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What to Do When You Can’t Forget About Him

By Donna Marie Todd July 15, 2022 Mindset

Women are more invested in their relationships than men, on average. So, it makes sense that we would hurt more when our man leaves us or dies. Many are the times I’ve been almost haunted by memories of my husband, torn apart by his absence.

The Memories Are What Get You

These hauntings are almost always related to a memory. (To make things worse, it’s usually a good memory.) For instance, my husband’s birthday was two weekends ago. I just happened to be in the grocery store.

When I wandered into the cake aisle, I looked at all the offerings: chocolate, lemon, plain old white, and then went to the aisle where they keep the key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk and graham cracker crusts.


Because my man didn’t like birthday cake, he wanted a key lime pie with homemade whipped cream for his birthday. So, I bought all the stuff to bake the pie, piled it high with whipped cream, put sparklers on top instead of candles because he loved fireworks, and wept over every piece.

You Can’t Stop Thinking About Him

One memory leads to another, which leads to another, and before you know it, he’s all you can think about. No matter how long it’s been, the memories are still there, sabotaging your happiness and self-esteem.

Thoughts of him invade every corner of your sanity, and it feels like he’s all you will ever think about. Oh my. Welcome to your grief at work.

But It’s Really Not About Him

This is where things get interesting. We grieve that exit or that death for the first few weeks or months. Of course we do! We loved them deeply and the loss hurts, badly! But after a few months, you’ve processed all that. The hauntings you’re having now aren’t about them. They’re about you.

It’s About What You Lost When You Lost Him

You see, when we’re in relationship, we hardwire routines and hopes and dreams into our nervous system. Like a spider spinning a silken web, we spin one dream to another, and throw a lifeline around a routine that gives us hope that more of our dreams will come true with our man.

So now that he’s gone, what you’re really missing is your dreams. Losing a man is painful but losing your own dreams that were spun around that man and that relationship is devastating. So much so, it can easily become debilitating if you don’t take the right steps to disengage from it.

It Helps to Name What You Lost

Lists are useful. We use them at the grocery store so we don’t buy the butter and forget the bread. Lists of dashed dreams are useful, too. They help you clean out your mental closet and get clear on what’s happening in your emotional strata.

In your subconscious mind, there is a tape playing your hopes and dreams 24/7. It sounds like this: “I deserved that trip to the Bahamas… we were going to get season basketball tickets… I wonder if that new restaurant he promised to take me to is any good…”

So, when you hear this tape playing, get out a pen and paper and write down what it says. Make sure you have plenty of room because, trust me, there are lots of broken dreams in there.

You Need a Plan

Once you’ve got your list, take a few deep breaths to release the stress associated with this activity. Exhale through pursed lips because it’s good for your heart and blood pressure, which probably increased as you made the list.

Now look at the list and pick one thing you can actualize all by yourself and make a plan to do it!

For instance, maybe you have a girlfriend who would also like to take a cruise to the Bahamas, and you could share a cabin together. Have cocktails in the lounge, and buy tropical drinks at a tiny local bar when you make land for a day.

Give Yourself What He Didn’t or Couldn’t

Not all these hopes and dreams have to stay broken! You can give yourself the things that he was supposed to. It’s really not that hard. You’ve already got a list!

Taking charge of your own happiness by giving yourself the things you want and need is a very powerful thing.

When you take good care of yourself, give yourself special “gifts” every now and then, and treat yourself as a VIP Princess, life will get really fun again! You don’t need him to do that. You just need a list and a plan. And, maybe a girlfriend that likes to go on the lam!

How often do you remember your deceased husband? How often do you mourn over a divorce that wasn’t supposed to happen? What happens to you when those memories float out and fill your mind? How do you battle the negative emotions? Which activities on your list of dreams can you achieve on your own? For which ones would you need a girlfriend? Let’s have a conversation and make those memories easier on you.

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The Author

Donna Marie Todd is a storyteller and keynote speaker. The author of “Navigating Loss: A Survival Guide for the Newly Widowed,” she is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist® who offers online healing programs, blogs, and podcasts. Learn more at and

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