Getting Over a Failed Relationship


Have you ever had someone tell you to get over it when you’re expressing the pain of a failed relationship?

It’s not easy to get over it.  Whatever “it” is, you have been affected, and you can’t control your feelings or your memories. In your mind, you wonder how you are supposed to get over what happened to you, and how you can possibly get over the hurt.

Just when you think you are making progress, something happens to trigger what happened, and you play it all over again in your mind, making it as fresh as the day it actually happened.

Unfortunately, there are many people unequipped to be truly helpful at these times.  It doesn’t make sense to expect a person who is going through an emotionally painful experience to “get over it,” as if it’s a matter of decision.

Have you ever noticed that the people who say “get over it” typically present that advice with frustration?  That’s because they don’t want to go through your pain with you.  They want you to be over it so they can be spared having to deal with your unhappy state. They want to help and do care, but they just want you to feel better quickly so things can move on.

But what’s needed most is a friendship that allows for the painful emotions to be experienced without apology.

Why should you “get over it”?  Is it wrong to feel what you feel?  No, it’s actually very important for you to get through it as you are able to, because it’s real to you.  Everybody’s emotions are unique to themselves.  It’s not for anyone else to judge.

In fact, you are getting over it.  Just not at the pace those around you would like. You have to be honest with yourself.  If your emotional state tells you that you aren’t over it yet, then that’s fine.  Don’t be over it yet.

It might be true that we should not allow certain things to affect us and our ability to function normally and happily in life.  But yet, we are affected, and it does affect our ability to function.

This is to be expected.  St. Paul so beautifully expresses his own human complexity (which is true for all of us) in Romans, Chapter 7, when he shares that he does not do what he wants to do, but instead what he does not want to do.

All us experience things that we don’t understand.  Nothing exemplifies this more than when we try to process and deal with negative things that happen to us.

The brain does not provide human beings with the capability of a black and white approach to life.  There is nothing standard about processing things that come into the brain from the outside world.  Every person’s brain is different, because every person experiences life uniquely.

It’s a mystery why two people can witness the same event and remember it differently, or why it’s possible to have no memory of certain details of an event.  This is very common in dating.  Two people remember their relationship very differently, even though they were both there together and experienced the same things.

This does not excuse a person for behaving badly when something happens that they struggle to get over. The recovery process does not include causing more harm. The hurt person can be tempted to spread information about the experience that is skewed, misrepresented, or out of context. This can cause more damage.

We see a lot of this in the dating world.  Two people break up, and the one who has been hurt (or has determined they are the victim) tells everyone around them how horrible the other is.  Often, the core problem was simply that they were not a good fit for each other.  Yet, hurt people can spin their experience in a way that makes the other look like someone all people should stay away from.

You have a right to recover at your own pace, but you don’t have a right to judge what others did to “cause” it.  This is fundamentally because each person internally processes external information uniquely. It is extremely difficult to ever really know objective truth to situations.

This is why relationships are so much more about communication than about sexual attraction, financial security, or any other thing people tend to focus on.  And by communication, I mean the ability to share thoughts and feelings openly, and provide a safe place for each other’s complexities.

A person who is hurt can’t just “get over it” without people to help them do so on their own terms and in their own time.  The time period for moving on can often be shortened because of a good friend who helps you through or prolonged because there is no one to help you navigate outward expressions of that hurt in a healthy and productive way.

Hurt people don’t get healthier by force.  They have to get there on their own, but cannot get there without others to help them.  Most of all, they will never be at peace with themselves without forgiveness.  To ultimately “get over it” is to have forgiveness for whomever hurt them, as well as forgiveness of self.

Love is a light that navigates the way.  Jesus said He is the light of the world.  A true friend in your life shines that light of Christ while you’re in that pain so you never wander off toward the darkness.


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