Moving on in love is a tough topic to tackle, because one solution does not fit all. But as I remember my own journey with letting go, I couldn’t help but feel as though today would be the perfect day for this how-to. Leaving a relationship behind can be as burdensome as a full time job; not only do you find yourself having to come to terms with the reality that things did not work out, you also face having to explain to others what happened and why your pictures together and your “boyfriend pride” have embarrassingly vanished. And even more so, if the ending of your relationship was not what you would’ve wished for, you find yourself having to be without the person you wished to spend more time with. It was that guy you pictured being with, that guy who touched you just the right way, and whose personality simply made your heart sing. How do you let go without losing yourself in the process? Keep breathing, and keep reading, relief is just a few minutes away!

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Step 1: Don’t be like me and blow up his e-mail or phone with the craziest messages! Yes, not sending insane messages is actually very difficult to do when you feel cheated out of love, but it’s also the key to moving on fast. One part of letting go is learning self-control, even as you make fun of yourself! It took me about two years to stop writing to an ex (his package below the belt was to die for), and though I now I laugh at this, I “soon” realized that the sooner I stopped writing to him was the sooner I would have emotionally detached myself to him. In the moment, writing or calling seems to help because you get to say how you feel, but then that relief quickly degenerates into writing about every single detail of your life and others’ lives. Speaking to a person with which you no longer have a relationship is not only a waste of time, but it also prevents you from healing, and eventually being ready for someone with an equally enjoyable package who deserves your love. Write in your diary instead.

Your challenge: DO NOT delete his phone number, or block him. Do not remove his e-mail address. Simply create a resolve in your mind not to communicate no matter the means. Picture this in your mind as motivation: he’s finally landed a date with the woman he’s been after for a while, which is not you, when he sees a random message from you, and decides to make fun of it with the new girl. Use that image as motivation to simply leave the last word said or written as the last word ever, even if it was ambiguous and you feel explaining further would make sense. Resist that urge! And if he writes to you, do not respond. Another mistake I’ve made in the past was to respond, not realizing that some men do like the ego boost of having the crazy in love girl write to them regularly, so that they can show everyone how wanted they are. Trust me, I should know, because I’ve also been on the other side of that fence, the new girl on a date, only to hear a man’s phone vibrate, hear him laugh, then be shown the crazy messages from an ex. If he had wanted to preserve your relationship, he would have came to you, and sought you out. He didn’t? Leave it at that.

Step 2: Do not try to date anyone else. As tempting as it is even to show that you’ve moved on to everyone and that you’re desirable, dating someone new too soon could create the same dependency of not being able to move on. This is what serial monogamy stems from; not taking the time to know yourself means more dating mistakes, and more emotional maturity related mistakes. Take a break from dating altogether, and get comfortable with being alone. As you explore your own personality, please remove from your mind the idea that this could bring him back. Do it for yourself: you deserve that self-love, you deserve to be nurtured. You deserve more, and you won’t know what that more is until you decide to give that more to yourself and set an example for the next guy.

I cannot say just how much of a difference deciding to be alone (not jumping into dating) has made in my life as I’ve discovered so many activities I like to explore, both with friends and alone. Had I been sitting in my bedroom still mellowing in tears, I would’ve missed out on the opportunities of knowing just how much fun I am to be around. Don’t allow yourself to feel as though you need someone there to validate who you are. Go to museums, go to parks, hike the coolest trails, take pictures of your adventures, go swimming, kayaking, biking, or just to the restaurant or movies. You don’t need money or a nice title to love yourself and impress yourself. Take advantage of the time you have alone to nurture your inner world and your self-esteem, even if you’re broke. Joining groups is another fun way of spending time, and might also mean that you’ll meet some new cool people. Get to know what you like, not as a means of attracting a person, but as a way of enjoying your life. Doing this will naturally detach your mind from the obsessive thought of him, and one day, you’ll wake up realizing you have completely forgotten about him.

Step 3: When dating, try to keep it as platonic as possible.
So it happened: you moved on, and you’re ready to mingle. Now what? Try to be friends with your new dates instead of going the “I really like you, let’s kiss” intimate route too soon, and try to welcome the object of your interest into of your activities. This will allow you to get to know someone and to avoid the usual dating pitfalls. Let’s be honest.. other than being used to his handsome face, was that guy truly that wonderful to be around? Did he make an effort to know who you are? Was he truly your match? Well, you wouldn’t know anymore since it is too late for that last one, but don’t miss the opportunity next time.

The better relationships I’ve had have been completely platonic, because I got to know someone on a deeper level. Deciding to delay kissing even, creates an environment where you learn of a person long enough to find out if they are a good match before even being intimate. You get to end things amicably if they aren’t the right guy, without being obsessed with someone who wouldn’t have been the best for you just because you have feelings for them (sex does distort reality after all). Also, if they feel you are not a good match, and they wish to end things because they feel they just can’t talk to you.. Well, guess what? You won’t be found crying, you’ll be found on your next hiking adventure. Intimacy creates attachment for women, so when we delay it, we are able to move on more effectively when we have not been intimate with a man. So instead of being stuck moving on from someone like the last one, you become an empowered woman who knows what she wants, who accepts herself, and who is happy alone yet open to the company of a man.

If you date a guy, spend months getting to know him and exploring life with him, and if you still like him, and if you feel as though you can open up to this person and be yourself, you’ve then got yourself a keeper with whom you can be yourself and feel at home. It’s not easy to trust someone new in love after having had to pick up your broken pieces, but the man who loves you truly will follow you. He’ll be eager to know more about who you are, and to be a part of your life and your hobbies. It’s not about him proving himself, but about allowing a friendship to slowly be combined with romantic love and lust overtime, and without rushing.

So there you have it! Three easy steps to moving on when you’re still in love. I hope this has helped you as much as applying these in my life has helped me. I’m at step 3, not totally letting go of step 2 as I don’t feel ready for step 3 at all, but it is funny that once you become immersed in exploring who you are, dating becomes secondary. I like to see everyone as platonic friends now.. you can never have enough friends after all!

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