“i don’t know whats happening to me. everything is so dark. my heart is going to rupture. i think im going to die.”
“The saddest thing about love is not only that it cannot last forever, but that heartbreak is soon forgotten.” – William Faulkner.
How to Move on When You Don’t Want To | A Discuss on Holding On
Moving on from a heartbreak is hard. Perhaps one of the hardest things in life. It might even, in a way, be likened to losing a loved one — forever.
And yet there is still something similar but even much harder than moving on from a heartbreak — which is moving on from a heartbreak when it’s the last thing you want to do.
It might not sound very logical at first, but that’s quite normal when it comes to matters of the heart. I mean what on earth, one might think, would make you not want to move on when you’ve been hurt, betrayed, given up on and left alone?
But the heart, never boring or predictable, always want what it wants, and never seem to follow any rule or logic.
Maybe it’s the hope. Maybe it’s the denial. Maybe it’s the memories, at any rate most times even when we know we ought to, and should move on, we still hold on with all fiber of our beings — and end up suffering ten times more for it.
YOU DON’T WANT TO MOVE ON BECAUSE YOU STILL CARE
No doubt breakups are hard, and hardest when we still care. It’s easy to turn our backs on a relationship we no longer feel invested in, but to be shocked while deep in emotions for another person, completely caught off guard, and then after all is said and done, to still feel strongly attached to that person; to those emotions — the pain knows no bound.
But there’s no moving on; there’s no healing until we stop caring. Holding on only makes matters worse.
But I Really Don’t Want to Forget. I’d Rather Die Than Forget
To stop caring is so hard, in fact, that you don’t want to do it because you care not only for the person, you care for the memories you share just as much, perhaps even more.
And yet it is those memories you care for that hurts you the most. They not only hurt, they haunt and taunt. They leap at you at the most unexpected time, at the most unexpected places.
Sometimes they’re so overwhelming you literally feel as though your heart will burst. You want to disappear.
Its Harder after Activities that Make You Escape
Forgetting for just a brief second might seem a good idea. So you play a horror movie, you play card games with friends, get high, forget for a while.
But then it happens.
An unexpected, unprepared-for act brings you back to reality. Perhaps the movie ends, your friends leave, the high subsides, someone makes a remark that reminds you of the past.
So the onslaught begins afresh; with a renewed fury. But despite all this, despite all the pain, still, still you don’t want to let go.
It’s The Only Thing Left Can’t You See
The memories. The precious memories that torture. They’re all that’s left. To exorcise them would be to get rid of a central part of your soul. And not only that, you feel strongly that they’re all you have left, the memories; the beautiful, monstrous, torturous memories.
How can you really let them go then? How can you move on when you really don’t want to? To arrive at the answer by yourself — and this is the only path to a full recovery — you must ask yourself:
Is it Really Worth Holding On To?
Heartbreak could be lived with if it weren’t accompanied by regret.”– Laura Kasischke
And yes, sometimes it is. Or so it mostly seems. Even though you’re hurt and in unspeakable pain that threatens your whole existence, you still feel, against all other feelings, that the memories are worth holding on to.
But in the end nothing is more important than your well-being. Not even memories, no matter how beautiful they are. Memories can always be made. Better, more beautiful memories. But losing yourself — that’s a much more difficult lose.
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It is a hard path for sure. As humans we grow fond of things. And turning our backs on them might seem a betrayal not only of our loved ones, our past, but ourselves. So even though you’re hurt, you still don’t want to move on because you feel it’s a gross betrayal.
In this case, however, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Any relationship that threatens your well-being deserves to be cut off. Even if it is between your brain and yourself.
When a memory becomes cancerous, no matter how fond, it is no longer fit to serve any purpose; not until it has been purified — and yes it can be. But only if you let go.
Could We Have Survived?
One of the thoughts that cascade through the brain with jolting ferocity; that ties you down and prevent you from moving on, is the consideration of whether or not the relationship could have survived had something been done differently.
It’s worse when you place all the blames on yourself. Could I have tried harder? Maybe I didn’t put my all? Maybe I shouldn’t have given up so easily? And maybe you could have convinced them to stay?
This, then, might bring about a false hope. A sort of deceptive path that actually leads to denial.
You tell yourself, I only need to call again. If only we can talk about it one last time. Maybe I’ll just drive over. Play it cool.
But the truth is, any relationship that ended up in your heart being broken; shattered; any relationship where you were on the receiving end of the break-up, most probably has the other person’s mind very well made up.
Most times, in fact, the only reason you have that hope is because, for one reason or another, the other person decided to leave you with it.
For their egotism maybe, or their inarticulateness, or perhaps because they were trying to spare your feelings as much as they could.
Either way, holding on to that false hope is never the solution. Choosing to keep caring even though it hurts is dangerous and is never the solution. There is an healthy way to care about your past memories without having them strangle you.
The first step is to understand they’re not the only thing you have.
It’s Not The Only Thing Left
One of the most wicked illusions of a hurting heart, that the past will ever be the only thing worth having. But that’s a lie.
The future is a clean slate, foggy, yes, but absolutely sparkling clean beneath the fog. You can, and will, make more beautiful memories — after you let go.
Forgetting is Okay | The Best Way to Care.
Sometimes even in the latter stages of moving on, when we find that we are indeed getting healthy; that it does indeed get better and we don’t hurt as much as we used to, we start to resent the fact.
We start to hate ourselves for healing; for feeling better, and most importantly, for forgetting.
To us, that signals not only the loss of the relationship, which no matter how unhealthy, we still hold dearly, but also that it shows a dark neglect on our part; that in the end we’re just as heartless. Because we also stopped caring.
But sometimes the best way to care is to not care. Paradoxical, but true. We stop caring, and we forget, not because we’re just as heartless, but to transform the memory from the dark, painful source of hate that it was, to something healthier and purer, because more distant and more removed; like a beautiful movie that happened to someone else but us.
It’s Over, Not You
But it is over. A hard truth to admit, painful, too, but necessary in any lesson on how to move on when you don’t want to — and above all things, true.
It is over.
The earlier you start to come at peace with that fact, the better.
Letting go is painful, but definitely not as painful as holding to something that wasn’t real. And never stop trying your best to resist that common myth — that with the relationship, your life is over too. It is not.
It Does Get Better: The Right Kind of Hope
It does get better. That is the ultimate hope — for the future, not for the past. And to quote one of our favorites here on NLv, Lisa Shroeder once wrote, that Life will break you, nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, because solitude will also break you with its yearning.
So you have to love. You have to feel. That is the right kind of hope.
Armed with this knowledge then, you are well on your way to moving on when you really don’t want to.
And as a final course on how to move on when you don’t want to, we recommend that you read our definitive guide on getting over a heartbreak, and our curated list of 8 heartbreak quotes to help you believe in love again. Now go spread your wings and fly.
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