“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you CHOSE your life, you didn’t SETTLE for it.”
~ Mandy Hale
Navigating your feelings about an ex is really challenging!
It is important to recognize that all sorts of feelings can live together long after a breakup as you try to rectify the logical and emotional sides of yourself.
When you are intimate with a person (emotionally or sexually), a bond begins to form between the two of you.
This is a biologically driven mechanism that, in caveman times, was intended to promote survival. After awhile, problems may start to arise in the relationship and a breakup may occur, but that bond may linger.
This is where things get confusing – how can you still have feelings for them and know that you are not good together?
Here are some points that might be helpful.
1. Validate Yourself
What you are feeling is perfectly normal! Sometimes it helps to remind yourself, “of course I have feelings for them still!” When we feel validated, we don’t get stuck on the “why?” part of the situation, but instead we can use that time and energy to move forward with our next steps. When we feel validated, we are less apt to make an impulsive decision.
A good way to connect heart to mind is to put pen to paper. Let yourself free write about what you are feeling and see what comes up. A good journaling prompt is, “If I am being perfectly honest, I feel….”.
3. Leave Sex Out of It
If you are trying to figure out your feelings, intimacy will complicate that. Your pleasure center in your brain is going to do whatever it can to feel good, bypassing all of that logic and reason that tells you “we’re no good for each other”.
When you are taking care of yourself, there is less likelihood that you will rely on others for self-esteem and affirmation. When you start to have feelings for your ex, a good question to ask yourself is “do I miss them or do I just want to feel better about myself?” Don’t settle for the “quick fix”. You are worth more than that!
Jena Plummer, LCMHC, LCASA, NCC, MA – www.littleseedcounseling.com
Love is a two-pronged proposition.
On the one hand it’s intensely emotional, probably more so than any emotion except maybe hate. It’s an emotion that can often be accurately described as delusional. You imbue the love object with almost magical qualities because the experience feels so magical. He is a sexual god.
Everything is right with the world and he can do no wrong.
You experience an uncanny ability to completely miss or minimize any of his defects. Chewing with his mouth open is so cute. Failure to pay his bills is just an oversight because he is too talented for the mundanities of everyday life.
In short he is perfect. Until he isn’t.
I have often counseled women to wait to commit until the passions that come with falling in love dies down enough to be able to think and evaluate.
You have to be able to see him for who he actually is to have a chance at creating a lasting relationship.
So if you haven’t waited and you find yourself with someone unsuitable, you may make the decision to leave. This decision is sometimes easy because in seeing him clearly, you lose the love. But sometimes some of the emotions remain. Although he isn’t a suitable life partner, he could still be really charming and fun.
Many years ago I had a partner who was perfect except for one little thing- he gambled.
That little thing led to the kind of problems that I didn’t want to live with. So he had to go. But I missed him. He was handsome, funny, and really smart. He was even tidy and liked to cook. He was almost perfect, except that he wasn’t. I missed him for a long time.
The decision to leave him was made with my head, not my heart.
It is the head that is best equipped to evaluate the suitability of a relationship. It’s also the head that tells you when it’s time to get out. However, the heart doesn’t necessarily agree with that decision.
When the head and the heart are in sync, it’s a lot easier.
When the two are at odds, it’s harder, and when you do make the decision to leave you will probably have emotional residue. In short you will probably miss him.
I think eventually time helps us get over relationships.
It’s probably easier if you don’t see him, but that’s your call. Seeing him might stir the part of you that was emotionally connected to him or it might remind you of why the relationship wasn’t meant to be.
Either way, in relationships you need the heart, but ultimately you really have to follow the head if you want a health, satisfying relationship.
Sally LeBoy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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