Letting Go After The Break-Up

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Letting Go after break up by Dani Alpert 450252053

How Do You Let Go When You’re Unsure That It’s Over?

I have no idea

My ex and I ended our 7 1/2 year relationship last October. Since mid-February, we have been texting, calling and we’ve had two non-sexual get-togethers. Last week we decided that the healthiest, and perhaps mature thing to do, was to stop communicating. Our reasoning was that we needed to know what it felt like without each other in our lives, again. Faulty reasoning perhaps, but what does anyone really know, anyway?

Radio silence would’ve been fine, if our feelings were cut and dried and we no longer loved each other. But we do, so instead of an indefinite amount of time, we instituted a deadline. We’re going to see how we feel in one month’s time. Was it a weak move? Were we motivated by fear? Are we being unrealistic? Perhaps, but it made sense to us and frankly, The Huffington Post, Buzz Feed, or Dr. Phil aren’t living our lives.

It’s hard to let go because we get profoundly attached to the past, and to the future.

We may argue, “How can we let go? We have a history!” That history can sometimes trap us into living (and staying) in the past. Just like my 13-year old self, who wanted to be a professional dancer, cannot dictate how I should be living today, as a 47-year old woman, we cannot let the past dictate our present. Time marches on, people change, perspectives shift, and although sometimes it hurts like a mother f’er, we must do our best to move forward.

We can also attach ourselves to the future. “But what about all of the plans that we made? We promised that we would change each others diapers when we got older.” Okay, maybe that was just me, but this is a tough idea to step over. Plans and promises that were made can paralyze us. It might not help when you’re deep in the trenches, but remember what Norman Lear (All in Family, One Day At A Time) said, “If you want to make g-d laugh, tell (her) you have plans.”

Why do we hold on so tightly?

Fear plays a large part in why we white knuckle the relationship. No one knows what the future holds and this can be debilitatingly scary. Change is one of the hardest things for humans to accept and walk through, so we try to avoid it at all costs. The problem comes when one’s happiness and self worth pays the price.

How do you know if it’s really over?

I’m not going to lie. This is a hard one. My ex and I would repeatedly tell each other that we didn’t know what to do because we still loved each other. We didn’t know if breaking up was right. We were scared of losing each other but we also weren’t ready to say with certainty that we wanted to get back together. This left us wandering around a lonely town called, Limbo.

“I love you to pieces.” “I love you more than anyone or anything.” “You mean the world to me.” “I love you to death.” How can two people feel this way and still not be sure? This is the Greek tragedy portion of the show because sometimes, it just is.

I don’t know what this month will tell us, if in fact it tells us anything. I do know that when we proposed our agreement, I felt relief and comfort. I don’t know if Steve Harvey would think that this is healthy or if we’re prolonging the inevitable, but I’m not sure that I feel comfortable listening to talk show hosts either.

Do we make things more complicated than they really are?

In my opinion, thinking about a break up, or loved one, 24/7, analyzing it from every friggin’ angle, making flow charts and Excel sheets, desperately searching for answers, is a big fat waste of time and so tiring. I speak from experience when I say that it is not helpful to pick everything apart so that when you’ve exhausted yourself, you barely recognize the beauty and love that brought you two together in the first place.

What happens if you decide to get back together with your ex?

“I don’t know what the next step would be.” My ex posed this to me on several occasions when we entertained the hypothetical. However, no answers were offered.  I’d like to think that the first question to be answered would be, do you want to try again?

Stay tuned.

  • Kellie Kamryn

    I broke up with a man who wanted to stay friends. It worked for a while until he got jealous when I began dating again. It was okay for him to do so, but not for me. When the ugly green-eyed monster reared its head, it was time to say good-bye.
    I’m in a relationship with another man, and we have very deep feelings for one another, and even though we are unsure of where we want this relationship to go, what we did is to say that we enjoy our time together so much that we want to figure things out. We haven’t made a solid, traditional commitment and we may never do so. However by saying we wanted to see how things go, we make baby steps to getting to know each other without rushing. Perhaps that’s what you need to do – see how things go. Society often wants everyone to fit their relationships into the traditional “relationship” box so they can understand it. Often we want to do that too. Some things and connections with people cannot be explained, but it makes them no less important. It sounds like you and your “ex” have such a deep connection. Perhaps you just need to explore it in your own way. :)

  • Dani Alpert

    Thank you for the comment. You said so succinctly how I feel. It’s hard enough sifting through your gut, heart and head, but then to have to read the How To’s and Top 5 lists of what not to do in a relationship. It’s dizzying. I think I’ll have to trust my way and see what happens. It’s all a crap shoot anyway, isn’t it! Good luck with your relationship.