I Can't Get Over My Ex


Tim Stafford says that a lost love can be devastating and that the wounds can last a very long time. How long? It depends on the person.

Q. My boyfriend and I broke up 10 months ago after dating for almost a year and a half. I've been in relationships since, but I just can't get over my ex. He's all I can think about. When I kiss or hug my new guys, I pretend I'm hugging or kissing my ex. Please help!

A. The Bible's Song of Songs contains these words: "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires" (8:4). A few verses later it goes on, "For love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away" (8:6-7).

In modern English we might put this basic message this way, "Don't mess around with love until you're good and ready, because it's awesome and powerful stuff, and it can run over you like a semi-truck."

That's what you're feeling. A lost love can be devastating, and the wounds can last a very long time. How long? It depends on the person, but I'd say a year is very common. Quite a few people, though, take several years to get over such a loss.

The good news is that time does heal. Its pace of healing may be excruciatingly slow, but it's steady. Someday you'll be ready to move on, especially if you don't nurse the hurt, but go on with friendships and activities as best you can.

It sounds as though you're doing that. I'm glad you're going out with other guys. I'd be careful, though, of making an opposite mistake. Don't pretend you're not grieving, and don't try to treat new relationships as though your past has nothing to do with them. I don't think it's right to kiss guys whom you don't really care to kiss, or whom you kiss while thinking of somebody else. It's not showing respect for yourself, and it's not behaving truthfully toward those guys. Sure, it's embarrassing to own up to your true feelings, and it may put some guys off. But better to be truthful than act falsely.

Tell the guys, "I like you, but I'm not ready to get emotionally involved with anybody. I'm still hurting from my last relationship." If they can be your friend knowing that, terrific. If not, then you'll be wise to find other guy friends.

Adapted from Love, Sex & Real Life by Tim Stafford

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