And the Director says…..”Cut”!

“You’re not in love with them—you’re in love with the person they used to be, or the person you wish they were.”

— Jerry Springer

Not that I’ve actually watched the Jerry Springer show or anything, but he can come up with some wisdom from time to time.  That quote came from a show where one female guest just could not let go of the relationship with her girlfriend, a woman who clearly wanted nothing more to do with her.  Have you seen this before?  Or maybe it’s happened to you (me too!), where despite a sea of red flags, you stubbornly held on to the fantasy that somehow, one day, you’d wake up and it would all be magical again.

So, the question is, how DO you let go of a former love?  The trick is to realize that you not only grieve the loss of the actual interaction (the relationship itself) but you also grieve the loss of the fantasy of what you hoped your future together would be.  We humans are as masterful at creating inner movies as any Stephen Spielberg.  We’re quick at it, too, often by the end of a first date we have the rest of our lives together already scripted, shot, edited and wrapped in the theatre of our mind.  And all too often, we don’t think to check in with them to see if their inner movie has the same plot as ours.

It can be difficult matching the reality of a relationship that is on the rocks with the movie of what you hoped and wish it could be….or the movie of what it used to be.  Springer was right.  We fall in love with our inner movies to the extent that if we’re not careful, it blinds us to what is actually happening right in front of us.  We excuse and accept poor treatment from others, justifying it in creative ways, in order not to feel the grief we know we’d feel from looking at reality.

By being willing to take a clear look at what is actually going on in your now-defunct relationship and acknowledging those red flags you have been ignoring, it becomes easier to see that what you are grieving is the loss of what you thought you were going to have.  Doing so doesn’t mean that you’ll have to give up on the dream of loving someone and being loved in return, it just means accepting that you may not be able to have it with that particular person.

That’s a wrap, and that’s Love Applied.


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