Every girl has had that feeling at least once. You feel like you’ve finally met your person. Things are going along swimmingly and your heart is filled with the purest and best intentions for a forever future. He’s “The One”. And then one day, by ways of fate, atrocious behaviors or irreconcilable differences, he’s not anymore. He’s gone. But this isn’t just any heartbreak; this is one that dismantles each and every single vision you had for the final chapter in your book of life. You’ve imagined each detail from the way he finally gets down on one knee, the way he’ll look at you as you walk towards the alter in your perfect white dress, and you’ve even picked our your kids names —the ones that will now never exist with him. It sucks, I know — I’ve been there — and letting go of the idea is a mind-numbing task. Here are the stages of letting go of your former ideas of your ex being “The One”.
- Denial and disbelief. At first, you’ll be in complete denial that he’s not “The One”. You’ll convince yourself that some magical rom-com moment and grand gesture will be made to bring you back together in the most magical of ways. Maybe it will, but it also might not. You can’t think like this. It only prolongs your journey to acceptance.
- Hiding and destroying the evidence. If you thought he was your soulmate, chances are you’ve left a trail behind. The footprint of love comes in so many forms. They’re in pictures, old emails, text messages, saved birthday and Valentine’s Day cards, and maybe even on a secret wedding Pinterest board (don’t pretend you don’t have one). At the very least, hide them. Looking at everything over and over again isn’t going to change reality; it’s just going to make yours suck more.
- Talk to someone. Sometimes just talking to a friend can be all that you need to just cry it out and vent your frustrations about moving on to the next part of your life without him and re-visioning the future you formerly wrote. If friends aren’t enough, don’t shy away from professional help — there’s no shame in it. The ending of serious relationships can have serious impact to your health, so make sure you take the time to grieve and heal in a healthy manner.
- Fear. Your emotions aren’t just going to go away effortlessly. It’s going to take time and eventually, when you start to let go of an idea of forever with someone, fear creeps in. You’ll feel terrified and unhappy about what lies ahead. You’ll think no one else will ever be good enough or ever compare to him, but it’s simply not true. Fear is a completely normal reaction, but trust that it will pass.
- Getting back to yourself. This will be the hardest leap to make, but I promise it’s the best one. Accepting that you’re just one person again, not part of the team and partnership that’s been broken, will come with a flood of emotions. You’re only human and it’s okay to feel like this, even though your friends at some point might even tell you that you just need to get the hell over it (which is also true, you just also need to get there in your own way).
- Acceptance. Eventually you’ll find ground again and gather your bearings to stabilize yourself. The visions you used to have of the white dress, the kitchen china and the kids running around the yard are still there, but you’ll accept they aren’t meant to be. You might wonder about him from time to time, what he’s up to and if he’s happy, but those thoughts will dissipate just like your former relationship. One day, you’ll paint a new picture with the same hopeful day dreams, but it will be the right person, and he will actually be “The One”.