Even though you know your relationship isn’t working out, even though you think it might be detrimental to your well-being, it’s hard to break up. Change, even for the better, is never easy. And sure, there were good times. You may even still feel love. So when one of you finally finds the courage to say the break up words out loud, it’s not surprising that you feel a pang of regret.
When you’re finding it hard to make a clean break and move on, you’re probably experiencing cognitive dissonance. You know, intellectually, that you’re better off out of the relationship, but you still have loving feelings toward your ex. While a certain amount of this is natural, remaining in limbo for too long is not good. Because you can’t go forward and enjoy a new life until you’ve let go of the old one.
Here are some ideas that will help you move on:
- Recognize your insecurities. You may be reluctant to break up for fear of ever finding anyone again. The devil you know is better than nothing, right? No. It’s not. Have faith in yourself. Breaking up doesn’t mean you’ll never have another relationship. In, fact, it’s the first step on the road to finding someone new.
- You can be on your own. Many people don’t like being alone, and that’s understandable. But you may surprise yourself. Try to relish a time when you answer to no one but yourself. When you can satisfy your whims without worrying about someone else. When you do just what you want to do. You may discover new interests that bring great joy to your life.
- Remaining friends is overrated. There are some people who can do this successfully, but it’s not easy. Staying friends with your ex perpetuates positive feelings and rekindles fires that are better left extinguished. You don’t have to have an ugly, acrimonious break—that’s no fun either. But rip the band-aid off all at once instead of drawing out the suffering. The sooner you’re ready to move on the better.
- Acknowledge your negative feelings. There really is a reason you are breaking up. And people who have negative feelings toward their ex feel much better after a break up. They are more able to make a clean break. People who still harbor positive feelings after a break up suffer much more distress in the aftermath. So don’t focus on the good things if you want to make progress.
- Get out there and flirt. You may not be ready for a new relationship. But it never hurts to socialize. If you feel uncomfortable engaging in a new relationship so soon after your break up, just make new friends, regardless of gender. Flirting is a reminder that you are desirable to others, and that helps you get over your ex. The thought of new possibilities helps you overcome your attachment.
It’s never easy to get over a relationship, but if you’ve determined that you’re better off without your ex, then you will find the courage. You might even find the process fun.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.