Love, Lucy is the New School Free Press’ weekly advice column, where editors share thoughtfully researched solutions to questions about love and life. Send submissions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or through Love, Lucy’s official GoogleForm.
“How do I get over a breakup that happened over a year ago?”
When going through a breakup, it’s easy to think the pain will never go away. As time passes, if you are still not over it, it can get even more frustrating. It´s normal: We don’t like losing control of our lives, and that is what feelings do to us, we want difficult feelings to be over as soon as possible. But in the rush of getting over the relationship and numbing our feelings, we can make a few of mistakes.
“It is time plus work that gets you to the other side,” says “The Breakup Bible” author, Rachel Sussman. Gaining control of our emotions, and our lives, doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye, but I assure you, it happens. It just takes a few adjustments that won’t only help you truly overcome your breakup, but will also lead to a better, stronger you.
Clinical professional counsellor and relationship coach Rachel Dack says grieving is key, regardless of the unpleasant emotions. “It is important to gain real closure by accepting your loss, approaching your emotions without judgment, learning from your relationship and breakup, and affirming your worthiness of love and happiness.”
Dack suggests keeping your distance from your former partner. Contact might lead to further romantic feelings, which are what you want to get rid of.
Looking at your life beyond this person is the second part of the process. “Focus on taking care of yourself, surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family, and investing time in your passions, hobbies, dreams, goals, and interests.” This is an opportunity to fill your life with meaningful things that will keep you interested and focused on something other than the past. Read a book, pick up a new hobby, work on a new project: All these things will boost your self esteem.
“Be kind to yourself and remind yourself you will get through it,” Dack says.
Ancient Persian poet, Attar of Nishapur, told the story of a Sultan who asked his wise men for a proverb that would bring him happiness in difficult times. “This too shall pass” was what his men came up with. Most things are temporary, including your heartbreak. With time, feelings eventually change. Look forward to that point, and focus on making yourself happy while you get there.
“Is jealousy a part of love, or war?”
In Shakespeare’s play, Othello, the protagonist kills his wife, Desdemona, after the play’s antagonist, Iago, falsely tells him that she is cheating on him. Following the revelation that he’s been lied to, Othello, already overtaken by jealousy and betrayal, kills himself as well.
In this story, Othello acted out of jealousy, which stemmed from his love for his wife and the idea that she was sleeping with another man. He was at war with Iago, with Desdemona, and ultimately, with himself, as he struggled with his complicated, rageful feelings.
In reality, we should probably funnel our feelings of jealousy in a way that does not include murder and suicide.
Based on philosophical understanding, New School Philosophy professor James Dodd says to avoid love — and war — altogether. He explains jealousy as the fear of losing something you possess, while envy is wanting something you don’t have.
“When love is crazy and destructive, it is usually about possession,” Dodd says. This is because we feel we are losing something of ourselves that makes us whole. However, he explains this as “magical thinking,” because, he says, “we are never complete.”
According to this line of thinking, we believe that by being merged with another person we will be complete, but in truth, love cannot complete us.
Nevertheless, we fall into the illusion that we will lose ourselves without this person, and in jealousy, we appeal to violence in order “to get rid of the threat,” Dodd says. But we can never get rid of people altogether, he says, so instead:…We should just try to avoid love.
“Love comes with possession,” Dodd says, “which will inevitably lead to war.”
Header by Alex Gilbeaux.