I still love my ex

What you need to know:

  •  Start by loving yourself. Even if you think it does not make sense to you, do not overlook this step. The love within you will be your rock as you begin to separate from the love you felt outside of yourself, in your ex.

I have been separated from my ex for about six years now. We dated while I was in high school but it did not last long because I was young, dumb and immature and ended up cheating on him. Over the years, I felt guilty and reached out to him many times. Recently, I slept with him a few times but had to call things off after he disrespected me. Still, I cannot stop thinking about him. I feel like at times my soul is tied to his. I know he does not care or even respect me. How do I move on from him? Janet

Dear Janet,

Most literature suggests that separating from an ex is not that easy. We create a bond with the people we love and this can be one of the reasons it is hard to just let go. We accept this love, even if the person is not a good fit. This is one of the most difficult learning experiences in relationships.

 Start by loving yourself. Even if you think it does not make sense to you, do not overlook this step. The love within you will be your rock as you begin to separate from the love you felt outside of yourself, in your ex. You will have moments of wanting to return to them; in these moments you must use your strength within. Without it, it is going to be difficult to completely let go.

 Grieve appropriately since letting go of all these emotions is one way of letting go. Saying goodbye to someone you love is sad so crying about it is one way of healing. When you go through this stage, the next time you meet them, you will relate in a different way.

 It is important to remember that you will find love again and maybe, someone better than your ex. You can go further and deeper into love than you have ever been before. However, this cannot be achieved without letting go to create space for new love.

 Sometimes, cutting off all contact is not enough to help you move on. The key is finding closure for the relationship in a healthy way. In other words, having coffee together to talk or getting together as friends even under the guise of finding closure, is not healthy. In fact, it just keeps you tied to your ex, but in an unhealthy way.

 There is no specified time for one to heal, so go easy on yourself. Keep processing all of the above. These steps will help you say goodbye to the person you once loved and say hello to the next chapter of your life.

And in addition to learning to let go of your ex, make sure you go through the process of getting past the breakup.

Do not isolate yourself. You should have a social life with friends and family. Even if you do not think you feel ready to see people, see your closest friends and spend time with them.

They will help you heal, and remind you that you still have people who love you.

Evelyn Kharono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation

Reader advice

Start going out

Joan Nsokwa. Getting back out there after ending a relationship can be scary, but you should push yourself to do it when you feel ready. After a breakup, it is important to get out, have fun, and meet new people, even if your purpose is not about finding true love or starting a life and a future with someone new. Going on a date can be a way to build back your self-esteem and explore different things than what you did with your ex.

You have to be willing

Jane Mukisa. Practice makes perfect, as they say, so think, speak, and act as though you have moved on, even if you keep thinking, “I still love my ex.” Drop “we” from your vocabulary, make decisions solo, and go out without a partner by your side. For many people, it helps to spend time with close friends or family members who understand that it is normal to still love someone you separated from and who are supportive of the difficult time you are going through. The final say in whether or not you can move on comes from you and your willingness to take the final steps to do so.

Improve quality of life

David Kibazo. A lot of people allow themselves to make the mistake of believing that they will never be happy without their ex. If you tell yourself that you will never be happy without this person by your side, then you will never be happy without the person by your side. What is more, you probably will not succeed in getting back together with them because you are not building the proper platform. In order for you to be truly happy in your life after this break up, you have to work on actively improving your quality-of-life. This will help you to feel more in control.

Get something to do

Jonathan Atwongire. It seems to me that you have too much free time on your hands. Get something to do. This way, you will be busy with no time to think about your ex.

Move on

Alpha Lulu. Men do not take cheating lightly so make peace with the fact that you hurt him and move on. You do not love him, you are just looking for closure and a perspective that fits within your narrative. This is different from the one he has given you.

Forgive yourself

Martin Ssebyala. Forgive yourself and give yourself time to heal as you get another person. Make sure you are open to him and he should be patient, supportive and un judgmental as you also put in the effort to love him, willing to move on. Learn to love someone else.

Ask God for guidance

Edward Kokoa. Sex is a serious covenant and, therefore, stop getting intimate just for the sake of it. Try praying and asking for God’s guidance before you dig yourself too deep into a hole that will be hard to get out of.

You need true love

Shalot Shaz Kirungi. You need to meet someone who will make you understand the meaning of love not someone who you say loves you but also abuses you.