What are some best practices for getting over a lost love?

Lloyd Taylor ‏@lloydhtaylor: what are some best practices for getting over a lost love?


There’s nothing you can do. It’s really painful. The last time I had a lost love I would sleep by the phone, hoping it would ring. I would wake up every two hours. Is my phone even working? I would make sure the battery was fully charged. 6am I would start to debate making that first “GOOD MORNING!” call, all cheery, all hoping for the invitation that would never come. Or I would buy something – maybe breakfast, and show up unannounced. Or I would circle her house, all morning, waiting for her first foray out towards work or to her new boyfriend or wherever. “Oh hey, I was just in the neighborhood.”

It really sucks. And then you think of the person with someone else, a body pressed against her, that smile that used to be all for you and now is shared with…who? No matter what she did, no matter how poorly she treated you, no matter how much she wanted you to change, or she wanted to change, or she wanted the situation to change, or you did, suddenly you can’t get over her. Your brain is all lit up on an MRI, every neuron blasting messages of her smile, of the times she made you laugh, of her hair hanging down over your face while she laughs at your jokes.

I’m really sorry you are going through it.

There’s the cliches: better to have loved and lost, etc. There’s also the cliche that you will meet someone just as special again. But it’s hard to believe in those right now even though they are very true. You’ll know they are true later. You’ll also know that someone who doesn’t really want to be with you is probably not the right person for you to want to be with. But these things take time to realize. Just like it takes time to lose 50 pounds. Just like it takes time to learn French from scratch. Just like it takes time to learn a new musical instrument.

Which reminds me of another question somewhere in this post where I mentioned a book I haven’t looked at in 32 years but remember very well. It’s called “Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No” and its a pop psychology book from the 1970s. There was a section in it with exactly your question and here’s what the author suggested. You can try it if you want. Or not, if you feel foolish. The idea is you need to go on a mental diet and not think of the person. Because right now, to be blunt, those thoughts are a waste of time and the faster you move on, the better.

When you think of the person say in your head very softly, “No”. It won’t work. You’ll think of the person again. Say in your head a little louder, “No!” Keep on getting louder and louder in your head everytime you think of the person. Then finally whisper out loud, “No”. Then start saying it louder and louder.

Ok, that’s the exercise in the book. I gave it as advice once before. In fifth grade. To Lori Gumbinger, who was getting over Brian Fox (my apologies to these two if I got the two people wrong but I’m pretty sure I didn’t). I forget if it worked but I do remember Lori shouting in the school cafeteria, “NO!”

My other technique, which I’ve used for myself and I don’t necessarily recommend it, is: meet someone new. We are often under the misconception that there is only ONE person who is the right person for us or who is the only person we could ever meet because of some problem we have or whatever. Well, it’s not true. There are many people who we could love. Who could love us. The fact that you reached out here shows you are capable of giving it your all to fall in love. That’s an attractive quality.

How do you meet someone new? Let’s not forget the basic statistics. Assume you want someone who is in the top 25% (one out of four) of these mutually exclusive categories: Sweet, Pretty, Intelligent, Creative, Emotionally Mature (SPICE). You are asking quite a bit and since those categories are exclusive of each other then if someone is in the top 1 out of 4 of all five of those categories then you are talking about one out of 1024 people who meet that criterion. Here’s the good news: that’s about 70 million people in the world. You have a lot to choose from.

Many of those 70 million people are taken. Or in other parts of the world. But many of them are also your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers, and the girl in the yoga class down the street. In other words, instead of pining for your lost love, start doing the things you love. And when you are doing them, you will be surprised who you meet.

Go out now and find her. And don’t let her hear you say “NO” to loudly.