My best friend (a goddess amongst mere mortals) just ended her engagement with her long-time boyfriend. Soon after, she discovered that her former fiancé is getting back together with his ex-girlfriend. Though my best friend is taking it exceptionally well considering the circumstances, I suspect she’s wrestling with certain distinct strains of pain that arise when there is “someone else” in the picture. Yes, there is obviously a certain amount of time of “mourning” per se after any break-up. But I’d like to take this opportunity to share some advice on “what to do when you don’t want to let go of someone that clearly does not deserve you” … because I know the advice “you need to let it go” is clearly easier said than done.
There are things we can control and things that we can’t. Only the former are things that we should spend time worrying about. Who loves you is not included in the former. Thinking and worrying about it will do nothing. It changes nothing. Anything you do to spite it (revenge, Facebook stalking, texting your ex, staying convinced he or she will come back to you, etc.) changes nothing. It just wastes your extremely precious time and energy that should be spent on the things that you can control – such as where you’re headed in life, becoming the person you want to and can be, and improving the life-long relationship you have with yourself. Ohhh, he doesn’t want you anymore? I’m sorry, all I hear there is a problem for him, what does that have to do with you?
I’ll tell you something right now the person you love getting back with his ex-girlfriend has nothing to do with you. It does not mean she is any prettier than you, any kinder than you. It’s not because she is skinnier or taller or smarter or funnier than you. It is not because she is better than you. It is just what is better for him, and maybe even just right now in his life. Alternatively, and positively, it means that is he not what is better for you. He is literally doing you a favor. Yes, it hurts losing someone you love and cared about but it does not have to be negative and full of hate, jealousy, and resentment. It’s just how life works.
The anger, the hurt, the resentment, the betrayal, well deep down it’s all probably just fear. Fear of being alone, of inadequacy, of the future, of not being good enough, of being not being able to trust, etc. The only way to cure that pain is to start working on the relationship you have with yourself to overcome those fears. Reflect on the good times, learn from the bad times, and examine how the relationship has changed you – did it make you a better person or worse? Did you notice anything different about yourself? What made you the most happy? What would you have changed if you could? What will you do differently in the future? These are productive thoughts after a break-up. Comparing yourself to your ex’s new girlfriend or boyfriend is not, it will get you nowhere except closer to your death due to the aggregate hours you have now lost stalking your ex and his or her new sig-O on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter trying to find flaws in them and their relationship.
Love yourself and you won’t be afraid of being alone or not being good enough. Then if someone comes along later well then that is just a fantastic bonus. They will love you for you and you won’t need that love to survive. Thus you will appreciate it, rather than fear the loss of it. You will trust it, rather than scare it away. You will value it, rather than let it determine your value. As Donna and Tom Haverford say: “Treat yo self to self-loving.”
Sometimes life just shits on you just to shake things up and keep you on your toes. It’s how you deal with that pain, the unexpected changes, the challenges that makes you who you are. Is it complete shit that the person you loved and invested in chose someone else in the end? Absolutely. But should you choose to let breakups define the relationship rather than the relationship itself, and let relationships define you rather than you defining you yourself? That choice is yours and yours alone.