Breakups are never fun. And the emotional tsunami that follows can feel like a kind of bereavement. We grieve the loss of routines we were used to, a way of identifying ourselves that we liked, or a social circle of other couples that we no longer feel we belong in.
Suddenly, we miss our ex.
Unfortunately, most people ask only one question. "How can I get my ex back?".
Or you might question yourself, negatively. "What is wrong with me? Why can't I do anything right? Why can nobody love me?"
Neither of these approaches are ideal. One leads to obsessively thinking and talking about your ex as you drive your friends mad and put your entire life on hold. The other bulldozes your self-esteem.
So what IS the right question to ask?
"Is this a pattern".
For many of us, missing an ex is not about him or her at all. It’s about a deep-rooted and unconscious behavioural pattern we keep playing out in our lives.
Time to get really honest with yourself.
If this all sounds familiar, you are stuck on repeat. And the truth is, if your ex doesn't come back? Unless you seek some support and do some serious inner work, you'll just go find someone else to do the whole cycle again with.
It goes back to childhood.
Somewhere along the line you had an experience, or experiences, that gave you a ‘core belief’ that you are not good enough to be loved just as you are.
Perhaps you suffered a childhood trauma, like abuse, neglect, or the loss of someone you deeply loved and relied on. Or a parent or caregiver didn't love you just as you are, but left you to 'earn' love by being good, smart, perfect. Or maybe he or she just couldn't love and care for you because of addiction, or mental health issues.
Your child brain, unable to process such difficult experiences, decided that it must mean you deserve to suffer. And so to this day, without realising it, you make choices that feed this hidden belief. Like using broken relationships to cause yourself perpetual pain.
Fun stuff, isn’t it?
Never obsessed on an ex before? And really can sit down and make a list of the positive and negatives about the relationship, and show the positives outweigh the negatives? Great. Maybe a reconciliation makes sense.
But do carefully check in with your thoughts first.
Set a timer for once an hour over the course of a day, and each time it goes off notice what you are thinking. Are you feeling not good enough? Blaming yourself for the relationship falling apart? Telling yourself that your ex is the only person who could ever love someone as 'useless' as you?
If so, then the better thing to reconnect with might not be your ex, but yourself and your lost self-esteem. What are the roots of your low confidence? Who is the real you without a partner? What do you actually love doing? What inspires you? How could you start to take better care of yourself and feel compassion for yourself?
Ready to break the pattern of bad relationships? Or aise your self-esteem so that you are so busy feeling good, you don’t have time to think about your ex? Book a session now with our easy tool that finds a therapist you like, at a price you afford.
Andrea M. Darcy is a mental health and wellbeing expert and mentor, who has done some training in person-centred counselling and coaching. She often writes about relationships. Find her on Instagram @am_darcy