Moving on is better (than waiting and hoping)


When someone breaks up with you, usually all you want to do is find a way to bring them back.

You look for ways to stay close to them, to remind them how great you were together, how great you can still be.

Even if you break all contact, still you can’t stop thinking about them, hoping they will come back.

You don’t want to move on – it would hurt too much. There is still a chance your ex will change their mind.

Yes, there is always a chance. Let’s say it happens in a year, or two. What’s the best way to spend your in-between time? Should you be waiting? Should you be moving on?

Here are my thoughts on that.



Do you agree or disagree? Why?
If there is one – what piece of advice is most useful to you in this video?

Thank you for your comments.

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19 Responses

  1. Ms Jones says:

    Moving on is better if you can do it. I have steered clear of all the places I used to go with my ex and that means most of the places I used to go to before I met him too.
    This has created a large social vacuum for me. Strangely, I brought him into my world and introduced him to my friends and had to leave because he was there. He made himself comfortable and brought all his buddies along. That was a very stressful experience for me.
    Not that I wanted to be “buddies” with him, but his friends have succeeded in making me look like the “bad guy”.
    That was not necessary and the “moving along” has been all the more difficult because of the social ostracism from people who were once my hang out pals.
    It’s funny. When I first brought him to meet my friends they did not think much of him.
    Now they are fawning all over him.
    Thank goodness I love myself and have been able to step back far enough to begin recovering. It does not always take just one year, even though I wish it only took one day!
    The way he broke up with me and the friends’ involvement made it very difficult to even just resume my normal life.
    But I agree, waiting around does no good. Especially if the person could treat me so badly. He obviously misrepresented his affections for me.
    Finding someone new would be great. This has yet to happen. I am approached by many men, but I do not kid myself if the chemistry or the personality doesn’t really mix with me. I tend to be alone a long time between relationships. I am really looking for someone to marry and “flings” leave me feeling more empty and alone.
    I thought the last one was “it”, but I was mistaken.

  2. Joey says:

    Everything you said is right on and I know what I should do, but what if kids are involved? I think that people give up way to easily on their marriages. I have been divorced now for about a year and a half. We were together for 14 years of which we were married 8 and it was my first and her third. My issue is when I get to the point I think I am able to move on something happens that makes me question whether we should try. Let me also say that while there has been some physically contact between us from time to time she has never made any indication besides kissing that she has any notion of getting back together. She does say she thinks about me from time to time and hates that the kids are in this situation but nothing more. I would be remiss if I did not mention that her first ex has been in the seen since even before we divorced and they have been dating. As easy as it is to look at the situation and think it’s an easy answer and I would tend to agree. I find myself falling back into thinking “maybe we could work things out”. It also doesn’t help that we are in contact and around each other a lot because of the kids. If you or anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them. It’s like you said in your video, it’s probably never going to happen and even if that may happen you don’t want to stop your life waiting. Trust me I want to move on my life has been like a movie I am watching about someone else. I just want to start living again!

    • Petra says:

      Talk to her about it. Don’t just assume that she has feelings and would be open to trying again – get to the bottom of this together. That’s the only way for you to be sure whether there is something left there or not.

  3. Ms Jones says:

    I agree with Petra. If you are still talking and friendly, (in my case the man refused to speak to me – I HAD to move on, and there were no kids) then I would definitely take the opportunity to let her know how you feel about her, the kids, marriage and so on.

    I have never been married, but I do see instances where people give up, move from partner to partner. Perhaps she is set on remaining with the other partner or perhaps she would think things over and decide something different.

    As Petra said, you ought to speak to her as plainly as possible about it. I have had that feeling that my life was a movie I was standing outside of. It is rough. At least you can see her, clarify things. Also it is very good that you maintain whatever type of harmonious relationship possible for your children, who you obviously care for. I would clarify the relationship with the mother and keep things on an even keel with the kids. They are probably a little confused too.

    Good luck Joey.

    Ms Jones

  4. Lexi says:

    I’m currently trying to move on! Although it hurts like hell, I know it’s time. My ex husband and I were together for five years. We have two children together. Last year he cheated on me. Although he told me they never slept together, I found FB messages that left me with zero trust for him. We tried marriage counseling, but it wasn’t enough. We were too broken, I was too hurt. I couldn’t even look at him without feeling extreme pain and betrayal. So I packed up and left. It’s been a year and I’m still hurting over the loss of our marriage. I thought he was my forever. I’ve dated a bit but it felt like a waste of time. I compare everyone to my ex husband. No one compares to him. No one gives me the butterflies he gave me. I’m not physically attracted to anyone like I am with my ex husband. He makes everyone else look dull. Im ready to move on, the only problem is, he’s still constantly in my life because we have children together. I have to see him weekly. He wants to have a friendship for our girls but I can’t give him that right now. Not when I still have such strong feelings for him. How do I move on when he’s still so apart of my life. Cutting him out of my life so I can move on isn’t an option. Help!

    • Ms Jones says:

      That sounds like a very sad story indeed. Were you married in a civil ceremony or a religious ceremony? How old are you? 2 small children and 5 years. What a pity that your husband decided to cheat. That is not what married people do. Perhaps he could speak to the person who performed the ceremony to get some perspective on just how far off the mark he has gone.

      I would say that he is at least invested in your children, so that is good. You owe it to your children to be civil to him.

      Just explain to him (in private) that you do not trust him as a friend, and that you will make joint decisions about your children and that a “friend” would not have lied and cheated the way he did. And just be civil. Especially do not make a scene in front of the kids. It’s not their fault.

      It is terrible to be betrayed and then have the “betrayer” constantly in your life. I am sorry the marriage could not be “fixed” as you said. It sounds as if you only entered with the best intentions. Hold your head up.

      A neighbor of mine found herself in the same situation. It took her a while to adjust to it. When I see her I remind her of the treasure she has from her marriage that ended in divorce – 2 wonderful sons. Keep your eye on that prize – it will give you solace.

      Good Luck!

    • Petra says:

      It is harder if you have to have him in your life – but try to minimise your communication and make it only about kids. You can’t be friends with him right now, so make it clear to him that’s not an option. Also, ask yourself – why is he so great, what makes him better than any guy (realistically, not through the lens of your emotions). That will bring you closer to letting go, once you see what he’s really like and understand why it didn’t work out between you two. I can help – if you’d like to work with me get in touch. Also, maybe useful to check my other blogs on moving on after a breakup.

  5. B says:

    My ex broke up with me a month ago, and we haven’t spoke since, he’s the type who would never make contact with me again because he wouldn’t want to hurt me or give me mixed signals,there was no reason for the breakup apart from he’d got a new job which was quite intense and he’d started to feel different. The thought Of never being in contact absolutely petrifies me, as I want him in my life. so I’m holding on to hope even though I know I should probably try and move on…

  6. Val says:

    B, I feel your pain. My partner of three years broke up with me last week because he doesn’t feel loved anymore. We still love each other and care about each other but the chemistry is gone, and he doesn’t want to work it out. He says he needs space. We are still in contact with each other, but now just as friends. thought it pains me greatly that I don’t have him as my sounding board anymore. Funny pictures or interesting things I would normally ask him about I can’t. And it hurts so much. But I’m taking the words in this video to heart. He isn’t coming back, And I need to accept that and move on. Start living life not for us but for me.

  7. J says:

    I am 9 years into a marriage and my bride walked in and said She is “Not capable of loving anyone” due to her family life being a military brat. This seems so strange to me since we had years of great times and fun and great sex and always talking about the future. The morning she came and said she was not in love with me, she had talked about a winter home. I do not get it, a few days later same talk about the future, acting like nothing has changed. Thoughts?

    • Petra says:

      No thoughts. But she is clearly not in a good place. You should sit and talk to her, ask her what is happening – I can’t tell you how she feels.

  8. Jim says:

    I have, she says she has no emotions, which I have seen over the years. Her son has little as well and cannot find the right person and he is 30. The weird thing is how I was once there and now is gone.

    • Petra says:

      It’s hardly possible she loves you one day and then the next she doesn’t care. Still you need to talk to her, I cannot possibly know how she feels, and you can’t either until she tells you. Seems like you have a pretty big disconnect there and it’s not new, it has been there a while. Maybe she just realised now how big it is, and she voiced it. But it’s very unlikely it happened over night.

  9. I’m in a situation where my husband has left me again. We were together for 10 years married for 3. The first time he left was 3 months after being married over an argument where I said I regret marrying you. In the heat of the moment, I didn’t really mean it. It took him 6 months to come back to me. I fought very hard for that. Now a year and a half later he has ended things again and has not been back for 6 weeks. This time although he does not admit it, is over the fact that I pressurised him about having children sooner rather than later. He responded after thinking about it over four days that he no longer wanted children. A month later he decided that I was too much work for him and left. I have tried to go about my normal life, wanting to stand on my own two feet. and in the last six weeks I found a better paid job so I could stay in the house and afford to eat. I miss him very much. I love him a lot. I’m 33 years old and I don’t feel I will ever be able to move on or have children. After not speaking in person for 6 weeks, me only receiving blunt emails from him re. Practicalities I asked to see him in person to talk about these things last night. We met up and I could see that it was also hard for him. He was crying, lashing out at the fact I’m trying to keep the house( it’s rented), the car (I paid for it on my credit card) and the cats. We also booked a once in a lifetime holiday in November. To which I asked if we could go as friends and end our 10 years on a holiday that we had saved so hard for. He point blank refused saying it was too soon? He’s trying to buy off me my ticket so that his company can send someone else with him to research?! I rejected that and said it won’t be fair for either of us if one went and the other didn’t. I do feel I can keep my emotions in check for the holiday and just see it as just a holiday. But he still says it’s too soon. Is this mixed messages? If we still love each other so much that it is so tough for us both then why can we not work it out? I’ve been trying to show him my strong side. Whereby I’m not begging for another go. Not contacting him unless he’s texted or emailed about practicalities. Yesterday we were able to catch up on normal chit chat. It felt really easy and was really nice. Him crying made my heart hurt so much. But other than that his actions are that we are separating for two years then getting a divorce. I don’t see a life without him. 😢

  10. kera says:

    my boyfriend dumped me last saturday afternoon when everything was fine, he said he wasnt ready for a relationship and it has left me stung. I have had a bad marriage and am divorced he knew all about my past and I feel really hurt and betrayed. he said i didnt do anything wrong its just his heads a mess and its too soon after his divorce and he wants to concentrate on his son. he asked me out, i asked at the start was he sure he was ready and he said yes he was and did up until saturday afternoon. My confidence has gone and I feel really low and lost, we never had fight we got on really well and were very compatable I am so upset. He hasnt blocked my number or anything but I dont know I wish I would get him back he said he didnt want to lose me but I dont know. I am so sad.

    • Petra says:

      Hey, why don’t you contact me via my Contact page. I can help. We can do an advice session only if you don’t want any coaching, but even that will help you get out of your funk. Take care

  11. Florence says:

    I met my partner in Australia 14 years ago. I am French, he is from New Zealand. We had been living for a very long time in Australia before we met. So we were both planning on spending the rest of our lives in the country. He was previously married and has 2 adult children in their late 20s who live in Australia also. He spent 4 weeks in New Zealand visiting his sisters last month (his mother has passed and his father to whom he is not close to is dying from Alzheimer related issues). When he came back last Wednesday, I felt he was being distant and something was amiss. I had to ask him what was bothering him, and of course, he told me he had met another woman in New Zealand (his younger sister’s best friend) with whom he felt a deep connection. He says that they haven’t been intimate, but that on his last day in NZ she confided to him and the rest of his family that she is madly in love with him. He says that he has also fallen in love with her and describes their bond as being like two 16 years old teenagers. Is it really possible to fall in love so soon and to dismiss your partner so quickly – our relationship wasn’t perfect but we were getting along very well; he now plans to move back to New Zealand as soon as he can. We are house-sharing until he is ready to leave as he has nowhere else to go. He plans on departing within the next 6 months, during which time I will have to be reminded of my grief everyday and I understand it will be very difficult to start the healing process. I am willing to take on that challenge; I am not mentally and emotionally ready to let him go; I do not want to erase our 14 year relationship and would like to think that in the future, I may be able to forgive him for the pain he is putting me through and maybe have a friendship, if that is possible considering we will be living in 2 different countries. My question is: is it possible for couples to spend 6 months together to “uncouple”. I know he has since he wants to leave me, but I haven’t and I feel the need to do that. He is very sad himself at the thought of leaving me and has cried a lot, but he feels that his life belongs in New Zealand. He says his reason to go back is 50% the other woman, 50% helping his dysfunctional sisters renew a relationship together. I find it ironic though that he always said he wanted to be with me for the “long haul”and that he would always be loyal to me!

  12. Tim says:

    This is…long….I apologize..

    A quick grasp on things…I have never abused, cheated, insulted or hurt otherwise any woman I have ever been with..poster boy for how to treat a woman.

    My girlfriend decided to leave on April 26th. She was my “first” and has always had that special place in my heart. We have known each other since 1991 (9th grade) and dated throughout high school. She was a promiscuous girl, but many teenagers are. After graduation she moved to Florida with her father and we lost touch. I will go into detail how we ended up back together after losing touch.

    I ended up moving on (as one eventually does after high school crushes) and having a long lasting relationship with another woman (10 years) and had a daughter. During this time, “daughter’s mom” wouldn’t hold a job, had no motivation to better herself and always wanted to party (drinking a lot). I ended up going to college and working full time to handle the family matters that needed handled. I was also the one to get our daughter up in the mornings and manage the daily duties of getting her ready for school and on the bus. Well, one day “daughter’s mom” told me I’m a “deadbeat, no good, loser dad”. Wow. Just wow. That hurt really bad and I decided this was not the person I needed to be with. It was VERY hard, but eventually I left.

    About a month later, I met someone else. We didn’t “date” for about 3 months. I don’t think I had the proper time to heal, but everything went well. We then got married after 4 years of dating. It was time. My chance to settle down. YAY!!!!. Then social media becomes a thing. I was able to reconnect with my first love. We chatted for about 5 years online. She lived in Florida, my wife and I in Ohio. My wife and my first love actually got along over the internet and became friends. We eventually went down to Florida for a big Halloween bash and had a blast together. My first love was married, three kids, the life.

    Or so I thought. After we left, we discovered “first love” had a drinking problem and had to go to rehab. While she was in there, her daughter was molested/raped by the one she called daddy. I won’t go into any more details on that, but she had to flee with her kids, but with no other choice than to send her kids off to friends because she didn’t have a job (due to being in rehab for 3 months). They were adopted by family friends and she went to a homeless shelter to “restart”. Then we see it. My first love was coming back to Ohio to live with her mom as a part of her “restart”.

    Well… my wife….she had no motivation to better herself either (just like baby’s mom) and would NEVER finish anything she started. Three years into the marriage (we were together for 7 years at this point) she decides to become a stripper. OK. I’m not one to judge. Everyone has that thing they want to try. So she did. After 3 weeks on the job, she decided she doesn’t want to be with me anymore because she met someone. Ugg. Here we go again. Just out of the blue. Well, after hours and hours of pleading and begging and crying for this not to happen, it eventually does. I had to leave.

    I went to live with my sister. In the meantime, my first love and I started talking immediately afterwards. She was loyal to my cause (since we knew each other for so long). Then, first love gets a phone call that her daughter needed to come live with her. Details as to why we won’t discuss, but she needed mom and was 17 at this point. So, first love and I decided to move in with each other and start a life. We got a place, picked up her daughter from Florida and away we go. This was a little over 3 years ago.

    Everything was great, but I couldn’t get first love to go out and do things. I was the outdoorsy type, she was a home body. OK. NO problem. I love her. After about a year, I picked up playing video games since that is something I can do indoors. During this time, her daughter graduates high school and decides to go back to Florida to go to college.
    I suddenly notice that my sex drive is diminishing terribly and I’ve gained some weight. Her sex drive was high and has also gained some weight, but I still found her appealing. Very. I felt a bout of depression kicking in and couldn’t explain it. I loved her. She was sexy as hell, but I had no interest in sex. Everything “worked” when we did, but for some reason I just had no interest. Then it hit me…we only had sex like 3 times all year! Because of me, not her! That woke me up. I realized I had a problem. I started eating better, no soda, no junk food; the pounds starting falling off. She did the same.
    Another year later, first love starts becoming stir-crazy and then in February of this year, she tells me she isn’t sure she wants to be with me anymore. She’s crying. Heart broken. She says it’s because our relationship isn’t moving forward and that I need to stop playing video games so much. So I did. I scaled it back again. From almost every day to 2-3 times per week, if that. We reconciled and she agreed to try again. I told her we need to go out and do things together more often. She agreed.

    I would ask her to go out and do things, still nothing. No interest. Then on April 26th, I just felt a “disturbance”. Something just was not right. I asked her about it and she says she doesn’t want to be with me because she is on the verge of cheating on me and I do not deserve it and that I’m always angry at the world and it brings her down (yelling at slow moving cars, pissed about food taking too long in a restaurant, etc..). I’m blown the hell away. I know I have an “I hate humans” type attitude, but I didn’t really realize it was affecting her at all. She/us was everything I ever wanted. I literally fell to the floor feeling my heart drop. I never felt that before. The death of my father…all the other girls I lost… didn’t hold a candle to the pain I was feeling. This was my forever. My one and only. My one true happy place in life…and now it’s over. I cried and cried and cried. Oh my GOD did I cry. Never have I EVER felt this before. This is what I imagined death would feel like. I give her props for not cheating on me, but it doesn’t make it any better.

    So…she leaves. I couldn’t be there when she did so I left for a few hours. I come home and she isn’t there. Again, I fell to the floor. Literally. I stayed there for what felt like hours and actually fell asleep right there. Crying. Sobbing.
    We keep in touch. We text. I would see her on her way to work (she has to pass where I live to get there). A small fog lifted. I felt like this was a chance to start working on what we had again, but slowly. So I ask her to go for a walk with me. It went well. A few days later, she asks me to walk with her at her place (with her sister). I did…it went well. Then, this past Saturday morning, she texts me at 8am and says, “Are you awake”. I respond, “yes ma’am”. She says, “Good. Open the door and let me in!”. OMG! What? I go to the door and she bursts out laughing, “I brought breakfast!”. And she did. She had handfuls of breakfast bars, cinnamon rolls and those microwave breakfast bowls we liked to eat so much. She said she wants to spend the day with me. “Let’s just go do laundry”. A simple thing, I think…so we do it. It went well, but a little awkward. I mean, we are split up. Then she says, “Why don’t you come back to my place. We can go for a walk downtown in the city”. OK. We do that. We walked for at least 6 hours resulting in going out to dinner together at a place we haven’t been to since we were kids. It was fantastic. We go back to her place to change our clothes (it was a very humid, hot day). “Let’s go and do it again!” she says. Alright. I’m down. We go and walk throughout the city again. Tall buildings, public art projects, people watching…it was a blast. She asks if we should hit a bar and possibly play some pool. “OK.” I said. Probably not a good idea with all the emotions, but we did. She gets a bit drunk. She should NOT have gotten drunk (being an alcoholic), but I had a feeling it was for a reason. I’m also not her keeper. I expressed it wasn’t a good idea, but she insisted. Now it’s late and I tell her that it’s time to go home. I walk her home. On the way, she starts revealing a few things. She says she doesn’t believe she can be monogamous. That she can love more than one person at a time, but equally. I know what that means. I’m open minded and can understand that. It’s not for me, but I can understand it. She talks about a guy at work she has been sleeping with, but only recently. She swears she never cheated. We get to her place and talk. Well, after talking and crying and trying to find a happy medium, it hits me that I need to go home. This isn’t turning out well. So I tuck her in and go home.

    When I get home, I text her mother asking her to check up on first love sometime today. Within a minute, her mom calls me asking what’s wrong. I break down crying. I explain what happened in not so many details, which I understand now I should not have done. Her mom says she won’t say anything to first love about us talking, but will check up on her.
    About 3 hours later, first love sends me a text asking me to never talk with her family about what’s going on between us and that I crossed the line. It’s ok to talk to them, just not about last night and “us”. I agree. I should not have opened up to her mother, but I was hysterical. I was crying. Sad. Depressed for having lost what I always wanted and loved having. Her mom told her we talked.

    Then…nothing. Nothing for two days. No contact with first love at all. I texted her many times that I was sorry and can we discuss this in a sober conversation. Nothing.

    On Tuesday, I text her mid-day saying, “Thinking of you. I hope you’re ok”.

    She responds with this, “I am fine. Very well in fact. I don’t want you to think that I have just cut you off completely, but I am not ready to talk about anything at this point. I do want to say one more thing: After seeing what happened this weekend (which I do NOT want to discuss any further than this) I have made a decision for myself. There will be no chance for us to get back together until you can learn to live without me. What I mean by that (so there is no misunderstanding) is that *I* need to see that you can absolutely move forward WITHOUT me in order for us to ever have a chance of being together again. Again: if you want us to be together in the future, I need to see you move forward and progress without me. I am not ignoring you, not cutting you off. I’m just standing my ground and I will not get involved in a conversation I do not want to be a part of”.

    I respond thanking her for not ignoring me and explained that I love her and will respect her and not discuss what happened that night until she is ready. Then I start randomly texting her little things. Nothing romantic, but talking about positive things. My brother bought my movie ticket last night. I left my sun tan lotion at your place. Can you please put it in your car to give to me the next time we see each other?

    Nothing. No response. OK. I figured she was busy. A few hours later I text her asking if she got my message about the lotion. Nothing. Again, no response.

    I realize I may have misunderstood what she said in her message to me. Maybe she was saying she just didn’t want to talk to me AT ALL right now.

    I know I need to give her space but this is killing me. I’ve gotten all the, “It will get better”, and “Don’t worry! You go this!” i can handle. I absolutely LOVE this woman and my heart just won’t allow my head to let her go.

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