People love to tell others to “Just move on!” after a breakup. I see this everywhere and, more often than not, it does more damage than good. The problem is that it raises more questions than it answers: How can I move on? When should I move on? Does this mean I should give up on my ex? Where exactly would I be moving to?
The first aspect to understand is that it entails acceptance: You acknowledge that there is something or someone serving no purpose in your life anymore. When it comes to a relationship, it could be that you’d be eager to try to make an effort but there is no correspondence, or at least not to the extent where your needs are being met which leads you to a painful path of frustration. Now let’s dig into some of the most common questions:
The first thing to consider is that everyone’s journey is different. People around you will share their strong opinions, but it’s something only you have the answer to. Don’t compare yourself to others, try to reflect on what moving forward with your life means to you. Visualize how you would feel once it happens. Would it feel like someone taking weight off your shoulders? Would it feel like you just stopped holding your breath and are able to inhale finally? If yes, moving on might be right for you.
Take a look at the relationship you’re leaving and the story you had with that person. Maybe there were some good moments, but also painful, disappointing, and embarrassing ones too. The goal isn’t to torture yourself by reliving the pain, but to process it on an intellectual level, almost as if you’re an outside observer.
Understand the story’s beginning, middle, and end so you’re not controlled by flashing memories of the past. Accepting that it is over can be crushing at first, but it is important to do at some point. Along with this acceptance, it is common to start mourning not only over the person we miss, but also for the relationship we consider so special.
Now, in order to answer the question: When? Ask yourself: “How am I benefiting from staying put? Is staying making things worse?” It’s probably time to move if you don’t have a good answer. Another hint for you to decide to move forward is if your ex isn’t giving you any reason to think things will change.
Is there a formula for how to move on? People will tell you it’s pretty straightforward but it’s better to think of moving on as a process. Here are the most common steps you might undergo:
Understanding that you did everything you could and that the outcome does not entirely depend on you. Once you realize this, you will be able to allow yourself to decide to stop pursuing something or someone who is not adding any value to your life. This stage implies acknowledging and feeling your feelings - this is a tough challenge, so it is ok to be sad or angry. It is normal to experience some resistance, this is part of the process. Connecting with the emotions, voicing it is the way to go. Avoiding it, ignoring it will not help you heal.
Acknowledge the emotion > feel it > reflect on what is causing it > let go
See the relationship for what it was, it was not perfect, something was not working out, therefore it came to an end. This DOES NOT mean that you will not find love again, that you are broken and need to be fixed, that no one else will understand you, and that you will never feel the same. First of all, every connection will be unique, no person is the same and that does not mean that it will not be as good or as special.
On the other hand, it is ok to feel sad, and also to feel that something died inside you or that is no longer there since the other person left - this is the pain talking - you are complete and nothing is missing inside you, you are readjusting yourself to this new stage in your life.
It is common that try to isolate ourselves whenever we are undergoing a crisis, but actually allowing yourself to share and lean on others might be helpful and insightful. Challenge this instinct; you can start by reaching out to your friends - give yourself the permission to vent. Also, joining some sort of a support group will be a gentle reminder that you are not alone! For instance, you can request access to our group on FB (https://www.facebook.com/groups/relationshiphero) so you can learn from others’ experiences, get different inputs, and mirror how other members have been positively coping with their situation.
when possible or try to detach. This implies unfriending them on social media, trying not to reach out and, if necessary, try to limit the interaction - bear in mind that you will be very emotional, space and time will help you to come down from this heightened state.
Last but not least, let’s focus on that common question you might ask when moving on becomes a consideration: Does it mean I’m giving up?
Making the decision to move on does not mean that you are a quitter, it just means that you chose to retrieve your power and to move forward with your life. It does not mean that you are closing the door forever either, you are just putting yourself first and focusing on what you need right now, which is to heal and to recover from a break-up. In this regard, you might need to face a noisy voice that might be bugging you when you start with this process.
Your ‘inner critic’ might get annoying and might try to sabotage you by bothering with thoughts such as: “no one will ever love me”, “I’ll always be alone”, “No one likes sad people”. Be kind to yourself, you are making this decision for you, not for anyone else. Loving yourself is not selfish - and you deserve to be loved.
It is undeniable that moving on its own is very challenging, but you got this! Believe in yourself and in how strong you are, and if you need any guidance - we are here to help!