How to Move on from a Past Relationship and have a Better Marriage
Posted On May 30, 2017
Marriage is a commitment of the heart as well as everything else. To not cheat our spouse out of a close relationship, we have to move on from old ones.
Some relationships are hard to let go of–even when we want to.
The easiest relationships to recover from are ones where you were ready to break up, you made the break up decision, and you said all that needed to be said. You had no more hope for the relationship and were ready to move on. In a sense, you had mentally closed the door on the relationship before the relationship ended. Saying “goodbye,” was then like locking the door.
But what if you were not ready, or not sure about breaking up? Perhaps you even lost your partner prematurely through an illness or tragedy. Letting go and moving on can be very difficult in these cases. But, not letting go is not fair to your spouse. It divides your love between your spouse and your past love. You wouldn’t want that kind of diminished love from your spouse, would you?
Moving on starts with a decision rather than a desire
To move on, you must first start with a decision that letting go really is the best thing to do. To make it easier, it helps to realize that letting go does not mean forgetting. We will never forget someone important to us and don’t need to worry about that. Also, letting go doesn’t mean that the person is any less important to you. It doesn’t mean that you have failed. Letting go is simply a decision to mentally walk away from something that belongs in the past. Until the decision to let go is made, you will not be able to let go.
What if you can’t decide?
As a relationship coach, I have helped many people to help their spouses to make these decisions. It is somewhat similar to making a spouse decide which partner they want to be with in the case of affairs. When the partner having the affair does not have to decide, generally they don’t. They know they should, but struggle not wanting to give up either person. They have to actually be put in a position where they will lose their spouse if they don’t decide. This gets everyone unstuck and is the most loving thing to do. You can also create a deadline for yourself where if you do not decide to let the previous person go, you will leave your marriage and do an all out pursuit of this past person. Although if you are married to a spouse who does this you will think it is horrible, it is much better than your spouse continuing to struggle throughout your marriage, never quite able to be in love with you, because of his or her love for someone else. This type of action will usually result in the decision to move on from the past love.
The tool of choice is visualization, not forgetting
Once the decision to move on has been made, the next part of letting go that I would like to offer you is a visualization exercise. If you have not used visualization before, it may seem rather weird to you. Whenever we daydream or think about something that we are going to do in the future, we are using visualization. We are “seeing” something in our mind that has not actually happened. We can imagine our victory at the finish line before we run the race. We can imagine a thinner self to encourage us to lose weight, and so on.
When we think about the past, we are also visualizing (even if you don’t see images). We can think about (visualize) the way things actually occurred, and we can actually change the way we remember something. Our memories are malleable and can be easily changed. This is very helpful for bringing closure to a past event when closure didn’t really occur. We can bring closure by imagining a closure that did not actually happen. This is an inner healing technique I have successfully used in my own life as well as with clients.
NOTE: This is not a method for dealing with grieving. This is for an event that happened years ago, not recently.
Four steps to help you move on from a past relationship using visualization
Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.
Imagine as clearly as you can, the events around the breakup, separation, or loss that occurred. Run through them in your mind as if you are watching a movie.
From the beginning, run through the memory again, this time mentally imagining what you would have liked to have said, done, or heard that would put closure on it for you. Be sure that it is something positive.
Imagine the other person answering you in a positive way that also denotes certain closure.
Be sure to end your mental imagery with imagining yourself saying goodbye. If you want to allow for the possibility of meeting in an afterlife, nevertheless say goodbye for this lifetime on earth.
The more clearly and the more detailed you do this visualization exercise, the more your mind will use it to put emotional closure on your loss. You have mentally added what you needed. Although it was not real, your mind will treat it as though it was. You may only need to do this once. You may also benefit from doing it several times.
Your feelings afterward
If you have moved on using this visualization exercise, you will probably feel sad at first. Sadness is what we feel when have lost something or someone important to us. A lack of sadness can mean that we didn’t actually let go and so don’t feel the loss. Sadness is a really good sign when we move on, because it is a temporary, transitional feeling. It will gradually go away and be replaced by a sense of peace, which happens when we have reached acceptance and are no longer striving for the impossible.
The practical side of psychology–relationship coaching
This exercise comes from applied psychology–the part of psychology that goes beyond merely talking about things and using methods that work to achieve real world results. I became a relationship coach because I like to help people to make changes and have great relationships. The methods that I use are the ones that work to bring about the most change in the least time, with the least stress on the relationship. If you are ready to become more effective in achieving the kind of relationship and life results that you want, then I recommend you get started today with a coaching consultation session. It is not free because it is not a sales session. It is for you to get started on the path to what you want to have.