“Help: I still can’t get over my ex!”

Dear Sarah,

I have been single for awhile, and I have really been focusing on bettering myself and studying. A few weeks ago, I was in contact with one of my exes who I broke up with about three years ago. We texted and decided we would have dinner when I get home from school during Thanksgiving break. Well, over that time, I have really thought about my decision to re-kindle that relationship. And, as much as I do miss us, I am worried my heart will get broken again. He did not treat me so well when we were together. He wasn’t very appreciative and rarely wanted to go out, so I eventually ended our relationship. Despite that, we had lot of great memories and I still think of him fondly. Over the years, we’ve reached out to each other several times to get together, but every time one of us was dating someone else or had another commitment. Anyway, I just met a new guy who took me out on a date, and he was wonderful. He has all the same dreams as I do, he is so sweet and treats me right—and he is crazy about me! But sadly I am STILL struggling with putting my ex behind me. Why can’t I forget him? Should I continue seeing this other guy if I am having trouble forgetting my ex? What do I do? How can I move on?

Thanks in advance,

Trouble with the Past from California

Dear Trouble,

You’ve been on a great path, taking care of yourself and moving forward. How do you forget the ex? By not looking backward. Cancel your dinner and make plans with the new guy. Don’t reach out your ex anymore, don’t follow what he’s doing on Facebook or Insta, because that’s a way of staying connected to him as if you were still part of each other’s current lives.

Give the new guy a shot. It’s OK if you still have thoughts about the ex occasionally—sometimes it is hard to control where our minds wander. You aren’t betraying him if you don’t act on your impulse to reconnect. Try to dig deep and be honest with yourself about why you still care. Does the way he hurt you make you want him to be interested in you now so you can feel better about that? If so, then your attraction is really about continuing to work on your own self-esteem and not him.

Focus on being with the people who bring out your best self and doing the activities that make you feel strong and happy. If you can do that and stop interacting with the ex IRL or online, I’m confident you’ll get over him. Holding on to that collection of fond memories is perfectly fine but it doesn’t mean you should try to revive the past. Love, Sarah

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