let go of your ex

I am dealing daily with people who try hard to let go of their ex, but they delve even deeper into the relationship. It is not always because they are not letting go, but they are allowing their ex to stop them from moving on. It could all be so simple but when feelings, sentiments and love is in the mix, letting go can become really hard.

As a general rule it is always men that find a new partner quicker than women and it happens for various reasons: most men cannot be on their own, they have more time to pursue social activities, and in some cases more disposable income, whereas women have less time because of family restrictions outside of their work, particularly if they have children.

When the ex meets someone new

Of course it is hard seeing your ex happy with someone else, but as you look back on your life, each relationship would have taught you something about yourself and you would have “upgraded” in terms of emotional attachment. As we get older, our needs change, so we are looking for different things in a potential partner, so we don’t see the desire or attraction of blocking our path with thoughts of days gone by with sentiment of the past. If they want to leave, let them go, hold the door open for them.

I strongly believe letting someone go in peace is kinder to them on their journey, and to you too. As I have seen firsthand the intricately placed confusion and turmoil that arises when boundaries are crossed and misplaced loyalties arise, and this happens when people don’t let go. Let’s face it: who really wants to remain in close contact with an ex who possibly cheated, lied and created an enormous amount of grief? Could you really trust them again? The answer for your own self-worth would have to be “no”.

When the ex won’t let go

Unacceptable communication from an ex would be anything that is harassing, excessively needy or both. It is really not fair on any new flourishing romance, so please let them find their peace. Don’t go running back to an ex for advice because you think they know you. You would have changed and so have they. Nine times out of ten your ex will have ulterior motives of keeping you stuck.

It is unfair if you have feelings for an ex and mislead a new partner in thinking that you have moved on, but still emotionally attached to your ex. It is cruel and emotionally damaging to anyone that enters into this kind of triangulation and toxic behavioural patterns. Should you ever find yourself the victim of this type of relationship, my advice would be to run as fast as you can as it is damaging and has far reaching consequences to everybody involved.

Can you be friends after breaking up?

If you ask me, the answer would be “no”, particularly in the short term of a break up. Long term can be different, especially if you have small children together. It is much easier to remain friends for the sake of the children. However, as soon as the ex finds someone new, the new partner doesn’t understand and it becomes confusing and difficult juggling all the dynamics involved to ever be harmonious. I know plenty of people that are still friends with an ex, but the new partner either just puts up with, always feels insecure or compromises self-worth. It will only work if the ex befriends a new partner too. If it’s cloak and dagger, when they hide a friendship with an ex, you better understand it is time for you to exit.

If you are still in love with your ex partner, staying in contact with them will only hurt you further. You probably have thoughts of reconciliation that staying in contact and being friendly will not allow them to miss you and possibly realise how much you meant to them. They will not reach that stage until you cut the emotional ties. If it is meant to be, it will happen. Could it be the same again if you got back together? Doubtful, unless there is a complete transparency.

Tips on how to let your ex go

Set a time frame of 6 to 12 months tends to be a good template, but don’t put pressure on yourself. Grieving over a lost love has no real time frame, so take your time as long as you need.

Delete their phone number, do the same with any old text messages, emails etc. Store away any pictures from the relationship out of sight.

Break away from social media: un-friend on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, resist any urge to check up on their online activities as this will only prolong your healing.

See them for who they really are – part of your past, even though you don’t have to forget how much they meant to you.

Hurting and healing

Break ups can be very hurtful and letting go can sometimes be easier said than done. It is hard to watch things change when all you may want is for them to stay the same. You keep holding on and you want to move on but you are stuck where you started. Feelings come and go and you can’t decide what you want, but you have to let go of someone that is not holding onto you. This is an emotional roller coaster of a break up, so ebb and flow with this until you find calmer seas.

It’s very common for people that have recently separated to quickly rush out and find a replacement, but this is driven by their ego and nothing else. I can not tell you how many people I have seen over the years, who rush into a relationship as a knee jerk reaction of relationship collapse. They do that in fear of being alone or as revenge towards their ex, to only find 6 months later that they are in too deep with someone totally unsuitable, incompatible, and have lived to regret it. When you are going through a break up, your mind will not be clear and in that “fog” you will make some awful decisions.

First, take care of yourself and acknowledge how you are feeling. Listening to your body is key to how quickly you will heal. Every couple, regardless of how long they were together, carry with them emotional bonds deeper than they often realise. You have to remove all of them from your life. When you make it ok to text “every once in a while” or just “check on their Facebook or family to see how they’re doing,” you leave room for your emotional needs to be met by this person and you will not be fully emotionally available for another person and potentially never feel free from your past.

Letting go is hard, sad, difficult and at times may feel like a tragedy but it is not impossible. I promise you, you will survive. Love yourself more, let go of the past so that you can receive the love you deserve. You can not step into your destiny whilst you are stuck in your history.

Image: flickr

Teresa has been in the dating industry for 20 years as a successful matchmaker. She runs a support group for those facing relationship collapse, writes a dating column and presents a radio show on the difficulties of divorce, separation and partner loss.


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