How to move on: sometimes you have to stay put

Pretty blonde woman with on sofa with a cup of coffee

They broke up with you a month ago, but you can’t get them out of your head. That part is ok. What isn’t ok is constantly calling them, sending texts, following them on Twitter and looking at their Facebook page. Sure, it might keep your ex in your life, but is that really what you need?

I don’t know your ex but I can tell you what they’ve been up to: things you don’t want to know about. They’ve been “up to” dating other people and having fun without you. You think you want proof of this, but really you don’t. Nothing you hear or see is going to make you feel better. I doubt you’ll run into a friend of theirs and hear, “They’re not the same since breaking up with you last month. They just stay at home and cry every night”. Don’t worry about what they’re doing, because they’re doing it anyhow. Worrying is not how to move on.

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Moving on by shifting focus

To move on we have to move our attention. Sure we want to send late night emails expressing our love and what we could do differently, but the fact is they told us their truth and we should honour it. If someone says “I don’t want to be together”, then why try to convince them otherwise? It’s what they want. Our effort to change their mind is imposing our selfish interests for what we want. We have to accept it. How are we to move on if we don’t? Besides; do you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? Sure it’s hard to not be selfish when our heart aches, but we should also avoid things which cause us more pain.

There are two pains associated to breaking up: the pain of longing for that person, and the other pain we give ourselves by contacting them and not moving on. Let’s say you go out on Friday and have a few drinks and get the liquid courage to text your ex at 1am, “Baby I miss you and want to know why you don’t want to be with me?” How are you going to feel when they don’t respond? Miserable, but why did you text them? Because your heart hurts, sure, but you are making it hurt. Instead of dealing with the pain of the relationship ending and moving on day by day, now you’re dealing with the hurt of being neglected because they don’t communicate with you, but you caused that. This pain of being neglected and ignored can cut deeper than the pain from breaking up, but this is something we bring onto ourselves.

It will take time to heal

From the day we break up we have to know how to move on. It’s one day at a time, and sometimes one hour at a time. Sure it will hurt, but sometimes life sucks. Sometimes we get dumped, sometimes we do the dumping; such is life. We can’t understand the happiness of love if we haven’t felt the pain of loss. With this said we need to make an effort to mitigate the pain we cause ourselves by not worrying what someone else is doing. Move your attention to yourself. Don’t worry about what you can’t control; you will only emotionally lose control.

A friend recently said, “It’s hard to sit here and feel the pain. I want to date other people to take my mind away.” That’s called using other people. We can’t transfer our hurt to innocent people. We’re just being selfish (again). I told this person, “Maybe you need to sit and hurt.” Sometimes life sucks but we have to sit in that hurt and say “This feels awful right now.” You will get through it. This too shall pass (as they say), and every experience will pass onto you strength that you can bring into other relationships.

How to move on? Take strength from your loss

When we are in bliss we want it to never end, but we have to be present with sadness and loss as well. You can shop all you want to take your mind off things, but you won’t find a sale on “finding yourself”. That comes from sitting alone on your couch crying. These tears you cry are later gained in empathy and understanding for other people. It’s a success you were broken up with, not a loss, and you needed breaking up with to see this.

Do things to bring power back to your life. Thinking of someone else is giving them a privilege for your happiness. Take that away. Own yourself. Instead of sitting at home depressed eating ice cream, go out and get in unbelievable shape, grow your vocabulary. Do things for your development, soon you might realise you outgrew that relationship, but you won’t see that if you don’t grow yourself. Make it their loss.

One day you’ll heal and feel amazing, you can send that person a letter and say, “Thank you for breaking up with me. It was a very tough time in my life, but through the pain of losing you I found myself.”

That is the gift you gave yourself that you’ll keep forever.

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EliteSingles editorial, April 2014.

If you need further advice on how to move on, please contact us – comment below or email us at [email protected]

About the author: Justin Kelly McClure

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