Getting Over Your Ex

Woman sitting on pedestalStill not over your ex? Whether you’re harboring resentment, or still harboring feelings for her, getting over a girlfriend from the past is a crucial step to having a (better) girlfriend in the future.

Simply put, you can’t bring home a shiny, new car if you still have all the old ones parked in the driveway taking up space. If you still have feelings (or negative emotions!) for an ex, those feelings are taking up emotional and mental space, messing up your ability to move on and really connect with new women.

If you do get into a new relationship before getting over your ex(es), then whatever you didn’t deal with before will bubble up to the surface and wreak havoc in this new relationship. I’ve been there; I’ve gotten angry at my current boyfriend over something harmless because it reminded me of an ex.

There are 2 ways that we hang on to an ex; they are two opposite extremes but they are equally harmful to your efforts to get over her and move on.

1. Harboring Resentment or Other Negative Feelings Towards Her

When you still feel anger, sadness, fear, hurt, guilt, or other negative emotions about something that happened in the past, this is a sign of emotional baggage.

Carrying around emotional baggage is not the same thing as feeling an emotion in the present. For example, if someone cuts you off on the freeway, or is rude to you in line at the post office, you might feel angry about it in that moment. That’s not baggage. It becomes baggage when you carry that anger off the freeway, or out of the post office, and days–weeks–months–years, the memory of that incident makes you feel angry all over again.

When you carry baggage into a relationship, you lose your ability to set proper boundaries, because you can’t tell the difference between a healthy boundary and an overreaction caused by your emotional baggage.

For example, image a scenario where a woman was frequently late to meet with her (now ex) boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend found out that the reason for her being late was that she was cheating on him with another guy.

Fast forward to his next relationship; they just started dating and everything’s going great. One night, she gets caught up working on a project and is late to meet him. She forgets to call, and he blows up in her face, accusing her of seeing other men.

Meanwhile, she had a super jealous ex who frequently accused her of cheating, even though she was faithful. What should be a simple misunderstanding has now become a huge relationship conflict–but they aren’t fighting with each other. Rather, they are using each other as sounding boards to have yet another fight with their exes.

This is what happens when you don’t let go of baggage.

Baggage doesn’t come exclusively from exes. It can come from parents, being teased in school, and, well, pretty much anywhere!

Letting go of emotional baggage is not always “a matter of time.” Most of us can still get charged up emotionally from certain childhood memories that happened 10, 20, 40 years ago. Contrary to popular belief, waiting and “giving it time” is NOT the only way or the best way to let go of emotional baggage.

The way to let go of emotional baggage is to learn what you need to learn from this past relationship. And “I learned that all women are crazy bitches who like to play mind games” is not useful–in fact, it will probably make you even more bitter and unable to be successful in the future. I’ve worked with several clients who were angry towards women…and then wondered why women didn’t want to date them. Even if you are angry at only the one woman–that one ex–you are demonstrating to other women that you blame the women you date for your relationship problems.

Make sure that your new insights are ones that empower you to make your next relationship fantastic! For example, maybe your ex walked all over you, so you what you need to learn is how to set stronger boundaries. Even saying, “I need to learn how to choose women who are sane and emotionally stable” is much more empowering than staying a victim to your ex–long after the relationship has ended.

2. Missing Your Ex or Wanting Her Back

If you still want an ex that you know isn’t right for you, then the way to get over her is to remember everything that you find attractive about her.

Wait, what?

I know that’s counter-intuitive. Most people will tell you do the opposite; they will tell you to remember all the bad stuff, the hurt, the pain, how poorly she treated you…

This does NOT get you over an ex. This only creates and strengthens negative emotions towards your ex, which, as we’ve already discussed, is just as harmful as missing her.

Getting over an ex is a lot like breaking an addiction to potato chips. You know you shouldn’t eat the potato chips…think about how unhealthy they are, how sluggish you feel after devouring the whole bag, the guilt, the way it will undermine your efforts to have a better body…

Has that EVER gotten you to stop eating chips? I mean, permanently stop eating chips, stop wanting chips, and crave carrot sticks instead? Yeah, didn’t think so. 🙂

You aren’t over your ex because you are still craving her good qualities in your life. Maybe it was her sense of humor, the way she smiled, or how damn good she was at giving blow jobs (or all of the above!). Trying to tell yourself that you don’t want these things anymore because they come with unhealthy side effects is like trying to convince yourself that you don’t want those salty, tasty, crunchy potato chips….Mmm, chips…

Just like negative emotional baggage, these “cravings” are here because there is something for you to learn. In this case, you are learning what qualities you do want in a partner.

Remember all the good stuff about your ex, and then remind yourself that you can find those qualities in your next girlfriend. A sense of humor, a sexy smile, a certain bedroom skill: your ex does not own the trademark for these qualities. She is not the only source for what you want, just like potato chips are not the only source for salt.

Your past relationships are not mistakes; they are lessons and clues guiding you to having your next relationship be the best one yet.

Comments

  1. Hi Liz
             Just a plus for you.I really enjoy reading your articles because you are so RIGHT ON
     in your articles.I wish the whole world would read your articles.
                                                                                                    Roy

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