The truth? You’ll never fully get over “the one that got away.” The consolation? You can learn how to live in peace, acceptance, and even joy — even without someone you thought would always be part of your life.
Sometimes we think we’re living in the present, but we’re actually surrounded by ghosts of the past. I don’t mean the type of ghosts that haunt you by roaming the hallways when you’re staying overnight in a cold and drafty castle on a dark and stormy night…I mean the ghostly memories of past regrets, painful losses, heart-wrenching breakups, failed love affairs, broken relationships, and unresolved emotions that overshadow our lives. Are you living under the shadow of the one that got away, and you think you’ll never get over him? You’re not alone.
There are no quick tips or simple solutions — no matter how many search results you get when you ask Google, “How do I get over the one that got away?” And, just to complicate matters even further, what helps one person let go of a past relationship won’t necessarily work for you.
Your job – if your really want to move forward into a new season of your life – is to figure out what works for YOU. And then, you must find the courage and strength it takes to stay focused on stepping into a new season of life and Blossoming into the woman God create you to be.
4 Ways to Get Over the One That Got Away
Here are four ideas to consider. Will they work for you? Give them a whirl! And let me know how it goes; I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
1. Decide to actively change your life
“I was letting go of a badly broken heartland a legacy of grief and bereavement which I had never faced,” writes Emma Woolf in Letting Go: How to Heal Your Hurt, Love Your Body and Transform Your Life. “I was letting go of a decade of anorexia, with all the confusion and isolation that had brought with it.I was letting go of shame and despair; I was letting go of hope. That sounds defeatist, but it wasn’t. Until I stopped hoping to change my past or change other people, I couldn’t move forward.”
Emma shares her journey towards peace and freedom in her book. She wasn’t focused on the one that got away, but her chapter on dealing with a breakup in our digital world was interesting. What I really liked was her conscious decision to actively change her life. She had to decide to try new things, to move forward, and to Blossom in ways she believed were possible! Emma didn’t just know she had to get over her past, she decided to actively move forward.
What do you need to actively change in your life? Consider this carefully, for it could be the your first and most important step towards learning how to get over the one that got away.
2. Take a deep breath
Doesn’t it feel great to just stop and take a deep breath? It feels especially great after a run, swim, bike ride, or hike to the top of the mountain the overlooks the castle in which the ghosts reside.
Get your heart pumping, your blood flowing. Work up a sweat! Take a deep breath, and move your body in ways that make you feel alive and exhilarated. Me, I walk up hills backwards. It’s an easy way to get aerobic exercise and shape my Blossomy butt, and I don’t have to push myself to run.
If you hate exercising, remind yourself that the endorphins that flood your body will give you the emotional and physical strength you need to get over the one that got away.
- Strengthens your muscles and bones
- Improves flexibility and balance
- Lowers your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Decreases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke
- Strengthens your immune system, lymphatic drainage, and blood flow throughout your body
- Promotes clarity of thought, improves your sleep, and boosts your mood
- Makes your muscles, joints, and entire body Blossom!
Take another deep breath. Lace up your sneakers and go for a long walk. Look up at the sky, down at your feet, sideways at the passersby. Isn’t it grand to just be alive?
3. Get off the internet – right after you read this article
Keep reading until you reach the end of my tips on how to get over the one that got away. Then, right after you sign up for my “She Blossoms” newsletter or join our “She Blossoms!” Facebook group, put down your phone. Turn off the computer. Set aside the iPad. Take another deep breath, and get away from the internet — especially if you’re following or friending “the one that got away” on social media.
In What to Do When Your Ex Boyfriend Unfriends You on Facebook, I describe the pain of breaking up with someone you were following on social media. I also encourage readers to not be friends with or follow ex boyfriends or ex husbands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever else.
Scientific research shows that online connection prolongs the pain and even increases suffering after a breakup. Dr Tara C. Marshall is a psychology lecturer at Brunel University; she researched how Facebook affects breakup recovery.
Her paper is called Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations with post breakup recovery and personal growth” — and in it, she says people who remain connected online with ex boyfriends or ex husbands are more likely to report greater distress and negative feelings.
The solution? Simple. Take a break from the internet.
4. Retreat, reroot, Blossom
When was the last time you retreated for a reboot? How often do you reroot yourself in God’s peace, love, and joy? When was the last time you even experienced His peace, joy, and love? Go on a retreat, and reroot yourself in the truth. Retreating for a weekend could be one of the best tips on how to get over the one that got away, because it gives you a chance to heal properly. If, of course, you actually focus on healing properly.
My favorite way to retreat is by attending Christian women’s weekends with church communities that I don’t actually belong to. This way, I can be alone amidst a group of kind, loving, Christ-centered women. I don’t get lonely, nor do I have to worry about making conversation (small talk is the bane of an introverted writer’s existence!). I can dig deeper into my faith — or even work on a “She Blossoms” book idea or blog project if I choose.
Have you retreated recently? A retreat can replenish your soul, increase your spiritual resilience, and help you let go of the past. You might find it helpful to enter your retreat time with a specific purpose, such as trying zip lining or canoeing for the first time, talking to people you’ve never met before, or asking your fellow retreaters how they Blossomed after loss. Or maybe you retreat with no expectations and an open heart, ready to receive whatever God offers.
Help Getting Over the One That Got Away
In How to Let Go of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart, I share my most practical tips for getting over someone who got away before you were ready to let them go. In that ebook, you’ll find the best advice I could get from life coaches, counselors, and grief experts.
But the truth is that all the practical tips in the world won’t help you get over the one that got away. The only way to truly heal your heart, soul, and spirit is to allow God into your life. You’re suffering because you’re putting “the one that got away” first in your life. You think you’ll be happy and peaceful if that person is part of you. You think that person has the power to make you feel good again.
But you’re wrong. The only way to truly be filled with joy, peace, and acceptance is to receive it from God! He created you, He knows exactly what you’re going through, and He is the answer. He doesn’t just have the answer, He IS the answer. Accepting and receiving His love is the only way to truly heal your heart, mind, spirit, and soul.
How do you feel? Tell me in the comments section below. Maybe you’re lost, hopeless, and sad. Or maybe you’re frustrated and angry! Maybe you don’t feel anything at all, because you’ve been struggling to get over the one that got away for so long…you’re just empty.
How are you?
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.