A relationship can become an integral part of your being. You put in all your time, effort, and all the love you can into another person as you watch your relationship blossom into something bigger – marriage, kids, and a future together. But all that comes crashing down when the other person unexpectedly breaks things off.
How to move on from the past? How can you possibly be okay after the heartache and internal turmoil of a breakup? These questions can swirl around in your head. Letting go of past relationships seems impossible, but really it isn’t. Out there, there is love for you, there are people and opportunities, all you have to do is get out of your shell and live the best version of your life.
How To Get Over The Past And Move On
Understanding how to get over the past is an essential part of healing from the pain of heartbreak. Suppressing your feelings and putting on a brave face isn’t moving on. Letting go of past relationships involves giving yourself time to process the breakup, discover ways to deal with heartbreak and find yourself happy again, truly.
Don’t dismiss the possibility that you can find love again. And when you do find someone special after a tough breakup, don’t push them away. That’s the most important lesson in learning how to move on from the past.
I fell in love with the most beautiful woman
I don’t believe in karma or fate, but some things happened that went against the grain of my belief in the weeks after I got engaged. It was early 2015. Here we were – Sharon and I, basking in the glory of being engaged to each other, going out for movies, parks, and restaurants, whenever we liked.
Our families were happy and non-intrusive, as there was an unwavering firmness in us… in our togetherness. I’ve been a Southern boy for decades, and she came from the West Coast. I read serious literature, and she loved reality television.
We differed in many things – cuisine, films, music, and fashion sense. Even our past relationships were of totally opposing natures. But something connected us together. I found all these differences fascinating and enriching, however much we argued. It was a period of bliss peppered with meet-cutes and conversations that continued online.
Related Reading: Compatibility in Relationships: Waiting for the Right Person
A little backstory
The pleasant flow was shaken one day: When she went to stay temporarily at her parents’ old flat in a certain suburb. I was shocked to read the address, for it was a stone’s throw away from the place I dreaded the most – where the biggest heartbreak of my life happened. It opened a long-bottled-up space in my heart that I wanted to forget.
Why this place again, and why me?! I had been learning how to let go and move on, but this seemed like being pulled back to square one after all the progress I’d made after so many years.
Cut to January 2010. My college romance of four years had already turned sour by a great measure. Much water had passed under the bridge, but the muddy, giddy, hormone-laden long-distance college romance had by then gone into troubled waters, trickled, and stopped completely, waiting for closure. It was a ‘right person wrong time’ situation.
I will just say that we had a fight, and our families got involved. She, clearly with thoughts of studying abroad, had taken her dad’s side half-unwillingly. Her dad was dead set against us getting together, because of incompatibility.
My mental health deteriorated
It all ended one night when a nasty fight between us was settled at her home, with me sobbing inside a taxicab, my sister by my side and my parents huddled together in their flat upstairs to ensure a complete cut-off between us two. What ensued was two years of intense depression.
I had a couple of bad days of suicidal thoughts, walking toward a speedy train, only to get off the tracks at the last second, with my heart pounding. Something told me that there was life ahead and I did not deserve this suffering and had to pull myself up.
A psychiatrist prescribed Prozac. Another prescribed Zoloft. I summarily refused to take either. A psychological counselor asked me to close my eyes, and said, “Imagine… Imagine that all your sorrow is now exiting your ears as black smoke… Like an automobile sheds diesel fumes…” I laughed and said, “If only it could work this way. Thanks for your time ma’am, I need to go now.”
I tried meditation, but it didn’t help. It seemed like life was beyond repair and I could never redeem myself of neither my sin nor my sorrow. Sometimes I sought revenge. At others, I sought forgiveness. Then there were times, I just wished for a time machine to go back and set everything right. I just didn’t know how to let go of past relationships.
I agreed to get married
Spirituality did not help. I found the counseling awkward, incapable, too business-like, or plain hideous. Travel helped. Friends helped. Writing helped. It was a five-year-long process in which I managed to overcome the depression, and finally, found myself ready for a new relationship.
We connected online and soon started talking over the phone. We bonded over conversations, about anything from television shows to travel destinations. We finally met in Chicago where I visited her, wearing four layers of clothing and still feeling miserable.
I remember us fist-bumping each other with content smiles when my train chugged out of the Chicago railway platform, as her parents and brother stood a little farther, smiling at me. Warmth spread all over my heart as I took leave.
After the engagement, she stayed with me. We had time to meet, and talk to each other. I found her fascinating – childish and mature, all at the same time. Probably because she was both a pampered child during her Chicago years and an independent student living alone with her grandmother in Texas all five years of college.
While the core of her coy, childish nature was endearing, her mature exterior and the way she handled life were reassuring. She always knew how to be the mature one in a fight. I fell in love. She did too. I had finally learned how to move on from the past.
All of it came back to me
So, here I was, in 2015, newly engaged. I had a niggling pain in my heart as I rode into the street after five long years – the same street where I faced the biggest heartbreak of my life, with my family members by my side.
Now, I felt like telling her all about it before we tied the knot. We went to the terrace, and sat down, under the moon. I told her all about my past: regrets, guilt, depression, and resurgence, the whole story. I told her all about my struggles in letting go of past relationships, particularly the last one.
She kept listening patiently, and had only this to say: “Duh! Is this even a story to tell? Get over it already, it is ridiculous to suffer this long!” Just these words, poker-faced. And then after a while, a frown – as to why so much fuss!
Related Reading: Mantra For Happy Life: Accept It And Move On!
I was shaken. I understood how ridiculously foolish I must have sounded when I spoke about my past as if it all happened this morning. I understood what it takes to put the past where it should be: in the annals of history. I understood that hating the idea of visiting a neighborhood, though human, was ridiculously foolish.
From that night, we spoke more than ever before, about a whole lot of other things. I had this strong feeling cement itself in my heart that night that she was the one for me. The fist bump at the railway station was the starter. This reaction from her toward my past is what sealed it.
I learn something new from her every day. That day she taught me to stop taking life so seriously and start living it on my terms. She taught me that my happiness lies in my own hands. Only I can take control of my life.
You have difficulty in letting things go. Accept the situation and embrace the consequences. The world will move on, but you will remain stuck in the same place if you don’t take charge of your own life.
Life is ever-changing. Unless we adapt to the changes, we’re going to be stuck up and miserable, always feeling hopeless that love will never find us again. Until you let go, how do you expect to find someone new?