Hope is a beautiful thing. The belief that things will work out and there’ll be happiness on the other side helps us get through the difficult things in life. So, it makes sense that when you're going through heartbreak, there might be a little voice inside keeping the hope you'll get back with your ex alive. While there's nothing wrong with that, over time, that wish can hold you back from healing and moving on.
This situation is very common, as Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women, tells Elite Daily. "Unless the ending of the relationship was 100% mutual and amicable, one or both of you will hang onto some hope that you'll get back together,” she says. “It happens because no one is really quite prepared for the loss that comes with suddenly losing an intimate partner."
If you want to fully get over that relationship and open your heart up to someone new, however, letting that hope go may be your best course of action. "It’s all about perspective. The sooner you accept that the breakup was for the best, the sooner you’ll heal and get to the other side. The longer you hang on, the longer you stay hurt. You’re the one who’s in control of moving on," Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the Breakup BOOST podcast, tells Elite Daily.
You'll know the time is right to start letting go of those feelings when "a good chunk of time has passed and you haven’t been in contact with one another. When they don’t reach out to try to fix the relationship," says Leckie. It's also time to let go when "your ex has someone new, when they treat you badly despite not being in a relationship, and when they are still hot and cold with you, keeping you hanging on themselves," adds Chong.
But recognizing it’s time to let go and actually being able to do it are two very different things. Here’s how the experts say you can say goodbye to the false hope of a reconciliation for good.
Be Honest With Yourself.
It’s tempting to look back on past relationships with rose-colored glasses. This is why Leckie says embracing the reality of the relationship and all its flaws is the first step to letting go of false hope. “Stop focusing on the good memories and instead focus on what was not working in the relationship. Being honest with yourself is crucial,” she says.
Go Full No-Contact, Including Social Media.
If your ex is still present in your life, whether that’s IRL or just on social media, that contact can keep your desire for reconciliation alive for far too long. If you want that to change, it’s time to go full no-contact, says Leckie. “Unfriend on social media and block on your phone. When you don’t block your phone, you tend to anxiously wait for them to reach out. You’ll only go in circles this way and hold yourself back,” she advises.
This also includes keeping tabs on your ex from afar, says Leckie. “Stop asking other people about them or engage in conversation about them. If they’re always top of mind, they’ll never leave your mind,” she explains.
Give Yourself Something New To Hope For.
Often, the reason why you keep the hope alive that you’ll get back with your ex is pretty straightforward: It feels good. Admitting that the relationship is over hurts. While some pain may be unavoidable, Chong says that processing these difficult feelings can be useful in your healing process. "Ask yourself what it is you want if you and your ex got back together. Strive to go past the surface emotions like joy and happiness and dig deeper. Likely, you wanted a sense of security, to not be alone, or to have someone who made you feel loved. Once you know what it really is that you're seeking, seek to find that exact thing in another form in your life." For example, if you're seeking security, focus your energy on your career and finances. If you're craving love, turn your attention to your friends and family.
Get Back Out There.
Another way to move forward is to start meeting new people. It's time to freshen up your social circle! This is especially important, Chong says, if you're worried that nobody else can make you feel the way your ex did. “Sometimes, we hope because we don't think we can find anyone better than our ex," she explains. "To that, I say that you have to prove to yourself that there are people who are better than your ex,." You may just discover that there are people out there who can give you what your ex did and more.
Bidding false hope goodbye ultimately comes down to making the decision to do so. It won’t always be easy, but sometimes you just have to fake it to make it, says Chong. “One of the best ways I've found to help you do that is to simply decide that everything will be OK. Make that decision first, and then figure out your way there. When you have that goal, focus hard on it, and everything else will become secondary,” she concludes. Hang in there, because you’ve got this. Good things will come in time.
Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women
Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the Breakup BOOST podcast