Your ex has hurt you. He or she has betrayed you, has berated you, has torn your heart into a million little scraps, has cheated, has broken promises, has lied, has left. And now you’re cynical and bitter, frowning at the world and walking around with a guarded heart, doubtful of whether love even exists, and not willing, in the slightest, to give it a chance.
You once had hope in people. You once saw the best in strangers. You once believed that hands and hearts could heal, and that the universe did conspire to bring people together.
You put your faith in possibility, in chance, in giving someone all you had and finding it returned to you. You craved affection. You longed for another’s touch. You loved to love.
But since things ended with your ex, everything changed.
The smile that used to spread effortlessly across your face has been replaced with a somber, straight-lipped mouth. The once sunny attitude about dating has been disguised by indifference. And anything that looks remotely like love, you push away, you keep at arm’s length, you run away from.
You make excuses for why you can’t be in a relationship—you’re not ready, you’re tired of the dating scene, you’re focusing on yourself, you just want to be alone—but the truth is, everything that you push away is everything that you want.
You want to feel someone’s hand in yours again. You want to lean across your bed and feel someone’s body, warm and sleepy next to yours. You want to laugh about silly inside jokes; you want someone to talk about the deepest, most frightening moments of your life.
You want love. You’re just scared.
And the truth is, you can’t find love because you’re using your ex as an excuse.
You’re pushing people away, you’re saying ‘no’ to dates, you’re shying away from anything that looks remotely like a relationship because you’re so set in believing that every person will be just like your ex. You’re hesitant to tell someone how you feel because you’re worried they’ll leave you, to. You’re terrified because you don’t want to ever experience this sort of pain again. And rightfully so.
But you must remember that your ex is one person, one relationship, one moment in time. And not every situation, not every person will be like he/she was.
The reason you haven’t been able to move on? It’s because you’re holding onto the negativity and fear from your previous relationship. The reason you can’t be open to finding someone new? It’s because you’re looking back instead of forward. The reason you question whether love exists? It’s because you’re judging all relationships on the one that failed.
But the beautiful thing about love is that it’s always growing, always changing, always rebuilding. And no matter how many times love has let you down in the past, you will find it again, and it will be better. And you will be stronger. And because of what you’ve gone through, you will be all the more ready to give your heart away to someone who truly deserves it.
But first, you must stop using your ex as an excuse. You must stop carrying around the pain from your last relationship. You must stop giving him/her all the responsibility for who you’ve become.
You must stop changing who you are and how you view the world because of one person. And you must let go, in order to heal and find something truly real.
Your ex did not destroy you, and will not destroy you. Your past relationship does not make you unlovable or difficult. Your breakup and brokenness do not define your self-worth or who you will become. Only you can determine these things.
So stop using your ex as a crutch for why you’re still unhappy. Stop using the way he/she treated you as a justification for why you’re guarded, or hesitant, or cautious, or unwilling, or afraid.
Let the past be in the past and the pain fade as you continue forward.
One person does not, and cannot create the course of your life.
And you deserve to love, so please let them go. And let love in.