Longterm loves can lead to longterm woes


There is something great about loving the same person for a long period of time. You come to know his (or her) quirks. You enjoy holidays and birthdays together. You become in-tune with one another.

And then there’s something greatly heart-wrenching about ending a LTR. You may find yourself suddenly down trodden for the same reasons that once made you smile.

When we were in middle school, “long” meant several months, maybe an entire semester. By high school, “long” usually included anything after six months. And in college, “long” mostly meant more than a year.

While to some people, “long” may always mean more than a handful of dates, the fact is, after spending multiple weekends, holidays and special moments with someone, calling it quits (for whatever reason) can be a tough thing to get over. All break-ups are complicated, but there’s something uniquely devastating and difficult about the ends of LTRs.

There is a pretty smart math equation that says it takes about half the time of the relationship to get over that affair. But sometimes it takes less than 19 hours to heal after a year-long relationship. It takes some people close to length of the entire LTR, and a few times, healing never comes.

Moving on from a relationship is defined here as realizing the break-up was for the best, accepting it and recognizing you want someone else in your life.

Moving on treks along at your own pace. If sadness persists after the one-half deadline, that’s OK. No doubt, friends and loved ones will begin to worry. But as long as you progress toward another new happy place, take your time.

Note, moving on does not imply replacing an LTR. People don’t forget “long” loves, even if they act as if they do.

When you run into a past love a few days later only to find her with another, new special-someone, don’t take it to heart. It hurts to feel “replaced,” but some people have to have someone else in their bed. What a few drinks do for someone looking to forget, a one-night stand may do for someone looking to feel complete.

And just as alcohol wears off, leaving behind the pain of a hangover, so do one-night stands, leaving behind silent regrets.

Just because your ex has found someone new, doesn’t make the time you spent together any less special. The past is like a time capsule; you can’t go back and change it. It was what it was — special, full of love, something that helped you grow and figure out who you want to be.

The fact is: the relationship is over. And as the saying goes, admitting it is the first step. The people we spend our years with, whether ultimately happy or devastatingly awful, help us find a future, perfect someone.

Dating, whether short-term or a long-haul, is like writing a sentence. It takes a lot of practice, learning, mistakes and spell checks. No one, not even Marcel Proust, wrote perfect sentences the first time around.

It might seem easy to fall back into something comfortable because it’s better than feeling lonely, sad or angry. But letting go of a failing relationship will be for the best years later once you have found someone a little more fine-tuned to you. And the longer you postpone finding someone new, you could miss out on a new great love you haven’t realized yet.

So whatever helps you move on — angry music, a new goal, ice cream, wallowing — take your time, keep the “box” of ex stuff and keep in mind, the light at the end of the tunnel is as far away as you want it to be.



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