- Breakups are difficult for just about everyone, but some might move on more quickly than others.
- Though you might think that you just have to let things run their course, there also could be some things that you’re doing that are preventing you from being able to move on.
- Holding onto a past relationship definitely won’t help you move on, but working through your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours with supportive friends, family members, or a therapist might help.
The end of a relationship with someone isn’t easy, whether you were the one who broke things off or your partner was the one who broke up with you. Moving on can be equally difficult for some, particularly if you’re still holding on to your past relationship or things with an ex.
But there are also a number of things that you could be doing that are keeping you from moving on. Keeping the lines of communication open, holding on to their belongings, or romanticizing your relationship can all prevent you from getting over the breakup and on with your life.
You’re scared to be single.
The prospect of being single again can be daunting when you haven’t been single in a long time, and that fear may play a larger role than you thought.
“No matter who initiated the breakup, your negative impulse may tell you that a breakup means you’re less than perfect,” Helena Plater-Zyberk, the co-founder of Supportiv, told INSIDER. “We cling to the old status-quo because it was validating to have a significant other.”
Talking this sort of thing out with someone can help you sort out how you’re feeling and where these sorts of thoughts might come from, Plater-Zyberk added.
You don’t want to have to face the pain or discomfort of no longer being able to turn to them.
When you’re in a relationship with someone, you typically become quite close to them. They’re someone you talk to, someone who supports you, someone with whom you’re able to share things. With a breakup, of course, the emotional relationship you had with that person typically needs to come to an end.
“Ending a relationship means separating and severing that secure emotional bond and connection that brings all those wonderful feelings above that bring a sense of joy and peace,” Casey Lee, MA, LPC, NCC, a couples counselor, told INSIDER. “In light of this fact, what prevents people from moving on from their ex is the pain and loss that comes from disconnecting with the one they had an emotional bond with. If the pain and loss is not acknowledged and processed it stays within that person and never goes away.”
You still talk on a regular basis.
If you’re still talking to an ex, that might make it more difficult for you to move on with your life after your breakup. Though there are, of course, a number of exceptions and qualifications to this, such as if you have children together, generally speaking, continuing to keep in touch with an ex might keep the relationship going, even if only in your mind.
“Understand that people grow apart, thing happen in relationships that lead people to shift their interests,” Lisa Concepcion, a dating and relationship expert and relationship coach, told INSIDER. “People fall in love and they fall out of love. The only constant is the love you have for yourself so wish them well, say goodbye and close the door.”
You consider your relationship status as a big part of your self-worth.
“If we view ourselves as less-than-whole without a romantic partner, our own sense of self-worth is tied to the former relationship, and it’s difficult to let go,” Plater-Zyberk said. It’s hard to make a fresh start as a single person if you feel as though you’re not as good as you were when you were with a partner.
You’re social media friends.
Being social media friends (or following one another) doesn’t necessarily mean that anything major is going to happen or is happening between the two of you, but if you’ve broken up, no longer paying attention to or regularly looking at their social media presence might help you move on, while staying in touch digitally might prevent you from putting the relationship in the past.
“Detoxing from an ex takes discipline rooted in a total commitment to self-love,” Concepcion said. “Ask yourself if what you’re doing feels good, if it doesn’t don’t continue doing it. Be your own best friend and tell that best friend to get off their ex’s Instagram.”
Unfriending, blocking, or un-following can help you move on and keep you from torturing yourself by looking at their profiles or pages over and over again.
You’ve romanticized the relationship you had with them.
After a breakup, it can sometimes be easy to fall into a habit of thinking that your relationship was better than it actually was. And that can make it difficult for you to move on.
“If we tell ourselves cliches like ‘that was the one’ or that ex was ‘my soul mate’ we’re creating our own illusions that defend our inability to move on,” Plater-Zyberk said. “Are those statements really true? There’s no way to know. A better, healthier relationship may be around the corner, so long as we’re open to it.”
You’re focused on the loss.
It’s natural to think a lot about what you lost when a relationship ends, but if you focus too much on the loss, it could potentially hold you back.
“Of course you will analyse the relationship and replay conversations and revisit red flags,” Concepcion said. “Once there are issues with sleeping and eating and you’re depressed and overly focused on the loss of them so much so that you’re neglecting yourself, that’s a problem. Turning the focus on yourself and starting with packing your schedule with stuff to get done such as tackling the clutter in your closet and drawers, booking some seminars or workshops or catching up with friends and family can set some well-needed forward momentum.”
Talking to others can certainly help you sort out what’s going on and hopefully spur you moving forward but it’s not the only thing that you can do if you’re trying to move beyond some of what’s keeping you attached to an ex. Planning parts of your new life can also help.
“What interests or hobbies do you have more time to focus on now? Which friends can you spend extra time with now? Maybe you can tackle a professional goal with more gusto now? Being single opens up new possibilities,” Plater-Zyberk said.
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