It’s hard to move on when someone you’ve been dating breaks up with you and either isn’t straight with you about why, or they just ghost you altogether. The mind likes to know why, and without closure it can tend to obsess.
- “What did I do wrong?”
- “Why don’t they love me?”
- “What could I have done differently?”
It’s as if you cannot move on – you cannot let go – until you can make sense of the breakup.
- Were they just not ready to commit?
- Did they realize they didn’t like or love you?
- Did you say something that hurt them and they didn’t want to confront you, so they just disappeared?
Bottom line, you may never find out. If you get ghosted, you can decide just not to take it personally, and accept that many people just have poor communication skills or hate confrontation or just don’t have enough manners to treat someone with respect as they bid adieu. It would have been so much easier if they just said, “I don’t want to be with you, and these are the reasons why.” If you feel confident in who you are, you could at least accept that. Like, fuck it, I’m not gonna change, but I can respect that they don’t appreciate these things about me, and I’ll just wait until I find someone who does.
Let Go of “Why”
Feeling cynical about today’s dating landscape is one thing… not being able to let go and ruminating about the whys and wherefores of a recent breakup is another. Sometimes, as paradoxical as it sounds, focusing on your own fears and insecurities can be a way through the morass of uncertainty. This doesn’t mean beating yourself up and focusing on your flaws. Instead, you’re analyzing the stories that run through your head when you come up with 1000 reasons why you got dumped.
If any of your stories include a “Could it have been me?,” that’s where you direct your attention. If you have doubts about your own attractiveness or communication patterns or bad habits or the degree to which you push for (or against) deeper commitment, write these things down and drill down into them. Are they legitimate? Are they aspects of yourself that you can acknowledge and that you want to work on?
I like to work with lists and tables, so if you’re methodical this may appeal to you. And if you’re not, please give it a try anyway. Even if it feels like homework, the end result will be potentially healing.
First, write down What You’re Afraid Drove Your Ex Away, what you’ve been feeling insecure about. Then, Why It Would Push Someone Away – what is it about your behavior that you think turns a potential partner off? Look at yourself from the outside. Follow this by, What’s the Fear Behind Your Insecurity? And finally, Action Steps. What are one or two small, measurable things you can do to address your fear?
This exercise can be empowering because it helps to reduce the impact of your inner dialogue. The breakup may have not been about you at all, but as long as you’re beating yourself up, it’s hard to move on.