How Do You Move On from a Romantic Relationship?

I lost the same love twice in a lifetime but I learned how to move on.

Moving on from a romantic relationship is possible, even when you can’t imagine living life without the one you love. I know, because I lost the same love twice in a lifetime.

Even though I believe this person was my soulmate, I still learned how to move on, and believe it or not, so can you. Keep reading, while I tell you how I lost my love twice, yet I had to go on with my life.

Love and Grief

Love and grief go hand-in-hand when divorce and death are part of the equation. Recovering from the loss of a loved one is hard, regardless of how and why you may have lost them.

Grieving over a broken romance can be just as difficult for some people, as grieving due to the death of a loved one. I know, because I lost the love of my life in two different ways, on two different occasions, and each time it was hard as hell trying to move on.

The details of my story is sad but true. Even now (decades later), it’s hard to express how I felt all those years ago, without feeling a wisp of pain. These days, the pain is only slight, and doesn’t last long; like a faint breeze that comes out of nowhere, then disappears as quickly as it came.

But that’s only if I chose NOT to dwell on things. Dwelling causes you to start a negative thought pattern and before you know it, you’re depressed. That was one of the things I finally figured out when I first started learning to move on.

Love and Romance

Love and romance are tricky things and no one truly understands what happens between two people who share a special bond. One of the hardest things to do is to get over a lost love, especially if they were the love of your life.

You know the kind of love I mean; that special kind of love when two people are connected, and their hearts seem to share the same rhythm. The kind that Sade meant in her video where she’s a mermaid wearing a wedding gown and singing “No Ordinary Love.” Now that’s special.

But special or not, sometimes, crap happens, even when you have the kind of love that’s not ordinary. Rene, the man I married, was the love of my life. I’ve never loved another man as much, or in the same way.

The first time I ever let him lay a finger on my 18-year-old body, I knew I’d love him forever, and I was right. You can read all about our story right here on Medium in: The Love of My Life is Dead and Gone but it was Definitely No Ordinary Love

Rene is dead and gone now, and I still love him to this day. Did we have a perfect marriage? Not by a long shot. In fact, after ten years, we eventually separated and divorced.

But divorce or no divorce, I loved him intensely, and I believe when he died, he probably still loved me too.

First Came Divorce

The first time I suffered from the loss of my true love was following our painful divorce. Actually, as painful as the result was, the actual divorce itself was quick, and in that respect, I guess you could say it was painless.

In fact, Rene never even showed up in court. But the pain I felt later was harder to deal with, once we officially stopped being man and wife.

I guess I never believed it would really happen. In the back of my mind, I thought we’d get back together and eventually find a way to work things out. We didn’t. As time went on, I had to face the fact that our lives together had come to an end.

I mourned my lost love like a death in the family. The loss I suffered as a result of divorce was truly a tough burden to bare. I still loved my husband. But now his love was reserved for crack cocaine and a love of the streets.

For a long time I d been blind to his secret drug addiction, but the truth finally came to the light. When it did become evident, there was no way I could continue being a co-dependent to his habit, not while I was trying to raise our child.

Raising my son on my own was no easy task either, but at least I could keep him safe from negative surroundings. I refused to let him be exposed to the kind of life that I had to live as a kid.

Getting over Rene took lots of effort on my part, but I was determined to do it for my son. In order to succeed, there were some things I had to learn how to stop doing. One of the main things was letting go of the past.

Releasing the Past

Eventually, I was out of the the “I just gotta see him or hear his voice” stage.

One of the hardest things to do after a bad breakup is learning how to release the past. Even if it has been weeks or months since the official split, you may still find yourself clinging to any and every thing that reminds you of him or her.

This is only natural, but if you keep this behavior up for too long, it starts to become unhealthy. If you don’t let go, you’ll probably make yourself crazy. But how do you release the past, so that you can maintain your sanity? Here is what I had to teach myself.

Just do the opposite of what you’ve been doing. Instead of finding reasons to think about, talk about, or even run into your former love, you have to make a conscious effort to avoid anything that relates or reminds you of him.

At first I tried to tell myself that this was an extreme route to take, but I decided that it was for the best; at least until I was strong enough not to go running back. I made my decision and took it to heart, and only then was I able to stand firm.

Eventually, I was out of the the “I just gotta see him or hear his voice” stage. Once the real healing started, gradually, it didn’t hurt as much whenever I thought about my broken relationship. But until that time, I had to stay on guard and keep taking steps not to think about the past.

As a result of my own experiences, I put together some tips that actually helped me during this rough time in my life. If you’re going through a breakup or suffering from lost love, these tips might also prove helpful to you.

Tips to Help You Move on:

  • Stop all unnecessary communication until it doesn’t hurt anymore
  • Put any photos, keepsakes and other items connected to them out of sight
  • Stop finding reasons to talk about them or slip their name into the conversation
  • Stop inquiring about “how they’re doing” to mutual friends and associates
  • Resist the urge to follow them or their activities on social media
  • For as long as it takes, limit or discontinue spending time with mutual friends from the relationship
  • Avoid favorite places or common hangouts where the two of you spent time
  • Avoid music, movies, and locations that remind you of them

Those are the things NOT to do, but what should you do in the meantime? Live your life and start creating new friends, new favorite places, and start making new memories for yourself.

As you might imagine, it can take a lot of time and effort to get your former lover off your mind and heart, but it can be done if you’re really ready to move on. The key lies in your motivation for sticking to your guns.

Mine was my son; otherwise I would have went back and stuck it out, even if he never wanted to get off drugs. Love for my son forced me to do the right thing and stop running back to a bad situation.

I recall having to scold myself often, for playing familiar songs that made me think about Rene and cry. I had to face up to the fact that no matter how lonely I was or how much I started to miss him, my behavior was only making things worse. It certainly wasn’t helping the situation.

Neither was sobbing my eyes out while desperately clutching his picture. Dwelling about how much I missed my love was causing me to self-destruct. For my child’s sake, I had no other choice but to finally start moving on, so that was exactly what I did.

Death and Grief Follow

Rene died a violent death one year, but I didn’t find out until almost three years later. He lost the apartment I left him living in and eventually wound up on the streets. I really tried to keep up with him over the years and make him stay in contact with his son.

But seeing him like that was really hard and sometimes more trouble than it was worth, plus it always stirred up old feelings. Then I’d end up going through the whole grieving process all over again.

When he finally stopped showing up periodically, I didn’t bother to go seeking him out. But I didn’t realize so much time had passed since we had last been in contact.

When I did realize it, I went to go look for him at all his known hangouts. That was how I found out he was dead.

The doctor’s report said that they found Rene lying face down on the sidewalk with “blunt force trauma” to his head. He was rushed into surgery when he went into a coma and they claim he never woke up again.

He didn’t have any other family, so apparently, when they were unable to locate me and his son, no next of kin was ever notified.

The state cremated his body and kept his remains until I found out and was able to go get him. I never discovered the details surrounding his death, and I doubt that I ever will.

Dealing with True Loss

Up until the day that I found out Rene was dead, I thought I knew what grief looked like. I remembered what a mess I was when we first broke up and how I fell apart after the divorce.

But none of that could compare to how I felt when I learned that the love of my life was dead. Knowing that this time he was really gone for good made me depressed for more than a year.

What do you do when you’re heartbroken from losing a love, and other people try to tell you how to grieve?

I grieved for the man that I had once married. I mourned him like we had never been apart, and like his death had only just happened. I vividly recall all the hurt, the anger, the rage, the loss, the pain, and even the guilt.

They were all the same emotions that I went through after the divorce, only the situation and circumstances had changed.

Of course, everyone around me thought I was crazy. They couldn’t understand what I was going through; not when he’d been dead for so long and we weren’t even married when it happened.

They wondered why I couldn’t just snap out of it and sometimes I wondered the same thing. But how?

What do you do when you’re heartbroken from losing a love, and other people try to tell you how to grieve?

What right did anyone else have to try and define what I was feeling or why, especially when I didn’t even know myself. This time, I was really learning the meaning of true loss.

Finally Moving On

Ironically, the only way that I was able to finally move on was to remember what I did after the divorce. In no way, fashion, shape, or form am I equating the death of a loved one to a broken romance.

But I am acknowledging from personal experience that some of the same strategies on how to recover also apply.

If you don’t think so, just take another moment to look at the above list of do’s and don’ts that I consulted following my divorce.


Hopefully, my story provides a bit of inspiration and may even help someone else one day. If I can recover from losing the same love twice, you can also learn to get over a lost love and manage to get on with your life.

Charm Baker is the author of: How to Call it Quits and Move On (The Smart Self-help Relationship Breakup Guide)

How Can You Tell if You Have a Toxic Friend?

Toxic friends affect your productivity, when you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur.

A surefire way of telling if you have a toxic friend (or more than one), is to evaluate how they have treated you, over the course of your friendship.

Every friendship has it’s ups and downs, but overall, genuine friends should have a healthy give and take relationship. Does that sound like you and your friend(s). Whether it does or not, keep reading and you’ll learn more.

Friends and Productivity

All of us at one time or another, has had a toxic friend. You may even have one right now, but the question is, do you know that they’re toxic? Better yet, could you ever resist the charm of a toxic friend, and be able to put them out of your life if it became necessary?

In a minute I’ll discuss some basic characteristics of the typical toxic friend, like the fact that they can always get you to do stupid, embarrassing stuff that you end up regretting later on.

Under normal circumstances, having a toxic friend might simply amount to daily inconveniences or occasional embarrassment. But when you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur (especially just starting out), having a toxic friend could end up affecting your productivity.

In some cases, it might even be completely bad for business; at least that’s how it was for me. I was in the business of writing, and my friend tried to minimize my accomplishments.

Signs of Toxicity

Recognizing toxic behavior is not always easy to do, at least not right away. Of course, there are exceptions to the rules, but most toxic friends will appear as wolves in sheep’s clothing at the start of a friendship.

Then again, you may luck out like I did, and end up with two toxic friends; one of each kind. For anonymity sake, I’ll just call them Janice and Tina.

I knew Janice was trouble from day one, though I wouldn’t have used the phrase toxic. On the other hand, Tina was the kind of toxic that you didn’t recognize until it was way too late to care, or to do anything about it.

It’s not that her negative traits weren’t there all along, because they were. But sometimes we’re so busy being charmed by the toxic friend’s personality, that we fail to realize who they really are.

Allow me to clarify what I mean by my definition of toxic friends, since people have different views about what the expression means to them. As you read the following questions and form answers in your head, don’t focus on the specifics of the question.

It doesn’t matter if it’s asking about going dancing or some other activity that you and your friends don’t even engage in. Just focus on the point of the question. Make sure you answer honestly, because if you don’t, you’re only fooling yourself.

  • Do you know someone who is only your friend when you agree to do what they want?
  • Who decides which fast food joint or restaurant to eat at after shopping or a sporting event?
  • Who always chooses the dvd or latest movie release you go to check out on a Friday evening?
  • Is the choice of club, bar or other Saturday night activity always left up to them?

The above questions are not a fair gauge for determining the levels of toxicity in your friends. But they can cause you to start giving some thought to the true nature of your friendships. The answers may not seem like a big deal, even if they simply show how selfish one or more of your friends happen to be.

However, if you start asking yourself some other serious questions, along the same line of thought, you may be surprised at what you discover.

If you have a new startup business or idea, or you work in some kind of freelance capacity, you definitely need to be surrounded by genuine friends. Entrepreneurs and creative people who work for themselves have a constant inner struggle.

We’re always worrying about self-imposed timetables, deadlines and other goal-related burdens that we tend to carry. It’s critical that we have sincere friends around who are understanding, supportive and most of all, encouraging.

These additional questions are more serious and can reflect how your friends really feel about what you’re trying to achieve:

  • Does my friend encourage me about my business plans and goals OR constantly put my ideas down?
  • Does my friend respect my financial responsibilities and limitations due to my future plans and goals?
  • Does my friend try to coerce, cajole or intimidate me into unnecessary spending?
  • Does my friend respect my time and also recognize my need for rest, due to my current business related activities?

By looking at this new set of questions and thinking about the responses, you can see how the answers could have an adverse effect on whatever plans and business goals you have for your future.

Since toxic people tend to be irresponsible themselves, they could care less about the responsibilities that you have. All it takes is one toxic friend to cause your life to get completely off course.

Selfish Tendencies

If I had to pick a trait to put at the top of the toxic people list, I’d have to go with selfishness. Toxic friends can pollute a situation because of this negative characteristic. A close runner up would be jealousy, because selfishness and jealousy often go hand-in-hand.

If someone in your life displays these traits on a regular basis, they could prove to be a liability to your future dreams and business endeavors.

My dream to become a writer happened late in life when I went back to school after marriage, a kid, and a divorce ten years later. That’s where I met Tina, at community college, on the first day of our journalism class.

The following week, we were assigned to do a story together and from that time on we became thick as thieves (until several years later when we parted ways),

I used to believe that Tina really wanted me to succeed in reaching my writing goals, just like I wanted the same for her.

But though we started on our writing journeys together, she was never as serious as I was, and all too often I’d skip out of class early, miss an assignment, or not bother to go to class at all, just because Tina had something better (and usually more exciting) for us to do.

Though we were only a few years apart and basically at the same place in our lives, she didn’t take our classes serious, or anything else for that matter.

For Tina, life was just one big party that she was always trying to drag me along to. And of course I went, just like any dutiful friend who is under the spell of a toxic person.

Toxic Charm

For some strange reason, many toxic friends can be awful darn charming. Every toxic person I knew (now that I can identify them) always seemed to have people flocking around them.

Being attracted to toxic friends instead of true friends can be potentially dangerous. Toxic friends can poison your thinking because they usually have such an influential effect on people.

That’s how my toxic friend Janice was (the troublemaker I mentioned earlier). I knew her in my younger years, as a teen and up into adulthood.

She was always clever, funny, and exciting to be around, just as long as you were lucky enough to be in her circle, and I was. But she was also mean, bossy, and vindictive, and not many friends stood up to her and remained friends for long. Yet she still had a way about her, a kind of killer charm.

Janice gets the credit for many of the punishments I was put on for breaking various house rules as a teen. Her mean toxic spirit was also responsible for the one and only fight that I ever instigated in my life and I always felt bad about afterwards.

Toxic Behavior

When friends display toxic behavior in your personal life, you might let it slide and start to give them a pass. Before you know it, you find yourself putting up with all sorts of crap, all in the name of friendship.

But what happens when this kind of behavior begins to affect your work, your career, or even your educational goals and aspirations?

Toxic people are rarely known for saying encouraging words or motivating you to do productive activities. Instead, they’re usually the naysayers and the ones telling you to “forget about it” and making you feel like your ideas will “never work.”

This goes back to their jealous and selfish nature. They don’t want you to succeed because they fear you’ll leave them behind.

I began to understand this about Tina the day I shared three chapters of a manuscript I had started writing. I would have been completely content with any kind of useful dialogue and sincere feedback from her.

Instead she didn’t even mention anything about the manuscript until a couple of weeks later when I broke down and asked her opinion because I couldn’t stand waiting any longer.

Recognize the Truth

The day I recognized the truth about Tina was the day, I saw envy in her eyes because I was attempting to write a book. By then, we were out of school, but neither of us were working in our field of study.

We partied on the weekends, and worked at jobs we didn’t care about. But I still had my dream, so I started writing without telling Tina, at least not until I had written the first three chapters.

When she gave them back to me, she was unable to hide the envy in her eyes, and suddenly there was an awkwardness in the room, thick enough to cut with a knife.

I don’t know whether she just didn’t bother to read the entire manuscript, or she was so disappointed in what she read, that she didn’t have any words to express it. All I know is that she summed it up and dismissed my hard work with four simple words “It wasn’t raw enough.”

She didn’t give any specifics or elaborate at all. She just moved on to another subject and left me feeling too self-conscious and embarrassed to ask anything further. I was hurt and I have no doubt that it showed.

I didn’t call her for a couple of weeks and she didn’t bother to reach out to me, which led me to believe she knew how I felt.

Toxic Effects

Years later, when I look back at my life, I realize what a big influence both Janice and Tina had on my life. The kind of influence that can have a bad effect on your leadership capabilities. Just think about it.

If you’re a new freelance worker or entrepreneur, you’re the boss, which means you need to know how to be a leader.

You can’t afford to have negative influencers in your life who cause you to doubt yourself and your abilities. I know for a fact, if I had allowed myself to continue paling around with Tina and let her influence my motivation to write, I would have stopped writing a long time ago.

Keep one thing in mind if you happen to have a toxic friend in your life. Toxic friends like to keep things status quo because usually they’re the ones in charge.

They don’t want you to do more or better, because then you’d probably be outshining them, and toxic people can’t have that. They love and need the spotlight.

So don’t be surprised if you decide to assert yourself in a toxic friendship and your friend starts to pull away. When you finally see the relationship for what it is, your toxic friend won’t be too happy to have things change, so the only thing they can do change, is to let the change be on their terms.

They may not necessarily verbalize how they feel, but as far as toxic friends are concerned, they all have the same motto. “It’s my way or the highway!”

Does this philosophy sound familiar to you? Do you have friends like that? If you do, consider yourself lucky if they’re preparing to move on.

That’s an indication that you may finally be outgrowing them. When you do, then maybe you can make room for a genuine friend who will support you and have your back.