I Can't Move On After the Breakup
Ask Demetria: It's important to take the necessary steps to heal your broken heart.
Lauryn was lucky to find a good guy who didn't do her any more damage -- even if she did some of her own. More often than not, when the nice-guy type encounters a desperate or broken woman, he runs to avoid just what Lauryn's rebound guy went through. In this stage of grieving, you're most attractive to guys who are experiencing equally emotional turmoil and who will happily exploit the insecurities you wear on your clichéd sleeve.
This is what happened to another friend, Marissa, who went into a tailspin similar to yours after her breakup. In her search for someone to fill her voids -- emotional and otherwise -- she ended up in a "horrible" one-night stand, made all the worse because that encounter wasn't supposed to be just sex. The back-to-back disappointments pushed her over into a mild depression, from which it took an additional nine months to recover.
If you've given yourself time to get over your ex, it's imperative that you take more time since you haven't yet reached your goal. Many women who find themselves stuck in a rut are there because they've placed an extreme premium on being in a relationship and misinterpret a breakup as a sign of a personal shortcoming on their part. Instead of thinking of ways to move on, they dwell on all the things they could have done differently or daydream about how to get their ex back in the fold. Other women who just can't seem to let go often have placed their former partner on a pedestal and believe that whatever joyous experiences and feelings they had in the relationship can't be duplicated anywhere else.
Those are normal feelings just after a breakup, but if you've been feeling them for so long that even you think it's been too long, it's time to stop harping and start healing -- now. Start by accepting that your relationship status does not determine your worth. It is better, in all cases, to be single than to be in a dysfunctional partnership. Once you've got that part down, analyze why your relationship went wrong and what role(s) you each played in its demise. Accept responsibility for your shortcomings and create takeaways that you can utilize to do better in your future relationships. Finally, forgive yourself for your mistakes.
None of these steps is simple and accomplishing them does not happen overnight. Just as if there were physical damage to your body, a broken heart needs time to heal. It is imperative that you allow yourself a chance to recover properly if you want to have successful relationships in the future.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at email@example.com.