What To Do When You Can’t Get Over A Breakup

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dear dbn

We are capable of surviving the greatest of injuries in weeks and months, so why is that emotional damage can take years to recover from?  This week, we explore when to let people in and when to finally push them out.

Dear friend from the Internet, when will I be over it? Will I ever be over it? What if some people are incapable of being over it? It’s been almost a year since we dated–he was a friend who adored me, doted on me, dragged my drunk ass home from bars, but when we dated, could not pull it together, did not treat me the way I wanted or deserved. I’m better than I was, but I still feel mired in what could’ve been, should’ve been but wasn’t. He has had less of a time moving on. Send help. xo, me

Do you know what wallowing actually means?  It means to roll about indolently as if in mud or water.  It is impossible to get over something if you are actively rolling around in it.  He was this, he was that, honey… he was.  And he’s gone.  What could have been is that he would have continued to treat you in a way that was neither what you wanted or you deserved, and you are saying that’s what should have been?  What should have been is that you should have pulled it together months ago and stopped pining over some “less-than” to fill the time.  You should have been looking inward at recovering instead of looking at him for a compare and contrast checklist of who recovered the pep in their step first.

Your relationship couldn’t pull it together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.  You will be over it when you decide to be.  Humans are remarkably resilient creatures.  We can recover from nearly anything, from genocide and famine to dirty looks and condescending insults.  Put romance aside and remember you are a mammal and this is brain chemistry.  We recover when we have to.  We recover when we would die if we didn’t.  You aren’t dying, but your spirit is.  You don’t “get” over it.  You climb over it.  You stop writing about a man who couldn’t love you like he’s a god.  You stop reminiscing and glorifying one relationship out of the thousands we are capable of developing.  You look inward and build from the core.  You drink tea and coffee and whiskey and wine.  You eat fried chicken and strawberries and chocolate cake and candies.  You run and you ride and you swim and you dance.  You accept that emotions are hurt but only as much as you let them.

Maybe he did take less time to move on, but so what?  If it’s a competition you’re looking for, try this: take less time than him to move on to something truly spectacular.  The only person stopping you is you.

A problem that seems to arise in my relationships (both romantic and platonic) is that I’m “too private/not as emotionally open” as people want me to be. Apparently I keep too many walls up, I don’t think my walls are at an extreme level. I’m private, yes; I’ve worked on that but apparently I’m still too private/closed off. I think you’ve dealt with something similar to this. How do you deal with that without ripping their heads off or shoving them out of your life?

I learned that it wasn’t an attack.  I learned that it wasn’t an accusation, but a knock on the door with a basket full of love.  I learned that when my reaction to someone trying to touch something deeper inside me was wanting to rip their heads off, it was me who needed to change.  When people accused me of being closed off and guarded, I was.  I was never able to see that.  I also said, “ask me anything, I’m an open book, how can I be closed off?”  But people don’t want to ask, they want to be confided in.

Do your walls need to be towering to keep people out?  The truth is, even a picket fence keeps people off your property.  And it isn’t about destroying or even lowering those walls, it’s about finding the gates and allowing people through.  It’s about letting them now there’s a way in, and you may need to walk around to the other edge of the property to get to it, but there is a way in.  And no one will find it unless you guide them there.

“Walls” are a personal journey, and you’ll never want to let the people in who pound on the walls asking why they’re there.  We have reasons, and those reasons are our own.  But the people that run their fingers along the exterior curiously, looking for a way to see what’s inside out of reverie and care…those are the people we guide to the door.

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