Having Trouble Getting Over a Break Up? Why It's Time to Finally Move On

Getting over a recent (or worse, a not so recent) break up can be one of the most difficult things in life to do, and for good reason. It makes sense – your life was intertwined with this person and you opened and shared your delicate heart with him. A beautiful sad woman is having trouble getting over a breakup, holding her knees with her arms.You knew it would be hard getting over him, but you never realized just how hard this was going to be. Whether he ended it, or you, the reality is you didn't want it to end. All you ever wanted was it to work out, but in the end, you realized it would take more than just you making that happen. So here you are, trying to accept the reality of what is and move on, but that deep sadness and longing for what could have been lingers on, leaving you wondering if you'll ever get over him.

Getting over a recent (or worse, a not so recent) break up can be one of the most difficult things in life to do, and for good reason. It makes sense – your life was intertwined with this person and you opened and shared your delicate heart with him, making yourself vulnerable to your worst fear – having that heart crushed and broken into a million little pieces. And facing the reality of starting over, alone. While it may feel like the only thing that you can bring yourself to do is continue to hold out hope that someday you'll wake up and find out that it was really just a bad dream, the reality is that the sooner you can bring yourself to move on, the better.

Why? Because if you're still holding out hope that you're going to get back together with your ex, then you will be subconsciously comparing every guy you meet with your ex. While this might not sound like a big deal – I mean, you have to have some rating system for the guys you meet and date, so why not have a "gold standard" to compare to? - the problem is that this gold standard is actually setting the bar impossibly high.

What's really happening.

When you spend your time and energy reminiscing about your past relationship, you're really not remembering your ex himself, but the wonderful feelings that you had when you were with him. And you're also "remembering" the things that you had planned to do with him, and you're experiencing a sense of loss of those future events, because now they will not happen the way you imagined. The problem is that these feelings are filtered through your memory, and your mind tends to idealize those memories.  And that future? Well, of course it's impossibly perfect because that's what we do best; we envision a future that's perfect, based solely on that idealism and what we know could be possible instead of the reality that was the more likely scenario.

The earlier in the relationship it was, the more optimistic you felt about the relationship and the more you put it up on a pedestal, idealized it and elevated it to almost mythical status. In your mind it was so perfect, so wonderful; he did all the right things, said all the right things, and was exactly what you always wanted, your Mr. Right, your dream guy.

It's just a dream.

But the truth is that he wasn't your dream guy, or it wouldn't have ended. Because your real dream guy would feel the same way about you as you feel about him, and if that was the case you wouldn't have broken up.  Remember that if he really was Mr. Right, he would not have crushed your heart the way he did. I'm not saying that he's a bad guy for doing it; he probably didn't intend to hurt you, it’s just that the relationship wasn't right, at least for him, and that means that he really wasn't your Mr. Right. Real love with someone who truly is Mr. Right is always reciprocal – with both of you on the same page - and you wouldn't want it any other way. You want to be Mrs. Right as much as he's your Mr. Right.

It's holding you back

It's never easy to let go of a dream, but the bottom line is that pining for your past relationship is what keeps you from making progress in life right now, and it's what's  keeping you from moving toward the relationship that you really want; the right relationship for you, a healthy relationship.

If you continue to hold on to the belief that the two of you are going to get back together, then you will not get to the grieving stage, which is such a necessary part of moving forward. You need to realize, right now, that you are not going to get back together, and make it your choice. You need to remember the reasons the two of you are not together – even if you feel like it was your fault – say, you were too clingy, or paranoid, or jealous. Well, there were probably things that made you feel that way, and the truth is that in order to be in a healthy relationship you need a combination of time to work on yourself, and get to the root of why you are feeling these unhealthy feelings, and also you need to be with a guy who will treat you in a way that you don't need to feel those feelings.

Finally breaking free of the chains that holding onto your ex puts you in, separating from your ex allows  you to truly explore your true self and allows you to connect to that beautiful woman you truly are without the danger of trying to be something you’re not just to please him.

You can finally release the negative feelings about your ex, and replace those with positive feelings about yourself and your life. If you just stop thinking about him eventually those negative feelings that are eating at you will disappear and you'll be ready to allow new love into your life.

Know that these feelings that you felt with him were yours, and you haven't lost the ability to feel those feelings. He didn't cause you to feel them; you felt them because you have the capacity to feel that kind of love. Which means you can feel it again.

Instead of letting your heart get hardened, use this experience to propel you forward towards an even better relationship.  You deserve nothing less than this!

About Jane


  1. I love this. But I find it so difficult to love again

    • Take your time, Joy; and know that when the time is right for you and for that special someone who won't let you down like you've been let down in the past, you will know, and you will be ready to open up your heart again and love again. Each painful experience brings us closer to the heart of ourselves and the heart of someone who's been looking for us as much as we've been looking for him.

  2. Jane, this is so inspiring.
    I truly love all your posts. Sometimes I feel you write them just for me.
    Thank you.
    When I met my ex back in October ...
    He was at his lowest...
    I was like an Angel that came into his life in the precise moment that he needed me...
    I shared his lonely moments, fluffed his ego, made him feel good, showed him, his self worth by giving him the confidence to stand.
    He repaid me, by doing everything to destroy my confidence, messing about and treating me like utter disgust for the past month.
    Laughing at me to his friends.
    Totally disrespecting me in ways I never EVER imagined he could/would do to me.
    Then all of a sudden, HE decided he did NOT want me anymore!
    I'm not going to lie, it hurt like hell...
    After, 5 long days & nights crying over the "Grinch" like a big girl, having countless sleepless nights
    I finally accepted that decision.
    The way I see it is this...
    I can’t control someone else’s decision, so i will focus on what i can control: my thoughts, my attitude, and my reaction.
    I'm no longer going to spend time with the "wrong person"– Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. I shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. And I will NOT, ever insist myself to someone who continuously overlooks my worth.
    Even though I never felt guilty about the end of our relationship, I am certain I did everything I could to save it and I'm not going to continue to torture myself.
    I will not let HIM dictate my happiness. In reality, I'm not the one that needs to get upset over his loss. Because even though he is the one that dumped me...He will be the one in pain...because all I lost was someone who did NOT love me, and HE lost someone who DID love him...
    Which, isn't that easy to find.
    I hope he enjoy's his life ...
    Because I, WILL be enjoying mine. :)
    With love, Sophie x

    • Thank you for your beautiful, sweet words, Sophie - and for sharing your journey, your story. Sometimes it's when we take on the role of an angel in someone's life for the purest of reasons that we find ourselves hurting far deeper than if we had remained very human. But that's how much we love and care and feel and for you to have those qualities is such a beautiful thing, Sophie, just unfortunately the reality of seeing that wasted on someone who wasn't really right for you is one of the harshest realities to have to face. And I'm so sorry this was your reality. But you have found such a strength in yourself in discovering the key to getting through this; acceptance of what is.

      The way you see it is exactly the way it is. You have come through this with such a beautiful strength and resolve here, Sophie, and what you're talking about here, this kind of determination to not repeat the past and find your own life again and do things differently with you and your beautiful self as the focus, is exactly what will make your light shine so bright and make a certain type of real confidence to come through in a way that a man who is truly right for you and sees your qualities as everything he has been looking for, cannot help but find you! You deserve nothing less than this, my beautiful friend. :-)

  3. Hi, Jane
    My name is Megan and me and my x broke up almost a year ago now and i still cry every day. After reading your article I have now come to the reilization that I havent allowed myself time to grieve because over the past year we have stayed in contact and still spent time with each oher on a regular basis including sex. He broke up with me because he said that he watned more "expierience" in life and i understood so we decided to stay friends. I never truely understood how hard this really was and I feel like I've been "waiting" for him becuase i truely felt like he was my soulemate and that he was the one I would wait forever. We've had more arguments in the past year than we did in the two years that we were actually together. He has called me every name in the book and put me lower than I ever though possible, but just when I've had enough he comes back to me and pretends like everything is okay. I feel like its an addiction becasue I cant say NO. :( it saddens me that I am in love with him and he tells me that he is not in love with me anymore but he still comes around ...... I dont know how to break this habbit. I know its not healthy - me wanted him to come home, when in reality he probly never will and I am only dening the enevitable and stopping myself from being happy again.I have two young children who also talk about him all the time and miss him. I need to be strong for them but it is just so hard We grew up together and we have so many good memories I cant stop thinking about what if and maybe. I truely love this man but he is not ready to be the man that I need him to be .... I have so many things good going for me. I know I deserve to be loved the way I can love someone but I dont want to be hurt like this ever again. I am a smart woman, why cant I let go of this childish little boy! I asked him if he thought we would ever be together again and he said when hes ready, am i supposed to wait? ahhhhhhhh...... all i want to do is cry and ive been crying since last april ...... PLEASE HELP!!!

  4. Jane, I love your blog. How you think resonates with what I want for me. I like your words. They remind of what I tell myself and reading someone else say the same things is incredubly validating and supportive.

    I just posted a comment a few days ago about moving on because he wants to date someone else and I don't. I was clear about what I wanted and was ready to choose me over the opportunity with him. Before I had a chance to tell him, he said that he realized it wasn't fair to ask me to share; that I had been clear about what I want but that he can't give that to me right now. He would end up hurting me and hating himself, regardless of his intentions.

    I hated that it felt like he took my power to choose away but I try to remember that I already chose. I set my boundaries. He knew. And he needed to say the words before I did. I can maybe give him that because when he did, I sighed a heavy breath of relief. It was over. The weight of it was gone: The insecurity, the indecision, the crazy-making. But I am sad and I grieve the future potential---as you say--all the things we won't get to do and be.

    I allow myself to reminisce because I think it wll help grieve and move on but I find myself doubting what I felt. I wonder if he really cared about me--the way he said he did, the way it felt like he did. I know we're not on the same page and I know I won't compromise my boundaries (progress!) but I don't want to move on by demonizing him or the tme we had.

    the time we had together was nice and it felt good. It showed me what I wanted and the kind of relationship I'd want to have with someone who treats me well, who accepts my anxieties and fears, who is emotionally mature and communicative, and who doesn't make me feel crazy. It allowed me to feel safe to care about someone, to be vulnerable, and to be communicative myself. I learned that I have to be honest with myself. I can only be the person I want to be and act like I am in the kind of relationship I want to have, hoping that he wants all that but knowing he might not.

    How do I process all the contradictions? Do I remember that he accepted my vulnerabilities, my anxiety and fears? Or recognize that in the end, he couldn't give me what I want because these things probably wore on him, except that seeing things that way, without actually knowing it as truth, risks my not being as real with the next person?

    How do I move on without tarnishing the memory, without putting up walls again? How do I honor what he taught me about myself, what I've learned, and how I've grown without forgetting that there was still some drama and crazy-making? How do I accept that he did care about me but not enough? How do I remember that he can't give me what I want without having to qualify it with 'right now?' How do I let go of the hope that he might come back around because he really did "think I was all that?"

    How do I remember that what it was like to feel safe to be honest and real but also remember that in the end, it wasn't what I want--it wasn't safe--and that the sheer length of this comment is indicative of why it needed to end?

    • I'm so glad this is all resonating with you, Piper. You'll find my answer to your previous comment on that article. But for this one, you go on by remembering that he's not a bad person, nor are you too much or not enough of anything else that you might blame yourself for contributing to this relationship's end. It's never about all the reasons we can come up with or the drama or the fantasy that we can hold onto believing it was something greater than what it was. Remember the happy memories that you want to remember, think of the things you learned and how you grew and what you enjoyed and the good things that you want to hold onto. There are usually always happy times in all our relationships, no matter how they end up.

      But don't stay there.

      Remember the reality of what was, of what is. If it's didn't work out, there's always a reason, and it's so much simpler a reason than we make it. It's always about true compatibility, about two people being on the same page and wanting the same level of commitment as the other with each other, and being willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. That's what matters, Piper. And if he was there, you would have know. If he gets there, you'll still know.

      It's not about you, Piper. Don't take any of his actions or what happened personally. It's not personal no matter how much we want to believe it was. It's not. It's in the acceptance of the reality of what is that will get you through this to the other side. When you fight it or want it to be different, it only hurts you and keeps you stuck. You did the best of what you knew, and so did he.

      Free both of you by freeing yourself. You're getting all this, even if you're still experiencing the very human part of moving on the only way I've ever moved on - two steps forward, one step back, with so many questions, doubts and second-guessing myself along the way. Focus on that acceptance of reality each of those steps along the way, and be so proud of how far you've come, Piper, because even just realizing that "the sheer length of this comment is indicative of why it needed to end" says that you're seeing this for yourself. You're so right, true love really is never complicated. It just supports our stories - and our deeply ingrained belief systems - when we make it this way. "You are all that" regardless of whether he figures that out or not. And someone who's truly right for you will know that without a doubt!

  5. Jane, I really connected with this article. My ex recently broke up with me (3 days ago, to be exact.) What hurts the most was that he felt the need to break up with me at my internship site. He sent carnations and a hand-written note saying "It's over...I'm sorry...Good bye....Please don't contact me." I was immediately crushed, and felt like he took my heart and shattered it on the ground. I took the flowers and the glass vase they were delivered in, and threw it in the trash right after I read the card. I didn't want to look at them, and I tore up the note, as well and threw it away. He was one of the only people I ever trusted and loved as much as I did. I even turned down a possible internship in Florida to be close to him, since we both live in Connecticut. Now, I'm starting to regret not calling that internship site back. I confided in a few close friends and family members about what happened. They've really helped me through what's happened so far, and I'm glad to have their support. I never saw this breakup coming. We had been so close for almost a year. We did a lot of fun things together, and I truly miss it. It's not easy being alone, but I also know that I'm not really alone.....I have friends and family who love me and will never abandon me. I guess that this person, let's call him D, wasn't "the one." I was with him for my final year of college, and he helped me through a lot of hard times during the time we were together. For that, I thank him. I also thank him for doing all of the nice things he did for me. I compared this breakup to a nightmare that I can't wake up from. It's still hard, but I know I'll get past it with time. Any further advice?

    • I'm so glad this resonated with you, Carly. You will get past this in time; it's great you've got so much support! Focus on you, on loving yourself, on remembering that this is a reality check that is a gift - and not a rejection of you. Don't fight the feelings that come up for you, accept them as part of you living, loving, and believing in love. There's so much more still to come, with someone who's truly right for you.

      • Thank you for responding, Jane! It's been almost a week since the awful breakup, but I still get through each day. I cry every day, but I'm still able to do the things that need to get done. Do you think that with some time, he would contact me again? I know that he must be thinking about me & missing me, like I am with him. We were so close, I couldn't imagine him just blocking me out of his mind. I still have trouble putting 2 and 2 together when I try to find the reason as to why he ended it the way that he did. Was he too scared to see me in person? All I know is that I miss him dearly, and I hope he feels the same, and that I hear from him again one day.

I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you think!