When it comes to relationships in general, I have not been a hero at it – be it dating or even platonic relationships. My default setting just has a way of acting up when I become entangled with someone on a too-personal level. So, going by this, you can imagine that I haven’t had the glossiest dating history. The moment we are done dating, that’s it, poof!
All communication is cut off, we hardly even go back to being acquaintances. We slide straight into stranger-zone and this did not bother me at first. Actually, I gave myself the defence that it shows I am strong and how I can do without them (which doesn’t explain the unending nostalgia and silent tears when singing along to Adele’s “hello” or “send my love to your new lover”) Anyway, I was quite unbothered about the estranged relationships, until I discovered that it wasn’t like that with most people I know. Maybe the problem was just me.
Most of my friends stayed in touch with their exes, some still even go out on platonic dates, I have this one friend who has converted all her exes to BFFs, I still can’t understand how that isn’t awkward; but yeah, everybody else seems to be getting along just fine. Apparently, when it comes to moving on, I clearly didn’t get that memo. While I lie to myself that I rather cut them off so they don’t think I am needy, the truth is, I never actually totally got over most of those relationships and I found out that having any reason to talk to them afterwards just brought up so much awkwardness and seemed to expose my inability to move on.
Here I am giving myself and anyone else who needs it another pep talk on how to get unhinged from old flames.
Before that, like any good analysis we have to first explore the “why”, before we can talk about the cure. So here are some reasons I believe people find it hard to move on – at least in my experience.
If he/she was your first
You know what they say about first loves, those people are like the eternal owners of your “mumu button”. There would always be a soft spot in your heart for the person you had your first serious relationship with. I think there is a scientific or psychological explanation for that, but I also think it’s ‘cause they are the ones who “dis-virgined” (permit me to use the word) you emotionally. So for this reason it is perfectly understandable when you find it hard to get over such people.
If you guys had sex, or made out really often
So this one is more like trying to break a craving or a bad addiction; it is never easy. Now this goes in two ways; first one is combined with the previous reason mentioned above, and in this case he or she probably unwrapped your virginity which just makes it worse and almost impossible to shake off. Secondly, even if they weren’t your first sex-wise but you guys were really in love, it feels like something always entangles you to that person. The explanation given for this is that when you make love to someone you have shared a deeper part of you with them, and that may not be so easy to let go.
If he or she was your exact spec
Everyone has a spec. The extent to which we stick to that spec may vary but if given the chance to choose, we all have those list of qualities; physical and otherwise that we would like our partners to posses. So imagine when you meet someone who fit into all those qualities and checks everything on your list; Height ✓, Complexion ✓, Sense of humor ✓, Big bum ✓ (this is my personal fav) Diction ✓ and so on. It just like when your crush falls in love with you, the thrill! Right? So yeah meeting someone like this and having an explosive chemistry with them can be amazing; so it is understandable that when such a relationship comes to an unfortunate end, you can be really be stuck for a while.
When your rebound doesn’t go so well
The first stage in the 5 stages of grief is Denial a.k.a Rebound. After a breakup, especially the really bad ones, the first point of call after the tears, ice cream and piled up tissues, is to shake it off and go have a fling; something to just help you forget. It’s like trying to cure a major life crisis with alcohol. The thrill is only temporary and when you sober up reality sneaks right back in. The same goes for rebounds; after the random dates and meaningless sex… when you are alone at night and coincidentally going through pictures or watching a romantic movie, the hurt sneaks right back in. You even find yourself craving for the old times again.
If you were truly in love (this hurts more particularly if the break up was your fault)
They say if you have never had the real thing you can’t know how it feels, even if someone tells you stories or paints you the most graphic picture, the feel of butterflies in your tummy or the tingliness that sweeps over you at the sight of someone or even barely at the sound of their voice is a feeling that cannot be narrated or transferred. So when such pleasantness comes to an end it hurts as hell. What hurts more is when you blame yourself for the break up, maybe you pushed too hard or you gave up too quick or you just let them down in some way, it takes some people even a life time to let go of such. So, if this is your reason for holding on to an old flame, I totally feel your pain.
That said, now let’s explore how we can recover. How do we move on from the hurt? From missing them? From craving a relationship you know you shouldn’t be in or maybe you just need to open your heart up to someone else but you feel hindered by an old sting, these following points should help.
This seems pretty obvious, but believe me it is not as easy as it sounds, but then you just have to. Someone once told me “sometimes you shouldn’t try to do something, you just do it”. It just like breathing, you wouldn’t normally say I am trying to breath, you just do it. So let’s apply same to moving on. Just stop thinking about them so much. Stop calling if you need to. Stop stalking them on Instagram. Stop scrolling through the pictures. Stop seeing them in everything and everywhere. Close the page and let go.
This is like using the “immersion therapy” gradually dissolve the awkwardness and slide into a comfortable friendship with them. For you to have dated someone in the first place, there must have been some common ground. Explore that common ground and be cool about the new situation. Talk less about when you guys were together and just glide into “friend’s zone”
Time heals everything. Give yourself time, don’t rush it. It is natural to miss someone especially someone you loved or maybe even still love. So take it easy on yourself. Take some time off dating, don’t pressure yourself into filling up that space just yet. This also helps you to be more clear headed when going into the next relationship and you don’t take in so much baggage.
Be Occupied, Busy your mind
An idle mind, is a dangerous thing to have. It just piles up a lot of dust and can drive you crazy. Stay busy and productive and you wouldn’t even realize when you have totally forgotten about them
If you broke it off, remember why you did and keep on moving
You probably had a good reason for breaking it off in the first place, don’t let nostalgia take you back to your vomit. Yes, you miss them or someone plays a music that reminds you about them, that’s all normal. Dust off your emotions, put on your big girl pants and keep growing
In conclusion; remember, missing them is part of the process. You have to know when it time to blow out the old flame. The time lag varies from person to person, so don’t compare yourself to the lady next door who got over hers the next day. Also, you missing them doesn’t necessarily mean you should let them back into your life. Some people are better left in the past.
But hey! There is no hard or fast rule. If you think there is still some spark left in that flame and you are sure it is mutual, explore it darling. Who knows? The second time might be the charm. Cheers 🙂
Photo Credit: Fernandes Borges Michel | Dreamstime.com