Nobody compares to my ex
My last post was about why some people find partners easier than others and focused on giving you some insight into why and when it does work. I would like to continue writing on this topic by taking a closer look at the opposite situation – what happens when it’s not happening? Today’s post talks about one of the culprits: comparing new/potential partners with an ex who made a significant impact on our life.
No matter how appealing it is to make your single days shorter, it is usually not a good thing to just jump from one relationship straight into another. More often than not, we are not ready to date someone new straight away – especially after a long and intense relationship. Our hearts need time to heal, and our minds need time to think about what happened, why it happened – and what we want to do differently next time to avoid the same outcome.
When we are in a relationship we often neglect our individual needs for the sake of our needs as a couple, so spending time alone can be good since it means more focus on yourself – your needs, desires, passions, and interests. It gives you space to listen to your own voice without interference, get to know yourself better, explore who you are and eventually – what you want from a relationship. All that is not only good for you as a person, but will also help you choose your next partner wiser. The more we know ourselves, the easier it is to recognise what we want and need from a partner.
If you are the one who ended the relationship, and you did not want to end it – it is only normal and natural that you have feelings for your ex for a period of time after the break-up. While you are in that “rebound zone” you will probably not be able to fall in love with someone new. You might be tempted, especially if you meet someone interesting and attractive, but if you are driven by a wish to stop feeling lonely and hope that this new person will make you stop wanting your ex back – you are motivated primarily by running away from heartbreak. Which means it most likely won’t work, since our feelings cannot change “on demand”.
Even if you are not sure you want your ex back, as long as you still think he/she is the best person for you, someone who truly knows you, understands you, gets you, connects with you… that puts them on a pedestal that this new person cannot even hope to reach. Since you have no history together, they have absolutely no leverage, and will not be able to successfully capture your attention and your heart. Nevertheless, you might decide to start seeing the new person while you are still in love with your previous partner. It might give you some satisfaction, but more times than not you will not be very happy in a new relationship – and will spend most of your time wishing you were somewhere else. With someone else.
In most cases, I would say, it is good to be alone between serious relationships. But how long? It is hard to come up with a formula – every person and situation is different. But a good indicator you are ready to start anew is when you feel you have not just physically but also emotionally broken up with your previous partner, meaning you don’t have romantic feelings for them any more.
Sometimes, even though enough time has passed, and you know you don’t want to go back, you still keep comparing your new partners to your ex. You know you should move on, but somehow every new person you meet seems to lack something compared to your old flame. If that happens for a while, you might even conclude you missed your one chance of true love, and you will never find anyone who will love you and understand you like your ex. He/she was so great for you – and now you will have to settle for something less.
Those thoughts are simply not true – but they can be very powerful in keeping us in this “my ex is the best” limbo. Even if you are aware they are totally irrational, and that you can meet someone who can be as good or even better match for you – sometimes you just can’t believe it until you see it. But the catch is – it probably won’t happen until you stop glorifying your ex. So what can you do to make him/her finally go away?
First, go back and think about what it is that your ex had that is really so special, that nobody else on this planet can possibly have. Write it down. When it’s there in black and white, it often seems much more ridiculous. Ask yourself: how can I be sure he/she is the only one who has those qualities? Have I met every single person living on this planet? Can I safely say that I don’t know anyone else who has at least some of those features? Most likely you do, so – is it realistic to think that nobody else has them all?
If you are still not convinced that your ex is just one of many people who could fit you – ask yourself this: is it possible that this one person is really the best one out there for me? If I can’t meet someone like them, could it be that a different person meets my needs and desires in the same, or even better way? Could it be that maybe I don’t know exactly how happy I could be with someone else – and that is why I think what I had before was the only real thing?
These are just some of the questions that can help you. Try coming up with some more: the way to do succeed at this is to systematically sabotage your beliefs which are based on your feelings about reality, and not on reality itself. You have to gradually convince yourself – since you are the one who is living in this “ex-bubble”, you are the one who has to break out of it. Our hearts can be so irrational – which can be good sometimes, but it is not helping you now. So if you want to change that – start applying some logic to those emotion-driven thoughts. Your beliefs about your ex are just generalisations, and once you fully understand that, you will make space in your heart – and your life, for someone new and equally, if not more wonderful than your ex.
LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS
I am sure you had that one special partner that at some point you thought you let go for no reason and regretted it. Maybe you are still regretting it. What is/was the biggest obstacle to move on? Leave a comment below!