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Ask Dr. Zoe – How Do I Move on From a Broken Relationship?

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‘Rudderless After A Relationship’ Asked:

I have been in a long term relationship with my fiance’. He proved himself unable to commit and now I am trying to move on. I want him to realize how he much he hurt me and cost me but he refuses to. He thinks saying I’m sorry is enough but doesn’t want to change anything. I have physically moved on but need to find a way to emotionally move forward without him even though the hurt remains.

Dr. Zoe Answered:

I am very sorry that you are going through a tough break up. I’m also sorry that you haven’t really broken up yet. Let me explain: you say you are moving on, but you are clearly still in contact with him and you’re even expecting certain behaviors from him.

That’s a relationship.

The first step is to break off all contact with him. He wasn’t giving you what you needed when you two were official. Why would you think he will give it to you because you are ending the relationship?

Some of the biggest issues we have in relationships is that we expect people to be who they aren’t. You are ending the relationship for a reason. Continue to expect him to be who he has been.

He apologized. That’s probably the best that he can do and he doesn’t really owe you anything else. You owe yourself a lot though. You are doing the right thing by moving on.

You create your own closure. How?

1. Reassure yourself that your feelings are valid. You have been hurt. You trusted him. You thought there would be a forever after. He betrayed you. Feel all the feelings. Acknowledge them. Grieve this loss. Write about it, scream, cry—whatever you need to do. Just feel the feelings.

Learn more about feelings in this episode with Dr. Zoe!

2. Stop trying to make the hurt make sense. So many women get caught up in needing an explanation—needing it to make sense in order to have some closure. This is the biggest lie of the century. Whatever he says will not satisfy you. I promise. It will just lead to more questions, more things for you to ruminate over.

You create your own closure by understanding that all behavior makes sense in its context, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. It still wasn’t okay. It was wrong; it shouldn’t have happened. You can choose to close the door on it. You don’t need anything from him in order to do that.

3. Stop blaming and stop being the victim. A strong woman recognizes when she is wronged, asks herself what her part was, and does her best to figure out how to prevent it in the future

(Tip: long-term engagements are probably not the best option for your future. An engagement is not a commitment. A proposal just expresses an intent to commit. The actual marriage is the commitment.)

You owe yourself a lot. You are a strong woman doing the right thing by moving on.

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4. Get real with your why when it comes to letting go of the hurt. Write down why your hurt is important to move past. How will your life be different when you move on? How will your future relationships be different when you move on? How will it feel to be free from this pain?

Your why will keep you motivated to stay on the path of getting over this relationship. You will have times when it’s harder to let go. Being committed to the goal of letting go with a purpose will help you stay focused and dedicated to this process.

5. You can train yourself to hold on to negativity and pain or you can train yourself to let go of it. Holding onto pain is a habit that we often don’t realize we have, but it determines the trajectory of our life. You’ve seen the difference between someone who is often happy and someone who seems always miserable. They don’t even notice their miserable mood like you do, because they have grown so accustomed to it. It’s like growing nose blind—but with emotions.

Retrain your brain by immediately replacing intrusive sad, angry, bitter thoughts with positive, distracting ones. The more you do this, the more that muscle will grow.

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Getting over a tough break-up is never easy. Focus on the lessons learned and strength gained. You’ve got this. It just takes a little grit and grace! (If you’d like to listen to a podcast I recently recorded on this topic, click here!)


For more relationship advice for women, start here:

He Brings Me Flowers, but Is That Enough?
4 Things You Need to Know About Pre-Wedding Jitters
Why You Should Just Have That Hard Conversation (And How to Do It)
You, Your Man, and His Baby Mama All Need Grit and Grace
5 Tips for Mending Fences in Your Relationships

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You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Get It Girl! How Self-Respect Can Change Your Life – 097!

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Dr. Zoe is a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert who recently jumped out of a perfectly good plane just for the experience.

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