Mike Kueber's Blog

March 2, 2012

Aphorism of the Week #11 – The best way to get over someone is….

Filed under: Aphorism — Mike Kueber @ 3:32 am
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Earlier this week I was texting with a friend who is going through a painful breakup with her boyfriend.  While we were discussing various strategies for getting through heartbreak as quickly and as painlessly as possible, she jokingly texted, “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.”

Although she was joking, the statement sounded shockingly insightful.  Could it be that simple? 

I decided to do some research on the internet and found that my friend’s statement is a commonly-used aphorism in the context of painful breakups.  Ironically, on relationship forums, sometimes it is the question and other times it is the answer.

For example, on the AskMeHelpDesk website, the aphorism is the question: 

Q:  The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else?

Asked by sadnlostedddd On Dec 15, 2009

Share this question: Is this true, maybe not some random person, but maybe someone that there may be chemistry with, maybe starting out as just sex, or hanging out together or something, and then if things progress into something else it’ll help you get over your ex and be in a new relationship. Anyone agree or disagree with my analysis?

Virtually everyone who responded to sadnlostedddd suggested that hooking up with someone else was not the answer.

The Lounge forum contains an example of the aphorism being used as an answer.  The question was:

How do you get over someone?  I wouldn’t usually post a topic like this, but I’m stuck.  I don’t want to be too specific, but how do you get over someone you feel is your soul mate, and it’s not that they don’t love and want to be with you (this has not been made explicitly clear, but sometimes you just know), but for whatever reason (i.e. age, power or distance discrepancy) you can’t be together.  Sometimes I don’t want to get over this person because I know they’re my soulmate and it has prevented me from entering into relationships with other people. I don’t want to feel this dependency anymore, it hurts too much, yet I’m madly in love. It’s not that we’re not friends; I just need to move on (though I don’t want to).  Anyone ever go through this or have any advice?

Again, virtually all of the responses provided the heartbroken person with positive advice about being strong.  Two examples are the following: 

  • here’s some advice : stop telling yourself that this person is your soulmate, that you’re madly in love with them, how miserable you are without them, how wrong/sad/unfair it is that you can’t be together, how you’ll never get over them,… etc.  by obsessing on those phrases and others like them, you’re defining yourself by the situation, locking yourself into this seemingly inescapable whirlpool of feelings. until you break this cycle & see that you can love them without being tortured by those feelings, you will continue to be miserable. while your feelings don’t have to change (they may or may not change over time), you need to evolve in how you are dealing with them and stop letting them control you. take a new perspective in your self-talk and your attitude towards the situation. focus on being thankful that you know this person. appreciate their positive attributes. be honest about their shortcomings (it can be easy to regard them as absolutely perfect, which no one is), be content in your situation and be genuinely happy for them in their situation even though you are not at the center of their universe. focus on making and keeping them as a valued, trusted, beloved friend if that is in the cards and don’t focus on how you are “madly in love with them and cannot get over it” because that sort of self-talk is self-fulfilling. so long as you keep telling yourself you won’t get over it, you will be trapped. recognize that changing your perspective DOES NOT mean you don’t still love them deeply, it means you’re adopting a healthy attitude towards the reality of the situation and taking a livable, sustainable approach to enable you to function free of this constant obsession. allow yourself to do this. redefine yourself as something other than this “woe-is-me-i-can’t-be-with-the-one-i-love” woman. this is a “grown-up” approach that may seem (1) stupid, (2) impossible, (3) ineffective, or (4) all of the above; but it does work to help you see a light out of that dark whirlpool of emotions.
  • That relationship that you can’t have is “safe” in that you can indulge in total, hopeless, love, without fear of unpredictability.  You get all your what-ifs and you never get let down.  It’s easier to be head-over-heels in love with someone you can’t have than it is to love someone who leaves his shoes in the middle of the kitchen every day.  yeah. every day. I notice. They’re still there. I’m not picking them up anymore. Um, yeah. but beyond that. The hopeless relationship is a low-risk one for you, which at an unconscious level is part of why it’s so attractive. I sound totally unemotional about this- I’m not.  I did the same thing. It was a 100-mile relationship and after we “broke up” we carried on much the same, even still said “I love you” and wished each other well and talked on the phone… eventually I ended up changing my phone number, never calling, blocking his email, and getting a dog.  in that order.  Cause every time I talked to him, I loved him more.  And that wasn’t helping me get on with my life.  And I’m still scared to talk to him, even though we technically are still friends and few people will ever know me as well as he did.  Which sucks.  But it was easier for me, eventually, to just sever the connection.  Although, now that I think about it, it took two years.  All 730 days of which sucked immensely.                       So my actual advice? Get a dog.

The one exceptional response was provided by fauxtograph – “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.”  Compared to the other responses, the one from fauxtograph came across as cynical and jaded.

So, ultimately, my friend’s statement may not qualify as an aphorism – i.e., a pithy observation that contains a general truth.  If you google the statement, the second listed site is called “CoolQuotesCollection.”  Or as my friend said, it’s poetic.  Let’s leave it at that.

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1 Comment »

  1. Wow, as the son of a lawyer that handled over 2,000 divorces I’d tell your friend fivolous sex isn’t going to make it better. I’d ask, “do you really think sex with someone else will heal what is harmed?” If so, “It sounds like you view sex as the foundation of a relationship, or you think ALL men view sex as the foundation.” While sex might be the door to entering a relationship, it is not the foundation. But, how do you know if the man views it as the door or the foundation if you start with sex?

    q

    Comment by Q — March 3, 2012 @ 2:39 pm | Reply


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