Sometimes the best things in life really are free. Time is one of them. But the term “best” in that cliché is relative: when it comes to time, too often you feel like you have too little of it, or that too much of it can be a bad thing. Either way you slice it, though, time indeed marches on, and you can choose to have it on your side, or wallow in every pitiful agonizing second of it. If your agenda is to win back the love of your life after a tailspin has sent your relationship plummeting to earth in flames – this is the “every agonizing second of it” part – you should understand how time becomes an inevitable player in what happens next, either your best weapon or your worst enemy, rarely a middle ground. As therapists like to say about the human brain, and it applies to the concept of time as well, use it or lose it.
An inescapable fact of life is that breakups are emotional milestones in our lives. They suck. No matter how logical it seems, how fair or unfair, it’s not easy for either party. Unless you’re a cold-blooded beast, dropping someone is always difficult. And the flip-side – getting dumped – can be among the most traumatic experiences we’ll ever know. We humans have a knee-jerk reflexive response to fear and pain – both of which define the breakup experience. We react. We do things. Say things. Throw things. Stage elaborate little dramas to communicate our displeasure.
This is all as understandable as it is misconceived, especially if the ultimate goal is to win your lover back. But know this: virtually nothing you say or do in the direct aftermath of a breakup will make any difference whatsoever. Rarely has one lover summoned the courage to drop the bomb, and then changed his or her mind as soon as his soon-to-be-ex mumbles “but I love you so much!” through her or his cascading tears. Not gonna happen.
Only the passage of time can stop this train wreck from becoming permanent. And even then, it can only do so much. But in this desperate time of need, you’ll take anything you can get, and time is the best offer on the table.
So here it is, the very best advice you’ll ever get on the issue of how to win back your lover: don’t do anything. Not at first. Let the chips and the tears fall where they may. Let the dust settle and the smoke to clear, then do damage control. Time is the great neutralizer of misplaced emotions, the fatal knee-jerk reaction, the vengeful thing that becomes the toothpaste you can’t put back in the tube. Just slink away and lick your wounds for a while, do what you have to do to heal thyself, and plan your resurrection strategy once your hormones have returned to the normal zone.
One thing is certain: things will look different with the passage of time. How much time, no one can say. But they will. And when they do, you may be surprised what you’re able to see in the light of a new day.