The endings of romantic relationships are often met with the comforting promises of moving on with life and being able to getting over them, which is basically a short term promise of a solution to eradicate the pain of the moment but overlooking the nuanced reality to come. Relationships are never to be left fully behind, that is the truth, regardless how much it hurts or how much someone wishes it to go away.
Ask yourself, how many previous partners or lovers have you really erased? Not just by physical matters, of not seeing them and deleting their number or even disposing of everything they ever touched in your home, but of mental matters. Do they never, ever appear in your thought processes? Because even if they appear just as a name of a distant period in your life, they’ll still be there. The impact people have on others is not only in their presence in the flesh, but in the memories of times when they were present. And most of all, the impact they have had on oneself. Some experiences and relationships, even though past, are a crucial part of the embodiment of the self; perhaps even negatively. Certain relationships bring fear and anxiety long after they are dissolved. And relationships that were especially happy, even if ended on good terms, bring on massive impact. Even if it’s with certainty one is unwilling to once again have a previous partner in one’s life again, neither as a lover nor as a friend, the relationship that was and the emotional impact it inflicted will forever remain.
To forever cherish a previous partner for the relationship in the past is a matter that is seldom brought attention to in films, literature, or other forms of medias, however there’s a prime example that dedicate its entire existence to the topic; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). The movie sets place in a reality in which completely moving on from a previous partner is provided by a service that offer the possibility to erase memories, often used to ease the pain and suffering. This explores the human attitude towards previous romantic experiences and raises the awareness that even in pain, the experiences of the past shape the present and by removing the past including all the suffering the reality of now drastically changes. This is not a very unfamiliar topic, as its heavily explored in other matters than specifically eradicating memories of previous loved ones. Numerous films and books have explored the idea of time travelling to change certain aspects of the past, only to find that it’s impossible to proceed without severe consequences. This is the same with “fully moving forward” with previous romantic relationships, it’s not fully possible, and if it was, all the learnings and experiences would spill to waste and change the course of people’s emotional development to greater relationships, perhaps forcing them into similar situations that they previously left.
To argue this is not the equivalent to state that it’s impossible to no longer hold massive emotional attachment towards other people, in this matter the simplicity of “moving on” from people is true. It is fully possible to live fully without constantly being caught up by memories of previous relationships, and above all; even if emotional attachment still exists, it morphes with time and experiences. A previous lover can still be looked back on with love and trust, but not necessarily in the same gaze of present romantic love and need of attention. It can be in the form of acceptance, and cherishment of what used to be rather than wishing it would have continue. Even painful memories can change, sometimes the scene of suffering morphes into something that teaches us life long lessons, or the emotion changes. It’s still associated with being painful, the actual pain of the moment is long accepted and moved forward from, often by processing by new memories of other people and scenarios.
Time is a parameter that constantly moves forward, however memories of experiences, emotions, and relationships are not. They can remain inside of people until end of time, and constantly be a motivation of development and change, even if the physical matter of this memory is long gone. The prior teaches us about the present and about the future, and relationships are a massive part of this, completely necessary for aspiring forward; to fully getting over someone is nothing but a phantom.