After the Fall: How Long Before You Move On?


Mr. or Ms. Magnificent just broke up with you, and it really hurts — a complete shock to the system. You have no idea what you're going do to with yourself, let alone how you're now going to fill your weekends. You can't eat; you certainly can't sleep. You keep going over the amazing moments in your head; even worse, you also keep hearing the words he used when you broke up. You cry; you can't stop feeling sad. You wonder if it was your fault — and if you ignored all the tell-tale warning signs. You're a total mess.

In the last few months, I have experienced three close friends getting their hearts broken when their boyfriends ended their relationships. Now, it's not always the guy who calls it quits. However, it just so happens that the most recent victims were female. For the sake of these strong women, I'm going to call them characters from the movie "Clue."

All three women had healthy and happy relationships with their boyfriends. They all lived separately, but still spent most nights together, talked about the future of their relationships, and seemed to love each other.

Mrs. Peacock was Professor Plum's first real relationship, and after almost four years, they shared many mutual friends. At some point, he started getting antsy in his living environment, and made the decision to join some friends out West. His decision to move was based on his need for adventure and the desire to "find" himself.

At first, the two decided they were going to make it work long-distance; ultimately, he concluded that it would be better for him to end it because she'd been his only girlfriend. As they talked, he cried. Mrs. Peacock was obviously devastated as well, and though she'd somewhat felt it coming, she still couldn't believe what she was hearing.

Mrs. White and Mr. Green were each in their second serious relationship, and had been together for one year. She felt he started acting weird, and began pulling away throughout the last month. During this time, he told her that he was simply stressed from work. He then called Mrs. White and said, "I'm not 100 percent engaged in this anymore, but I don't want to talk about this on the phone."

They made plans to meet the next day, despite her inability to sleep. When they met, he acted "cold and business-like," according to her. He said he didn't feel "the spark" anymore. Mrs. White, although very upset, made every effort to move on because she didn't want to be with someone who treated her so badly.

Miss Scarlet and Col. Mustard were both in their first, serious relationship. They met a year ago through mutual friends. And like Mrs. White, Miss Scarlet felt that Col. Mustard was purposely distancing himself from her during the last few weeks of their relationship. He came over to her place one night and dropped the bombshell.

He said that he knew she loved him, but he did not know if he could love her in the same way. He cried while sharing his feelings, but he couldn't explain why the relationship wasn't working. He said, "It's not you, it's me."

The End Results

Now, wouldn't it be comforting to hear that each of these women dropped all ties immediately and moved on? Sure, it would, but that would be unrealistic. Ideally, after getting dumped you'd say: "I don't want to talk to you anymore. I don't want to be your friend. If you don't want me in your life as your significant other, it's over."

Yet right after getting your heart broken, it's impossible to say something like that because you aren't ready to move on.

Mrs. White was dealing with it all considerably well for a couple of weeks, when Mr. Green called to pour out his feelings.

He told her that he was sorry for being cold, that he sat and cried afterward, though didn't want to get back together. After another month or so of being apart, Mr. Green called and told Mrs. White that he missed her. They ended up seeing each other as a "pretend" couple for two weeks. She admitted that she wanted to give it another try, but he wanted things to stay casual, and thus became distant again.

Though Mrs. White said there was no chance their relationship could remain casual, she still has not told him to stop contacting her. She says she likes talking to him, even though she's ready to start dating new people.

Miss Scarlet and Col. Mustard began e-mailing after their breakup. She realized that her workdays had been spent e-mailing him because there wasn't enough to do. She knew she needed a new job for sanity's sake. Within two months she had one, leaving her little time to e-mail him.

So he initiated hanging out again and, more than two months later, they're still spending time together without an official title. They talk about their relationship, but he can't figure out what he wants. Miss Scarlet said she knows they are happiest when they're together. She said in time, she'll decide if she thinks the relationship can work — or if she needs to move on.

Mrs. Peacock still spent time with Professor Plum to postpone the inevitable until he left town. Since his leave-taking — making every effort not to call him — she still has her impulses. When she chooses to call, she "emotionally regresses," but knowing she can't just show up at his place makes it easier.

When is it time to move on?

This is the first in a three-part series on breaking up.


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