Well, you might want to get over him, but you also might NOT want to.
Let's face it, romances are easier to get into than OUT of. You go through a lot of painful withdrawal symptoms when your relationship ends:
Heartbreak - How will this crying and sadness ever end?
Lost promises - What might have happened if you stayed together?
Jealousy - Seeing him on social media being happy and moving on with his life (seemingly) can be agonizing...
Anger - "Hey! Wasn't this guy supposed to be THE ONE? Whatta jerk!"
Those feelings you feel are caused more by the chemicals in your brain than by REAL EMOTIONS, by the way. I know this might spoil some of the romantic magic for you, but it's not your loving feelings that are always to blame for the heartache.
Most of the time, you're experiencing the pain of losing the serotonin and oxytocin you had in your brain that bonded you to that guy. Sure, there's some emotion, too. But it's these love hormones that really make us FEEL the agony of loss.
So we sometimes don't WANT to let go of our significant other, even when we were the ones who broke up with them. We fall into an ugly spiral of emotions that makes us feel like complete teenagers all over again.
Clinging to lost love...
Out of control...
If you've ever driven by your ex's house, you might know what I'm talking about here. (Hey, I've done this. I've even waited there for a few hours. Yuck...)
It can sometimes even feel like you're losing control of yourself, and that can be pretty freaky.
So once you've made the decision to disconnect and get over this guy, how do you do it?
Get Over Him - Tip #1: Don't Dwell!
The easiest - and most destructive - habit to get into is what I call the "Dwell in Hell" syndrome. You start to replay things in your head in a maddening spiral of anger and pain.
If you get caught up in your thinking, what you're doing is riding the emotional rapids. You're reliving high-power emotions that your brain is mistaking for a replacement for the love you once felt for him.
It's kind of twisted, and maybe leaves you feeling yucky, but it's a habit that is EASY to fall into.
I once had to go talk to a therapist when I was in my late 20s because of a romance I couldn't let go of, so I know how powerful the grip of love can hold us. I still remember all the scenarios I started imagining in my head.
And - funny enough - just a few months later you find yourself wondering,
"Why the heck was I so emotional over HIM? Who cares!"
Yeah, I've been there. Bought the t-shirt, too.
Remember - IT WILL PASS!
Get Over Him - Tip #2: Censor him out...
Every time you see his face in your mind, or hear his voice, or fall back into that Dwell hole, I want you do do something: Yell out "GONE!" in your thoughts. (Not out loud please. I don't want you scaring people on the street.)
Just see the word "GONE" in big red letters, like on one of those rubber stamps they use for official documents.
And then SLAM that down in your thoughts with a resounding BOOM!
It might sound like a clever mind game, but what you want to do is setup a reflex response that doesn't take any thought. Because once your aching heart starts to ruminate about that guy, you're going to find yourself in Sadness Central.
The faster you can do this, the quicker you'll find yourself forgetting to cry over him. Yeah, that's a good thing!
Get Over Him - Tip #3: Lock The Door...
This should probably be one of the first things you should do. You want to make sure you don't leave a lot of "waffle room" in your decision.
If you dumped him, you should be really clear on whether or not this relationship should continue. I mean, you broke it off, so you should be. And that means you can't entertain getting back together again when those love withdrawal symptoms start.
When you're done, you're done. If you let a "maybe" into your mind, you're going to double or even TRIPLE how long it's going to take to get over him.
If he dumped you, you still need to get REALLY clear that this thing is over. If you leave that door open to restart the romance, you're not going to get over him.
It's perfectly fine to set an intention to get back together with him. But you have to make sure there's a limitation and a boundary on that intention!
You can't control whether he will take you back. And if he's not interested, youhave to let go and move on.
Get Over Him - Tip #4: Go Easy On Yourself...
People just don't know how to be gentle with each other anymore. And this is especially true with ourselves.
These days we're pushed far too hard. And we're too hard on ourselves as well.
Recognize that this loss is a pretty significant event in your life.
Yes, it will probably slow you down a bit as you heal...
Yes, your friends will notice. And that's fine, they should be there for you.
Yes, you're not going to be motivated, and you're probably going to have ups and downs...
Just accept that there will be some adjustment to go through. And it might take a lot of self-care to keep yourself calm, cool, & collected while you recover yourself.
Tip #5: Take Your Time...
It's going to take some time to undo all the hard-wired chemistry in your body. Those love hormones literally imprint that guy's presence in every cell of your body.
So you have to be willing to wait the time that it takes to get over him so that you don't try any short-cuts.
Usually, if you rush your recovery, you'll find yourself in a rebound relationship.
And that rebound will only wind up in the same place eventually down the road. (This is part of why second marriages actually have worse chances than the first one.)
Take your time to get through the sadness. I'll talk more about that process in just a bit...
Tip #6: Chin Forward...
No, this is not the same as "Chin up." Telling someone to keep their 'chin up' is pretty glib and uninspiring. It's the kind of advice that's actually NON-advice.
What I mean by "chin forward" is that you have to confront the pain directly and not let it get the better of you. You gotta be brave!
I adopted a habit a while back of going into things with my hands in front of my face. Not literally, just in my attitude. It was the way I handled situations that were difficult.
I eventually changed how I handled these things. I decided to put my chin forward. As if to say "Go ahead - Sock it to me."
The reality is that nothing ever lands a punch when you have that attitude toward life. And by putting yourself right out there, you realize this.
It's tempting to curl up in a ball and just soak in your misery, but you can't let yourself go there. It's a slippery slope. Pretty soon you're doing unhealthy things to avoid facing the absence of this guy.
Chin out and dare life to try and keep you down!
Tip #7: Go Ahead and Grieve...
The fact is that losing a relationship is a lot like losing a loved one.
Wait a second - it IS losing a love one!
And so you have to treat it like a loss. That means that you'll be going through some grieving.
Let yourself mourn the loss.
Go through all the steps of grief:
Shock and denial. This is a state of disbelief and numbed feelings.
Pain and guilt...
Anger and bargaining...
Sadness - sometimes Depression...
The upward turn... This is where things start to turn around...
Reconstruction and working through...
Acceptance and hope...
Don't try to bypass these feelings, because they'll always be there, waiting for you to finally recognize them. And eventually the mourning ends.
And a new morning begins!
You want to be clear of your pain for the next relationship that you WANT to make work.
Tip #8: Be Patient...
It's hard to sit still in your own discomfort. You want to just get on with things. But emotional challenges have their own energy - and their own timeline.
There's an old saying: Nine women can't have a baby in a month.
What that means is that there are some things you can speed up, and some things you definitely CANNOT hurry.
Getting over a guy requires some patience. But it's well rewarded, because you'll find that you are ready to go when it comes time to date again.
Tip #9: Get Your Girls On Board...
Your girlfriends are going to be irreplaceable as you go through this process of restoring your emotional strength.
It helps to get them on board as your support for when you might run into a rough patch. What you need is someone you can call when you have a low mood, a lonely Saturday night, a little too much wine, and you're plotting out a doozy of a text to send him.
You need a friend that can "talk you down from the ledge" and keep you from doing anything impulsive that you'll regret in the morning.
Tip #10: No B.C.'s...!
If you've made up your mind to not let this guy back into your life, then you owe it to yourself to make this one vow:
NO BOOTY CALLS!
Sure, he might call you up one night, and in a moment of weakness you answer the phone. And the next thing you know, he's on your doorstep, smelling like whisky, smoke, and desperation.
If you had particularly good bedroom chemistry with this guy, you DEFINITELY need to watch out. Sometimes the sex can sucker you back into "giving it another try." And that's not where that decision should come from. Ever!
So read my lips: NO Booty Calls!
Tip #11: Make a List...
This one works wonders if you do it. And it only takes a couple minutes.
You absolutely need a list of all the negative stuff about this guy, and you need it on hand for when you might be tempted. Just create a note on your phone listing EVERYTHING that annoyed you about him, or the drawbacks of the relationship.
Whenever you find yourself dreaming of those first few weeks you were together, you just pull out that list and remember that time he got jealous and threw out your old photos from college.
Or the way he would argue with ESPN constantly...
Or whatever it was...
This list is gold for helping you get over him.
Tip #12: But Don't Get Neg...
One thing you don't want to do is to let yourself get negative about this person.
I got an email recently where the woman was trying her best to stay positive, but her smile was very painful to hear. Meaning that she wasn't nearly as over this guy as she thought. The email ended with something about "Crawl on glass for all I care!"
Hmmm... I do think you should find ways to let go, not cling to painful revenge fantasies. Some people don't understand that "letting go" means you don't hold on to ANYTHING from the relationship.
Sometimes we get caught in those dreams of causing that other person some real pain so they can understand how YOU felt. But as the saying goes, two wrongs doesn't make a right.
And "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."
Tip #12: Remember, You're In Training...
Remember, you're getting better at this with each date, relationship, hookup, breakup or whatever that you get through.
You're learning every day what you want in a relationship. What you want in a man...
You're learning about yourself...
You're improving your communication skills...
While you might not want to admit it, you're getting better and better with every relationship that doesn't work out.
So don't ever view your time in a relationship as a loss just because it ended.
Remember that EVERY relationship ends. ALL of them. No exception.
So if we let go of the need for a permanent relationship, we start to see relationship endings as beginnings, too.
Sure, they hurt. But this pain actually does make you stronger.
Tip #13: What About The Lessons...?
Now, in keeping with all that training, you might want to remember what you've learned.
Here's another great list to make: Write down all the things you learned during this relationship.
Learned about your confidence...
Learned about your courage...
Learned about your resilience...
Learned about your emotions...
Learned about your fears & hopes...
Chances are there is a ton of stuff you've managed to acquire in the way of skills, woman. Celebrate it!
These lessons and skills are going to make you invincible in the dating marketplace.
And you're going to make it INEVITABLE that you will find The One.
Tip #14: Don't Bounce...!
It's tempting, but don't jump right out there and start dating guys to help you get over the relationship.
I mentioned rebounds as a real risk for anyone who is fresh out of a relationship, and that's very true these days. It's almost too easy to take a dip in the singles pool.
One of the most common mistakes I see people get into is not giving themselves enough "alone" time after a breakup. Both men and women are prone to this behavior.
Give yourself the chance to heal up first. There's no rush, and the only thing you'll end up doing is hurting that new person.
Tip #15: Try On That Halo...
How about this for a change - why not really wish him well. Be genuinely super happy that he's got a chance now to go find what he really wants.
And you have that chance now, too!
So often we get into negative spirals where we hate on the person who "wronged" us. This is just an angry way of distracting ourselves from our hurt. And it ends up hurting us more in the long run with sickness we take in from our attitudes.
But really we just need to be able to let it go faster.
The quicker you can get to feeling genuine happiness and affection for him and letting it go, the sooner your heart wil be healed.
Tip #16: NEVER Give Up...!
I get a lot of emails and letters and voicemails from women who tell me they are at the end of their rope. They're ready to give up.
Now, I don't think they'll actually give up dating completely. I get that it's frustrating, but talk about giving up on love is just frustration venting.
And you know what? Go ahead and give up - for a couple days.
Or maybe even a whole week.
And then let yourself really rest and recuperate. You'll be ready to jump in the action again.
Just don't give up for good. I truly believe that there is someone out there for everyone.
And if the frustration REALLY gets to you, that might be a sign that you're looking for too much in a relationship.
Tip #17: Get Ready To Love Again...
Ultimately, in the long run, you will forget about him.
In the short-term, you'll get to a place where you feel the ache, but you're okay with it, too. And you start to realize that he might have been a big part of your life, but that's history now.
Now you need to prepare for the Right Guy.
He's out there, and he's worth all this crazy dating stuff it takes to find him.
And NO - I'm not going to finish this article off with the usual "Focus on yourself" and "Get Back Out There!" cheerleading.
You can't help but focus on yourself with everything I've just talked about.
And getting back out there? ... that will happen all on its own. You don't need to push it.
Just do it when you're ready!
And when you're ready to focus on a relationship again, you'll be ready to use what you've learned. Your heart will be stronger.
And you'll be ready to make a relationship that stands the test of time.
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