When you loved someone who changed who you are, it is incredibly difficult to let go of that person. There’s no way of sugarcoating it, it sucks. It is, however, possible to let go.
When you meet someone you fall for and build a relationship over a period of months or years, only to part ways, the damage done can haunt you for years — even decades — to come.
People are the most important aspects of anyone’s life because people have the ability to change us in ways nothing else can.
The right person can turn hell into heaven, and the wrong person, heaven into hell. Sometimes we find that the very same individual is capable of both.
Relationships that start off great often end in tears of despair. It’s not something that one can often predict during the onset of a relationship; it almost always catches us entirely by surprise.
You build a vision of your future together in your mind. You create hopes, dreams and you build anticipation.
You create a reality that revolves around your relationship and when that possible future becomes an impossibility, you crumble along with the future you hoped to see.
Letting go of someone who meant so much to you, who changed the person you are in a drastic way, is incredibly difficult — there’s no way of sugarcoating it; it sucks. Letting that person go, however, is possible.
More than that, it’s necessary in order for you to get your life back on track.
1. Take all the time you need.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that “time heals all wounds” — because that’s nonsense. Sure, time heals many wounds. Most wounds even, but not all wounds.
Some wounds stand the test of time better than any of the remaining wonders of the world. Some wounds are so deep that the only way time can remove them is by removing you along with them.
On the other hand, we sometimes find that time is enough. Sometimes time shows us that the feelings we felt were only to be felt in passing — as we passed on by and on to the next individual we love.
That’s why you have to give time a chance. Even if it doesn’t do the trick of healing all your wounds, it will most certainly numb the pain. It will turn those vivid memories into blurry renditions.
This may not solve your problem of letting that past lover go, but it will make it a whole lot easier for you to do so. It will get easier with time. Once it does, you can try one of the following suggestions.
2. Meet someone new.
Don’t hop into bed with the first person you see; sex doesn’t help with heartbreak — I can promise you that. But what I’ve come to realize is that allowing yourself to fall in love with other people can go a long ways to your recovery.
“Just fall in love with someone new, you say? How easy!” I’m not telling you to go out there and find the new love of your life — it was surely hard enough the first time around. What you can do, however, is allow yourself to fall in love in the shallowest of senses.
Don’t try to fall in love with an entire person, fall in love with bits and pieces. Allow your mind to wander and your imagination to draw conclusions that almost certainly don’t exist.
When people fall in love initially, it isn’t the deep sort of love that most of us search for — we may believe it to be, but that is why most of us become disillusioned over time.
When we initially fall in love, it’s a very shallow form of love. It’s the most romantic kind of love as it is based on minimal information about the person in question — we take what little information we know and we act as if that’s the only information we need to know.
Of course, once you find out more information about the person you’ve fallen for, you’ll surely snap out of it. Nevertheless, falling for someone on even the shallowest of levels reminds you that you are capable of loving again. Think of it as a small step on a long journey.
3. Make it clear to yourself why you had to part ways.
Have you ever had to stop yourself and rethink why exactly it was that you and this particular individual decided to call it quits? You’re not alone. As time passes, our minds wander into the past, recollecting past pleasant memories and emotions.
We transport ourselves into a time of deep love and passion — something very dangerous as your goal is to let that individual go and allow yourself to move on with your life.
Every time a pleasant thought or memory of that individual and the life you once had enters your mind, counter with a negative thought or memory. Love exists in your mind and because it does, you can learn to have better control of it.
You may not be able to choose who you fall in love with and don’t fall in love with, but you can pair up an individual with enough negative feelings to naturally ward yourself off them.
Even if you can’t convince yourself to hate this person, reminding yourself regularly of why you had to call it quits can make your life a whole lot easier.
4. Make it clear to yourself why you need to let this person go completely.
Sometimes relationships can be saved and passions rekindled. And sometimes we know that when something is over, it needs to remain over.
It’s one thing to understand why you and he or she broke up and it’s another to understand why you and he or she must remain broken up.
Again, you have to be careful with allowing your emotions to run loose — emotions are complex and often deceiving, pulling you away from reality. Take a step back, take a deep breath, clear your head, and reason with yourself as to why you need to continue moving on with your life.
You need to remain clear on your intentions and reasoning because if you don’t those emotions will catch up with you, and you’ll end up doing something that you’ll later regret.
5. Take the time to imagine the perfect person and then point out which areas your past lover falls short.
This is something I believe too few people ever bother to bother with. We all hope — expect even — that we will one day find the man or woman of our dreams.
My question is: How will you know you’ve found love when you have no idea what would make up the man or woman of your dreams?
We all know that no one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t outline the characteristics we admire in a partner. Sure, you may never find someone who fits your criteria exactly, but that doesn’t matter.
Your perfect partner is more of a guideline than a set of requirements — a guideline that you should use to compare potential suitors. Whether they fall short or not doesn’t matter because in the end you still get the last say in the matter (well, you and whomever you’re courting).
What this guideline is also often good for is helping you understand how far off the mark your last love was. It can help put things in better perspective for you.
6. Find the love of your life.
I understand that you believe that the last person you were in love with was the love of your life and that you don’t believe you will find another — if you didn’t then you probably wouldn’t have read this far — but I’m here to tell you that as soon as you meet the real love of your life, the last one will become overshadowed.
This isn’t to say that you’ll forget that love entirely, but your new love will make the last one diminish in intensity. You may still think about this person occasionally — if it were a deep love, it likely influenced you tremendously — but you won’t be yearning for this person in particular.
Love is like a drug… it doesn’t matter who’s supplying, as long as the supply is good. A new love drowns out the last. This isn’t to say that you’ll entirely stop loving him or her.
I believe that there are some people we never stop loving because they’ve become a part of us. You will, though, stop loving them romantically. And as far as intense emotions and obsessions goes, that’s enough.
by Paul Hudson
This post originally appeared at Elite Daily. Reprinted with permission.
A young writer, philosopher, and entrepreneur, Paul Hudson (@MrPaulHudson) has been writing for Elite Daily nearly since the start. He primarily addresses the successes and downfalls of love and life.
Photo: L’oeil etranger / flicker