Relationship after relationship, we are all told one simple “truth.”
“They all come back.”
When relationships end, these sweet words comfort and console us.
Sometimes, they come from our best friends. Sometimes, they come from within ourselves.
Sometimes, they fall off the lips of an ex as he or she gives us a final goodbye.
We have become programmed to believe that after a relationship fails, our ex will definitely (at some point) come back.
We don't know when, where or how, but he or she will be back.
What does this return mean to us?
Validation tops the list.
When an ex comes back, it solidifies the fact the love you shared in your relationship made a lasting impression on him or her.
He or she has strong enough feelings for you to still care days, months or even years after you two called it quits.
We use the thought of the ex's return as a crutch.
We are much more comfortable believing the ex will come back.
When we miss our exes, this little “truth” tides us over.
So, what happens when an ex does not come back?
What if we spend months — sometimes years — waiting for that one to come back around, only to find out he or she never will?
As ex-lovers, at what point do we have to throw in the towel and accept the fact that the ex is never coming back?
I myself have been in this situation.
I’ve waited far too long, holding out hope for one to come back around.
By now, it’s pretty clear he isn’t going to.
Since we all have been programmed to believe our exes will return to our lives, how is it possible to come to terms with the fact our old relationship means far less to the other person in the relationship?
The problem does not lie in the fact this statement is not true.
Many times, exes do come back.
So, dear hopefuls, the problem with this comforting phrase is our dependence on its truth.
We become stubborn with the idea of our exes returning.
At some point, we do not even want our exes to come back.
However, we are too stuck on this idea to give up and drop it.
Is it possible that although we hope and dream of the ex's return to our lives, we don’t really miss him or her at all?
As someone who has lived this situation out year after year, I still can’t even answer this question.
The bigger issue is this: After a certain time, if your ex has not come back yet, you have to call it quits.
So, how does one in my position come to terms with letting go?
Quite frankly, I have no f*cking idea how to magically discover that it’s time to give up and move on without batting a tear-stained eyelash.
However, I can tell you from experience what does not work to mend your heart.
First, you cannot turn it around on yourself.
Switching it to yourself is emotionally harmful behavior.
It is counterproductive.
You may never know if he or she loved you less or not at all.
All you do know is you felt something strong and beautiful for a man or woman.
A love like that cannot be completely one-sided.
Call me naive if you want to, but I absolutely refuse to believe love in a relationship can only be felt by one person.
To me, love is felt between two people.
You must not have regrets.
You can mentally rerun every fight, every touch and every conversation, but you will not be able to go back or change anything.
No matter how much you think just saying that one thing will make sure he or she comes back, nothing can change the things that have already happened.
Do not get stuck in your loneliness.
Sure, hoping an ex will return comforts a post-breakup wound like nothing else can.
However, after some time, it only keeps the wound open instead of closing it up for good.
Dwelling on the ex can happen to any person for any reason.
For me, it is because he was my first love.
Whatever the reason, waiting around for the ex is a miserable experience.
I may not know quite how to navigate this situation quickly and painlessly, but I do know it is better to close the book on a relationship, even when questions remain unanswered.
Like many things promised to us in life, I have to believe that some just do not come to fruition.
The only way I see myself coping is by dusting myself off and healing my wounds one day at a time.