Heart Stuck on Bad Love

Tearful_heartDear Annie,

What are the best things to do to overcome a recent separation from a married man. I was deceived by all his promises and one day he just left. Only to find out that he is with a second mistress.

It's been 6 months now and I am still sending him messages and asking him to give me a second chance because I am still longing for his presence and company. How can I get over him and move on?

Your insight on this would be highly appreciated.

~ Heart Stuck

Dear Heart Stuck,

There is a saying that goes: The heart wants what the heart wants. The problem with this statement is it makes you a victim of your heart's desire. So the first step forward has to be to stop fooling yourself into thinking it's love and start seeing it for what it is - an addiction.

Like an addiction to alcohol or drugs, your body (heart) craves attention and connection with this guy (I won't say man because men don't behave like this). And as with all addiction, this craving works on your brain to shut down more healthy thinking and becoming helpless to it.

Once you started down that path, those actions - contacting him even though it is clear that he does not want you; perhaps offering belittling compromises; begging, pleading, or crying to get him to show you some warmth, etc - degrade you even more which can really convince you that you don't deserve better.

But as long as you are willing to look this in the face, there is hope. The fact that you contacted me is a great place to start. That part of you that wrote the e-mail, that knows you are worth SO much more than this, needs to stand up and be heard. You need to strengthen that voice so that in moments of weakness, you can call upon her to remind you that - while you crave contact - you will not act on that thought.

What you need first are in-the-moment strategies to get yourself through these momentary compulsions. Healthy activities that are ACTUALLY good for you. Here are some suggestions that can all help:

  • Remind yourself that this attraction is an addiction.
  • Google the word 'limerence' and read all about people in your situation.
  • Get a journal and answer the question - What triggers me to want this guy's attention. Are I bored? Lonely? Feeling bad? What else can I do to address these issues?
  • Make of list of all the overwhelming proof that he doesn't want you. Read it.
  • Make a list of all the reasons your addictive behavior is hurting you. Read it.
  • Make a list of all the reasons you are awesome and deserve better. Read it.
  • Call a friend who knows what you are going through and talk about it.
  • Call another friend who doesn't know and ask her how she is doing.
  • Do a good deed for someone.
  • Do a chore that you have been putting off.
  • Exercise! Go for a walk, jog, bike ride etc (and leave your phone home so you aren't tempted)
  • Create something - a poem, a piece of art or work on your garden.
  • Distract yourself with a book, show or movie. (Consider The Holiday - and channel your Kate Winslet)
  • Create a mantra that is based on your desire for self-love, strength, self-worth and your ability to make better choices for yourself. (Not a put-down of the fact that you had the craving - accept that you do, but choose not to act on it.)
    • Dear Me: ~ You are too good for this. Love, Me
    • Don't go there!
    • I can let this go.
    • I am better than this.
    • I am worth more than this.
    • Let it pass...
    • This will pass...

Fortify yourself with the understanding that these moments will subside. As you begin to detox, your healthier, stronger head and heart should re-emerge. (Though be prepared to fight longing or reminicsent moments for a while).

Also consider doing something really bold, different and life-fulfilling. Something that you have thought about but have been too afraid to do.

It should be something that is good for you and that will require your energy, focus and commitment. It should also be something that can give you new perspectives on life. Though don't be too impulsive - create a good plan. (Some bold ideas are: Move; Change Jobs; Go after a promotion; If you aren't already - Go to school; Learn something you have always wanted to; Plan a new adventure; Go on a big trip far away; Join the Peace Corps - you get the idea...) Notice I didn't suggest going out and getting another guy? That's because I hope you do some work on yourself first. So that when you are ready you will attract healthier love.

And of course, please consider counseling to explore why you are stuck.

I hope this gives you some good suggestions on how to move to a healthier place. Your better self is waiting for you to figure this out. I hope she doesn't have to wait too long.

I would love to hear how your story continues. Please keep in touch.

Take care, Annie

~ ~ ~

Annie Zirkel, LPC is a Speaker, Author and Relationship Consultant based in Ann Arbor, Michigan who has great appreciation for the challenges of the heart. She is available for consultation and to answer your questions. Contact her at annie@practicehow.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .