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Janice, you rock in so many ways. You are the only person who has ever declared the truth... that the pain doesn't go away, that you don't "get over it". I feel much less freakish now. Ha!

Oh Jan, you're so right. Relationships are so similar to the way we all looked at eating as children. Follow me: where eating is being in a relationship... you may be full of carrots or potatoes or peas or meatloaf... but when the dessert comes out, there's room for that. Dating is like that. You may have your fill of a particular dish, but eating never gets old.

Reframe the idea of "getting over stupid-ex" to rediscovering the parts of yourself that were dormant while in that eight year relationship.

I believe that the healthier and happier we are, the healthier and happier people we will attract. Janice's right about tabling dating for now. Work on putting yourself in an emotional place where you would consider yourself a great catch. Find a passion. Art. Music. Writing. Activism. History. Politics. Acting.Take classes so you'll meet others who share that love while perfecting you hobby. You'll become a more interesting person, both to yourself and prospective friends.

If taking a class isn't for you, try volunteering for your favorite (hopefully very progressive) political candidate or social cause.

If you view yourself as someone who needs to be in a relationship, you give away your power for self gratification and lose the ability to be complete as a single person.

Good Luck!

"Friends is better than mens"! Yessssssssssss!!

Friends is better than mens - dude, that's got bumper stickers written all over it. I laughed out loud at the line "I just made that saying up."

Also, totally agree. I adore my husband with all that I am but am I over my ex? I'm with you ... what does that even mean?

Love this: "Reframe the idea of "getting over stupid-ex" to rediscovering the parts of yourself that were dormant while in that eight year relationship." I'm going to write that in my book of advice to my boys in case I die ... :)

I really liked this post. I broke up with my ex over a year ago - and since have started my own business / online magazine / gone back to school / moved to NY (from NJ:)... and there are still things I need to prove... any all that is to say - just keep putting you best foot forward!
love you blog - hope you can make it to the Bloggers Soiree on September 27th! in NYC. http://bloggerssoiree.eventbrite.com/
~E

Aside from dating yourself, as Janice has already suggested, and writing the unsent letter, which is an invaluable journaling tool, the only other advice I can offer is to reclaim your territory.

If you still have places you avoid because of the memories that may stir up, now is a good time to grab a friend or three and make some new memories in those old places. I used to associate a particular place with a particular person and I loved this place. Eventually, and it took more than one quick visit, I was able to reclaim the place as my own because I had new memories built there with different people--friends, a group I met with regularly, etc.

But you have to tread lightly sometimes. I had a friend who refused to change after her very painful breakup and week after week she would go to the same rock climbing place even though she knew He would be there. Not long after, he was there but not alone, adding still more pain to her life. I kept telling her to just change the day she goes. It wasn't like the gym was only open one day a week and there were plenty of other times she could have enjoyed herself without re-opening those old wounds. Eventually, when she was truly ready to let go, she did start going on a different day and because it was her choice she felt empowered by doing so.

Also, and this is something you may want to explore in your journal, sometimes the only way to hold onto a relationship that is gone is by grieving for it. Allowing yourself to be still hurting over this loss keeps you emotionally connected to the relationship. This is not a bad thing. It's a part of the process and your process will take as long as you need it to take. When in hurts more to hold on than it does to let go, you will let go. That's just common sense. It won't be easy because old habits die hard but they do die.

Last but not least, you don't have to heal it all, reclaim it all, or even face it all. It's okay to leave some things behind. If there's a movie you two enjoyed watching together that you can't stand even thinking about now because it is too painful, it is okay to never watch that movie again. Or listen to that cd. Or go to that restaurant. Some things simply get released and left behind along with the relationship.

Julian of Norwich said, "All is well and every manner of thing shall be well." Whatever ways you choose to heal, to move yourself to a place of being well, is your way. It is not for anyone else to define or determine. You and you alone can get to a place of peace but you won't get to your place until you find your own way. And nobody can really tell you the best way to get there.

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