Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Single but iffy to mingle | The heart of letting go

Published:Monday | April 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM

For reasons beyond your control, things just aren't working out with you and your significant other anymore. Your partner in love might have switched sides to that of a criminal, aka private enemy number one. Maybe, you find yourself fighting to swim upstream, against the waves, while he continues to complacently go with the flow. Pride might become a lingering third party to your relationship (NB, it has no home there). Or you may have to face the inevitable: he's just not that into you anymore and, quite frankly, you're mustering up the courage to tolerate him anyway.

If you are a hopeless romantic like myself, loving is actually pretty easy: it's the letting go part that is hard to do.

So what happens when enough is really not good enough? You've both parted ways but you find yourself in limbo: not with him and not moving on either. How do you truly let go? There isn't one prescribed way of cutting ties with your once upon a time love. But there are a few methods that have been tried, proven and have even failed. Let's look at a few:

Go cold turkey

Going cold turkey doesn't only apply to diets: it has played a major role in helping people get over their loved and 'lost' person. Get rid of things belonging to him or reminders that are left behind - let it burn, if that suits you. Don't communicate with him or check on his social media - block and delete if you don't have the willpower to do it on your own. Because if you slip, he may very well slide right back in, as a boyfriend, or as your boy toy. There's no need to repeat the cycle, or opt for a downgrade. It doesn't have to be forever, but for the aftermath, you really don't need to be 'buddy-buddy, friend-friend'. It was about him and/or you both before, now make it about you. You know you still love him, but for now, love him from afar, and get up close and personal with loving yourself.

Act civil

Now, it takes a big person to act civil after a break-up, but it is possible. If you take this approach, might I suggest keeping the conversations cordial and at a minimum? No need to be strolling down memory lane or engaging in any 'lovey-dovey' banter.

Remain amicable

Many are of the view that this is just downright unethical. But, it may actually help in getting over him. Hear me out: if you were friends before, or developed a unique bond in your relationship outside of intimacy, it might be that you're more concerned with losing a friend than a boyfriend. If that is the case, then strike a new, refreshing relationship and put him where he rightfully belongs: in the friend zone. You know what they say: when God closes a door, he opens a window. This may very well be your fate.

Seek counsel

You're feeling hurt, scarred, broken - I totally get it, I'm right there with you. What we don't need is to wallow in self-pity. What we need is some guidance: to find out where we went wrong and what was right. Reflection may uncover a seething trend that you somehow can't seem to break. You can seek professional counselling or retreat to someone wise who has already walked the path you're treading or has levelled up to marriage. You could learn a thing or two about yourself through the assistance of others.

Separate but cohabit

This tends to happen, especially when children are involved. In order to keep the family a unit, you choose to live together but not be together. Here's why this is never advised: you're not only doing damage to your personal life, but children live what they learn. You can negatively affect the way they view love and affection, desecrating their hopes of recognising and fully functioning in their happily ever after.

Break up to make up

This is common among the broken-hearted. Situations come up, tempers flare, vindictive acts take place then you break up. Once that pot simmers, one or both parties are dishing out reconciliation as the main course going forward. But sorry doesn't actually solve the problem: it only occurs in different scenarios. If you find that the issues remain a burden to your relationship and you've made a clean, healthy break, take it as a sign and bounce back to one, implement cold turkey for the sake of your own sanity.

In the end, the heart has to be willing to let go. Once that happens, you will too.