How do I move on?

How do I move on?

Q: Help! I feel really lonely and depressed since my break-up with my girlfriend. I can’t seem to find any energy and she’s all I think about- I feel like I’m going crazy. I think of myself as a strong person, but I don’t feel any of that right now.  To make it worse I have been stalking her on Facebook and Instagram; even though she has blocked me, I am still finding ways to get on her page and see what she is up to. How do I move on and stop obsessing about her every move?

She:

#1- STOP IT!

You have got to rip the Band-Aid. You are inflicting torture on yourself!

Your brain reacts to love in a similar way that it responds to drugs like cocaine and heroin (in regard to the neurochemicals released and the parts of the brain that are activated- the pleasure centers).  Love IS intoxicating, it sucks you in and you begin to obsess about the other person; you want to have them all the time, you feel awful when you are not with them.  And, much like getting off cocaine or heroin, you are just prolonging the process of detoxing by continuing to imbibe.

#2- Hunker down

The next step is to stop fighting it and to sweat it out. Listen to an endless loop of Sarah McLachlan (throw back to one of my best heartbreaks), drink a bottle of wine, smoke a pack of cigarettes. Take some time to revel in your misery. You will have thoughts that you’re never going to meet anyone again. You will think of all the things that remind you of her.  You will miss her so much, it will be physically painful.  Your brain will remember the good times, and inconveniently forget the bad.  This is your love rehab.  Much like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting: this is the sweating it out, not eating, high fever, recoiling in pain- part of getting over you’re addiction.

As long as you refrain from using, you will eventually begin to heal and not crave your drug. Your brain will begin to rewire and you will start to see that you can live a life without her.  You can speed up the process by trying to stay positive, keeping busy, exercising, and getting out of the house.  You can prolong the process by ruminating and stalking her on social media.

#3- If all else fails, get out of dodge

Nothing better than putting some distance between you and your drug of choice and the things that remind you of using (your little inside jokes, favorite restaurant, the place of your first date).  Get in your car, on your bike, on a plane, and go experience life.  Grab a friend (or not) and go have an adventure. Remind yourself that there is more to life than her and use the time to distract yourself.  Every day will be a little less painful and, hopefully, this breakup will lead you to the person you are supposed to be with.  Someone you can actually be with, as opposed to watching from afar.

He:  One of my friends back in college used to say that when a girlfriend breaks your heart you have to find a girl that looks just like her, have sex with her, and then don’t return her calls. That, in some way, allows you to control the situation. That friend was always kind of an asshole and will probably never find happiness.  But under that hard, outer shell of crassness, exists a small gooey core of truth: Move on.

It seems that you have already come to that conclusion, but minimizing your computer’s window from her Facebook page, only long enough to write us for ideas seems pretty silly. You know what you have to do. You have to find the will to move on.

I’m carrying a few extra pounds on my stomach. It’s not a huge deal- I need to eat and drink a little less and exercise a little more. I may or may not do that, but for me to ask a trainer or dietician how I should lose the weight somehow lacks purpose. I have to find the will to do it, and do it.

Heart-ache is just that: Ache. It’s supposed to hurt a little, and like any other ache, time is typically the rehabilitation you need. Distract yourself in things you like to do: start a new hobby, get some exercise, travel a bit, foster friendships you may have neglected and try to develop new ones. Find a girl that looks like your ex, follow her on Instagram, maybe even have sex with her. But return her calls- She will probably turn out to be much cooler than the girl you’re pining after now.

Dr. Jen Semmes and Andy Wilson have been (mostly) happily married for nine years (currently happily).  They are the owners of Coastal Counseling therapy center in Carlsbad, California.  Jen holds a license in clinical social work and a doctorate in psychology, and is a therapist at Coastal Counseling. Andy just tries to hold it together.

 

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