Getting over her isn’t easy

I met the most beautiful woman I've ever seen about 10 months ago and instantly fell in love with her. She was, again, gorgeous, but also quirky, smart, passionate, empathetic, sensitive, and caring. She was also engaged.

I'm sure she could tell I was taken with her, and I could tell that she was at least intrigued by me, as well. I'm not sure to what extent she was interested, but she did clearly flirt with me and push me to make a move. I never did.

I don't really understand how it could happen that she could be engaged to someone and trying to pursue anything with a person besides her fiancé. I jumped on the chance to move far, far away from her, but even six months after I saw her last, I think about her constantly. I've tried dating, but I just end up disappointed that whoever I'm with isn't her. I feel like I've made a terrible mistake. I'm a hopeless romantic, but I also don't want to make a complete idiot of myself or end up hurt. How should I move forward? How can I move on? I realize this sounds stupid and immature, but it's tearing me up.

– Hopeless

It's not uncommon to fall for someone who's in a relationship. It's also not uncommon for someone in a relationship to enjoy receiving attention from someone new. Your situation is disappointing, but it won't affect you forever. There are many things you can do to become less hopeless. Here are a few first steps:

1. Think about what you didn't have with this woman. There was no physical relationship. You were never her first priority.If you focus on what was missing, you'll get a better sense of reality and what you're looking for from other people.

2. Stop inserting her into your narrative. Instead of saying, "I'm not going to date this new person because she's not as great as my unrequited love," say, "I'm not going to date this person – because I wasn't into her." Instead of defining where you live as a place that's far from the woman you left behind, think of it as your new home – full stop. She is not the reason or basis of comparison for every decision you make.

3. Manage your expectations for first dates. Most of them are weird and awkward, but that doesn’t mean a third or fourth date won't be fantastic. You have to give people a chance to show you who they really are. The best way to get hopeful about someone new is to keep seeing them.

– Meredith

Readers? How can the letter writer get over her?