Our first date. The first time I said "I love you." The engagement party where red balloons with her name on them fell from the balcony.
There are a lot of beautiful, and now bittersweet, moments from that failed relationship that invade my mind from time to time. It's been years now. The memories seem distant. But I still treasure them and grieve the loss of what we had.
It took a long time for me to be able to remember these things without being held prisoner by them. These memories will never just disappear, and I don't want them to. We've all seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Trying to blot out your memories entirely never ends well.
Ask yourself a hard question: Have you truly let go of the sweet memories of your ex? Have you cleared the cache of mental images from your first date, your first kiss, or the birth of your first child?
It's no easy task to wrest control away from your memories and move back into your present. But it can be done. And the alternative is denial, which isn't truly letting go anyway.
Here are the rules I used to finally release my past relationship, while still acknowledging its significance, and to move on with my life, making room for new love to grow.