Have you ever had an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend who drew you in time after time, even though you knew nothing good could come of it? If so, you are not alone. Many people can think of a person from their past who was their kryptonite.
If you have an ex with whom you cannot seem to cut ties, my heart goes out to you. Sometimes, regardless of how necessary it is, it is hard to let go. If you are struggling with the tug-of-war between, “Man, I want my sweetie back!” and “Wow, we are absolutely no good for each other,” consider these five tips. It may seem impossible to say “no,” but it is possible if you have the right tools.
- Incorporate air tight accountability with friends who are not afraid to make you mad. God has blessed me with some excellent friends over the years. They could not have been any better if I had custom designed them myself. My friends love me enough to listen to my drama and to tell me what they really think. In years past, I did not always appreciate their candor; but, in retrospect, I know they had my best interest at heart – and they were probably sick of hearing my same, self-induced love gone wrong stories. ~smile~ To my knowledge, I never asked any of them to help me stay away from an ex, but I am certain they would have thrown themselves between me and a former boyfriend if I had requested such a service. If you do not trust your resolve, put your welfare in the hands of some incredibly good friends who will be strong for you when you are feeling weak! They may ask you to return the favor someday!
- Write down the reasons why you and your ex are no good for each other and post those reasons around your home where you can easily see them. (Seriously.) Rationalization allowed me to run back to the relationships I should have kept in my rear view mirror. “Going to see him will not hurt anything. I am just going to talk to him because I want everything to be okay between us. Friends can share an innocent kiss. Well, maybe hanging out occasionally is not such a bad idea. He is sweet. Maybe he has changed. Could this work? Maybe I have been too hasty. This could work.” This last paragraph brought to you by the recesses of my teenage mind. Mom always “complimented” my rationalization skills. I fed my mind lies long enough that I distanced myself from reality. The more we see the truth, hear the truth, and repeat the truth, the more we believe the truth. Pumping your mind with honesty about your former relationship instead of convenient lies will make it harder to find reasons to return.
- If necessary, rethink your activities, friendships, and involvements. Does your lifestyle require you to be in constant interaction with your ex? Seek out some new friendships. Get involved in some new activities. Evaluate how important it is for you to remain in those situations where you and your ex are in continuous contact. If you do not feel comfortable leaving, use your accountability to your advantage and do not spend extra time on set with your ex (g., in a church ministry, at school, etc.).
- Do not use the “F” word. You know the “F” word, right? That’s it: friends. At this point, you and your ex are not friends. Someday, you may become agreeable acquaintances, but you are not friends today. The use of the term friends gives ex-couples the delusional pseudo-idea that they can remain in a relationship without committing to each other romantically. Unless both parties have completely healed and all emotional ties are gone (which is very hard to do unless the couple never bonded), one or both people will end up hurt again – especially when new love interests come on the scene. “Friendship” creates a murky situation. It is also virtually impossible to heal from a broken relationship when you never fully leave the relationship. It is like ripping open a gaping wound day after day (ask me how I know ~smile~).
- Make difficult, yet achievable goals for yourself. Do you know when people slip up in life? When they take their eyes off of the goal. As believers, our ultimate goal is eternity with our Savior, Jesus Christ. There is no earthly goal that compares. However, while we are on this earth, we thrive by setting, working towards, and achieving goals. Without them, we wander aimlessly – often finding ourselves at our exes’ homes. If you are busy training for that marathon, you will not have as much time or energy to run back to your ex-boyfriend. You remember him? The one who insisted on monopolizing ALL of your free time. If you are busy studying with your sights on the career of your dreams, you cannot afford to dwell day and night on the “love” you lost with your ex-girlfriend. You remember her? The one who could never decide if she really loved you or not. Fill your life with positive, God-honoring goals – again, incorporating your accountability support system – and you will have too much to lose to float back into your previous, dead-end relationship(s).
Letting go is tough. No one who has been through a break up would tell you otherwise. We grow accustomed to having our boyfriend or girlfriend in our lives. Even if we intellectually know that the relationship needs to end, it is hard readjusting to life without him or her.
I can remember breaking up with a guy in college, driving back to my dorm, and sobbing to God, “What am I supposed to do now?!” I knew I needed to end it, but doing what I knew to be right did not fill the void in my heart. However, over time and with the help of friends, life did get back to normal – and it will get back to normal for you too. Please accept a big hug from my heart to yours! You can make the right decision, and you can be happy again. You can. ~smile~
Hold tight to the Lord and your friends.
Are you having a hard time keeping distance between you and your ex?