To My Friend Who Can't Seem To Get Over Her Ex

Shannon Ashley

I've been where you are too. by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

It doesn’t matter what anybody says about time healing old wounds--because it simply isn’t true. Time is no healer, and heartache knows no timeline.

I see you, and it breaks my heart because I know you. I’ve been you. I’ve been the woman who can’t get over her ex no matter what anybody else says.

We drown in our remembrance of a past love. We think that maybe if we had loved those men much less deeply, we’d get over them that much more quickly.

Maybe if we had just done things differently...but we didn’t.

And now it’s done.

Here’s what I really think about heartache.

We wanted to be loved, but it didn’t work out... and then when other things didn’t work out, we fell back on that love we so desperately wanted.

We fell back but the love was gone.

And instead of moving on, we let ourselves get stuck. So stuck.

In a sense, we thought we deserved to stay stuck.

We punished ourselves for some form of regret. And now few people understand why it’s so hard to leave.

They left.

Why can’t we?

We make it so hard on ourselves for a few different reasons.

Bad love is addictive.

Back when I was still stuck on my own ex, he treated me like garbage. Somehow, I thought that was okay, because I loved him so much. I thought he needed my love to feel safe. And I thought I had to absorb every blow he sent my way.

Our love was toxic, but by the time I realized that much, I was addicted to the drama. Our drama was better than feeling unloved.

Until it wasn't.

You regret what neither of you would do.

Here’s the thing. I don’t know if your love with him was toxic or good, but I do know that you both made choices. He told you what he wanted, you told him he couldn’t have that with you, then you left, and he never came after you.

It’s painful, but he didn’t fight for you. And I can’t even guess why he didn’t. All I can say is that it matters that he didn’t fight for you.

And it matters that you didn’t fight for him. Ultimately, you made the same choice.

But it’s done.

Isn’t it?

You only have three options.

  1. You could reach out to your ex. Find out if he’s happy. Talk to him. Tell him you were wrong and find out if there's a second chance or not.
  2. You could stay stuck. Keep thinking about your ex every single day and regret that moment you walked out the door. Live a life of regret.
  3. Or, you could recognize the fact that you’re probably unhappy without him because you’re unhappy in life right now. You’re in the slog--making better choices, building a new life, but it’s slow. And let’s be honest. It's lonely as heck.

Loneliness makes us crazy.

People like to say that love makes us do the wacky. But that’s not true of good love at all. Good love is boring and sane.

Honestly, it’s the loneliness that we so desperately ache to get off our chests. We all long for past love whenever we can’t stand the emptiness of feeling unloved or alone.

And it’s even harder on single moms.

You and I have so much in common. I know what it’s like to work so hard for your daughter, to do it all alone, and then long for a partner who could be in it all with you.

Sometimes I just want somebody else to say, “I got this.” And then let me rest for a while. So I know firsthand that being a single mom is one of the hardest things anybody can ever do. I know the emptiness and the thanklessness. I know all about every sharp pang.

And of course, I know how the world looks at you... I know how it looks at me.

But loneliness isn’t a good reason to go backward.

Ask yourself what would happen if you were really happy right now. Happy with yourself. Happy with love. Happy with life.

Would you still be unable to quit thinking about your ex?

My guess is that you wouldn’t be stuck on your ex if you were happy in other ways. That was definitely the case for me. In a sense, I had to “outgrow” my ex and start building a new life for me that couldn’t possibly include him.

I look at what I'm doing now and what he's doing... and I am amazed to see that I'm the one moving forward. I'm the one building a better life and future. Meanwhile, my ex is still stuck in the same drama. Same job. Same slog.

The reality is that we can never know how good it feels to move on until we actually do it. So dear, give yourself a break and move on.

I know it's easier said than done. And I know you're worth the effort. You owe it to yourself to fight for you.

Quit worrying about how you're not over your ex. Don't worry about people getting sick of you.

Focus on building a life you love, and I promise, you will naturally quit thinking about your ex. The past can only haunt you when you give it power over your future.

Give your future the power by going after your dreams.

Forget about even trying to forget your ex. Build a beautiful life that works for you. He will fade, but only if you choose you.

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Single mama, full-time writer, ex-vangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. I cover real-life issues, like family, parenting, relationships, and spiritual abuse.

Cleveland, TN

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