This is a question I have spent many sorry hours mulling over, and the truth is, I still don’t have the answer. But in an attempt to help all of you lovelorn folk, I will discuss a few reasons why it might be taking you longer than you like to recover from the hangover of a bad relationship.
Unless you had no feelings for the other person whatsoever, it inevitably takes time to be able to move on from a relationship breakup. I know there are probably some lucky individuals who claim they are “over him” within a matter of days, but frankly I don’t believe them and nor should you. Even when you stopped loving the person years ago, but only just gotten around to finishing it, there are bound to be some residual emotions floating around that need dealing with—sadness, a sense of failure, and probably confused about what the hell you are feeling now the relationship is finally dead and buried for good.
But if the relationship was toxic, or it ended badly for some other reason, moving on can sometimes feel impossible: instead of looking forward to a new chapter in our life, we spend every night stalking our ex on FB, searching for clues that they have already moved on, and thinking back to all the good times we had with them—none of which are exactly conducive to healing and moving on.
MOVING ON FROM A BAD RELATIONSHIP
Toxic relationships are like drugs and it is easy to become addicted to the emotional rollercoaster of dating an emotionally unavailable/married/abusive/controlling/dysfunctional person. You love them and hate them at the same time. They make your life a living hell, yet you can’t walk away. And even when you have finally mustered the strength to end the relationship, you still crave them every waking moment.
My ex won’t leave me in peace!
Even though you know that ending the relationship and walking away was the right thing to do, in many cases an ex makes it incredibly difficult for you to move on. They don’t really want you, but they like to keep you in their life in one capacity or another, so rather than doing the selfless thing and cutting contest, they persist in sending random text messages or pinging you on social networking sites—ostensibly to see if you are ok or to say they are “missing you”, but really just to ensure you are primed for a possible booty call, at their convenience of course.
Moving on from a bad relationship
The only person who can help you move on from a bad relationship is you. Sitting around obsessing over the person is not going to help one bit, so it is up to you to decide once and for all that this person is not going to hijack another moment of your life. It might feel as if you are “destined to be together” and they are “the one”, but trust me when I say that they are clearly not “the one” and the fact you have broken up suggests you are not meant to be together forever!
You have to accept that healing is going to take time, but in the mean time, you need to do everything in your power to make it easier for your heart and soul to recover from the breakup. To start with, do the following:
- Block their number—change it if necessary.
- Block their email.
- Delete them from IM programs.
- UN-friend them on Facebook, or even better, delete your account.
- Until you are strong enough not to go looking at their profile.
- Do not go anywhere where they work, socialize, or live.
Basically, remove every last trace of them from your life—cutting contact completely is the only way to effectively move on from an ex. It might seem a bit draconian, but if you are serious about moving on, you have to take these steps—at least until you are certain you have no lingering desire to get back with them WHATSOEVER!
Obviously, if you have children together, cutting off contact is not going to work. In this instance, the best approach is to limit contact as much as possible. Ask friends/relatives to drop off/collect the kids during access visits and limit telephone communication to brief discussions relating to the kids only. However, if your ex was abusive in any way, no contact is probably the best for you AND your kids.
If at the end of this, you are still struggling to get over a relationship, or you think depression is making things worse, it is a good idea to ask for help. Make an appointment with your doctor and ask for some counselling: A trained counselor will be able to help you deal with any underlying issues that are preventing you from healing.