Letting Go of Past Relationships

My social media is full of people posting about lost love and past relationships. Christmas makes us remember the good times and good people with which we have shared our lives. Christmas is about the birth of Christ and spending our time with those we love. It’s only natural that we look around the Christmas table and think about people who are no longer with us either because they have passed away or relationships ended.

Are we remembering that past relationship and person as they truly were or are we just missing being in that particular relationship while it was good. Are we really only missing what could have been? Are we remembering only the good times? If so, that’s really ok at Christmas time to remember the good things. It’s not ok to remember only the good things going forward. Staying stuck in the past is not healthy, especially if you are remembering a person from years ago. Your memories are not accurate and unbiased. No one’s are.

If that relationship was so perfect, why are you not still in it? That’s the first question. Did you screw up and they left or was it the other way around? Either way, the second question is why did one of you screw up so badly that it ended the relationship? Usually, it comes down to one or both of you were not happy. The only reason relationships end are because one or both of you weren’t happy. Yes, it’s that simple. That person or relationship was not how you are choosing to remember. That was not the right relationship or person for you at the time.

Next comes the let’s try it again move. Are you the same person you were when you were in that relationship the first time? Do you see life the same way that you saw it then? Do you want the same things from a relationship or person that you wanted then? If it’s been several years, the answer is probably no. Guess what? The other person has probably changed too. Maybe you or more compatible now but probably not. Maybe you think you can make that person happy now or they have changed and will make you happy now. Probably not. Realistically, what you have are two people who have changed entering a new relationship with baggage from their past relationship with each other. Is that ever going to work? Probably not.

Usually, when people are “stuck” or still “in love” with a past girlfriend or boyfriend, they really aren’t. They are in love with being in love or how they wanted that person or relationship to be. They are in love with the idea of what could have happened. They are in love with being in love. They got hurt and are scared to open themselves up and be hurt again. They are romanticizing something that never really existed. They want what they “could have had with that person had things gone differently”. That relationship was not how they are remembering or it would not have ended. They are avoiding a new relationship. That is reality.

Do we still love people from our past relationships? Yes, we do. Was that the person for us? No, they were not. We can love many people throughout our lives. We can choose to have happy and healthy relationships in our present and future. We have to let go of our past in order to move forward. Otherwise, we are not being honest or fair to anyone we date. No current or future relationship will ever work out to be as fulfilling as it should be if our current partner is competing with an often false memory in our head. We will never be happy until we can understand we are idealizing something or someone that never really existed. Remind yourself, if it was that perfect, it would not have ended.

The hardest relationship to let go of and move on from is the one in which we were happy and the other person was not and left. There are always the questions of “What could I have done differently?” and “Why didn’t I make them happy?” If you had been willing and wanted to do something differently at the time, you probably would have done it at the time. Sometimes we just are not the right person for someone and no matter what we do, it will not make them happy. Why do you possibly think you will make them happy now when you didn’t before? You probably will not. Nothing is wrong with you. That was not the right person for you. That person did not appreciate you for who you are. That person did not inspire you to bring out your best and put in the effort to make them happy. You might not ever be able to make that person happy regardless of what you do. Let it go, and find the right person for you. Do not idealize a past person or relationship and allow it to ruin your present and future happiness.

If you are missing the perfect or nearly perfect relationship or past lover, your memories are false. No one and nothing are perfect. Perfection does not exist. Think about why you are stuck on someone in your past and refusing to move forward. Stop avoiding opening yourself up to someone who can make you happy. Live in the present and future, not the past.

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