Ask Stef: I'm Still Not Over My Ex + It's Been a Year. Is It Pointless to Date?


Stefanie Marshall

Dear Stef,

I’m still not over my ex and it’s been, wait for it, over a year. It’s hard even admitting that. I’ve dated, but sometimes I feel like it’s pointless to date when I’m not over my last relationship, so I break things off without much explanation. I still think about my ex a lot. I feel like dating should help, but I spend most of my date drawing comparisons and seeing where they fall short. Should I keep dating and just hope that eventually goes away?

Waiting and Dating

Dear Waiting and Dating,

Breaking up is hard to do. And while that is true, moving on is even worse. And my darling, you aren’t making it any easier on yourself.

What I want you to immediately recognize and quit doing, is comparing these potential partners to your ex. I know it’s extremely hard to do this, but remember: everyone is different, and no one will ever be the exact replica. So time after time, you are going to be left wanting.

Getting over someone you love(d) is hard. Probably one of the hardest things any of us will ever do in our lives. But moving forward when something is over is absolutely vital. I don’t know how long you were together or what kind of relationship this was or why you broke up. But as people always tell me, The Queen of Not Letting Go, it’s called a break up because it’s broken. Something was broken.

There are a few suggestions I have for you. First, attempt to remember why you broke up. Remember the realities of your relationship. Feel them. Let them gut you. Make a valiant effort to stop glorifying what is gone. Next, throw yourself into other projects (not relationships). These should be projects that benefit you. Whether it be creative or healthful or just fun. Take up a new hobby. Start writing. Spend more time with your friends. Spend more time alone. Go hiking. Do yoga. Make dreamcatchers. I’m not kidding – that’s what I did after my last break up.

There is one thing you are absolutely correct about. While dating is a wonderful distraction, it isn’t where you are emotionally, right now. So don’t do it. There’s nothing wrong with not dating. I truly believe that timing is everything. And perhaps this is the time where you need to focus on you. When you’re ready to take that plunge with someone again, you’ll feel it in your gut.

I know how hard this is. We have all suffered the long road back to recovery. As lonely as it feels, at least you know others are walking their owns paths somewhere too. But I want to say as well: if you continue to try everything and are still finding no solace, perhaps it would be time to speak to a grief counselor or a therapist. There is no shame in seeking professional help. Sometimes we all need help out of the tunnel when we can’t quite seem to find the light.

I do hope you find the light. You deserve whatever is coming next and a whole heart to enjoy it.


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