Recently, I was astonished when a friend confessed it once took her seven years -- seven years! -- to get over a guy. That was longer than they'd even dated. It had never really occurred to me it could take double the amount of time to get over someone as it took you to even be in a relationship. Of course, we all have different definitions of "get over." Some believe that it means you never even think of the person anymore. Others would say you think of them but only to go Ewww. That guy?! Can't believe I was once with him! I tend to believe it means you may still think of that person -- but in positive (or at least neutral) ways. You're not still rehashing all the old hurts and wounds. And you've been able to "move on" in whatever way that means to you. Either you're happily in another relationship or you're happily not in one.
Here's 7 reasons you might still not be over him.
Regrets. You still regret all of the ways the relationship broke down, and run over different scenarios in your mind as to how you could have done things differently. Or how he could have done things differently. Or how, basically, the whole thing should have gone v. how it went. Time to start forgiving yourself for whatever you did or didn't do. And forgiving him too. And accepting that we're all human and make mistakes and aren't perfect. You can't undo what has been done -- though you can always still say "I'm sorry."
Fantasy. You're still holding on to some fantasy in your mind of who he was or who you thought he was. You can't quite believe that fantasy turned out not to be reality. You still hold to the fantasy of how it was in the beginning. Or how you wanted your life to be. You wanted lots of kids, a big house in the country, and HIM. Time to realize that fantasy is just that. Begin to accept reality. The reality of who he is. And the reality of your life. You can't make changes until you accept reality. Forget about what should have been. Concentrate on what IS.
Laziness. Getting over someone takes work. It requires letting go of a lot of ingrained thinking (see: Regret and Fantasy.) It requires doing emotional work -- digging deep and asking yourself why you got involved with that type of person. Or why you ignored huge red flags. It involves building a life for one and not two. It involves learning how to be happy with yourself -- alone. All of this is actual work, it doesn't just happen. Read books on how to get over a break-up. Take up hobbies. Learn to meditate. Make new friends. Believe it or not, getting to know yourself is the toughest, but most rewarding, job you'll ever have.
Questions. You're still asking a lot of questions: Why, why, why? Why'd he say this and do that? How could he do that, and then do this? Did he ever really love me? Is it because I gained weight or grew old or lost my job? You'll never know the answers to any of these questions. So stop asking.
Limerence. This is an actual psychological condition. It basically involves a steadfast romantic attachment that you just cannot shake. You become obsessive. Your brain is basically in a loop, and stuck. You can read what a friend of mine did about her limerence.
Spying and staying attached. You still check his Facebook wall and Twitter stream. You look to see what he's doing on Instagram. You may even drive by his house (old school stalking!). You come up with excuses to call, text, or otherwise keep in touch. If you have kids, then keep in touch about the kids. Otherwise, take a break. A big one.
Unhappiness. You're unhappy. You tell yourself if only you had him back, everything would be perfect. You place all of your potential for happiness and fulfillment on having this person. However, chances are, if he made you happy -- and vice versa -- you'd still be together. So that didn't work. Forget the idea that he'll make you happy. He won't. No one can make you happy except you.
What are some other reasons you're still not over him? If you are, how did you do it?
Image via Katie Tegtmeyer/Flickr
Pens, pencils, markers, etc.