Let's face it—breakups are hard. They hurt and throw us into mental confusion and emotional turmoil. We question every little thing and wonder what we did wrong, how we could have changed things and if it was our fault. We spin in a million questions and want to know why, to understand what happened and get closure.
The result is we stay stuck in the past and unable to move forward with our lives. I know plenty of women who struggle--really struggle—to move past a breakup. I understand; I've been there too. We say we know we have to move on but we just can't. We spend months and even years of our lives clinging to the past and suffering over it.
Why? What's the problem? The easy answer or at least what we tell ourselves is we still love them. It's easy to love them because it wasn't all bad. And we weren't perfect either; we did our share of hurting them back. Maybe we should just be happy with things the way they were; they weren't so bad. Maybe we could be happy...
This is settling. We've all done it. We love them and we want them to love us back. It feels good to love and be loved; we all long for that. And we don't understand why or how their feelings changed for us when our feelings for them haven't. We still love them. And we convince ourselves whatever love they toss our way is worth it or that if we can just show them we are worth their love, it'll be fine.
The problem with settling is it doesn't work. We will end up unhappy inside and will blame them for it. Then they will be unhappy inside and blame us for it. And eventually the relationship will end...again.
Staying in suffering because we still love our ex seems like the easy answer because it's hard to let go of people we love. But there's a hard answer too, something deeper we overlook, yet is key for us to recognize. As it turns out, the hard answer is actually the easier road in the long run. When the truth in our heart is not aligned with the stories in our head, a war breaks out inside of us between our heart and our head, and we can't move.
It takes a ton of energy to make ourselves do something we really don't want to do. So if we really don't want to break up, we won't have the willpower to take the steps that we need to take, to move our lives away from our ex. It's that simple.
That's why so many of us say things like, "I can't let go. I can't stop thinking about them. I want them to miss me. I want them to come back. I know I need to let go but I'm stuck. I can't bear to go no contact. I love them." The truth is we hope our ex will realize they made a mistake, change their mind, and come running back to us, declaring their true love.
It's the trap of fairytale love. It could happen, but if it does, it's the exception rather than the rule. For most of us, we waste too much of our precious lives wishing things were different, crying over someone who left us in the dust and never looked back. The kicker is that when we dig down deep, we probably weren't as happy or fulfilled as our mind wants us to thing we were. We just didn't have the courage to speak up about it.
So what's the truth in your situation? How do you really feel about your ex? Is he or she someone you believe you could forge a trusting, supportive, uplifting, long-term authentically-loving partnership with? If so then lay your cards on the table. Be honest with them about how you feel and see what happens, because something will happen. If you don't get real with it, you'll be trapped in the push-pull of your head and heart, stuck in suffering and unable to move forward.
Or do you love them but...you know they aren't good for you, can't love you the way you want, or can't be trusted...and you really do want to release them? If you are sure you don't want to be in a relationship with your ex, yet are still struggling to let them go, there's something deeper going on. Get your head and your heart aligned with your highest, deepest truth so that what you know to be true, what you want, and what you do can work together. Then it will be easier to release your ex, and the grip of your struggle can begin to ease up.