If we’re all honest, at some point we’ve wanted to be the “one that got away.” We secretly want our ex to be deeply wallowing in regret whilst we’re out there living our life to the full, carefree, in love with someone so much better or having a wild time dating. The sad reality though is that whilst we’re trying to create the façade of being the one who got away, we somehow end up becoming the annoying, co-dependent, crazy ex who our ex wants to run a mile from.
So, here is what I believe you really have to do to be the one who got away.
1) Commit to doing this for you
This goes far deeper than being the one who got away for the benefit of your ex. You must do this for you. Take my word for it – you’ll reap the benefits in all areas of your life. Just make a deal with yourself that for this next phase post breakup you’re going to put yourself first, take responsibility for yourself, be kind to yourself and be compassionate with yourself. This experience is really going to show you the value and importance of mental toughness and resilience and that’s a great thing.
2) Completely disappear from your ex’s life (yes – including their digital one)
If there is one thing that will push your ex further away, it’s messaging them, ‘accidentally’ bumping into them or commenting on their social media feeds in pretence of trying to stay ‘friends’. This gives off a needy energy that screams pining ex. Not cute!
Actions speak louder than words and that’s a cliché for a good reason. You don’t need to tell your ex all your plans about moving on. Just do it.
3) Move and get energized
Hand down, the best go-to when you’re feeling low or out of control within a situation is to focus on your health, physical strength and your body. If you’re not moving, you’re not growing. Move in some way every day, be conscious of what you’re fuelling your body with and drink plenty of water. It doesn’t require any radical lifestyle changes and the obvious added benefit is that you’ll look pretty damn good too if you do this consistently. More importantly, you’ll feel it. People will notice and if you’re ex sees you or hears about how great you look, it will show them that you’re taking responsibility for yourself and your life. They’ll see that your world not only goes on, but is thriving without them.
4) Get social
Switch off the Netflix and prize yourself out of the sweat pants girl because like in the earlier point, you want to be moving and the more social you can be, the less stagnant you are and the less time you’re having to dwell. If being social always seems to mean going out getting wasted every night or weekend, remember that alcohol and emotional vulnerability aren’t really a match made in heaven. Every now and then, sure, a wild, drunk night is ok. But try and focus more on activities where alcohol isn’t the sole focus. The idea is that you go and be around people and do things you enjoy that fill you up emotionally and mentally as opposed to draining you. Even if your ex doesn’t see you, they’ll hear about you or feel it energetically. I know it sounds a little woo woo but you can really feel when someone you have intense feelings for is out genuinely enjoying their life.
5) Don’t react and reach out if you hear they’re dating someone else
You immediately lose all your power and they’ve probably moved on quickly to give their ego its fix and reassurance that they can get someone else. Don’t let this derail you. They will love it if you react because it proves to them that they still have an impact on you. If they have moved on and it’s with someone they genuinely want to be with, though it might not feel it, exit this relationship emotionally right now and stop wasting your time. It feels painful, but you’re not the sort of person to pine over an unavailable ex, regardless of how much you love/d them.
6) Have a goal
Strive for something. Have something to work towards that gives you a sense of accomplishment. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Commit to it and give it every damn thing you’ve got.
None of these ideas are particularly groundbreaking. The thing is though, by fully putting you at the centre stage of your life again, you reassess the relationship with your ex, how you feel about them and what you really now need in your life moving forwards. It starts to bust through co-dependency issues, redefines who you are as a person and makes you see the world and your past relationship with a different, more neutral lens.
And if you do still want your ex back after you’ve spent all this time on yourself, the key question you want to be asking is have they done the work on themselves too? Will you get the respect, love and emotional investment that you deserve from them? Relationships all have varying dynamics but the one thing you can always guarantee is that how you treat yourself sets the bar for how other people treat you. All of the above points give you time and space to look inwards and figure out what that means and looks like in reality. You can assess your own needs and if your ex doesn’t match up, you won’t be blinkered by how ‘perfect’ everything else about them/the relationship was.
At least now, you can consider this from a completely new perspective and have so much more control than what you realized.
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Laura can be found on [email protected], and [email protected]