Breaking up or getting a divorce might have been your idea. It could be that you, your partner or both of you were caught in destructive behaviors that could only be stopped by ending your relationship.

Maybe there was abuse of some kind involved. Or perhaps the troubles in your relationship were less overtly damaging, but they seemed unresolvable and the dynamics were making you both miserable and unhappy.

As much as you know, deep down, that ending your relationship and moving on with your life was the “best” decision, your heart might feel broken. Even though this seems like the wisest decision for all involved, you may be having a difficult time truly letting go of your ex and the relationship.

Candace keeps wondering when she's going to feel recovered from her breakup with Paul. After a very stormy relationship, the two of them decided to end their relationship-- this was over a year ago.

But Candace continues to feel just as broken-hearted as she did the day when Paul moved out. She can list off all of the reasons why it is much better that she and Paul went their separate ways, but she still can't seem to fully let go.

Paul became verbally abusive when he drank alcohol and Candace was often fearful and jealous because he would also stay out late without calling. Their home became a battleground filled with shouting, crying and even threats.

Candace's friends and family are so happy that Paul is out of her life now. They were worried about her well-being and they blame Paul for all of the troubles the couple had. But Candace knew a different Paul when he was sober. He could be loving, sensitive and even felt like her soulmate.

Perhaps this is why it is so excruciating for Candace to have Paul absent from her life. She continues to cling to all of the great memories she has of him even though she also remembers the darker times and understands why it was best that they broke up.

Honor what you feel.
Human beings are complex creatures. Despite what is often portrayed in movies, none of us are one-dimensional. We all have “good” attributes and “bad” ones-- and many many other tendencies and characteristics that fall somewhere in-between.

If you are having a difficult time completely letting go of your ex, it makes sense. As hurtful and difficult as he or she might have been, it could also be the case that there were positive aspects about this person that you now miss.

And all of these conflicting memories and feelings are probably making you feel even more broken hearted!

We don't recommend that you force yourself to vilify your ex and we don't advise you to put him or her on some sort of pedestal of perfection either.

If you are feeling torn up inside with competing memories of your ex and your relationship, stop fighting with yourself.

It's perfectly okay to acknowledge that the two of you shared some wonderful times together and also that you shared some horrible times together. Just allow yourself to be with whatever comes up for you-- it doesn't have to be totally one or the other.

When you let yourself recognize that you, your ex and your relationship are all a mix of the “good,” the “bad” and the in-between, you can start to be more at peace with where you are.

You may find yourself relaxing a bit into what you are feeling because you are letting it flow rather than resisting it.

Candace has stopped trying to justify to her friends and family (and even herself) that Paul wasn't such a bad guy. She has begun to allow herself to feel and experience all of her memories of the past just as they come without trying to stop them or rationalize about them.

It is now clearer to Candace that it was the best decision to end her relationship with Paul and, at the same time, that there were many aspects about their time together that were a blessing to her.

Candace is able to appreciate what she learned through the relationship and to appreciate Paul as well. She is also more certain being out of the relationship with him will benefit them both in the long run.

Paul needs time and space to deal with his alcoholism and abusive tendencies while she needs to be able to heal and change her jealous habits.

Consciously shift your focus.
As you acknowledge the complexities of your past relationship and your ex more and more, your sense of peace with where you are can increase.

Yes, you still might miss the “good” times you had with your ex, but when you come from a more ease-ful place, your broken heart can heal.

Start to notice the people, activities and things in your life that bring you any amount of comfort and even pleasure. It could be very simple things like a hot cup of tea or talking with a special friend on the phone.

Make a conscious decision in each moment to focus more of your attention on those new things and less attention on the past and your pain.

Candace begins to once again join a group of her friends who go out together each week. Sometimes her friends go to a movie, other times they hike at a local forest and occasionally they dance at a club.

These fun outings seemed unappealing to Candace when she was so caught up in her conflicting memories about Paul and the hurt of her broken heart. But now Candace is choosing to get out and do some of these enjoyable things with friends she cares about.

She doesn't force herself to do this. There are weeks that she decides to stay in alone. But, more often, she is choosing to take part in the socializing-- she is even having fun doing it.

When you feel like your heart is broken, above all else, be gentle with yourself. Listen to what you need most in each moment. Guide yourself toward healing and feeling better by making conscious choices one step at a time.

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