How Do I Finally Let Go Of My Ex For Good?

How Do I Finally Let Go Of My Ex For Good?
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Evan, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years and I’m a big fan. Your advice has helped me make a lot of changes about how I view things. But I’m stuck. I hope you can help.

I have a great boyfriend who does all the important things right. He’s funny, smart, kind, dependable, loyal, trustworthy, crazy about me, and fun to be with. He’s a good person. I love him. I’ve been dating him for four years but I’m still mentally and emotionally stuck on my ex way more than I should be, since we broke up more than 5 years ago. The ex was the classic charismatic, unavailable alpha male now but there was a time when we had a real relationship. Every time we tried to get back together after the breakup, he disappeared and hurt me, but I am still stuck on him. The euphoria I experienced with him has never been present with my current boyfriend.

I have tried therapy and self-help books and blocking his phone number. I know love is a choice. But do you have any tips on how I can make real progress towards letting go, once and for all? Any practical advice for me? I think I’m doing everything I can but maybe I’m missing something. From time to time, memories of the ex flood over me and it makes it hard to give my boyfriend the love he deserves. Is that normal? What should I do?

—Jennifer

Jennifer,

Do I have any tips on how to make real progress towards letting go?

Hmmm. Let me think about that one out loud for a second…

You’re dabbling in some revisionist history, thinking that somehow, magically, you’re going to get all the good stuff from your ex, without any of the bad stuff.

Do I have any tips that would prevent you from holding your hand on a hot stove?

Do I have any tips that would prevent you from taking up heroin?

Do I have any tips that would prevent you from jumping out of a plane without a parachute?

Sorry, but, to me, that’s what your question sounds like.

The fact that you’re even considering trading the “funny, smart, kind, dependable, loyal, trustworthy, fun, crazy-about-you” guy for the “charismatic, unavailable alpha male” who broke up with you multiple times is the kind of thing that makes me want to punch a hole in my wall.

You know it. I know it. And yet you still feel what you feel.

You want another hit of the heroin, because you never felt so high in your life. How can you get that feeling without the downside?

You can’t.

And if you want to really kick this ex to the curb like a bad habit, instead of thinking of how great you felt when things were good, how about you focus how bad you felt when things were bad.

The times he lied to you.
The times he insulted you.
The times he cheated on you.
The times he didn’t want to listen to you.
The times he broke up with you.
The times he hurt you.

Because right now, you’re dabbling in some revisionist history, thinking that somehow, magically, you’re going to get all the good stuff from your ex, without any of the bad stuff.

Uh uh.

No matter what woman that guy meets, he’s going to cause a wide swath of destruction like Sherman did in the South.

The reason to not touch the hot stove is because you’ll get burned.

The reason to not try heroin is because you’ll get hooked.

The reason to not jump from a plane without a chute is because you’ll die.

Nothing good comes out of the thrill. It’s all downside.

Your ex-boyfriend is all downside, Jennifer.

And your current boyfriend deserves someone who appreciates how great he is, not someone who pines for a man who treats her worse.

Get your shit together or let your boyfriend go.

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Comments:

  1. 101
    Christine

    I came back reading this blog post for the second time, the advice Evan wrote makes me laugh out so loud especially the bit where he was making this point :

    The reason to not touch the hot stove is because you’ll get burned.

    The reason to not try heroin is because you’ll get hooked.

    The reason to not jump from a plane without a chute is because you’ll die.

    Nothing good comes out of the thrill. It’s all downside.

    Your ex-boyfriend is all downside, Jennifer

    Hahahaha have to remember this great piece of advice from now on since…I   have an amazing boyfriend now 😉

     

     

  2. 102
    Kolbeh

    Jennifer,

    it is really unfair and dishonest   to your boyfriend that inside your mind you are clinging for your ex and you dont say a word about it to your current boyfriend ,

    my exgf did that to me! I knew she was dealing with that matter but I never knew that I was just like a puppet there. I gave her Love and passion and I cared for her but she did not even seen a bit of what I done for her and broke up with me on a sunday morning as I was at her house 🙁

    dont play any mind game with yourself and him. be  HONEST to yourself and your partner.

    and as evan said: think on any negative personalities of your ex and make them much bigger .

    and another thing is that you really do need to make progress on your personality too.

    most of the time we stay in a bad and abusive realationship because of too many problomes that we have inside and we fear to face them!!!!!

    good luck Jennifer

  3. 103
    Monica

    I found this by Google search as I’m in a semi similar situation. Was with my ex for 6 years, got married and had 2 kids but did it all so fast we never stopped to get to know each other. On top of that I had undiagnosed bipolar disorder and we were really young. Once the dust settled we didn’t know how to get to know each other and craved the high energy drama that our whirlwind relationship had always been up until then and we fought. We fought constantly and my healthy declined. My mental health got so bad I was near death from malnutrition and he didn’t know how to help me. We were a mess. So I got up the courage to leave him. I didn’t know why at the time and once I left I started to get better. He asked a few times for me to come back now that I’m better but I was still mad and said no.

    Its now 7 years later and for 3 years I have secretly been having intense feelings that I made a mistake. I’m with someone else and he’s amazing. But I can’t stop feeling like I took a vow I never carried out. I quit too easily. I took my kids family away because I’m selfish and I want it back. But I know he’s gotten over me. He is single and a good person. He’s grown up so much and so have I. I know he’s happy as friends raising kids which I’m proud that we were able to remain friends. But my heart hurts wanting him back and I can’t make it stop. I care about my boyfriend as he helped rebuild me and get me healthy again. I just don’t know how to stop feeling how I do when I now know I ended it to save him from me. I now understand I felt like my illness was going to take him down too so I was trying to spare him. And as much as I did this to myself I can’t stop feeling like I made a mistake but also feel like I just wish I could get over him too.

  4. 104
    Jim

    Ha!   Last line was excellent.   I’ve had to make a list of the shit my ex did that bugged me.   It’s forty lines long now.   It helps.   Over time you forget the bullshit and remember the good stuff, so it’s better to record some of the bullshit for reference.

    Get your shit together.

    1. 104.1
      Christine

      I did the same thing with my ex.   There have been some psychological studies done that there is a part of our brain that tends to filter out bad memories and leave in positive ones (and I think it’s a survival mechanism of sorts–we’d get overwhelmed if we only remembered bad memories all the time!)   So it takes real concerted effort to remember the bad stuff.   But well worth it!   My record of my ex’s crap has really helped me get over him, and move on with a much better man.

  5. 105
    Susan

    Thank you Evan.   This is good.

     

  6. 106
    kate alison

    There’s an interesting idea about why people can’t let go of abusive relationships. Abusers create a situation where they love bomb and proactively encourage devotion and a feeling that they really understand you. It raises Peptide levels which are at the heart of addictions. I would imagine dramatic relationships can do the same and what this person is feeling is like withdrawal. Hard to find a therapist that understands but I recommend reading Melanie Tonia Evan’s online material about this – it relates mainly to narcissistic abuse  but the idea translates. Her website is  brilliant!

  7. 107
    Nikki Landry

    I just came across this blog and I’m in love with it. So many times we read articles that just seem full of bluff, but yours is actually really truthful and right to the point. I’m going through the same stuff as Jennifer but I don’t have a significant other. I’m successful, pretty (so I’m told), outgoing and I’m in the public eye. People always tell me I can get any guy I want and yet I get stuck on this jerk I dated for only 6 months. You’re right, once you contact them and they respond it becomes like heroin. Why do we girls do this to ourselves? Does it just really boil down to wanting what we don’t want versus trying to find something we do?

    I’ll send a text to him and he won’t reply or he will depends either way I’m not a priority with him. I have to question if I truly ever was or was it just a game to see if he could get someone “famous”. I hate the fact it’s hard for me to let go, I truly do. I want that day to come where I can look back and laugh at how much I was chasing this guy. Guys like the guy I dated are not worth our time, seriously. We get to a point where “deep down in our gut” we feel that somehow we’re meant to be with each other and this is a just phase. Guess what? that phase we’re feeling is something we need to enjoy. We need to be strong and get preoccupied with ourselves. I know it sounds easier than done but it’s something we HAVE to do. If they wanted to be with us, they would be. I think it hurts because we always had hope for our relationship, we kept on believing and knowing that someone doesn’t “want” us is so hurtful. That has to be on them though, not us. We’re the one’s that are okay, it’s them who have a problem with commitment.

  8. 108
    AnnL

    Struggling with this exact thing right now. Except the guy I can’t get out of my head is sick from his long term alcohol use. Part of me wants to reach out to him but the other part of me knows what a terrible idea it would be. I am struggling with this so much because if he dies I will always regret not reaching out. But I don’t think i can open that door without repercussions so I am not. I CANT.

    My current bf is so wonderful and would never hurt me. The other guy ripped my heart out and stomped on it but when things were good, they were great! It really is like an addiction, chasing the highs and dreading the side effects. Nobody has ever made me feel such extreme highs and lows. Just know you aren’t alone.

  9. 109
    Kara

    Evan is not going to be with me about how I’m feeling right now.

    I agree with his response to Jennifer. He’s so accurate it’s scary.

    I am trying so hard to let my ex go. He is charismatic, funny, plays in a band and has a motorcycle. He said all the right things. He was charming. Had great conversation. We clicked.   It took me a few dates to fall for him and when I did I fell hard.

    He was coming out of a long relationship but I was under the impression he was in a good place and ready to have a committed relationship with me. He even said he wanted a chance with me, to see me exclusively.

    There is way more to this story and I can’t get Into all of it here. (Wish I could though).

    He started to act distant, didn’t show up for one of our dates which was going to be at my house. I was beside myself. After a few days of me being upset I was walking ( we live in same neighborhood) and I saw that he was home. Well he had his ex’s car in his garage!

    He greeted me with annoyance. He later that day called me and said he will be my friend! I was wrecked, hurt and confused.

    I think she is now living at his place. But I notice every few days he’s still active online. I am embarrassed to say that I am having the most difficult time letting him go. I go by his place constantly. When we were together I was so happy, I felt like he was the one.

    I am dating others but I can’t get him out of my mind. I compare everyone to him. I can’t focus on conversation with others because all I think about is him.

    I need help! Why am I having such a hard time? I am hoping he will come back at some point so we can have a second chance.

     

     

     

  10. 110
    Frankie

    I know exactly what you are talking about,   I have tried everything and still can’t seem to get over my ex girlfriend, I want to let go so I don’t feel like this anymore,   I definitely am longing for her,   even just a wave from her will send me into a crazy state,   like serve anxiety and over thinking,   like did she really want to wave,   was she happy to wave,   but then when she doesn’t wave I do my own head in wondering why,   we have been no contact for 15 months now and I don’t think anything has got easier at all,   yes the relationship wasn’t that great but when she was good she was so good,    when things were bad they were crazy bad.   I know that we both are just looking to feel really alive again and that what the person could do for us along with the bad,   but I’m am so stuck aswell all I want to do is move forward but I’m stuck,   completely stuck,   it’s an awful feeling and I really hope you feel better soon

  11. 111
    John

    My problem is not so much letting go. Its trying to move on. I tried meeting new people while doing things I like to do in order to meet someone that I have something in common with. No luck. Girls at the gym, dance class, art class, church,   work or in the mall just don’t want to go beyond a simple hello or ignore me all together. I tried four online dating sites. They all want to do things I can’t afford like lots of travel, boating, etc. They all want someone over 5’8″ and in their eyes I am a midget 5’5″. So for that reason I miss my ex who was a cold selfish dishonest bitch. But still she would tell me how crazy she was about me. Guess she loved to see me in pain.

  12. 112
    Angelique

    A good friend introduced me to the world of Evan and I have to say wow. I’m loving the responses here. I’m with the majority, cut the boyfriend loose, he deserves someone who will appreciate him right NOW. So not fair to be with someone and pine for what you used to have. I’m divorced almost 5 years and while I’m ready to start dating I’m not jumping into anything simply to say I have someone in my life.

  13. 113
    RichardEnunk

    How can one finally let go of something they love, knowing if they don t, they will prevent themselves from growing?

  14. 114
    K

    I honestly am about to seek counselling about this same shit… it makes no sense to me at all… our relationship was so short lived and so long ago and I was so angry at her I just shut her off completely… and then things happened in my life and when I needed her she shut me off… and I made so many mistakes… honestly the breakup is what made me a better person… she then went after me in ways no person ever has… really tried to ruin my life. And despite that I still love her so much… and it’s sickening and so so pathetic and I honestly hate myself so much for it because I am such a strong and independent person and even when I dated someone and was deeply in love with someone who really loved me for over 7x as long that only took me 1.5 years to move on… and I still miss this other girl two years later. I’ve fallen for other girls since her and gotten all cutesy and been happy with them but I can’t forget who she was before we were together (because when we got together she did not show me that side ever again) but I can’t contact her, and I have… wrongly so. I just want to fucking move on. But if I was on my death bed I would at least tell her that I still love her and I miss her so much it is killing me and it makes no fucking sense and I HATE it… but I’m not going to disrespect her relationship like that. I know I could end up in a relationship with someone else too. But yeah I guess I just have to let it go. I’m fine really I rarely cry about it these days but I am a really intuitive person and I believe in true love and soul mates and it just doesn’t make sense that I can love someone so much for so long after such a short terrible relationship just based off the person I knew before the relationship because I know she was going through stuff and I don’t believe she’s a bad person… we were both going through stuff. There’s no point even thinking about it when I would never say anything unless I was about to die. Which would still be selfish but it’s so hard keeping it in. I am ashamed of myself for feeling this way. And I sound so crazy right now but you need to believe I am an extremely resilient person in control of their emotions and resistant to ever depending on anyone. I can easily pretend she doesn’t exist, and then she will appear in my dreams. I had a dream not that long ago that I was just crying and saying why didn’t you love me… and I woke up crying… and I was so ashamed that even happened. But I thought we were soul mates. I don’t understand why she couldn’t just let us fucking have what we could have had and maybe then I could think it was finished but it never even really started because she was never even there. I’ve dealt with crazy things in my life and moved on, dealt with violence, physical abuse, sexual abuse, abandonment, emotional abuse, bullying, heartbreak, betrayal, homelessness as a child, death, so many things (not saying I’m a victim, some people have it worse) growing up and I’ve become an incredibly strong person. It’s not like I can’t focus on a positive life, date new people, not look at her social media, enjoy new friendships, focus on my career and health etc, I enjoy a positive life, I’m a happy person and I’m not weak and helpless. It’s just it’s always just a matter of time before I have to just cry about her because it fucking hurts still, and it just comes back sporadically. I might have months without her crossing my mind and then I remember her and it feels the same. I feel like I genuinely love her still, more than I did. The older I get and the more mature I get the more I love her and it’s SO FUCKED up beyond belief because things ended so badly and we just tried to destroy each other and I’m not in that place anymore, I don’t think she is either. But I hate feeling like this isn’t going to go away. I am dreading the day she becomes pregnant. It will actually kill me. I wanted to have a family with her… it’s so fucked up 😔

  15. 115
    Elaine Stone

    I think we actually have post traumatic stress disorder after a cruel relationship. The pain of how nasty they were for no reason is unfathomable. I go on the melanie tonia evans you tube, why are narcissts nice to everyone else but cruel to you. It always makes me feel better xx

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