Getting over the loss of love

| January 18, 2009

Dear Carolyn,

How do you get over the loss of love? For very long and complicated reasons the love of my life, the light of my existence, the reason for getting out of bed in the morning, is gone. There’s no possibility that our relationship will ever work out and while I understand it, I can’t seem to accept it. Because our love affair was secret, there’s nobody that even knows I’m suffering and it grieves me to know that she’s in the same position.
Is there anything I can do to get through this dark, black hole in my life? I don’t know if I can make it.

Desperate in Dallas

Dear Dallas,

First, if you really think you are not going to “make it” you need to call your area suicide hotline where you’ll be directed to real help. Okay? If you mean that it just sucks to be you, then, OK, we can chat about how to get over the loss of love.

Here’s what I tell people. Lots and lots of people who, for whatever reason, need to get over the loss of love.

* Set some time aside to mourn. Read old letters, listen to sad songs, rent sad movies.
* Set limits. Allow yourself some time each day to grieve but gradually decrease the allotment.
* Substitute the addiction. Force yourself to take up a new hobby. Running works for me but it can be anything that requires movement.
* Distract yourself. Go to funny movies, throw yourself into your job, read the novel you’ve been putting off. Call your mother.
* Do something for someone else. Sign up for Trucker Buddy or just serve a meal at a soup kitchen.
* Five weeks from now, check in with me and let me know how you are doing. Five months from now, check in again. I promise you, it will get better. Or at least, it won’t get worse.

Carry on, my friend. Oh, and a word to all you people out there in secret relationships. When it blows up, which it will, you will be all alone out there. Better to bloom in the sunshine than wither in the darkness.

Just say’n,

Carolyn

cmagner@rrpub.com