When A Relationship Ends, Is It Really Over?

October 25, 2012  |  


A relationship is a connection, an association or involvement between people who can have a negative or positive effect on people. While in a relationship, people expect to have good times, great times, bad and difficult times; but how often do we expect a relationship to end? Relationships generally end in one of five ways; a mutual decision to part ways on good terms, the decision of one person which can be because of something good or bad; the relationship can simply fade away; both parties can decide to have a platonic relationship, or sadly it can end in death. However, when a relationship has ended between two people, is it really over?

I ask this question because many times when a relationship is said to be over by one or both parties involved, there is still some sort of attachment to the other person, or some sort of physical interaction. For instance, two people can decide to end their monogamous relationship, but continue to have sex with each other. Or, a woman can leave a relationship with a man physically, but she is still attached to him emotionally or financially. Why does this occur? Why is it so difficult to let go of someone when a relationship has ended? The answer is simple.

It’s difficult to let someone go, or completely faze them out of your system because you were once connected to this person in some shape, form or fashion for a season or a series in your life and that person has helped you become the person you are. Whether the relationship was good or bad, the person you were involved with taught you a valuable lesson, and you will always remember what they did, what they did not do, how they made you feel emotionally, how good the intimacy was between the two of you, how they provided for you financially, so on and so forth. And no matter why or how the relationship ended, this person has become an indirect part of who you are, and you have become an indirect part of them.

Other reasons relationships aren’t really over is because of the memories that were created. It is difficult to get over someone because of feelings that have developed, and people don’t want to let go of the relationship. Relationships are generally built and based on feelings of physical attraction, mental stimulation, sexual stimulation, etc. It is difficult to break the ties of those feelings that have been developed. This happens more often than not because people don’t want to start over in love, they are still vulnerable to the connection they they developed and simply want to hold on to the relationship no matter what.

I recall a relationship I was involved in several years ago with a young man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. He had everything I wanted in a man at that time in my life, and I just knew we would have an amazing life together. Unfortunately, things did not go as I thought they would, and my mate and I parted ways relationship wise, but we still remained friends.

As we transitioned from our dating relationship to being friends I thought to myself, I can handle this, and I’d rather have him in my life as a friend than not at all, and as time went by it became easier for me to be his friend, but in the same breath it was difficult for me to do so  because we had a great relationship and I wanted to continue with him as my mate. As the years went by, I realized that this relationship wasn’t over for me because I didn’t want to let him go for my own selfish reasons. I wanted him to be mine and mine alone because of the connection we had, the way he made me feel and because I thought we would have this story book life that would end happily ever after. It was hard for me to relinquish the feelings I had for him in regard to being his mate, but as it turns out, we were better off being friends, and we are still friends to this day.

Do I think about our relationship when we see each other? Yes I do. Does my heart sink in slightly at the thought of us not being together? Periodically. Have I completely moved on from wanting to be in a relationship with him? Yes I have. Is he completely out of my system? No, he’s not and that is because he is a part of who I am, I am a part of him and I learned a number of valuable lessons from him that I will always keep with me. So needless to say, when certain aspects of relationships end, it begins a new relationship with the person be it physical or not. Am I saying hold on to someone? No I’m not, but I am saying embrace the memories created, learn lessons from each relationship and apply the knowledge learned because the person came into your life for a season, but they remain in your heart and on your mind for a reason.

When a relationship has ended, is it really over for you? What things have kept you from moving forward?

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin

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  • Divya

    There is a difference between “loving someone” and becoming “emotionally attached” to them. It is this (unhealthy) “emotional attachment” that prevents people from moving on. ‘Cos if you don’t love someone, I see no reason why you should even waste your time with that person, unless you’re “emotionally attached” to that person, as mentioned earlier.

    On the other hand, if you still do love them, then you should put in every effort possible to make the relationship work. In other words, it’s no use being in love with someone if you feel lazy about your relationship in general. That is as good as being in lust (in other words, you’re only there for the sex, and nothing else).

  • curlyk

    its nice to say I want to move on but its stories like “he eventually got back with his ex and now they’re married” that make me question if i will be the ex he goes back to and marries. I think the timing was off with my ex. But im trying to look at it as time heals and I’ll be happy whether its with him, me, or someone else. Who knows where my head will be about this 5 years from now. But as of now. If he’s happy, im happy. I cant worry about a future that isn’t promised.

  • Kay Kay

    I truly believe in everything and everyone was put in your life for a reason, so I accept breaking up and I try to move on…I have back tracked a couple times LOL but eventually I move on..and allow the healing process to began..then I can try and be friends but not immediately after a break up.. I went back and tried dating a guy from when I was younger he had just recently broke up with his girlfriend and I was the rebound girl, we hung out all the time, jet set to different locations together, we really enjoyed each other after about 8 months he got back with his girlfriend and a year later they married! I was a little heart broken but happy for him and let him know we’d always be friends. We started off as friends so it was easy to just be that!

  • Torontochick

    Wow! So many aspects of this I could identify with. The reason it’s so difficult to let go is because you share a history and for better or worse, that person helped make you who you are today.

    It’s hard to explain to people, most notably my current boyfriend, why it is that I maintain a relationship (close and intimate albeit platonic) with my ex, who treated my horribly as a boyfriend but is a supportive friend. You’ve pretty much summed it up for me.

  • Boxy

    Great article. Although its great to have shared those moments with someone who cared about, when the relationship has reached it season. You accept the memories embrace the lesson and move on gracefully. Happy that you gained some knowledge and you’re a better/ stronger person because of it

  • Pivyque

    Well…yeah. Once the relationship is over, it’s over. There is no “let’s be friends” if I was emotionally invested. Lol It’s just, “it’s been fun. see you around”.

  • kierah

    An ex once told me it takes at least 3 tries to push over an empty refrigerator. It’s the same deal when ending a relationship.

  • Usually you feel as though you can’t move on because there are unresolved emotional baggage. You cannot move past it because in your mind the relationship can work if only _______ (fill in the blank) it isn’t the relationship per say that you can’t get over put the loss of the dream your had for that relationship.


    Even sun sets in paradise…..relationship with basic dudes are overrated…read 50 shades of grey to dream on about your prince charming UNLOL

  • Chance

    I met someone and I knew he was the one until the relationship faded. I had to realize that this was not meant to be or maybe not right now. I can stop thinking about the memories and what could have been however i have come to terms with the situation and I feel so much better…….for simply accepting what it is!!!

  • Kells

    Like all things there is a healing process. It won’t happen right away especially if there is still communication between the two but eventually it will.
    I personally don’t get how people can just forget and move on lickity split. Guess its a trait I wish I had. My life would be so simple

    • Na Na

      My ex and I have been separated for 3 years, we both are in other relationships yet the pain when we see each other is unreal. His family still calls me and tells me how he weeps to them over our relationship. I am STILL extremely heartbroken over things. When we speak its like therapy to each other. Yet…..we won’t get back together because sometimes that’s just life. I too wish I could lickity split and move on.

      • Rayjulian85

        It’s weird when I hear people say things like this. If you love each other so much why not try to make it work? Unless someone is not willing to put in the effort, (in which case they aren’t being genuine in the first place) what keeps people from giving it another shot? Not trying to pry, just have always been curious.

        • Torontochick

          In my case, my ex lacks basic life skills that prevent him from being a good partner. He also has addiction issues that made him at times verbally abusive. The love is real but the relationship is no good for me.