Your heart will go on.
Nothing is quite as heartbreaking as having the love of your life slip through your grasp like so many grains of sand. We have a mountain of literature spanning nearly our entire species that can attest to that.
Why is it so heartbreaking? It's not because of unrequited love, but love that couldn't be. Love that fades or goes unreturned is common to the human condition. We accept it as a part of the terms and conditions of life.
It's because Romeo and Juliet's love desired only to grow, yet outside forces conspired against it. And that's tragically unacceptable to us.
Arguably the most difficult goal to accomplish in life is to find true love. Most of us will fail. To see such a rare and beautiful occurrence be squelched by the hands of fate is soul-crushing. It's unfair.
And that's certainly how you're feeling if you've had your true love plucked from your life prematurely. But here's how you can heal:
1. Take a good, long break from love.
If you've lost the love of your life, you're going to need one thing more than anything else: time. You've just suffered two of the most emotionally challenging ordeals a person can experience all at once: losing a loved one and losing love itself.
This is one of those moments where you're going to come out the other side a different person. You shouldn't be tinkering with your life until you see who that person is.
2. Seek the support of your partner's friends and family.
Your best friends and family will surely be there for you to lean on, but they can only give you sympathy when what you really need is empathy.
Your partner's friends and family are likely the only ones that are as big a part of his life as you are. And as such, can provide the most support. And the truth is, they probably need you, too.
3. Remember that they want you to move on.
True love isn't about ownership or possession. We use phrases like "We belong to each other," but pure, honest love is the desire for another person's happiness, no matter the cost.
4. It's OK to carry them in your heart forever.
Moving on doesn't mean letting go. We carry the memories of our most cherished loved ones with us always, and a romantic partner is no different. The difference is, we don't get a new grandma when ours passes away.
You might feel like you're "replacing" your new partner, or even like you're "cheating" on them. Your new partner may feel like he's competing with the memory of your old lover.
The hard part is moving your former partner from the romantic part of your mind to the more platonic love part where friends and family reside. In other words, transitioning from being in love with them to simply loving them.
When you've accomplished that, only then will you have room in your heart to be in love with someone else. And all of that is OK.
5. Don't compare every new partner to your lost love.
It's OK to desire the same or similar traits in a new partner. For example, if you loved that he was witty and a great cook, you're doing no harm in looking for those characteristics in another person. What you can't do is constantly compare the new guy's reactions or words to the memory of your former partner.
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, "There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice." Thinking, "He would've laughed at this joke," or, "He definitely would've bought me flowers" is unrealistic at best and destructive at worst.
You're turning differences into negatives when they aren't necessarily so. The things we often love most about our partners are those tiny idiosyncrasies that make them truly unique, and you'd be robbing yourself of that joy.
Plus, you may make him feel like he's competing with the memory of your former partner. It's an unwinnable battle for the both of you.
6. Don't be afraid to love again.
It's hard to open yourself up after being hurt, and there's arguably no greater pain in the course of love than the passing of your partner. To say it will take courage is an understatement. It requires great strength to love, even in the best of circumstances.
But the reward is to earn the one thing your former partner wanted for you all along: to be happy. Helping them achieve their main goal they had while they were alive seems like a pretty decent way to honor their memory.