Breakups are tough. Breaking up, while still having feelings for your partner is A LOT TOUGHER. The good news, though, is that you’re not alone. As a dating coach, one of the questions that keeps popping up, is “How to move on from an ex?”. The short answer to the “How to move on from an ex?” question is this, it’s a process; one that requires courage and a little bit of self-digging.
1. Identify Your Fixation
First thing that you need to do, is to become aware of your thought process regarding your ex or whoever it is you’re currently fixated on. Write down your thoughts (not feelings) as to why you feel the way that you do. It could be that he made big promises to you at the beginning? he listened to you? Told you all the things that you wanted and needed to hear? etc.
2. Remember the Ending
Now that you have the reasons for your fixation, it’s time to question them. Our minds play tricks on us all the time, and sometimes, especially after we lose someone, we tend to exaggerate the good things and forget the bad. In order to undo this damage, you need to force yourself to remember how and why the relationship ended. If you ended the relationship, then write down all the reasons why you felt the urge to put an end to it. If he ended the relationship, then list all the things that were wrong in this relationship or that you were unhappy with but still kept going, hoping that things will turn around. Now, I want you to really read that list, not skim through it, because those are the things that you do not want in a future relationship.
3. Identify Your Pattern
Just like everything else, in love and relationships, we all have a pattern or a type that we keep falling for over and over again. While there are healthy patterns out there, some unhealthy ones keep us stuck in a loop, repeating the same mistake over and over again. The only way we could break that cycle is by becoming aware of it. Think about your pattern and try to identify it. It could be that you always fall for emotionally unavailable men, or that you settle for love crumbs or that you’re always trying to get the attention of those who do not like you.
4. Identify the Root Cause
Fixation on someone or something does not happen accidently, it comes from a deep-rooted and not-so-pleasant experience that was never dealt with. Your pattern in love (the one that you’ve just identified) is your biggest clue as to what has caused you to be stuck in this cycle of heartbreak. Some adults unconsciously seek to fix an early dysfunctional relationship that they had with a caregiver. The dynamics of the relationship you’re currently fixated on is probably a lot like this old dysfunctional relationship, and this might be your younger self’s attempt to fix that old wound. So, the answer to why you keep doing this over and over again is because this situation is familiar.
The answer to why you keep doing this over and over again is because this situation is familiar.
5. Have A Conversation
Experiences that we had when we were young, especially those with caregivers, tend to shape us more than we would like to acknowledge. Just read attachment theory and you’d know! Not that we’re implying that you visit your now-80-year-old mother or father and throw that load on them. Instead, you need to reconnect with your younger self, that part of you that was wounded early on in life and is now trying desperately to heal by clinging to people who remind you both of those dynamics. To do that, you need a have a 3-part conversation with your younger self;
- Acknowledge: You need to acknowledge your younger self’s wound, her feelings and her reactions (why she is trying to fix that old relationship)
- Confirm the issue and confirm that the damage done can not be undone by dating the same type of people. Build that trust between your adult self and your younger self. Promise her that you’ll do things differently
- Educate: This is not a one-time conversation. You’ll need to have this conversation over and over again with your younger self.
6. Find A Healthy Distraction
When you start missing this bad-for-you guy, know that this is your younger self being needy, have that conversation with her again and find yourself a healthy distraction.
- Call a friend
- Watch a YouTube video
- Go for a walk
When we are trying to figure out a way to get what we want from an unhealthy place, we rationalize, cope and intellectualize.
– Marni Battista
Yes, moving on from your ex is going to be a process. It’s going to be uncomfortable.
- To have that life that is beyond your wildest dreams, you have to be courageous and you have to solve the actual problem.
- Your problem isn’t about a guy, it’s about loving yourself enough and healing that part of you.
When you start to fill that need up yourself, when you start to feel whole again, when you’re not constantly searching for that same relationship over and over again trying to heal an old wound, you’re going to date from a different place and you’ll attract the right partner for you.