How to move past an idealized love that didn’t work out

Icarus to Fly asks:

I deeply love a girl. I had been in relationship with her. She wanted a break last summer. Since then we talked every day on regular basis. But now she is into a senior. They are together. What should I do to earn her back?
Recently I commented on one of her post, she deleted my comment as her current boyfriend poked her about me. I feel lost. I need help to get things right.

Hi Icarus to Fly –

You are experiencing something we all go through in life.  Yes, even us dogs. 

We all know, starting very young, what it’s like to want something we can’t have.  Every child wants ice cream at a time no one will give it to them.  Every dog wants a small animal they can’t catch.  And the smartest children want every puppy they ever meet, many which of course live with other people who would never give them up!

We also know what it’s like to feel something is ours.  A toy we were given, a bed we sleep in.  Or a parent or caretaker.  “That’s MY mommy!” we’ll hear, a child’s most impassioned cry – or the yelp of a dog when its person comes home and embraces them, making us feel complete.

These are perfectly fine emotions.  If we didn’t want things outside us we’d starve to death, and if we didn’t have things we consider our own, we’d have no attachments at all.

The problem comes when they cross over.  I just hate it when my human friend Handsome fawns over another dog.  It feels wrong, like I’ve lost him (which is never the case; he loves me more than his own life, and tells me so all the time).  And any child whose parents then bring new children into the home knows a devastation they might not ever experience again in life – even though they might end up loving their new siblings more than they could ever imagine.

What’s happened with you is that you loved, and still love, this girl in a way that you feel she’s yours, but she’s not feeling the same way about you, so she’s not.  It’s like the difference between when I see Handsome open a can – which usually means dog food for me – and him tell me “No, this is part of our dinner, you’ll get fed later.”  I know it’s mine, but he’s saying it’s not, but I know it’s mine, but he’s saying it’s not…   So much worse a feeling than just seeing him eat something I would like.  It feels like betrayal to me, when he’s not intending that at all.

Now of course it doesn’t take me long to get over him putting that canned food into whatever he’s cooking.  Whereas you love this girl so much you’re still attached to her after nearly a year.

What you need to do is to grieve her.  She’s gone.  Or rather, she’s alive, but the her that was yours is gone.

Imagine what you’d do if she had moved across the world, or even died.  You’d go through sadness, anger, depression… and eventually move on to where you could get interested in someone new.  That’s what you need to do now.

Of course it’s incredibly difficult to do that with her right there in front of you, though!  And are you jealous of that senior she’s with?  Of course you are!  And likely will be for a while.

But what I find is, if you’re willing to give up on her, something interesting always happens.  You start to feel better.  In fact, you start to feel a lot better.

Maybe you begin to realize, “Wow, she’s been really cold to me for months.  I’ve been in great pain and she hasn’t cared at all.  I deserve someone who’s more caring than that!”  Or perhaps, “She likes that senior because he’s got money and can drive.  I hadn’t realized she’s so shallow!  I want a girlfriend with more depth!”  Or, best of all, “I’m so lucky that she gave me room to keep looking, because now I’ve found someone so much better!”

But that will come with time.  What you need now is to focus on one simple fact.  Maybe everything else about this girl is perfect in your eyes, but she has one simple flaw:  She isn’t into you. 

Imagine you bought a puppy who was smart and beautiful and healthy, but would angrily bite you whenever you approached it, and then run away in fear, hating you.  Would you call that your ideal dog?  I doubt it.  Well that’s what she’s done.  In fact, she’s hurt you more than a puppy ever could!

So my friend, my simple advice is to move on and let her go.

After all, she may seem as bright as sunshine to you now, but Icarus was a lot better off when he stayed away from the sun, right?  There’s such a wonderful world of places (and girls) for you to fly to instead!

All my best,



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