Getting over someone is hard work no matter what. Even if you only dated for a short period of time or just crushed on someone for a while, you still feel a sense of loss, disappointment, and sadness when things are over. But getting over someone you still love? That’s not only heart-wrenching, but can also seem so impossible that you wonder if you’ll ever be able to move on.
Some people are just really hard to let go of. It’s hard to move on from your pain because when you finally do let go of it, that’s when the relationship is really over. And for most of us, that’s a reality we don’t want to face. You could very well be aware of all the reasons why you shouldn’t be together but those reasons—no matter how practical and sound as they might be—don’t just make the love go away. As Carrie Bradshaw famously said, “But if you love someone and you break up, where does the love go?”
The love might still be real. And, at one point, it might have been good for you. However, in order to have the life, and the relationship, that you truly deserve and someone who’s deserving of your worth and value, you must try to get over your ex.
Here’s how to get over someone you still love:
1. Cut off contact.
FYI: you don’t have to be friends with your ex, and while we’re at it, no, it’s not always the most mature route, despite what some people say. You know what’s more mature? Taking care of your emotional wellbeing, as well as establishing boundaries and understanding what YOU need in order to be your best self. It’s not harsh and it doesn’t mean you’re a jerk or a bitch. It means you’re looking after yourself, which is what everyone should do after a breakup.
2. Give it time.
Clichéd? Yes, but nonetheless, it’s true. Time is an amazing buffer for raw emotions. How much time? Unfortunately, there is no real answer. It’s completely personal. For some, it might take weeks or months. For others, it could take years before you can finally breathe again. It’s important not to rush the process, either. Moving forward with a new relationship, or even reestablishing contact with your ex way before you’re ready can set you ten steps back. Take your time and, above everything else, be gentle with yourself.
3. Let go of the fantasy.
Most people don’t mourn the relationship they actually had. Because the relationship they really had was most likely filled with fights, drama, and emotional strife. Who would mourn that? No one. Instead people tend to mourn the idea of what they could have had. They become obsessed with the fantasy they keep replaying in their heads, which is propelled by good memories and false hope. People do this because they don’t want to focus on the pain of the breakup; so they go towards what feels good. And what feels good is romanticizing your ex and choosing to focus on the good times instead of on who your ex truly is today. By doing this, it becomes way more difficult to detach and let go of someone. So when you find yourself fantasizing about your ex, it’s important to remind yourself of all the reasons why you broke up in the first place. Even writing down an actual list of all the things that didn’t work and what you didn’t like is helpful. It’s not for you to stay angry, but to stay real.
4. Choose forgiveness.
This is probably the most difficult part of the process. When someone you love treats you poorly or unfairly it feels like a shot to the heart. Your trust is broken. You wonder how you could have loved someone who could betray you so easily, and you begin to question whether or not you truly ever knew your partner. And then down the rabbit hole of despair and anger you go. As cheesy as it sounds, in order to feel at peace with someone, you must find it within yourself. Often this means seeing the breakup from your ex’s perspective. Choose to see what they did as something that was necessary, and not unkind. Choose to understand that they did the best they could at the time, and that, ultimately, their best wasn’t good enough for you—and that’s okay. It’s easier to forgive your ex when you see them as a real and flawed human being rather than through a lens of perfection.
Forgiving your ex is not letting them off the hook for bad behavior, but it is about giving yourself emotional freedom. In the end, no one can give you closure but you.
5. Understand there’s nothing wrong with you for loving them.
Because there’s not. It’s okay to still love your ex. It’s okay to still feel pain. It’s okay to want another ending over the one you were given. That’s all part of the process. But also know that love isn’t what solely makes a relationship work. Relationships work when similar values are aligned, when the communication is clear and honest, and when the timing is right. Sometimes the best way you can demonstrate your love for someone is by wishing them the best in life, even if that means letting them go.
Getting over someone you love isn’t easy at all. But it’s essential that you don’t let the love you have for your ex outweigh the most important relationship you’ll ever have—the one with yourself.