It’s time to let go of the past and reclaim your independence!
Eight years ago my ex-fiancé and I broke up. I am happily married now and I believe it’s because I started my life over completely when we broke up. I had no attachment to him or his life, I held onto nothing relating to him.
When we allow ourselves to remain attached in any way to our ex-partners, we never fully heal from the breakup. This prevents us from finding someone we truly love because we are stuck in the past.
There are many ways people keep their attachment to their exes alive. It could be through a pet, mutual friends, or social media. However, keeping these ties alive will only prolong your misery.
Many people use items and people to remain attached to an ex because they’re not ready to let go and move on with their lives.
A friend of mine lived in an apartment she shared with an ex until the last possible moment. She couldn’t afford the place and literally risked homelessness by not looking for another place. Why? Because being there made her feel closer to him, even though he had left weeks before.
Heartbreak makes us do some weird things. I’ve always been a passive person in my relationships. Oddly enough, when my breakup happened, something inside me snapped and I moved into action. This approach worked well for me, I was moved out before he even had a chance to change his mind!
For me, it’s a pride thing. I don’t stay where I’m not wanted and I refuse to dwell on someone who doesn’t want me.
If someone breaks up with you, they do not want to be with you anymore. This is why we must leave and take our dignity with us.
Hanging on to the past only makes you look and feel desperate. This will lower your self-esteem and keep you in a victim mindset.
If you allow yourself to leave the victim mindset behind, you can easily transition into your new life. Naturally, you need to be willing to make some changes.
If you are cohabitating, immediately figure out your living arrangements
Pick yourself up, wipe off the tears, and take action. Pack your things that day, I don’t care if you cry while you are doing it. Again, if this person has broken up with you, they no longer want you in their life. Enlist family or friends to keep you on track if needed.
If you are keeping the house or apartment, tell your ex that you want them out immediately. Be firm and let them know if you’re broken up, they can no longer live with you.
In the case that you’re both going to move out, put in notice with your landlord and figure out who is going to leave first.
Taking immediate action will keep you busy and thinking with your head instead of your heart. This logical approach will make you less likely to try and work things out with someone who doesn’t want to be with you.
Friendships and family
This may seem harsh, but in order to let go of your ex completely, you will have to sacrifice some relationships in the process.
My rule is everyone leaves the relationship with the people they came in with. This means that you take your friends with you, and your ex keeps theirs.
There will be people who you are both emotionally invested in. Usually, these are the friends you met as a couple. This is fine, but advise these friends that you do not want to hear about your ex or anything they are doing. If they do not abide by this simple request, cut them loose. They are not helping you heal, which is what friends do.
This one is really tough. I’ve seen many couples attempt custody arrangements with their pets and it never works. They ended up fighting and it just caused undue stress on the pet and on them.
I think of pets the way I do friends, you leave the relationship with who you arrived with. If the dog was hers before you met, it stays with her.
Personally, I would avoid visiting or trying to keep the contact going because of a pet. When my ex and I broke up, we had three dogs together. He kept two dogs and I took the dog I had the strongest bond with. The dog that he never liked or treated well.
Shortly after I left, I heard that one of the other dogs died of cancer at the age of two. It was sad, I grieved the loss of storm, and I missed the other dog. However, I got over it and I have no regrets.
I didn’t leave the dogs behind because I am made of stone. I did this because I knew by continuing to visit the dogs, I would never heal completely. Healing is a challenging process, full of difficult decisions.
The dog or cat will be fine. Yes, animals remember and love “their” people. Nevertheless, as long as the animal is being cared for, they will be happy.
If it makes you feel better, get yourself a new furbaby once you are settled in your new place. This is a time for new beginnings.
It’s time to move on digitally, which means you need to take stock of your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
Delete that relationship status, then delete the post about deleting your relationship status. This will avoid comments like “Oh no! Are you ok?”. There isn’t any need to air your dirty laundry on Facebook.
Now it’s time to remove all of those old pictures, don’t save them. You don’t need those reminders in your life or on your computer. What is the point? So you can cry over the lost love that didn’t want you? It’s emotional cutting.
Now, the hard part. Deleting your ex’s friends and family off social media. When I did this, I found deleting my ex’s mother to be the hardest. I really liked her and we had a close relationship. However, I knew in order to move on with my life, that relationship would have to end.
I sent her a message thanking her for accepting me into her family and explained why I had to discontinue our friendship. Naturally, she was very empathetic. It gave me peace to know she understood.
Personally, I blocked everyone in his family and his closest friends. That way I didn’t have to see anything relating to him or his life online. I didn’t even know he had gotten married until someone told me years later. I was ignorant of his new life and frankly, I didn’t care.
Honestly, it felt awesome.
When there’s children involved
You can still do all of the above. You can still make the moving out process swift, but you will need to discuss it with your children before you start packing.
You do not need to have your ex or any of his family on social media if you have a child together.
When arranging pick-ups and drop-offs, speak on the phone. Make it short, sweet, and to the point. Talk about your child and your child’s needs only. At this point, there is nothing else to talk about. Maintaining this boundary will keep you from arguing about your failed relationship.
You are a parent and it’s not just about you anymore. You will need to practice civility and maturity in this case. Otherwise, you risk alienating your children and this can cause a great deal of psychological damage.
Therapy is an often overlooked part of the healing process. Now that you have purged everything you needed to in the physical sense, you can purge your emotions in therapy.
I credit my therapist Kevin for helping me cope with my breakup. He encouraged me to reclaim my old self and learn to be alone again. I started to journal, learned to meditate, and became a better version of who I once was.
Therapy allows you to sort through the difficult feelings you are dealing with and process them so you can move on.
Breakups are tough. However, each relationship we have is a lesson and each partner is our teacher.
Take the breakup as a lesson and move on. When you hold onto reasons to keep in contact, you are only prolonging your suffering and stifling your healing process.
After a breakup, look in the mirror and see yourself as a warrior that has won a war. You are strong, you are powerful, and you no longer need this person in your life. Their part in your story is over.
Once you let go of the past, you will get the life you deserve with the person who deserves you.
Amy Cottreau is a freelance writer from a small city in Atlantic Canada. She enjoys interacting with fellow writers, dreaming of ideas for her next article, and researching a myriad of topics. Feel free to follow her on Twitter!