Getting over an ex is not easy for everyone.
Some move on fairly quickly while others like myself, take years of our lives to get over a breakup.
When we got to the point of ending our 7-year marriage, I was distraught. Yes, we had our problems from the day we were married. Yes, we didn’t see eye to eye and had different interests. Yes, I woke up early and she woke up late but none of these things seemed like they would permanently end a relationship.
While we separated to figure out what to do next, I couldn’t see any other option than getting back together. With notions of relationships being for life from my culture, I figured we just had to find a way to make it work.
When we convened 6 months later, I was ready to profess my desire to start over and try again. She was ready to file the divorce paperwork.
Yet it didn’t really sink in for many more years. I went through all the stages of grief and it took me nearly a decade to overcome this unexpected divorce and unwanted breakup.
I spoke about it, got counseled about it, wrote about it, and even started an entire blog about it. Over the years, I wrote more than a couple million words about the topic. I spoke to every date I had about what had happened in our marriage.
The divorce played an oversized role in my life. When I finally did get over it a couple of years ago, here’s how I knew I was done with my past relationship for good.
Here are 7 signs that I was finally able to let go of my past relationship:
1. You‘re no longer hoping you’ll be back together
For a few years, I simply couldn’t imagine a life without my ex. Even as I was resenting her and feeling bad about the whole thing, I was praying that we would get back together. I envisioned a day when she would call me or text me and ask me out on a date. A day when we could put the whole marriage behind us and start over again.
When I was over her, I no longer wanted to get back in touch with her and stopped hoping we would cross paths again. I knew that we had what we had and it was over. I realized that not everything is permanent and not every relationship is for life.
We both had to move on to grow and become the people we were meant to be. Instead of hoping we’ll get back together, I just wanted both of us to move on and live our lives with the wisdom and insight we had gained from our relationship.
To let go:
Know that nothing is permanent and you can grow from a relationship even after it’s over. There still is life after the breakup and divorce.
2. You no longer reminisce about the good times together
I replayed all the good times with her. I thought about all the sweet and sentimental times together. I reflected on what a wonderful person she was and the positives of the relationship. I reminisced on the celebrations, birthdays, and weddings we attended together.
After I let go, I stopped reflecting on the past and thinking about the good days ahead. I started putting the relationship in context. I reflected on the good and the bad. It wasn’t that great of a relationship after all I came to realize. I’m glad that it’s over. It’s time to move on.
To let go:
Look at the relationship more objectively. Look at the highlights and the low points. Look at the relationship as a whole instead of focusing only on the good parts and missing your former partner.
3. You are no longer angry with them
For a long time, I questioned how someone could do this to me. How could they ruin both of our futures? How could they give up after wedding rituals that said we would spend eternity together.
When I thought about how she ruined our dreams and our futures, I became bitter and resentful. I carried around this anger for years refusing to let go of her decision to separate.
It took years of practicing forgiveness that led me to a place of letting go. Even if I wasn’t ready to forgive, I kept trying. I tried to put myself in her shoes, tried to understand her perspective, and practiced surrender. I decided that everything that happened would happen for the best.
To let go:
Forgive them. Yes, it’s for them but more than anything your forgiveness will set you free. Once you forgive, you can move on from the relationship and get the rest of your life back.
4. You are no longer talking about them
I used to talk about my ex and my divorce every chance I could. I talked about it with my therapist, with women I was dating and with my friends. I wrote a couple of hundred blog posts on the subject and published several self-published books on the topic.
After I completely let go, I’ve found that I write about this part of my life less and less. My blog posts on my breakup blog have reduced and have nearly stopped.
I just had a date a few weeks ago where the entire subject of my previous marriage didn’t come up. After lunch, I thought that I must be completely over this chapter in my life. I had simply forgotten to mention the marriage or the divorce.
To let go:
Change the story and the subject of conversation. You no longer have to talk about your ex when there are so many other things going on in your life. You don’t have to continue to repeat a painful story of your past and experience suffering over and over again.
5. You no longer compare them to other people you meet
Not only would I talk about my ex to others that I met but I would mentally review and compare this person in relation to my ex. How similar or different were they from my ex. My ex became the standard that I started viewing every potential partner by.
After letting go, I realized that I’m looking for someone who is nothing like my ex. After the memories faded and the relationship is no more in my life, I realized that I’m looking for someone who is just the opposite of my ex. I no longer allow my ex to be the standard by which I evaluate potential partners.
To let go:
Stop comparing everyone you meet to your ex. Realize that everyone is unique and has different qualities. Reflect on which qualities from that previous relationship you would like in a partner and which you don’t. Use your past relationship as a point of reflection and not as a point of repetition.
6. You no longer care to hear what’s happening with them anymore
Even after our divorce, I was hoping to know what was happening with her and keeping up with her life. I kept an eye and ear out for news about her and tried to contact people who knew her as well.
I wanted to know what she was doing and if she had moved on or not. I wanted to know if she was still thinking about our relationship and wanted to get in contact with me. I was curious about her dating life. I was curious about what her plans were and what she was doing with her life.
When I let go, none of this mattered anymore. She became just another stranger in the world. I wanted her to be happy and live the best life for her. I was not longer preoccupied with or thinking about her anymore.
To let go:
Start focusing on your own life and your future. You are neither responsible nor a part of your ex’s life any longer. There’s no need to wait around for them or be there for them. Your joint lives together have parted and you only have to focus on you.
7. You no longer are preoccupied with sad breakup songs
Do you know there’s such a thing as heartbreak Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook? There are some amazing artists, writers, and creators who speak of heartbreak in the most profound and insightful ways.
I might have even been one of these heartbreak creators. We are the ones that are writing about our heartbreaks and our breakups. I’ve written blog posts, created quotes, and made videos about heartbreak, the pain of them, and how to get over them.
Not only is social media littered with heartbreak content but all kinds of music share this theme too. There are pop songs, rap songs, R&B songs, and country songs about a breakup. You can listen to these songs for years of your life and be sad about lost love.
That’s only until you’re over your ex of course. Once you’ve let go, then you’ll start focusing on happier topics and posts. You’ll watch people dancing, laughing and loving each other. You’ll be more engaged with posts that bring you happiness and smiles.
To let go:
Change the song. Unfollow the creators. You no longer have to watch and listen to tragic breakup songs and keep up with profoundly sad heartbreak quotes. Look for content and songs that put a smile on your face.
From hopelessness to possibilities
None of these things happen overnight.
Letting go takes its time for some of us. One day you’ll be in the throes of heartbreak and find yourself on the bathroom floor.
Letting go is an active process that requires you to get up daily and do the work. You have to be willing to release the anger, forgive the person who hurt you, tell a new story about your past relationship, and believe that everything is happening for your highest good and for your growth.
You will be stuck in a past relationship until you wake up one day and realize you’re over it. You’ll wake up to a morning cup of coffee and feel the healing and freedom of your life.
Where you once felt hopeless, you’ll see a world of possibilities.
New opportunities, adventures and people are out there for you.
Your best days weren’t in the past but are waiting for you in the future.
What are some signs that you experienced that helped you realize that you were over a relationship? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.