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Ask Athena: I'm Stuck on My Ex

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Dear Athena,

How can I get over my ex? We dated for a year, lived together for eight months and were deeply in love with each other. It was the healthiest romantic relationship I've ever had and the first time I lived with a partner. But, ultimately, the 23-year age difference was just too big of a factor for both of us. We broke up on good terms, and I've been living on my own since.

But, damn, how do I stop thinking about him? I've deleted his number but still find myself texting him when I'm lonely — just saying, "Hey," but I know I need to stop that. We're friendly, but I need to move on. He has, as he's dating someone else, and I respect that boundary.

I have great friends that I hang out with. I'm going to the gym regularly to get healthy. I work full time. Do I just need to give this more time? Ugh.

Thanks,

Time Isn't Healing This

Dear Time,

You're right, my friend: Time is the best medicine. But there are some steps you can take to feel better while you wait for the clock to do its thing.

First, cut off all contact with your ex. Rarely do couples break up only to form peachy-keen friendships right away. Maybe someday you can be pals, but not now. You're sentimental for your past, and he's in his future. You say you respect that boundary, but the texts you send when you're missing him aren't appropriate anymore. They make things murky and complicated, and moving on becomes harder to achieve.

What next? You feel all the feelings. Maybe you'll cry, stomp your feet, eat copious amounts of ice cream or crumble whenever you stop to breathe. All options are OK. Everyone grieves the loss of love differently. Let it all out, so that eventually he'll be out of your system for good.

Lastly, get out there. You don't have to start dating right away, but keep busy with things you haven't done in a while or have always wanted to do. Leaping out of your comfort zone is a surefire way to grow. Go out and play. Pretty soon, you'll be having so much fun you won't even notice he's gone.

Yours,

Athena

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