Can't move on


Can't move on


your avatar   Daniella, 18-year-old woman

I am a tall, kind, sweet and lovable woman.

I have an ex boyfriend that I love very much, but he's been with a new girl for a year now. I still love him but what can I do if he is taken now? He is happy with his girlfriend. It's been 2 years and 10 months since the break-up but still I can't move on. Please help me.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Daniella,

Words are magic. You can't let go of him, because over and over and over, you keep telling yourself this. It is an endless repeating record in your mind, isn't it?

You were only 15 when you broke up with this boy. How old were you when you fell for him? 13? 14? Now that you are 18, and a young adult, have a look at kids that age. Do you think they have the maturity, experience and wisdom to make life-determining choices?

When you were a very young person, you made a choice. Now that you are several years older, do you feel that you need to be chained to that choice? If you agree that now you are more mature, more able to make wise decisions, then you can replace the endless repetition of thoughts like "I still love him! How can I live without him? Oh terrible, he has a new girl!" or whatever the thoughts are, with a new lot of thoughts: "I am now wiser. That was a good learning experience. Now I can move on."

How to do this? Don't try to chase the old thoughts away. They have become a very strong habit, so will come back, again and again. Instead, treat them as noise.

Suppose you are reading a good book or watching a movie, and someone is talking to you. Do you sometimes find that you didn't understand a word of what that person was saying? You were concentrating on something else, so the other person's talking was just noise.

When the old thoughts start, treat them like that. Focus your attention on the new thoughts you made up for yourself, and allow the old thoughts to be just noise in the background. It doesn't matter if a thought is true. What matters is whether it is useful or harmful. For nearly 3 years, these thoughts have harmed you, made you sad, probably cost you sleep. It is time to replace them with thoughts that serve you well, and allow you to move forward into a good life.

You can do this.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:

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