My long-distance mate left me, and I can't get over him. Should I move closer to him?

Question

My ex-boyfriend felt that because of distance he was starting to not love me as much, so he ended up dumping me. When I try to move on, I just feel dead inside and I feel lost. He was the first boyfriend I met in person, and whenever I am reminded about him I get sad. Since he left because he said he couldn’t handle long-distance, if I was able to move closer, would it be a bad idea for us to try again?

Received via Twitter (name withheld)

Answer

I am sorry to hear that the loss of this relationship is hitting you so hard emotionally. The good news is that your feelings will eventually pass with time. It gets easier. The main cures for a broken heart are time and meeting new people to invest in. As far as I know, those are the only two things that really help.

However, until your feelings pass, there are some things that you can do to help yourself cope with your feelings of sadness, abandonment, and loss.

Mindfulness strategies drawn from cognitive behavioral therapy are useful here: Try to re-contextualize how you feel about the loss of this relationship by focusing on the fact that you enjoyed the time you got with him. You had a lot of first-time experiences together, you enjoyed meeting him and being with him, and now your time together is done. The fact that the relationship ended doesn’t mean that all the good times you shared together are meaningless; all the relationship ending means is that you and he are looking for different things at the present time. In other words, try to focus on the positive and appreciate having had him in your life for a while, rather than focusing on the negative and mourning his loss.

Another useful strategy is to distract yourself from your feelings of sadness until they pass, by focusing your mind on other things. Do something you normally really enjoy doing, even if you don’t feel up for it right now. Chances are, once you start an activity you normally enjoy, the enjoyment will kick in and your feelings of sadness will go away for a while. You can also try to focus on self-improvement, so that you will best be prepared for your next relationship. Try working out, reading a book, learning a new skill, or mastering a skill you already have some talent in.

As to your final question, about moving to be closer to your ex. That is indeed a bad idea. I wouldn’t move to be with someone who left you for any reason.

Firstly, even on the assumption he told you the truth about why he ended the relationship, there is no guarantee he would want to reconnect with you. Moving closer to him is a sign of additional emotional investment on your part, and continuing to emotionally invest in someone who has rejected you is a recipe for pain, suffering, and heartache.

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Secondly, there is a chance he told you that the reason he no longer wished to be with you was the fact that the relationship was long distance in order to spare your feelings — it’s possible he left you for another reason entirely, but didn’t want to share the real reason so you would not be as hurt. It’s very difficult to know for sure whether or not he told you the truth, so you could very well be moving and have nothing to gain from it, except additional pain and feeling embarrassed and foolish.

Hope that helps! Good luck with your next relationship, and I hope you feel better soon. If you have any follow-up questions or comments, feel free to use the comments section below or to get back in touch with us via our contact page.

Editorial note: We apologize for the recent hiatus of the Feral Attraction advice column; the past month has been incredibly busy for Viro and Metriko, but we hope to be back to our regular weekly schedule as we head into the new year and Season 2 of Feral Attraction. Look for exciting new developments soon!

Viro the Science Collie

Viro Science Collie is a PhD virologist and medical writer, experienced in teaching, technical communication, and writing for the public. He has been active in the furry community since 2012 and has been happily and ethically non-monogamous for much of that time. His interests include non-traditional relationship structures, technology, biological science, and tennis.