Moving on when a relationship or friendship ends can be extremely difficult for some people. Sometimes it’s easy, other times it just… isn’t, and you may be left wondering “What the heck?!?” Well, I’ve got something to say about that.
First of all, everyone is different, and every situation is different. Whenever a relationship ends – whether platonic, romantic, or somewhere in between – we are left to grieve. I realize that word is traditionally used to reflect the feeling someone has when someone passes away, but it’s also appropriate in this context. You’re grieving the end of a relationship, a friendship, a partnership of some sort. It is perfectly normal and okay to feel any range of emotions: anger, hurt, sadness, betrayal, despair, loss – or to feel no emotions at all. You may even be happy that the relationship has come to a close.
There is no clean-cut method for moving on; no recipe that you can concoct that will set you straight and allow you to move forward and leave that person in the past. There’s no set time that is “acceptable” for moving on. You may feel like you’re moving on too fast, or not fast enough. But I want you to stop thinking like that, because in the end, it’s not going to help you.
Now, there are two sides to this. The first side is many people – maybe even yourself – telling you something like this: “Why haven’t you moved on yet? Come on. Don’t be pathetic. They’ve moved on, you’re better off without them.” Some people may even say that the best way to move on from someone is to throw yourself in focusing on a new relationship with someone else. The other side is people who will tell you to take as much time as you need, focus on yourself and move on when it feels right, not just because you feel like you “should.”
I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, I tell myself – hey, it’s okay. You haven’t moved on yet, but clearly this is a situation that hurt you, deeply, and it’s okay that you can’t just snap your fingers and move on. You will eventually, when the time is right and the person is right. Other times, I want to slap myself and say “Wake up! They moved on, why can’t you? What’s wrong with you?” Sometimes it’s one of those things one day and the other the next. Sometimes I feel empowered and ready to move on, while other times I feel down and just not quite ready yet and despairing that I am unable to move on when others have so easily.
In the end, moving on is subjective and it’s unique to each individual and each situation. Some people move on quickly, others don’t. It’s no different than some people taking longer to learn things than others. We all do things at our own speed. It’s easy to slap yourself and tell yourself to move on already because COME ON it’s been too long and you can’t do this anymore, but forcing yourself to be uncomfortable and move on JUST because you feel like you have to is not healthy. Take the time you need, give yourself the time you need and move on as it feels right for you. Sometimes you think you’ve moved on from someone and then you see them and it’s as if you took a hundred steps back; or you hear that song, or go to that restaurant that makes you think of them, and it feels like you’re back at square one. Don’t get discouraged.
Moving on is not an easy process; you’re grieving the end of a relationship of some sort, and that takes time. There’s no set formula for exactly how long it will take, but go about the rest of your life and do the best you can in every aspect of your life. The rest will fall into place.