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Sunday Edition #12: My Column in Yellow

Dear Yellow:

Why am I having such a hard time getting over someone that’s been bad to me? Shouldn’t it be easy to walk away and forget since I was treated so poorly?

In my opinion, the harder it is to be in the relationship, the harder it is to be out of it. Especially when being loved by your partner feels more like a game of Monkey in the Middle where you are never quite able to catch the love being tossed around overhead.

It is always just out of reach.

The constant anxiety, insecurity, jealousy, anger, bitterness peppered with the greatest moments of your life cause your body to be an emotional sparring match. You fight and hold on until something finally gives and brings it to an end. Defeated, you go to your separate corner of the boxing ring and assess the damage.

Days, weeks, months go by and the bruises never seem to heal. It confuses you because looking back you see how terrible the relationship was and how much better you are now. But still, you can’t move on… why?

Because not only do you need to mourn the loss of the also need to heal from the emotional damage caused by its toxicity. Its poison seeps inside of us, erodes our confidence and replaces it with self doubt. We question each step, each word and each action. The movie screens behind our eyelids replay every detail to analyze what went wrong.

The hardest part is not fully understanding what caused our Almost Lover to treat us so poorly. We torture ourselves trying to find answers when they don’t exist or can never be known. Sometimes the life lesson is learning how to be okay with not knowing. I realize it sucks and isn’t what you want to hear but too bad, I’m going to say it one more time just to be sure you heard me….

You need to be okay not knowing why.

Getting hung up on a bad relationship is more common than you realize so stop thinking you are crazy for doing it. The holding on comes from an attachment to the “idea” we had of that person and how it could have been. It isn’t based on reality. The drama and chaos is mistaken as passion and we often feel withdraw from the extreme emotion. We end up raw and exhausted so everything that happens next feels like lemon juice on a paper-cut.

It is also harder to move on from a relationship when we let its break down define us. There are always lessons learned and ways to improve for the next person you meet, but don’t start picking yourself apart and assigning blame to discovered imperfections. If you create a narrative where your self worth is in question, it will only lead you into a dark place that feels impossible to escape from. You need to accept that some people just don’t match and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you are broken or unloveable.

I promise you… You are good enough. You are worthy of love. There is someone out there for you whose love isn’t out of reach.


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My Life in Yellow is not a licensed psychologist or health care professional and the advice within this column does not replace the care of psychologists or other healthcare professionals. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a health/medical professional. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

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