Letting Go of Lost Love

KEY POINTS
People sometimes struggle to let go of past relationships even years later.
People can move on from past relationships by accepting the reality of the situation and letting go of any memories that are too intense.
Sometimes, people’s attachment patterns can influence their response to breakups.
Let’s suppose that it’s been more than a year since the last breakup of your friend and he can’t stop talking to his ex. He thinks about what he could have done differently, how she made him believe that she loved him, and how they ended up together. Your friend will be supported and listened to by you. You don’t even share with him your long-standing heartbreaks.

Your mind can still wander there even after decades. It is easy to recall the intensity of your emotions and the extreme attraction that you felt. You also remember your despair at the end. There you are, a 16-year old in a 40 year-old’s body. It’s hard not to wonder if the teenager is the one you were meant to be with.

Why can’t it be let go? Why do you feel so affected by the distal events that seep into every aspect of your emotional experience today? There have been other relationships and heartbreaks. You let some of them fade into the background. These are the ones you rarely return to. What is the difference?

Your attachment style, attachment-based expectations for your future and the way you interact with emotions may be the key to your answer.

You can find out more about attachment styles if you’re just starting to learn about them. __S.22__ They don’t exaggerate positive feelings when relationships are good. They just enjoy the moment and are happy to take it all in stride. They don’t feel crushed or devasted by bad things. They believe there will always be support people and the availability to love.

They aren’t prone to feel sorry for themselves, or think that one person can save them. Contrast this with what might happen for someone who is preoccupied with attachment styles.

You may see love as something you must protect and guard. It is possible to believe there isn’t enough love. You may also believe there is only one person you need to connect with. You should be cautious about meeting someone you believe might be that person. It is common to dream about your ideal, passionate and fulfilling love. These fantasies may be your own. These highs are often followed by low lows, despair, or even panic when things get bad. People with preoccupied styles might replay the events over and over in their minds.

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