Dear Tough Love Tin,
Everything about the man still resounds in my beaten heart and nagging head. The love affair that ended with a few words but started with none. If forgetting is impossible, I just wish that my senses would leave my beat up mind and heavy heart in peace.
The sound of his voice, and of the beautiful laughter we had when we were together keeps playing at the back of my head. The smell of his perfume and the taste of his mouth randomly haunts me even at the deepest of my sleep. The shadows of his face and how his eyes glowed with every change of emotion, and how soft his touch felt is making me want him more rather than move on. But I never knew him, the totality of him. I just know that I loved every second of the time he was looking my way, even if I never knew what I really mean to him. Our love affair ended even before they began our sweet surrenders.
What should I do? Everything about him won’t escape me! HELP!”
- HOPELESS CASE
Dear Hopeless Case,
Like death and birth, every second in every part of the world, somebody out there is getting their heart broken. By now, people being creatures of habit must know already how to dodge the senses and just move on. But why does a broken heart get the best of us? Why do we never learn? Because emotions are not like anything else in this world. It is not tangible, therefore, we don’t know what we are faced with.
Hopeless Case, you are not so hopeless. Now, this all depends on how strong you are as a person and how you cope with things. The intensity of the relationship and the length of it also has a lot to do with the time and effort you‘ll be needing to cure your disease. Don't worry, you’ll get over it. Suck it up!
The best advice I can give you is do what I do, it works for a stubborn love fool such as myself.
Step 1: TORTURE
If your common friends ask you on how you are doing, politely say that you are having a hard time, but you know life has to go on. An honest enough answer that would not trigger suspicion of your undergoing self- destruction, but realistic enough that you can fool people into thinking that you are moving on.
Don’t let him know or give any hint that you are suffering. Do not post any sappy status message or write on your blog what you’re going through because of his loss. And by any means, DO NOT drunk dial or communicate with him at all! You never, ever wanna lose face to your ex. Try not to lose focus on your job, or school (although this is going to happen anyway). If another part of your life suffers, it would be harder for you to move on. People close to you are probably so sick and pissed off of your neurosis after all this time of whining, but they’ll get over it. As of this point, you shouldn’t care too much about them. Self pity is the key, you are all alone in this battle. Do Step 1 for a month or two, maximum 3.
Step 2: LIMITS
This is the time that you should talk to your friends. Ask them what they really think about him. Most probably, they’ve told you time and again how they hated his guts or how they didn’t like bits and pieces of him. Refresh your memory and listen to them. It would sound different this time because now, you want to get over him already. I learned in life that half of the time, your close friends and family are right about their view of your partner.
Change your focus to these things but have the same intensity of sulking as much as you did when you were craving for him. But don’t lose sight of the truth. Don’t exaggerate or fabricate negative things about him in your head. It’s a common mistake of the scorned, but you can never lie to yourself. Ever.
Now stop asking about him. Do everything ONLY 3 times a day: Look at his profile only 3 times a day instead of setting it as a homepage to your browser. Look at photos only 3 times a day, and only allow yourself to feel pathetic 3 times a day. Most importantly, think about your memories with him only 3 times a day. The latter is more difficult, but you’ll learn to control your mind when you are doing this. Just believe that you can! Duration of this is 2 weeks to a month, max. Step 2 is more of a transition than an actual step.
Step 3: LIGHTEN UP
Think about the time you wasted obsessing about him. Think about the parties you’ve missed out and the dates that you’ve canceled because you were still attached to the idea of him and him coming back. Stop checking your phone every five seconds because he might’ve texted. Stop deleting his name on the phonebook because you know his number by heart anyway. Tell yourself not to care if he does anything to be noticed, like message you or call you all of a sudden. He does not exist.
Try to avoid places that you think you’ll see him. Block him on your messenger list. Step 3 is when you start taking care of yourself. Always be at your best. Look good. Meet other people, but don’t jump into another relationship. Look at being single as a privilege. Flirt and feel beautiful. At this point, you might feel a little bit of resentment towards the guy… allow yourself to feel angry. But don’t let your anger towards him get the best of you like it did the time you were hopelessly in love. You’ll miss him and his memory would still haunt you. Try to distract yourself if this does happen.
Lightening up is sparing yourself from the mind games and puzzles that you put yourself into. Stop torturing yourself with the what- if’s. There is no what- if’s in your equation anymore. Lightening up is healing the scars, and accepting certain realities. This is the longest process. Take your time with this one because Step 4 is not for the faint of heart.
Step 4: REALITY BITES
Now, you can go to the places that he frequents at. Don’t be scared if you bump in to him. If you’re alone and he is with someone else, the more that you have to approach him and say hi. He was a part of your life but he is not your life anymore. Think about him fondly, but never forget the pain that he put you through.
I never believe that ex’s can be friends, but some people say it works. Give it a couple of years. You might feel guilty or compelled to still be part of his life for “force of habit” reasons, but this is not a good idea. Ending a relationship, especially on a bitter note, has no room for pleasantries even if you started off as friends. Why? Because if you still have the need to be a part of his life or him as a part of yours, there is still a part of you that’s holding on to him, but not the idea of you and him. And remember why you liked him at the first place? Because he is the person that he is. Ergo, the perfect time to be friends with an ex is only when you don’t really have the need for him to be a part of your life. Your source of happiness is gonna come only from you, and you alone.
Good luck Hopeless Case, and may the force of Tough Love be with you!