained to an impossible situation. Don’t abuse yourself – this can really be like quitting an addiction. You may relapse, you may go through withdrawal, and it may hurt like hell, but you’ve got to start living without them in your life (and head).
3. Reality Check. It’s a very human response to overlook the bad memories, and hang onto to only the good. We live in a society that encourages us to romanticize about love, but this is not reality! Write down a list of all the things that went wrong in this relationship, keeping in mind that the responsibility for the relationship going south belongs to both people involved. Refer to this list when you start getting wistful about the past. There’s a reason it ended.
4. Name That Pattern. This relationship happened for a reason, and it’s up to you to you to figure out what that was. Relationships are like mirrors, they’re there to show us ourselves from an outside perspective, and they allow us to see how we act in certain situations. Think about your behaviours within the relationship – were they similar to how you handled yourself with past mates? Remember you’ll keep being exposed to the same issues until you become conscious of what you’re doing. Once you’ve identified the problem, and only then, you can begin to work on it.
5. Take Time to Grieve. This is a loss like any other, and you need to allow yourself to grieve. Pretending the relationship didn’t happen, or pretending it’s not over will not help you move on in any way.
6. Learn to Love – You! Always take some time in between relationships so that you’re not projecting unhealthy emotions from your last partner onto the next. It can be very difficult to resist the urge not to be alone, but that’s precisely the time you can learn the most about yourself. Fill yourself up again so you have something healthy to give to your next mate.