Posted by Pascal on May 6, 2020 at 8:45
When you just broke up with someone, you may find yourself constantly thinking about that person. Maybe you are hoping to run into them at the grocery store. You may even be tempted to send them “just a quick text to see how they’re doing”.
While these behaviors do not necessarily help you move on, they are generally accepted as part of the grieving process.
But what happens when it has been weeks, months even, and you are still obsessing over your ex? Why do you sometimes get hung up on past relationships; and is there any way to finally get over your ex?
While it might seem hard, removing your focus from your ex is something that needs to happen. It is a process that will help you grow, become a stronger person, and ready yourself for new, and hopefully better, relationships.
When you have shared a part of your life with someone, a lot of things can remind you of them. Of the relationship you had with that person.
These can act as “triggers” for your brain, which will associate objects, experiences, or sounds to memories of your ex. Perhaps it is a song that you used to dance to with them. Eating a pistachio ice-cream in front of a movie. Or it could be the sound of rain on a quiet afternoon.
Another big reason you might be tempted to reconnect with your ex is boredom. Your mind might drift to thoughts of your past relationship because you have nothing better to do at the moment.
And then there is loneliness. Your previous partner may not have been perfect, maybe you were unhappy in that relationship, but at least you had someone. Someone who knew your likes, your dislikes, and your quirks. Who knew you. And who, most likely, still does. Someone with whom you shared intimacy, your ups and downs, and to whom you could open up. It is normal to miss that.
When digging deeper, there may well be another, more powerful force that makes it hard to forget your ex: change.
Change brings about uncertainty, emotions, and can make you scared and nervous. In the face of an uncertain future, you could be looking for consistency and stability to ease your nerves. Once upon a time, your ex was just that. Stability and consistency.
No wonder more and more people are getting in touch with their exes during the self-isolation and shutdown we are experiencing. Maybe you are one of them.
The familiarity of your past relationship is like an assurance that things will turn out okay. You might seek it, but it only makes it that much harder to get over your ex.
Memories, boredom, loneliness, and uncertainty. There isn’t much you can do about these. How you react, however, is completely in your control.
Here are three strategies to help you:
When looking back on past relationships, it is only human to don rose-tinted glasses and only remember the good bits.
But if you broke up, things were probably not as rosy as you remember them.
If you were the one who ended things, there was a reason you did that. But even if you did not initiate the break-up, there must have been some things that bothered you. Maybe they were indecisive, or passive aggressive.
Try to be objective when looking at the relationship you had with your ex.
Perhaps you are thinking about your ex because something reminded you of them or because you feel lonely. In either case, it is not something you consciously decided.
Nevertheless, the decision to get in touch with them, or to check their Facebook profile and Instagram feed, is up to you.
Being aware that, every once in a while, you might think about your ex, but that it doesn’t mean you should try to get them back, is the first step towards moving on. With time, you will learn to just let these thoughts and feelings exist, and to “ride the wave” of emotions they bring with them. Don’t fight them.
As weeks, months, and years go by, these will become less and less urging. They may never disappear completely; you might never really forget your ex. But they will be totally manageable. If you give it enough time.
Sometimes processing emotions is just too taxing, or you simply don’t have the mental resources to ride the urges without acting upon them. That’s when you need to adapt your strategy.
Finding a distraction might help.
Something to give your mind a rest and recharge. A mechanical activity that takes your mind off things, such as a puzzle, crosswords, or a walk. Social activities like meeting friends, a work-out, or yoga will also help shift your focus from your ex to your self-improvement.
Just don’t drown yourself in these new activities. You are not looking to suppress every emotion you have but use this as a safety valve for when you can’t cope.
While all these tips can set you on track to healing from your past relationship, they are not a recipe to completely forget your ex. You might never really forget them.
And that’s okay.
Every time you resist the urge to contact them, every time you don’t dwell on your past relationship with them, you give yourself some room to heal. A chance to get over your ex and view your time with them, not as an obsession, but as a good thing. A good thing that belongs in your past.
Sure, there will be days where you’ll find yourself obsessing over your ex and unable to think of anything else. Just accept it as part of the process. Going cold turkey is not the goal here. As long as the frequency of these events and their intensity decrease, you are on the right track.
A track that will lead you to more peaceful moments where your ex is not your sole focus. Where you can prepare yourself to meet someone better for you.
Just give yourself some time.
You will get over them.