While driving home the other day from dropping the kids off at school, I threw on my iPod to enjoy a much-needed break from the radio and the 20 questions from the kids. I turned to my “Love Songs” playlist, which is packed with nearly 200 classic love songs from “Adore” by Prince to “Heaven Help Me” by Deon Estus and suddenly, “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne came on (video provided). Now of course I’m dating myself a bit but this was my song in the late 80’s (when good music was colorless on the radio). The lyrics to the song got me thinking about a twitter friend of mines who I have been giving advice to regarding his lost love. There are a few questions that I pondered while listening to the song such as, “Can you ever get over a lost love? and Can you get a lost love back?”
Getting Over A Lost Love
Have you ever had a relationship that you felt was rock solid and you were truly in LOVE? Your whole world practically revolved around the other person. You didn’t make many moves that didn’t involve your other half. You thought about your love constantly and could complete each other’s sentences. There might have been times that you picked up the phone to call them and they were already on the line because they called you first. Some would consider this a “Soul Mate” (a concept we will explore in a later post) and you just knew that it would last forever. Of course in every relationship there are problems, arguments and blow ups. This is just a part of the natural course of healthy communication in relationships. Somehow though, you don’t see that the love is fading or that the two of you are growing apart. You probably stayed in the relationship going through the motions because no one wants to be the first to admit that the flame is burning out. Finally, one of you decides to call it quits or take a break until you can sort things out. Either way, breaking up with someone you TRULY love HURTS!
When a break-up of a serious relationship occurs, people tend to go through a range of emotions similar to grieving the death of a loved one. Those emotions can consist of shock, denial, loss of sleep or over sleeping, loss of motivation, social withdrawal, guilt, intense sadness and crying or indifference. We sit around listening to sad love songs that reminds us of our relationship and try to keep the memories alive. Will this wound ever heal you ask? My best answer is ABSOLUTELY, but you have to give it time and stop obsessing over it. Yes you are going to think about that lost love a lot in the beginning, but over time those thoughts will diminish and they will only pop into your mind when you see or hear something that reminds you of them because something or someone WILL INEVITABLY remind you of them. What do you do to start moving past it and begin the healing process?
- Come to terms with what happened to end the relationship. – Many times, we aren’t willing to accept the responsibility for our part in a break-up or even acknowledge that we saw it coming. We like to blame and point fingers at the other person because it is easy to do but it really doesn’t allow us to adequately assess ourselves. Don’t spend a lot of time BLAMING YOURSELF either because it is easy to fall into self-loathing. If a person wants to leave, there is nothing you could do to stop them even if you lose weight, change your hair color or get a different job.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings with other people or a professional. – I’m not saying to stop random people in the grocery store to pour your heart out but talking about it is healthier than holding it in. People are very afraid of seeking the help of a counselor but we can be very effective at helping you cope and giving you strategies to move forward.
- Get a journal or a blog. – Putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard is also another healthy way to get your feelings out if you are not a talker or don’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with other people who might possibly judge you. You will be surprised at how you can see your growth by going back and re-reading your past journal entries. It is like looking at yourself in the mirror.
- Get to know yourself better. – Spend some time with yourself and get to know who YOU are and what you have to offer in a relationship before jumping RIGHT back into another situation. People tend to believe that the best way to get over an old love is to immediately find a NEW one but that is not the best idea. A rebound love will more than likely not be genuine simply because you haven’t discarded the baggage from the old relationship. If you TRULY loved someone, they can’t be REPLACED.
- Begin dating again and don’t try to compare EVERY person to that lost love. – Go out on casual dates without expectations of finding “THE ONE” again. Just let things progress naturally and have a good time. If things start to get more serious, don’t start making comparisons and looking to recreate your previous relationship. This new person WILL NEVER be the old person reincarnated!
Getting A Lost Love Back
How many times have we gone through the motions of breaking up with someone we truly loved only to find our way right back to them? It happens quite often but it isn’t always a success. I’ve always operated on the notion that an “ex” is and “ex” for a reason and those reasons usually don’t change when you get back with them but sometimes they do. Is it good to go “backward” or should you just move on? That really depends on why the two of you broke up in the first place and whether they are worth fighting for. If you are someone who is contemplating a return to your love, there are a few things to consider in doing so.
- Gauge the willingness of the other party to reconcile. – This is very important because you will be fighting for nothing if you aren’t sure whether the other party is willing to give it another try. I know of a situation where a guy went out and purchased an engagement ring to carry around with the hopes of running into his ex-girlfriend and proposing to show her how serious HE was about making amends for the mistakes he’d made in their tumultuous relationship that ended in a bad break-up. When he finally ran into her, the woman was NOT hearing any of it and told him NO and that she’d moved on with not an ice-water’s chance in HELL that they’d EVER be back together. He’s still single today. Rejection is always a possibility here if you go in blindly.
- Don’t try to force a friendship on them right after the break-up. – Many people try to pull the “Let’s be friends” card after breaking up but you REALLY can’t be friends with someone you have intense feelings for because the motive is fake. You will always want more than a friendship from them so don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that you can separate your “friend” feelings from your “lover” feelings. Give them their space to heal and it’s okay to talk to them occasionally but to pick right up where you left off in the relationship as ” just friends” is a recipe for disaster.
- Write down the pros and cons of being with them. – I know this seems textbook but it works if you ACTUALLY listen to yourself. If the pros outweight the cons then perhaps they are worth fighting for but if they don’t then let it go, cut your losses and start the healing process. The problem here is that when people start seeing the cons outweighing the pros they start exaggerating the pros to make them win because they REALLY want the relationship back.
- Can you REALLY put the past behind you? – If you decide that you are going to move forward with a reconciliation, you must decide whether or not you can put the pass behind you. If trust was broken in the relationship due to cheating, lying or abuse (for which I don’t recommend a reconciliation), can you really trust their word that they won’t do it again or will you always be suspicious of their every move to the point that it ultimately breaks you up again? If these issues aren’t resolved, they will ultimately rear their ugly head as soon as you two are back together. I had a relationship once where the guy just COULD NOT let go of something that I did in the very beginning of our relationship and he just didn’t trust me at all and we broke up over it at least four times in the span of four years. Ultimately, we weren’t right for each other but every time I went back, he had never gotten over that situation.
- Don’t become a STALKER! – No matter how much you miss the person and want to be back with them, don’t try to stalk them into being with you again. Calling or texting excessively and constantly sending them gifts or flowers will only make them annoyed by you. They won’t think that it’s cute or you really love them. They’ll think that you are acting irrational and it might give them a new perspective on why the two of you broke up in the first place. Trying to guilt them into being with you will only get you but so far. They may feel sorry for you and take you back because they sympathize for your broken heart but their heart isn’t really into it so it will be a farce. I can’t stress enough how important space is in a serious break-up. It gives you both a chance to think clearly and to miss each other if you really care for each other. Be patient and if it is meant to be it will be. As the old adage goes, “If you love something set it free and if it comes back it’s yours, but if not, it was never meant to be.”
Love is an action word and it takes both parties to be active for it to flourish. I will leave you with my favorite love scripture usually read at weddings and hope that it feeds your souls:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”