How Do I Finally Let Go Of My Ex For Good?

Evan, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years and I’m a big fan. Your advice has helped me make a lot of changes about how I view things. But I’m stuck. I hope you can help.

I have a great boyfriend who does all the important things right. He’s funny, smart, kind, dependable, loyal, trustworthy, crazy about me, and fun to be with. He’s a good person. I love him. I’ve been dating him for four years but I’m still mentally and emotionally stuck on my ex way more than I should be, since we broke up more than 5 years ago. The ex was the classic charismatic, unavailable alpha male now but there was a time when we had a real relationship. Every time we tried to get back together after the breakup, he disappeared and hurt me, but I am still stuck on him. The euphoria I experienced with him has never been present with my current boyfriend.

I have tried therapy and self-help books and blocking his phone number. I know love is a choice. But do you have any tips on how I can make real progress towards letting go, once and for all? Any practical advice for me? I think I’m doing everything I can but maybe I’m missing something. From time to time, memories of the ex flood over me and it makes it hard to give my boyfriend the love he deserves. Is that normal? What should I do?

-Jennifer

Jennifer,

Do I have any tips on how to make real progress towards letting go?

Hmmm. Let me think about that one out loud for a second…

You’re dabbling in some revisionist history, thinking that somehow, magically, you’re going to get all the good stuff from your ex, without any of the bad stuff.

Do I have any tips that would prevent you from holding your hand on a hot stove?

Do I have any tips that would prevent you from taking up heroin?

Do I have any tips that would prevent you from jumping out of a plane without a parachute?

Sorry, but, to me, that’s what your question sounds like.

The fact that you’re even considering trading the “funny, smart, kind, dependable, loyal, trustworthy, fun, crazy-about-you” guy for the “charismatic, unavailable alpha male” who broke up with you multiple times is the kind of thing that makes me want to punch a hole in my wall.

You know it. I know it. And yet you still feel what you feel.

You want another hit of the heroin, because you never felt so high in your life. How can you get that feeling without the downside?

You can’t.

And if you want to really kick this ex to the curb like a bad habit, instead of thinking of how great you felt when things were good, how about you focus how bad you felt when things were bad.

The times he lied to you.
The times he insulted you.
The times he cheated on you.
The times he didn’t want to listen to you.
The times he broke up with you.
The times he hurt you.

Because right now, you’re dabbling in some revisionist history, thinking that somehow, magically, you’re going to get all the good stuff from your ex, without any of the bad stuff.

Uh uh.

No matter what woman that guy meets, he’s going to cause a wide swath of destruction like Sherman did in the South.

The reason to not touch the hot stove is because you’ll get burned.

The reason to not try heroin is because you’ll get hooked.

The reason to not jump from a plane without a chute is because you’ll die.

Nothing good comes out of the thrill. It’s all downside.

Your ex-boyfriend is all downside, Jennifer.

And your current boyfriend deserves someone who appreciates how great he is, not someone who pines for a man who treats her worse.

Get your shit together or let your boyfriend go.