No matter who initiates the breakup, the situation feels devastating when you still love your ex-boyfriend. If you're still clinging to your ex, you may find it difficult to be productive or move forward in your own life. Letting go of a boyfriend you still love requires time and efforts toward improving yourself.
Understand the Reality of the Situation
If you're still in love with your boyfriend, you may find yourself clinging to the good times in the relationship. It's easy to put on blinders and forget the difficult parts of the relationship. Don't let yourself forget the reasons the relationship didn't work. Perhaps there was infidelity or mental abuse in the relationship. Maybe you had core values that were incompatible with one another.
It's also important to accept that the relationship is over. Holding on to the fantasy that you'll get back together and everything will be perfect only prolongs the process of moving on. Focus on accepting the situation for what it is and being realistic about the relationship. This lets you focus on building your new life in a productive way.
Forgive Yourself and Your Ex-Boyfriend
Holding on to hurt and negative feelings from the relationship keeps you stuck in the past. You might feel anger or sadness if your boyfriend is the one who wants to move on. You might feel like you were to blame for him leaving because of things you did or didn't do. Forgiving your boyfriend for his actions can help you move on without being tied to those negative feelings. You don't have to erase all memories of the relationship or the wrongdoings. Forgiveness means you can release yourself from being tied down with all of the negative emotions.
If you blame yourself for the breakup, you may need to give yourself some forgiveness. Whether or not your behavior actually contributed to the breakup, easing up on yourself can lift a weight off your shoulders. Constantly blaming yourself for the breakup is hard on your self-esteem and keeps you trapped in the past.
Allow for Love
Perhaps you've already accepted that the relationship is over, but you still feel love for your boyfriend. That's perfectly normal. You don't have to stop yourself from loving him to move on. Sometimes relationships don't work even when there's plenty of love involved. Know that loving your ex-boyfriend is acceptable, but that love doesn't mean you should stay together if there are other factors that make the relationship difficult or impossible.
Seeing your ex-boyfriend can make the split more difficult to handle. Everyone is different, but if you find it painful to see or talk to your ex, cut off contact for the time being. You may eventually get to a point where you can interact with him without feeling the excruciating pain. But for now, you're protecting your own well-being by staying away from him. If he tries to continue contact, explain to him that you really need your space for now.
Use Coping Strategies
It's natural to feel sadness, anger, loneliness and other emotions during the breakup process. Let yourself go through those emotions, but don't get stuck too long in the negative feelings. Coping strategies help you work through the emotions. Talking to friends and tapping into your support network is a great way to cope with the relationship loss. If you can't manage your feelings, schedule an appointment with a mental health care professional. A counselor can teach you coping strategies while helping you work through your situation.
Invest in Yourself
Help yourself move on from the relationship by investing in you. Take time to explore the things that you put off while you were with your boyfriend. Think about what you want to do with your life. Maybe you always wanted to travel but felt tied to home because of your relationship. Perhaps you want to go back to school or change your profession completely. Sometimes it's just about pursuing hobbies you didn't have time for while you were in a relationship.
If it feels impossible to do things for yourself, start small. Make sure you're practicing basic self-care techniques. Nurture yourself by setting aside time for exercise, seeing friends, taking a bath, listening to your favorite music or connecting with nature. Schedule an appointment for a haircut or a spa treatment. As you start taking better care of yourself, you may feel inspired to take bigger steps that add up to reaching new goals and discovering a whole new side to yourself.
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- Stay single for awhile -- jumping into a new relationship when you're still in love with your ex-boyfriend is likely to cause more hurt in the long run both for you and your new partner.
- You can love someone without being in love with them. You can always care for your ex-boyfriend and want him to be happy.
- Don't try to be friends with your ex-boyfriend right away. While you might be able to be friends again in the future, it's best to have as little interaction as possible while you're trying to move on from the breakup.
- If your ex boyfriend starts dating somebody else, don't compare yourself to her.
Shelley Frost writes professionally on a full-time basis, specializing in lifestyle, family, parenting and relationship topics. She holds an education degree and has extensive experience working with kids and parents.
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