Be honest. What reasons do you come up with for not moving on from a relationship?
We often find it difficult to move on from a relationship and we may discover that rather than ‘break the bonds’ we keep hanging on to something that has effectively come to an end.
Here are some thoughts which may sound familiar.
- ‘I must have closure otherwise I can’t move on’
It is important to remember that closure comes from within us. Some questions may never be answered, and it’s important we accept that. After all, we have come this far in our lives without finding the answers to everything. Staying with the endless questions, and ruminating over and over the possible answers only keeps us stuck. To bring closure, we need to do our grief work. And that is an internal process.
- ‘I just need to make some sense of what has happened’
The reality is that we cannot fix our ex’s thinking – I would argue that this a form of control. We need to accept we have been with someone whose way of thinking is not compatible with ours. We do not need to keeping hearing what is wrong with us – either from within our own heads or from the mouths of others. What other people think of us is none of our business. Equally, we need to stop our side of the argument rather than keep it going. Time to reflect on what we really want.
- ‘Trouble is I work/live near my ex. I am doomed to stay stuck’
There are alternative ways of dealing with working with our ex or living close by. We can use a trusted third party to give us some distance, or we can keep necessary conversations brief – and that includes texting and messaging. This way we keep our boundaries clear. Resist ‘getting your own back’. Keep your side of the fence nice and clean even if your ex does not.
- ‘I would still like to be friends’
In my view, trying to be friends with our ex is futile. In any case, we need time to work through our feelings and there needs to be time apart to break the bond of being a couple. We need to find our selves. Ex-lovers are not the same as friends; there are often topics of conversation which are ‘off limits’ and remain unspoken. Ask yourself, why do you want to be friends? Is it to avoid the painful process of facing loss and grief?
- ‘I am missing sex’
Break-up sex is to be avoided – it can lead to confusion and is delaying the inevitable. The ‘friends with benefits’ scenario can be very damaging to our own recovery. As Susan Elliott writes ‘people are using each other. If it’s dead, bury it. Don’t sleep with it’.
Obviously, the need for contact is a strong one. We need to accept it won’t be easy but if we are to learn from our loss we need to commit to a process which at times will be painful. It can help to have supportive people who you can contact when you are tempted to text your ex.
Most importantly, if you break these ‘rules’ then that’s okay. Just remember that the longer we keep our addictions, the longer they will take to break.
I recommended reading Susan Elliott ‘Getting past your break up’