Why Clinging To A Past Love Is Taking A Traumatizing Toll On Your Well-Being

by Sonya Matejko

That smile haunts you. It follows you to every happy moment and it falls asleep beside you like the monster in your closet. You hear that laugh in the wind and his voice in every song. His memory hangs over you like a cloud that refuses to rain.

You stare at it, waiting — waiting for it to just flood and release, then move on. But it lingers. And you miss being closer… you wish it wasn’t so high so that you could reach it. Memories haunt the streets, your room and everything in-between.

No matter where you turn, he finds a way to creep into your smile and invert it. He shades the sun when you find the light and you convince yourself you miss the shadow. You convince yourself the shattered glass road on which you used to walk barefoot is one you want to brave again.

You’re spooked in the morning when you wake up from a dream he infiltrated. You find your heart sinking and beating faster than ever when you think you’ll run into him. You wonder, you marvel, you remember and you dream.

You miss the person you lost. Not only the other person, but also the person you were with him or her. Not only are you looking for your lost love, but also for yourself. Each movement seems to feel different; each moment is missing something and at the peak of happiness, something still doesn’t fit.

You go back to when you thought the person was the one who completed your world. You remember when you couldn’t imagine life without your person and you imagine the future you were convinced you would have.

You miss him or her when something good happens because you want to share the celebration. You miss the person when your favorite show is on television because you used to watch it together. But, mostly, you miss the person when you fall asleep because no matter how much you layer, the bed always feels too cold.

But, you have to face the truth: You’re in love with a ghost.

The person you loved is gone. The person you are so convinced was the rest of your life is now keeping you from living the actual rest of your life. The only thing that is haunting you is a memory of a stranger… no matter how well you thought you knew him or her.

The person to whom you gave your heart is gone. People change and people grow apart. The person with whom you were so intertwined let go of the rope and left you hanging to the tangled mess. The person — your person — only exists in the past.

He or she has changed somewhere between the mind and soul. The frame of a person you would see today is not the human with whom you fell in love.

Think about it. Believe it. You’re in love with a ghost.

So, let that ghost be free. The person he or she was already let you go. So, now you must let go of the memory.Stop holding on to the unrequited dreams and stop gripping tightly to the words that no longer ring true. Stop fixating on what you think were your mistakes.

Because ultimately, it doesn’t matter what happened — good or bad. What matters is what happens next. The person you loved disappeared in that song, disappeared into the threads of your pillow, disappeared into the crack you always skipped in the sidewalk.

You’re holding on to an invisible thread of the balloon you think is love. You’re simply too scared to notice that it popped long ago. So, let it go and find another way to engage your heart again.

Stop holding on to some idea of a future, some figment of the past and the dread you feel in the present. By loving a ghost, you will always be haunted and a shadow will always follow you. So, set yourself free.

Let go of whomever you think you loved. Let him or her live in back of your mind and not in front of your eyes. Let him or her live in pictures of the past and not in your future. Let him or her go so you can live again.

Let happy moments be happy. Let the sun shine when it shines. Let songs play and sing along. Let fate guide you to the person you’re really meant to love. To someone who will never whither away so slowly that you won’t notice the change.

Let yourself glow without the shadow. Let yourself live without the fear. Let yourself find happiness and dance in the rain until the sun finally comes out from the clouds and hangs over you.

You will be happy again. You will love again. You will love so deeply that you won’t even remember the show, the song, the road or the memory. You will love so strongly that you won’t even have to hold on.

And, you will be loved again. You will be loved, truly and fiercely. Your love will burn so deeply it could light any darkness. Your love will breathe so lightly you’ll never have a doubt. Your love will be so pure that you’ll see right through, into his or her heart only to see yourself.

But, right now? Face it: You’re in love with only a ghost, merely an idea of what you thought was real. So, let that stranger be.

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