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Why You Never Really Moved On From Your Ex

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The other day I had a conversation with a close friend and the topic of conversation came up of whether you ever move on from your ex. Not the ex that was a dirtbag but the exes that you have that you really cared about. I told her in summary that you really don’t move on from that experience what you do is you accept that you are no longer together.

That doesn’t mean that you always hope that you get back together one day. What it means is that when you care about someone you don’t lose those feelings. You can’t move past it all you can do is accept the circumstance. There’s growth in that realization. That’s the growth that you need to be able to encounter new people and accept the challenge that comes with a new mate.

I think at times we’re so obsessed with moving on that we haven’t figured out that moving on is not required. What you should want to take away from a situation is that you learned something about yourself and about that relationship. You may have learned what you like in a significant other or what you don’t like but you’re willing to tolerate.

I’ll always tell people that I will never regret about 99% of the people I’ve dated because if I did I would have to conclude that I don’t know how to pick them. What I know is that I have tried and sometimes it didn’t work out. I didn’t move on; treating each relationship in my life like a ball game doesn’t sound right. I take all that with me as I move forward. Some people call it baggage and I don’t think it qualifies as baggage unless you only take away the negative. I take away all the positives that come with a relationship ending and the potential of a new one beginning.

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That’s important because failure is what scares us the most. It makes us stay in situations way too long and it sometimes relegates us in situations that we should never be a partied to. I have struggled with that myself in relationships, do I stay or do I leave? It’s a question that I grapple with all the time.

Some people may say the two are the same that accepting the fate of the relationship and moving on is the same thing but I don’t think they are the same. They may be cousins but they lack the same mental capacity. To me, it’s a difference between saying “I’m not meant to be with that person” and “I understand why it didn’t work out.” We talk a lot about exes and what we can do to move on. One thing that we don’t take time to think about is the good people that we’ve dated and reasons why you’d be better with someone else.

The best thing you can do in your dating history is to be able to look back and not feel ashamed of who you dated. It shows that you put the effort into the situation and gave it your all. If you want to feel ashamed of something then it should be about those people you didn’t give your all. Ironically, those are the majority of the people that some of you don’t think you’ve moved on from. It seems as though it’s always the people that you struggled to leave in your past that you’re forced to say you’ve moved on from. Maybe you should start asking yourself if you’re willing to accept they’re no longer in your life rather than continuing to struggle to “move on.” Food for thought?

Comment(13)

  1. “………you really don’t move on from that experience what you do is you accept that you are no longer together.” Smh, deep. I am going to have to come back an read the rest of the article. After that first paragraph I had to stop and now I am collecting myself. lol

  2. Very nice article man and so true. I’m pretty sure that’s how I started feeling better after my divorce that was back in 2010. I needed the closure from the divorce to analyze my feelings that it was over. But I didn’t really start feeling better until like 2012 and didn’t really put myself out there to date until 2013. There comes a point where you start forgiving yourself and the other person, and having a healthy dialog about it to yourself (if you cant with the other person) about your own faults, theirs, and what you learned for next time.
    When my ex husband finally wanted to talk was this year, and it was only because of some family members passing away. It’s been a rough year, and we still haven’t really talked because I don’t think we’re there yet…there’s still love there and that’s dangerous. But briefly giving each other the apologies and what feels like each others Blessing to move on from one another was nice.
    I can’t lie though. I think it’s harder to move on if both parties have not found someone to fill that emotional void and be with someone else. I think that’s why I’m saying my ex husband and I talking is dangerous. But it was nice to have a prospect that I would actually consider being with besides my ex, because it helped me put things back in perspective.

    1. Angel, thinking of how my mind set was when I divorced might make it seem as though I had no heart; but there was nothing else for me to do except let it be. There have been times since the divorce we had a chat here and there about our child. There was no longing for what was or what could have been and I believe that is because as Dr. J stated, “what you do is accept you are no longer together.” It is interesting you “think it’s harder to move on if both parties have not found someone to fill that emotional void and be with someone else.” The reason I say it is interesting is because my ex married again and I am still single in a complicated relationship if there’s such a thing.

    2. Many people seem to believe love is a definite tie to a relationship, and it is not. It takes more than love to sustain a relationship. We have to accept that fact. You must forgive yourself and truly understand you only need self approval. Closure is a myth: I think many people hold on to seeking closure as a way to remain connected. I don’t understand receiving or giving blessings to move on as that was understood from the divorce. You have to truly self reflect in an effort to heal. If you’re still fantasizing over relationships past or beating yourself up because it didn’t work out you have yet to heal and you really haven’t moved on. I hope you can successfully learn to accept your failures as well as your accomplishments, despite the judgments of others. You don’t owe anyone else an explanation for your actions. Heal and take care.

      1. Nah…definitely don’t think we were waiting for each other’s Blessing to move forward. We were just each other’s first relationships, and things ended unnecessarily ugly. So, it was nice to know that our immaturity didn’t emotionally damage/stunt us for the next relationship, and that we weren’t out here hating each other. But since we both haven’t really tried again with someone else is why I think it’s dangerous. At east I know we’re trying. I know I started moving on like I wrote back in 2012/2013 so it’s nice to know he isn’t out there blaming me for any unhappiness.

        1. That is a good thing. Your earlier comment sounded like you needed an intervention.
          🙂 Your actions are about maturity and limits. You both probably love one another but recognized being together wasn’t a right fit. I will always love my ex, but he is no longer worth the risk. Know your limits and follow them. Be blessed. Happy holidays.

  3. Reading your article sparked a trip down memory lane and also this question: to you, what does it mean to move on? Is the idea of moving on subjective or are there definite indicators that a person has moved on? I get what you say about [accepting no longer being together]. I believe accepting the relationship has reached its end is part of letting go to heal, reflect and draw from the high points of the relationship before deciding to “move on?” (at some point in time) to the next relationship. Is the acceptance of no longer being together considered moving on? Or is moving on evident by starting a new relationship without grouping the new person in with the exes. Many people start new relationships as a way to get over a relationship that has ended only to realize they never accepted the previous relationship was over.

  4. I think in order to move on and be in another relationship, you have to leave those bags (including feelings for your ex) at the door.
    There is nothing wrong with caring about someone but if those feelings and what if’s are still in the forefront…you aren’t ready

    1. Ty that’s it. Otherwise the new relationship won’t stand a chance and it’s not fair to the new person. Actually, it’s not fair to either person. I read a post some time ago about meeting someone who loves you enough to help you unpack and sort through your baggage. Hopefully, the baggage (no matter whose it is) is no bigger than an overnight bag so they can get to enjoying each other. Like you say, there is nothing wrong with caring about an ex. For instance, if the man has a health issue, I wouldn’t wish for death but I would not run to be by his side just because of what was. You mention “those feelings and what [ifs]” … those are red flags not to start a new relationship and needless to say, those red flags get ignored too. That’s why it’s so easy for some people to quickly jump from one relationship to the next because they’re not dealing with—or could be–they don’t recognize the issue might be with them and not other people.

  5. the problem i think is the fact that people are too quick to break off their current relationship to get with someone else because the grass is supposedly ‘greener’. instead of trying to figure out a way to fix it…I feel like this, if you’re going to break it off make sure you have no feelings for the person. Therefore you have no regrets from moving on and you won’t feel as though you miss them, and give yourself a chance to heal. And while you’re at it give back any and all momentos (pics, gifts, etc.)

    1. *fist bump* Giving back momentos and pictures is a smart move because it might be mistaken by the new person that old feelings still exist. It is especially a good move after a marriage is over (and if children are involved) that the pictures at least be given to the children. A young lady shared with me her dad’s wife made him get rid of his family pictures and home videos. The young lady said the new wife could have at least let him give the family pictures to his kids.

  6. “I’ll always tell people that I will never regret about 99% of the people I’ve dated because if I did I would have to conclude that I don’t know how to pick them.”
    And there is nothing wrong with that. We’re all imperfect people. Instead of always trying so hard to be perfect people who never ever make any mistakes and do everything right, we should own up to and take responsibility for our mistakes and learn from them. There is nothing wrong with not being able to pick and choose the best partners for yourself in your past. Unless you marry your hs or college sweetheart and stay married forever then you will have ex’s and they are ex’s for a reason. There are 2 sides. So obviously depending on how many ex’s you have the types of people you choose says something about you and your ability to choose the right people. Choosing the right people is huge and long learning process. Nobody really gets it right the first or second time. Where it seems like people do get it right I believe it’s moreso a thing of luck. I believe that many things that happen in love and relationships are chance. Unless your marriage was an arranged one then that means that all the people u were in relationships with and/or dated and were engaged to were people you just
    happen to meet somewhere. Maybe at a club, at school, at a party, maybe through family, or mutual friends. But they were people u knew nothing about until you talked and got to know them; unless it’s a transition from bff’s for months or years to bf/gf or the person was a bff of a family member or something.
    At any rate, I don’t think you should make it seem like something is wrong with you or anyone else if you admit to yourself, “hey my picker was off a few times and I chose some ex’s for all the wrong reasons.” And men especially are more likely to have and keep interest in a woman for her looks.
    Whatever kind of crazy Halle Berry is, she’s on her 3rd marriage with 2 children and she’s like 45. So obviously many men are looking past her flaws. But it doesn’t mean we’re the worst people in the world for that. We’re human. We’re all highly attracted to beautiful things and beautiful people. Ok so many of us tend to give people a pass on certain things because they look really good, because people don’t want to be alone, or because of the things they do for us. It’s human nature. We do it all the time. Allow people to get away with treating us a certain type of way and doing and saying certain things because of their status and titles in our lives and the love that we have for them. We do it with family and friends too. I’m not saying you should have regrets about ex’s from your past Dr. J. I don’t regret any of my ex’s either. Not even the guy I dated in my 20’s who was tall, dark and handsome,whose licensed or registration expired so he didn’t drive and borrowed money from me. I thought of it like this: “this dude needs this money right now more than I do obviously. I have family to support me if and when i need it. I’m working and doing pretty well for myself so why not help him out. So i let him “borrow” money sometimes. Not much but i did. I don’t regret it because i felt like i probably helped him in some way. Now i will own up to the fact that at times my “picker” has been off and I’ve chosen to deal with the wrong types of men for me. They weren’t necessarily abusive, and never mistreated me. However, they were incompatible with me and I saw some signs but decided to try to give them a chance and have patience. Because i know that i can lose patience very quickly with men and cut them off quicker than a NY minute. So i wanted to try things in a new way. Trial and error is part of life. If u never made mistakes, there would be nothing to learn from.
    Bottom line is, most everyone has made bad choices in who they dated, had children with, maybe even married. It’s life. No need to be ashamed of it.

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