All Woman

I can’t move on

With Wayne Powell MA Counselling Psychology Relationship Counsellor

Monday, December 23, 2013    

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Dear Counsellor,

I was in a relationship for nine years, then we broke up. I can't move on even though I have tried, but he seems to have moved on. In fact, he moved on about three weeks after we parted. He told me he didn't love me anymore and, as I was living at his place, I would have to move out, which I did. He dropped me at my friend's along with five bags, hugged me and walked away. I was devastated. We met for a drink a few weeks later and he told me he had sort of met someone. I have never felt such pain. Then a few weeks later he told me he hasn't got a girlfriend. I try and keep my distance, but I see him nearly every day due to his job. When we do bump into each other he's the one doing the talking, and then I think he still has feelings for me. I still love him and miss him so much and it's not getting any easier. Every day it's getting harder to get out of bed. Please help me. I'm heartbroken and I know I need to move on, but I can't.

A break-up can be a very devastating experience, especially if it was unexpected and one or both partners invested a lifetime in the relationship. Nine years is a relatively long time to dedicate your time and efforts in a relationship, and to walk away from such a costly investment is emotionally painful. In your case, you did not walk away, you were literally driven away, which is even more overwhelming.

You are probably at the denial stage of the grief process, still trying to figure out if the order to leave, the packing and dropping off at the friend's place was all a dream. You may be saying to yourself, "He is just going through a bad patch and will return soon". Truth is, he may or he may not return. What you need to do is to contemplate the latter and not raise your hopes and end up waiting in vain.

To be told by your partner that he does not love you anymore is a strong message that can't be ignored or taken lightly, and even if he takes you back, the relationship would be void of an emotional connection, which amounts to an exercise in futility. That would be worse than what you are experiencing now. The worst thing is to be in a relationship in which the love and the affection are not reciprocated.

It is not unusual for someone in your situation to be forlorn. It is similar to the passing of a loved one and the deep emotional hurt will last for a while. The question is, when will you accept the reality of the situation? The sooner you do that, the earlier you will get over the ordeal.

How do you get over the ordeal and move on? First thing is to not concede to the notion that you can't move on. This will drive you to a state of depression. The truth is, you possess the power within to effectively manage this situation, difficult as it may be. Keeping your distance is also a good strategy, but you must not entertain him either. If he is aware that you are willing and available to him he will take advantage of your vulnerable state. So be mindful of those moments when you both meet for drinks.

This is not necessarily a sign that he is interested in re-establishing the relationship, so don't raise your hopes.

As much as you are still in love with the gentleman, you have to be mindful of the fact that he was the one who made the decision to terminate the relationship, so your feelings for him do not matter at this stage. Surely he may have feelings for you, but they may well be just on a physical level.

You have to reach that stage where you mentally accept the loss or departure of this man. And when you do, the emotional pain will ease with time as you will be at the place where self-preservation and personal happiness are paramount.

Whether or not he has started a relationship with someone else is immaterial. The fact is he has declared that he has fallen out of love with you and has decided to move on without you. You then must do the same.

Rid yourself of the items that will bring back fond memories of the years you spent together, which may include photographs, gifts and mementos.

Lying in bed and moping is not an option. Get up, look in the mirror and tell yourself, "I will survive; I will get over this hurdle in my life. I will not allow the situation to get me down. I am too blessed to be stressed."

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to





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