Is Moving On Necessary?

Friday Dec 19, 2014 - BY Stacey

Photo via CC

When it comes to relationships and break ups, the conventional wisdom teaches you that in order to find a new person, you have to move on and forget your ex.   But according to Brett Hannons, we have it backwards. In an essay for Jezebel, he writes about how he never fully gets over any of his ex-girlfriends and he makes no apologies for it. “I think about every single one of my exes every single day. They come flittering across my mind at various points,” he writes.  Yet Hannons doesn’t view these thoughts as an intrusion, as something he’d wish away. He doesn’t think they’re keeping him from find new love either. He writes:


If I no longer cared about any of the women that entered my life, the ones I’ve wooed and dated, I can’t imagine enjoying any subsequent courtship. If I didn’t understand the payoff, the enjoyment, why would I put myself through that process? Why would you for that matter? Why emotionally expose yourself, risk harm and long-term damage, if you weren’t aware there was potential positive? You do it because you haven’t let the enjoyable experiences of past relationships dissipate. They are there. Permanently.


Hannons approach to his past loves and his current prospects is refreshing. Rather than see his exes as “baggage,” he takes their existence and his ability to care for them as proof that he can feel love and that others can feel it for him. This gives him the ability to pick up and move on, but not forget.


While the sentiment Hannons expresses is beautiful, his approach may not work for everyone. For some folks, looking back can be a dangerous thing. It can lead to obsessive thoughts (cue the Facebook stalking). Or, if done through rose colored glasses, reflecting back on a past love can perhaps lead you to think that you should get back together with him, forgetting all of the valid reasons that you guys broke up. And if you don’t take it quite that far, all of this backwards thinking might at least cause you to obsess and berate yourself for ending it all. This is not where you want to end up.


All caveats aside, if you have the emotional wherewithal to hold onto your past relationships while still moving forward then more power to you. Use the lessons of your past relationship–the good and the bad–to help you find love in the future.

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