Breaking up is hard to do, and every split feels like the worst one, ever. A look at what you can do, and what you should avoid as The Q advice tries to apply some solutions as salve.
After a year of passionate sex, genuine laughs and always having a Plus One, we broke up. It was mutual, and it was the right thing to do, but the only person I want to talk to about it is him, my ex.
Everything reminds me of our inside jokes. Something happens on “our show,” and I want to text him. I see “our place,” and I wonder if he’s been there recently.
I don’t want to get back together, but I miss him. I don’t want to give him the wrong impression, but I do want to talk.
What you’re experiencing is grief. Your relationship died, and the impulse to talk to your ex is understandable. But don’t, at least not right now.
If the breakup was done right, he knows where you stand. Opening old wounds only extends your distress. The grieving process is how you move on, so use it to process memories that arise and internalize what the relationship meant to you. Think of the reasons your breakup was the right thing to do.
You might also try a letting-go ritual: Write a letter pouring out the good, bad and ugly. Now – and this step is crucial – don’t send it. Tuck it in a drawer, and put your former relationship away with it. Or go further. Burn it and release your past into the smoke.
My ex and I were together seven years, but the last year of it was a lie. She cheated repeatedly, promising each time not to do it again. She eventually moved out without discussing why.
I want closure. I deserve an explanation and a chance to say my piece. How can I get it?
Wondering what motivates other people is tempting, but futile. There are probably tons of “reasons” for your ex’s decisions, but speculating on theories only delays your recovery. Turn your energy toward the person you can control and who needs your help: You.
What would you do differently in the future? Did you put up with it for too long? Did you invest in someone who wasn’t earning it? Why? Would you prefer someone who respects your relationship as much as you do?
In your case, the closure you seek will mostly likely come solely in the form of lessons learned.
After 13 years, I thought “happily ever after” was ours. I was wrong. Dirty laundry aside, he’s gone. I’m left with two dogs, a mortgage, and a house full of painful memories.
Here’s the crazy part: I’d take him back. I’ve spent too much time on this to close the door on a whole era of my life. I don’t want help moving on. I want my life back!
Dear Let Go:
The door you’re clinging to is already closed. It’s OK not to bounce back right away, but it’s not OK to wallow indefinitely. Hug your dogs, call your friends, hire a counselor, sell the house, but whatever you do, let him go because he’s already gone.
The Q is for entertainment purposes and not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected].
Illustration by Brad Gibson
This article orginally ran in Q magazine. Read the full issue below: