Getting Over a Lost Love

I today met up with an entrepreneur with a cool idea. He graduated from college this past May and has been heads-down on his new company.

For some reason, we started talking about his break-up with a very serious girlfriend. They had been together for quite a few years. He initiated the break up and has been wondering if he made a mistake, if they will or should get back together. He wondered if this woman was, in fact, his “soul mate.”

I think many of us have been in this situation, often, more than once. Whether it’s in high school or college, you’re in a long-term and very meaningful relationship. Friends think you’ll marry. Parents may very much want that to happen. You’re the It Couple.

And, one day, it ends.

I shared with him my own POV on such things, not just to cheer him up, but because I believe them. I recognize that this likely is very much an ENTJ perspective.

A soul mate doesn’t exist. I don’t think there is one person “meant” for you. Of course, there can be one┬áperson with whom you share incredible chemistry, interests, and shared values. But, there is probably more than one person like that in the world.

In fact, I shared with him that believing in a soul mate can lead to a pretty unhealthy relationship based on co-dependence. I told him he is more than enough as a stand-alone individual.

People change, and so, the odds of a relationship in college working out long-term are pretty low. I told him that people are like software: there are multiple releases over time. I asked him if he was the same person today that he was when he met his now ex-girlfriend, and whether she has changed, too.

Relationships are about choice. I advised him that he can choose to “move on” and seek a new relationship. My view is that second-guessing doesn’t buy you much long-term, and it is an awful feeling to live in the past and re-visit old decisions.

In fact, I believe that happiness is a choice (more here).

Take one next step. I suggested that he take on one concrete next step to meet new people. It’s a bit like going to the gym for a workout. Once you’re there, it’s fine. It’s that first step that is the biggest challenge.

So, I tried to brainstorm with him. Perhaps, I thought, he could create and host a Meet Up group around an activity he likes to do, whether it’s cycling, cooking, or hiking. Host a small group dinner at his apartment. Coordinate a group dinner out in Chinatown, which is affordable, exotic, and informal. I told him to embrace being a single person.

I offered to hold him accountable on taking his one next step, if he wanted me to.

That’s what I believe and shared with him.

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