If you got dumped yesterday, this is not the article for you. If you got dumped last week, this is not the article for you. If you got dumped last month, this may be the article for you, depending on how long the relationship lasted. For those of you who are 3+ months out, let’s talk about the horizon.
They’re gone. You’re done crying (what feels like) all the time. You are occasionally getting a couple good nights of sleep. You’re going out with friends because you want to, and not because they’re worried about the fact that your mailing address is exclusively your couch because you haven’t moved to anywhere else in your apartment in THAT long.
But I know your secret. I know the ways you’re still holding on. And I know you’re here because, as hard as it’s been, we both know its time that you start to close that door like you need to. It’s time to make space to grow.
So here are 5 ways you’re still holding onto your ex when you’re trying to act like you’re fine (and you’re not).
1. In the back of your mind, you’re still waiting for “The Text”.
You know the one. The text that says they’re sorry and they want you back. The one that says they made a huge mistake. The one that says you’re the best they ever had. You know sooner or later it’ll happen (doesn’t it always?). But here’s the sad truth about “the text”.
You are shackling yourself to a hope that may never come. Maybe in your heart, you know it’s coming, but it still might not. You’re setting yourself up to wish for something you have no control over. Don’t wait for that text, life is passing you by.
Plus, if it does come, it will most likely come too late anyway. After you’ve met someone new and hot and you see the damn thing and think, “Oh, this fool. Now they want to text me?! I’m busy.”
2. You haven’t unfollowed them on social media.
You’re telling yourself that you can still be friends. That it’s fine that it didn’t work out. That you’re a big person and that unfollowing someone is childish.
However, despite these best-laid attempts to prove your maturity, multiple studies have found that exes that stay friends on social media within the first year of the breakup have a harder time getting over one and other and moving on. (Please also note, a harder time getting over one and other doesn’t mean they’re more likely to get back together, but rather that we sit in the most painful stages of the breakup for far longer).
Our parents couldn’t check up on our exes like we can. They couldn’t know about a spontaneous trip to Cabo or let the attractive individual the other one keeps posting pictures of ruin their day on a random Wednesday.
You deserve space from them and recognizing that you need space to heal, grow, and eventually be friends is not childish and it doesn’t make you a small person. Hit that unfollow button.
3. You haven’t moved things that remind them of you out of your sight.
You are still living with a ghost. You know all the places they’re still there. They’re in the set of spoons you bought together at Ikea, in the bed sheets you used to sleep on together that has the cactus print they liked, in the shoes, they got you for Christmas that you don’t wear but keep by the door.
I understand financial burdens and the actual inability to get rid of things out of pragmatism, but there are a million apps that you could sell every piece of clothing you wore on every date, every piece of furniture, all of it, and take that money to the thrift store to reinvent yourself completely.
You can’t move on if you’re constantly reminded of them. Not at the speed you deserve to.
4. You post with the intention of them seeing the post.
I admire all individuals that want to stay friends after romantic relationships have taken their course. I don’t think continuing to follow one and other on social is the best way to “stay friends” after a breakup. As I stated before, when it comes to social, you need a break.
Whether its 3 months or 3 years, take your space. That also means for some of us, we need to do things like unfollow or even block our exes. We stage our lives around the idea that they might see a picture, or a caption, or a comment, and regret their decisions when they see how happy and awesome our lives are.
You don’t owe anyone a declaration of happiness as a front to how you’re feeling. You owe it to yourself to be honest, to get off social, to post about sadness, to live in this season of life without creating a facade that your home knows no loss. Be in this moment now, it’s the only way to heal everything you’re feeling.
5. You get mad at yourself for thinking about them.
Cut yourself a damn break. I get that you’re sad. I get that you’re bitter. I get that you want to show up at their house and light their car on fire just to get their attention. And each time you fantasize about watching that civic go up in flames, you kick yourself.
Like you aren’t allowed to think of them. Like you’re failing if you do. And you deserve so much more grace than what you’re giving yourself. Getting upset with yourself is only continuing to perpetuate the negative emotions you feel towards your ex. The next time they show up in some fleeting inferno fantasy, instead of getting mad, try talking to your ex (metaphorically).
“Hi BLANK. I understand you want to show up today, however, I’m really busy with AWESOME THING YOU’RE NOW DOING WITH YOUR FREE TIME and can’t handle these thoughts and emotions today.”
Physically shoo the thought away. You’re too damn busy. You’ve got too many things going for you. You’re headed toward the horizon faster than a setting sun.
And the sun never complains about taking its journey alone.
You’ve got this, you can make your way through this and be better for it at the end. I’m rooting for you.