What’s your love and relationship problem?
Ask Meredith at Love Letters. Yes, it’s anonymous.
I’m having real trouble getting over my ex, to the point that it’s kind of embarrassing. I’m a mid-20s woman who broke up with my ex-boyfriend well over a year ago, in early 2020. He was a really amazing person and partner and I was deeply in love with him, but I also wasn’t getting the emotional support I needed out of the relationship, and when I thought about our future together, I got a sense of dread. Obviously that was a bad sign, and I was just not happy despite being so in love. So I broke up with him.
The pandemic and lockdowns hit soon after, which derailed my hopes at the time that I’d find some new groups and friends to throw myself into. And ever since then … I just can’t move past him. I’ve thought through some of the things that made me so unhappy, but I still hold so much hurt and frustration, sometimes I wish I could just have one more long conversation with him where I could voice all my anger.
And I spend so much time thinking about all the good times we had together too! It’s not like I broke up with him because I wasn’t in love anymore. I care(d) for him so much. He pops up in my dreams a few times a week, and it sucks waking up from them every time. I fantasize about running into him at a party or around town and magically resolving everything. I’ve talked some to friends and family about this, but I’m embarrassed by how long it’s been at this point. I had a few sessions with a therapist, which helped some, but it didn’t address the basic problem: the reasons I had for breaking up with him were solid, but I’m still at least half in love with him. What can I do to move on? Should I just renew my efforts to find new activities and more friends now that I’m vaccinated and things are opening up? I’m tired of the space this takes up in my brain.
I read your first sentence and assumed I was going to be reading a letter from someone who had a breakup in 2018. Or 2015. Or 2008.
I mean, it takes some people years to stop rethinking every decision they made about someone they loved.
I’m not minimizing what you’re going through. All I ask is that you take it easy on yourself, because a year isn’t very long … and 2020 was not an ordinary year! It involved the kind of isolation that made people overthink a lot of things. In some cases, it gave people the necessary space to consider something they were avoiding (like what kind of life they might want in an open world), but for a person going through a fresh breakup, it was probably very weird and lonely. Think about all the people who called exes during lockdown. Some of them were re-interrogating breakups they hadn’t considered for years.
“Should I just renew my efforts to find new activities and more friends now that I’m vaccinated and things are opening up?”
Basically. My advice is to keep yourself as busy as possible and to let everyone you know you’re looking to engage. Also, start making long-term plans. Get a small white board and make a list of things you want to do and see. Over time, your brain will be taken over by a new kind of to-do list. Get going on this while listening to new music. In new scenery (if you take walks, move in a different direction). Honestly, this is about retraining your brain.
Don’t be embarrassed, be proactive. The getting-over-it regimen starts now. Of course you still care about the person you loved, but there’s so much to look forward to.
Readers? Any reason to be embarrassed? How do you train your brain to think about someone less?
In March 2020, when the music stopped, it dawned on us that life is but a giant game of musical chairs. Unfortunately, you got stuck in a particularly uncomfortable seat while all of us have been waiting for the music to start again. Stop beating yourself up, life is returning, your ability to pursue new interests and new relationships will relieve you of this preoccupation with your EX.HeyIthink
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