A close friend of mine spent close to 18 months lamenting how much she missed a guy she once had a relationship with.
They had a good run until the last year or so when she caught him in a web of lies, deceit, and then the ultimate betrayal…discovering he was hooking up with a close friend (amongst a few others).
I’m gonna be honest here. The guy was always a little sketchy. Sure, he was charismatic and charming and super hot. I’ll admit they definitely had some beautiful times together and shared a lot of growth and personal transformation.
But over time, our conversations about him seemed to always be focused on her second-guessing her intuition that he was cheating on her. Or, her asking me to reassure her that the elaborate lies he was telling her were, in fact, true, and maybe, she should give him another chance.
Finally, after months of breakups, makeups, tears, angry text exchanges, and a whole lot of drama, she broke up with him. I was relieved. Then, she uttered three little words that made me want to smack her upside the head…
“I miss him.”
I saw red. I wanted to be a supportive friend. And truth be told, I would be a hypocrite for judging her for those words since I, too, had found myself missing someone who wasn’t any good for me.
But I have grown to see over the years that missing someone doesn’t mean we made a mistake letting them go. It doesn’t mean there’s still real love there just because it feels so painful. The missing is a just form of attachment. It’s often an unhealthy attachment, and it is more about our need to feel validated. It is more about us trying to show them that our presence in their life meant something to them. More that than actually wanting to be in a relationship with them.
Often, what we miss is what we experienced at a different time in the relationship. We miss the good times. We miss the moments that person was their highest self and matched our energy in such a way that we felt deeply connected and blissfully happy.
So when they’re gone from our lives, our brains want to attach to those memories. We recall the best of that person…the moments they whispered “I love you” under the light of the moon. The soulful nights where we made passionate, sweaty love together and it meant something. The pain-body needs to call forth only what existed between us that wasn’t painful in an attempt to feel better.
The truth is, we are mourning someone who no longer exists. If that person still existed, we’d most likely still be together. In my friend’s case, he really never was the person she thought. There were so many things she was blinded to in the beginning because of the lust and longing and her desire to be loved. She ignored all of the red flags and acted shocked when he showed her who he really was.
I’ve had many relationships end, including a marriage to someone I thought was my partner for life. I mourned each one, but I also started to recognize the difference between missing them and missing the ideal of them.
Maybe that person you miss is just a memory of what you two used to share. I get it.
Honor them, grieve them, thank them for the lessons. Then, send them off with love and gratitude and create space for something better—something that doesn’t cause you so much pain and heartache.
Maybe, somewhere deep down you do still love them. That’s okay too. But love yourself more by trusting that your old love has prepared you for a beautiful new beginning—one you have yet to see. One that will elevate you to places more joyful and full of the hope and love you deserve.