You can and will get over them but it takes time and tears. You need to feel the feelings, think about how you can do you and see your mates more.
If you’ve searched the internet to get to this page you are probably struggling to get over someone right now. I’m sorry you’re going through this – verily it sucketh. I hope that this guide will help you to get over them – but it’s not going to be easy, sometimes it can feel like you will never get over them, and I haven’t got any magic wands.
If you’re looking for more general relationship advice check out my Brief Guide to Relationships
Why Isn’t It Easy to Get Over Them?
Relationships (all different kinds) involve you sharing bits of your life with someone. There are things, experiences, opinions, chats, in jokes, phrases, memories that you may only have experienced with that person. If that person isn’t around any more then it’s easy to feel like that part of you that was overlapping with the other person has gone too – a thing that you have lost.
So for whatever reason it is normal for you to be experiencing some loss and the kinds of feelings people have when they grieve – like sadness, heaviness, numbness, fear, sorrow, anger.
It’s Okay to Have Feelings
It’s totally okay to be feeling sad about loss (just as it’s okay to be feeling meh, or okay). You can’t argue with your feelings and you can’t change them. The more you try to change them or argue with them the harder it is to actually deal with them. If you do fight your feelings you create more feelings – like anger or sad or frustration. The only thing you can do with feelings is to feel them #feelings.
So feel the feelings – thanks for that Bish. Any other ‘gems’ of advice?
Notice If You Think About Them
You might find yourself thinking about the person you are missing a lot. This can be confusing because it can feel nice to think about someone you like, but this might also cause you pain.
We can’t argue with our feelings but we can have more control over our thoughts. It’s not as easy as just not thinking about a thing – and if you get anxiety you will probably find it not easy at all. However if you find yourself thinking about a person you are missing you could get into the habit of noticing it. Something like this:
“Oh I miss ____________ so so much. I wish they were here now. I just want to talk to them…. Wait. What did Bish say? Oh yeah, just notice. Yeah, I am thinking about ______________ again. That’s chill, I’m allowed to think about them now and again. I don’t have to though.”
If you get into the habit of noticing the thought and any feelings that it may cause you might start to feel that your thoughts about them are more manageable. You might be able to start thinking about them a little bit less or at least you might feel like you aren’t overwhelmed with thinking about them.
Talk to People (But Maybe Not Your Ex)
It can really help to talk to people about it. Getting things out in the open can often make your thoughts feel a little bit less overwhelming. Saying a thing out loud can make it seem smaller and easier to manage. You need to do this with someone that you trust, that can sympathise with you, that know how you are feeling – this sounds like talking to your ex about it might be a good idea, but I don’t think it is.
Your ex might be having the same feelings as you, but that doesn’t make them the best person to talk to
If you’re doing the ‘let’s be friends thing’ or ‘we’re going from close friends to less close friends’ it can be confusing because that person can feel like the best person to talk to about how to get over them, but not when it’s about them. They’ve got their own feelings to deal with and it’s really hard to support someone when they are feeling very similar things to you. It’s also really hard to get over someone if you are still seeing them or talking to them on the regular. I think that a break here is good – to get you away from all the micro moments of positivity resonance that can make you feel in love with someone.
So if you do need to talk to someone try someone else – someone who is kind, who has your back, who can give you advice, or who will listen, or who will lean their head and do <sympathy face> at you (you can send them to this page about how to support someone to teach them how to do this). If that person isn’t around in your life and you are really struggling you can ask seek out a counsellor at school, college or uni; you can get support from other people in the same boat at The Mix or Scarleteen; or you can ask me about it.
Also try gently talking to yourself (maybe not on the bus) about how you are feeling. Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal, or use another creative method, and then try giving yourself some really great advice on how you can look after yourself or move forward. Try to be super gentle with yourself and treat yourself like you would a best friend.
I really think that we all need more than one relationship in our lives. If you had one big relationship with someone and they are no longer around it at least gives you more space for the other relationships you might already have. Think about whether you can make a bit more space for family, friends, work/school mates, pets (for real), faith, hobbies.
Try also to work on the relationship with yourself. Being with someone is not necessarily better than not being with someone. What can you do for yourself to help you to make up for the feelings about loss? Check out my guide on how to look after yourself for some ideas on how to do this.
Sometimes this can be hard to do because we can still feel in a relationship with the person who has gone – I feel like it’s possible to have a relationship with someone even if they aren’t around. That’s okay, but gradually as that relationship gets a little smaller and smaller you will be able to find more space for other relationships too. At some point you might want to get into a new relationship with someone new – but in the first few weeks try to make more space for the relationships you already have.
What Does Over It Feel Like?
So this is about how to get over someone, but what does ‘getting over someone’ even mean? Some people might say that we never really get over the loss of people who were super important to us. If you define ‘getting over someone’ as not ever thinking about them again then you may probably never really get over them.
What does getting over someone mean to you? If you can get over them, what would that feel like?
I think it’s a good idea to think for yourself about how over someone you are and what this means for you. You can still feel sad about someone when you think about them but you might get to the point where it’s manageable. Remember that you are always changing and growing – you are not the finished article. Think about the changes to your personality over the last few weeks, months, years. What kind of person are you and who do you want to be? Remember to try to be the subject of your own story, not the object of someone else’s.
It Takes Time and Practice
It takes time and practice for this to get easier. It will get better over time, but it won’t feel like that. It’s not a simple line where everything slowly gets better – some days you’ll feel great and like everything is solved – some days you’ll feel awful and like it’s never going to get better. So this is why you have to believe me that it will get better – even if you don’t feel it. Look I made a drawing, so it must be true.
Why Am I Finding it Harder Than Others?
Are you finding it harder than them? Remember that comparing yourself with other people is often not a great idea because the comparison is never fair. You’re comparing all of your insides to their outsides – you don’t know what they are feeling and they might be feeling the same as you, either now or at another time.
So don’t assume that other people are finding this easier than you. Every one experiences things in different ways and have different kinds of relationships with other people. Your own unique relationship history might mean that there is more at stake for you – is that what’s going on with you? Do you hold onto people really tightly in general? Or do you hold onto particular relationships tightly?
Some people may find it easier to get over someone if that someone was a shit to them or if it felt like the relationship was coming to a natural end. Some people find it easier to let go of people if there wasn’t really a relationship in the first place. Some people have so many different kinds of relationships and treat them all as important as each other so that they have lots of people they can rely on if a relationship ends. Some people don’t put believe in ‘the one’ which might make it easier for them.
Eventually you will be at a point when you can start to think about what kind of relationship you want, the kinds of things you value in people and what you can learn about how you felt about this relationship ending before you get into the next one. I can’t guarantee that you won’t find it hard to get over someone again – but hopefully you might be more able to deal with it and you might.
While You’re Here
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© Justin Hancock, 2018