How to get over an ex
Whew. This is going to be one my most vulnerable posts. Why? Well, the stories I share here used to create a lot of shame within me. And though, I don’t feel that shame presently, sharing this still feels raw. It feels really important to share though because I know other humans go through this too. How do we get over an ex we can’t seem to get over?
The vulnerable part for me to admit is: I have two exes that took me years to get over. It took me about six years to get over them both actually. And not six years total. Six years for one and six years for the other. 12 years of being in love with humans I wasn’t in a relationship with and I wondered why I was single for so long.
The first ex, we will call him A, was my first college boyfriend. I spoke about him briefly here and the situation with him was the messy road to getting over an ex. We were on and off of actual dating for a year and then on and off sleeping together while he had a girlfriend for about two years (not proud of this). Then there we had a HUGE blow up fight and we didn’t talk for about two years. We started talking again right before I moved to New York and he came to visit me shortly after I moved. I followed him around like a puppy but he ignored me for most of his trip. At the end of his visit, I laid it all out on the table I told him I had been in love with him for YEARS and asked if he felt the same. He said no and I told him I needed him out of my life for good because he wasn’t good for me. We haven’t talked since and after a lot of crying on the NYC streets about him that weekend, I felt healed.
What I loved about the above process was I hadn’t really defined a process for the thing or stopped to consider why I continued to actively love someone emotionally unavailable for years, I was just in it. I was suffering. Coming clean with my feelings after calling him obsessively all weekend to hang out with me and dressing up every day in my cutest outfits just in case he would make time for me or trying to figure out where he was so I could “magically” run into him there was tough but, it’s what gave me freedom. Also, that behavior was how I had approached “us” pretty much the whole time. All the ways I was trying to get his attention all those years was to get an answer I needed- Do you love me? Hearing him say “No” clearly and without any if’s/and’s or but’s was truly the exact thing I needed to walk away and find the closure within myself.
The second ex, we will call him B, was a great relationship that I ended prematurely. And I actually ended it prematurely because A came back into my life and said he wanted to get back together (he still had a girlfriend BTW) and it really fucked with my head. Very long story short, I broke B’s heart. I was a brat and super selfish. He was (and is) a truly wonderful human whom I admired greatly. By the time I sort of woke up and realized that he was someone I really valued and wanted in my life, he had already moved on with his now wife. He moved on not long after we broke up so, it felt extra gut wrenching for me. The thing about this man is he was the first real man I had actually known in my life. He showed me how a man should show up for a woman and in a relationship. I didn’t have great male role models growing up and my relationships up until him had reflected that. Meeting and then throwing this wonderful guy away felt like a BIG loss. I was convinced for years that he and I were meant to be together— even though he got married, had a kid, etc. I would dream about him constantly and because NYC is so damn small, I would run into his wife ALL THE TIME. It was really hard. I truly felt like I would never get over him and perhaps he was my last shot at love.
But, I did get over him! Honestly, it still feels like a gosh darn miracle. The way I went about it this time was much cleaner and it made me realize there is a process. I say cleaner because this time, I didn’t include him in my getting over process. It was allllll me dealing with me! And what I would recommend to anyone else trying to do the same. The first step started with figuring out the pattern as to why I had such a difficult time letting these two people go. I had other relationships that when they ended I was like, SEE YA! But, these two stuck. Why? Holding on to these two relationships stemmed from my not being fully myself and speaking my truth. I held on because I hadn’t be able to speak my peace and it made it all feel unfinished. This is why being authentic and speaking your feelings is really important. It allows you to know you gave it your all and unattach from the result.
My next step was beginning to do real self work with Lacy. My work with Lacy helped me shift the narrative I had about B. Before working with her, I felt because I had all this unprocessed junk I never got to express to him and couldn’t because 1. he had made it really clear he didn’t want me in his life and 2. he was (is) married and it’s sort of inappropriate to tell your married ex you still have feelings for him, meant that we had an “unbreakable connection” or something. Clearly, I had watched one to many romantic comedies. Lacy shifted the narrative for me showing me B was a role model for me in how I wanted a man to treat me and behave. This was a good thing! She also helped me realize my attachment to him had NOTHING to do with him personally and everything to do with me trying to work out childhood patterns of chasing my Dad around to get enough love from him- same with A. I realized B was an archetype for me, an expander, a seeing is believing but not my person. This gave me clarity. It also helped me see my dreams about him less as proof that “we were meant to be” (bless my heart) and more my subconscious showing me what was possible for me- calling in a partner who shared similar qualities and treated me with the same love and care.
Lacy also gave me an exercise that really blew my mind and brought me the healing I had needed to finally release my hold on this past love. She told me to write a letter to him saying all the things I wished I could say to him- I had done this before but, it didn’t really do much— and then, this is the important part, to write a letter from B to me, telling me what I needed to hear from him. When I sat down to write these letters I was CONVINCED B’s letter would go something like, “You’re the one. You’ve always been the one. And I’m leaving my wife for you”. It wasn’t. NOT EVEN A LITTLE. What I ended up writing was that he forgave me for the way I treated him and didn’t hold it against me. It read that he released me from thinking he hated me. It read that he cared about me and wanted to me find a love like he had found because I deserved that kind of love and he wanted that for me. Reading my own words back to myself, I felt a deep, deep release and tears poured out of me. I was free.
Okay, so, now how do you do it too? I’m sharing my two stories because I carried such shame for holding on to these two dudes for so long. I had the most shame about B. I felt like the biggest loser for still loving him and wanting him especially when I would run into his really wonderful wife. I share this so if there is a woman out there who feels all alone in this struggle you are not! I felt pathetic for a long, long time. I wasn’t pathetic and neither are you. I did the impossible twice. I released two past loves I didn’t think could be released. And so can you! Here’s the breakdown of how to do the damn thing:
Get out a journal and free write these questions and write until you find your answers: why are you holding on? What’s the pattern here? Were you authentic in the relationship? Did you speak your truth? What did this relationship trigger for you? What does holding on to this relationship trigger for you? When did you first experience this? When you were a kid, who did you need the love from when you first experienced this?
Can you shift the narrative about the relationship and the your lingering feelings? For me, I thought B and I were supposed to be together because my feelings hadn’t gone away. But, my feelings hadn’t “gone away” because losing love triggered me. I became obsessed because my younger self was wounded from not getting enough love from my Dad and anytime I felt love pull away, I held on for dear life. I was trying to re-create my childhood circumstances to heal. Once I got my deeper why, I was able to shift the narrative of what I was still holding on for, healing a past wound. How do you shift your narrative with this relationship? What’s the real story?
I think the most important lesson I learned from A to B was I didn’t need to include my ex in my getting over process. I could get over him all on my own. And you might think, no, I need to hear something from him. I thought this too but when I wrote a letter from B to me, I truly was able to channel all I needed to hear. Our ego traps us in playing small by convincing us we need external factors to let go or heal. Don’t fall for that game! First, get comfortable. Light a candle and sit quietly and do three deep breaths. Once you feel calm and centered write a letter from you to your ex. Get real. Put it all on the page and hold NOTHING back. After you finish, immediately start the letter from your ex to you. Do you best to relax your mind and let the words come. I was VERY surprised by what I had written and know I had channelled the exact thing I had been needing to hear. Once done, read both to yourself. If you feel like you want to burn them go right ahead.
If you’re talking to your ex, you gotta stop. Continuing communication isn’t helping anyone. Exes are exes for a reason.
If you’re feeling stuck with any of this or maybe you can’t imagine cutting off communication with your ex, get help! I can guide you through this process and get you to the other side feeling stronger and empowered. You can find out more about working with me on my “offerings” tab.