When the heart and emotions are at stake a lot of our hidden and vulnerable emotions get triggered. This is so with break ups. Breaking up is hard. Straight up.
My intention for this particular blog is to help you settle some of the hard emotions that come along with a break up. The pain that a loss of a love connection can trigger can be so utterly uncomfortable. My hope is for these words to help ease some difficult feelings and provide you with some key insight so you can work through your emotions around your particular heart ache.
Below is a Q & A to some common questions that can come up when we’re working through our feelings around a past love.
What does it mean if I can’t get an ex out of my mind?
It means you invested yourself and your time. It means you cared. If you can't get an ex out of your mind, be careful about jumping into a story around what your emotions mean. For example, when you attach meanings such as, “I’m not over him/her” or “I’’ll never move on,” your feelings of discomfort and loss will be more intense. The story that we put to why we are feeling specific emotions is more the guiding factor in where our mind frame lies. Allow yourself to think of an ex if that’s what’s happening. Think about it and allow your feelings to process through. Allowing yourself to think about a past relationship vs. blacking it out of your mind will encourage and help you to move through your healing process.
4 Reasons Why You Could Still Be Thinking About Your Ex
1. Many times we're thinking of our ex because of our own unresolved issues that the breakup is triggering.
I see this so much with my clients struggling to cope with a break up. They become fixated on their ex. Instead of talking about themselves in their therapy session, they’re strictly talking about their ex. It’s always a red flag for me in the room when after an hour with a client I know much more about their ex then them. This usually points to some sort of a co-dependent dynamic within a relationship that was developed. Switching the focus of your energy back to YOU is a key step toward rediscovering your grounding and sense of self after a relationship ends.
2. We’re thinking about what could have been, rather than what actually was.
Whenever we’re seeing something through “rose colored glasses,” we’re not seeing the truth of the factual situation. The issue with this line of thinking is that it creates a false story about our past romance. We can begin to idealize our ex and start believing that "we blew" our chances. Putting our ex partner on a pedestal is a sure fire way to create more longing, pain and a false interpretation of what was. See it straight babes.
3. We’re trying to keep up with the Jones’s
Societal expectations can absolutely be playing into a more exaggerated feeling of loss when a relationship ends. As humans, we naturally tend to gravitate toward what others are doing. Therefore, if our social circle is filled with couples, we might think about our ex more out of loneliness vs. because our ex was the "right" match for us. It's important to do your best to ditch a timeline when it comes to love. Love shows up when it wants too. It shows up best when you’ve surrendered who it’s going to be, when it’s going to happen and how it's going to look.
4. You’re making it about them when it’s about you
How we deal with break ups and how we cope with our past has everything to do with our ability to let go and move forward in a healthy way. This can be a hard lesson for some of us. Realizing that people only have the amount of power over us that we give them can be a freeing way to think about past love connections. It happened, we learned, we loved. This is the process of life. Stay within your emotions and your process of working through a break up. Your feelings of loss and grief will be able to process through in a more flow state if you’re mindful to stay in your feelings not your ex’s.
Why can't we get an Ex out of our mind when it's been months or even years?
The relationships in our lives, especially impactful love connections, leave powerful impressions. Thinking about an ex doesn't mean anything negative unless you attach a meaning too it that doesn't serve you. For example, believing that it's "wrong" to think about a person whom you cared for and spent significant time with will increase your struggle to move forward.
To say it simply, learning to allow yourself to think of your ex is the exact way that you will think of them less.
Sort of counter intuitive, right? Let me explain. Famous psychologist, Carl Jung coined: “Whatever you resist persists.” When we convince ourselves that thinking about our ex means that we're not over them, we're creating a false story that’s keeping us stuck. Perhaps we’ll always think of an ex from time to time. Why is that negative? It doesn’t need to be. It’s only an issue if your mind creates it to be one. Remember that you control what your thoughts mean.
Is it normal to miss your ex?
Hell yes it’s normal. It’s very normal to have feelings of longing for someone you shared intimate and quality time with.
The bottom line is: Do not judge your process. So many of us make up stories as to "what it means" when we have an emotion. Thinking about an ex is normal, especially when you're still processing the relationship through. Whether a relationship was positive or negative; it existed and happened. If we're healthy individuals, we’ll spend time working through our emotions around the broken relationship in order to heal and move on.
If you're thinking about your ex so much that you can't focus or move forward within your life, it’s important to do the self care and seek the appropriate level of help, which might mean professional, to assist you in processing your past break up.
What should you do when you can't get your ex out of your mind?
Look at other areas of your life that you can be avoiding and not tending too because you’re thinking about your ex. Sometimes we focus on our past in order to avoid the present.
Realize that if you're struggling with chronic thoughts of another, it's usually pointing more toward an imbalance within yourself.
If your excessive thoughts persist about an ex, it might be beneficial to seek professional assistance. If that's too expensive or not an option for you, they’re great podcasts, u tube channels, books and other forms of tools to help you process through your feelings about a past love that are totally free and accessible.
Should I get back together with an ex?
First things first; It takes two to tango, meaning both individuals have to have the same desire and want for reconnection. If both parties of a past relationship are feeling the desire to rekindle, given that this was a healthy past relationship, a first step toward reconnection would be to have a conversation. Where that conversation goes, nobody could script or predict. Allowing yourself to spend some time to be truthful with yourself around your consideration of rekindling a past flame is important. Make sure that your intentions are pure and your want to get back together is for the "right" reasons. Take your time to evaluate this. Realize that it's not all up to you to "make" a relationship happen. Things that are meant to be have a funny way of working out. Trust this, and most importantly, trust life.
*Image above was taken by Amy Lynn Bjornson, San Diego based Wedding & Lifestyle photographer