I have been broken up with my ex-girlfriend of 2 years for about 3 months now. She lied to me, cheated on, played, and threw away the love I gave her. And while I am over her, it still hurts watching her with her new boyfriend who I know is not a good person. I love her and I always will as she is the first girl I ever loved and I have some sort of emotion connection to her that will never waiver. During this difficult time, I have been talking to other girls and spending time with them but I only see them as placeholders. I love the feeling of having a girlfriend but is it what’s truly best for me? I’d really love your advice on how to tackle all of these issues.
Dear Big-Hearted Hogger,
Thank you for your letter. It sounds like there were some pretty challenging, if not unhealthy, aspects to this relationship, so it’s a good thing it ended. Regardless of the specifics of that relationship, it’s only natural there would be some residual feelings. Trust me, they will subside.
Now, these “placeholders” you’ve recently been dating have got to go! Yes, you’re lonely, I get it. We’ve all been there, especially after a breakup, but that saying “you have to get over someone by being with someone else” is false. Going from relationship to relationship is a dangerous cycle because it distracts you and prevents you from doing some meaningful, transformative, and necessary healing. You’ve been hurt and your pain is going to grow deeper and deeper and could manifest in some unhealthy ways if not properly addressed .
It’s clear you have a big heart with lots of love to give, but it’s just as important (if not more) to love yourself first. Practicing self-love is one of the most challenging yet worthy things to do, and I would strongly encourage you to do so by:
Doing some self-reflection. Ask yourself “why do I love having a girlfriend?” There’s something here that’s worth investigating.
Saying (and believing) daily affirmations. You have a lot to offer the world, now figure out what you can offer yourself.
Spending time with you, yourself, and–well–you. Get comfortable in your own skin and learn to love yourself outside of anyone else.
At the end of the day, my best advice is to trust the process and be patient with it and with yourself. You’ll know when you’re ready.