You wake up, check your phone, brush your teeth, get dressed, start making breakfast, and then you remember the way he likes his eggs. Scrambled, sprinkled in pepper, and doused in hot sauce.
The next day, you only make it to brushing your teeth before you can see him looking back at you in the mirror, winking after he finishes brushing his own.
And the next day? You might not even make it to the mirror.
The problem with trying to stop thinking about them is that there is no formula. I wish I could write otherwise. I wish I were writing you a succinct list, numbered 1-10, that you could check offline by line and be rid of them for good. Hell, I’d get four years of my life back. But the daunting reality is that you may not think about them for six months when suddenly, one day, the shade of blue on your nails transports you to his bedroom, dimly lit by the blue Christmas lights he keeps up all year round.
Yes, it helps to unfollow them on all things social media. It helps to delete old texts and old pictures and old voicemails. It certainly helps to cut yourself off completely from them. Cleansing yourself of the physical leftovers can feel like sweeping up breadcrumbs that used to lead you home. Eliminate the trail and the path becomes nonexistent.
But, here’s the thing. Out of sight, out of mind only works for so long. Our mind alone can twist memories and manifest them into a distorted fantasy. More often than not we misremember portions of relationships and rewrite mundane gestures as something they objectively weren’t. The time he brought home McDonald’s fries ‘just because’ wasn’t a grand profession of love. He probably was very hungry himself and passed a drive-thru on the way home. That’s all that was. Yet, out of sight, out of mind, and it’s off to fantasyland we go.
So, how do you forget them? How do you move on? You just have to keep going. You have to get out of bed and breathe every morning. You have to put one foot in front of the other until you make it through breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then, you start all over the next day.
After a while, you won’t have to remind yourself to breathe. One day you’ll wake up and think, “Holy shit. When was the last time I even thought about him?” And one year, two years, maybe even three years later, you’ll wake up and laugh at how long you dwelled on the time he texted you first and how it was the greatest thing any human had ever done. The memories will slowly but surely fade and the moments you swore you’d never forget become so fuzzy you can’t quite make them out anymore. The most beautiful part? When you finally realize you confused a lesson for a soul mate.
The question may be how to stop thinking about them, but the answer has nothing to do with them at all. The answer has everything to do with you. Rediscover what you love, take yourself on dates, get some fresh air. The world won’t stop for you to figure this out. And you don’t need it to.
One foot in front of the other. One inhale in. One exhale out. You’ve got this, babe.