It's been months, maybe even years. You're in a new relationship... and yet... You keep thinking about your ex! WHY?
Well, there are a number of reasons for this and it doesn't necessarily mean your new relationship is doomed.
Let's talk about some of the common reasons why you're still hung up thinking about an ex.
You Never Got "Closure"
When a relationship ends, there are often unresolved issues, conflicts, or unfinished business still left on the table. In these moments, we'll often think or say things like...
"You know, we just never got closure." or "There was so much left unsaid."
Yes, we need closure. But our critical error in this process is thinking that "closure" has anything to do with the other person.
In reality, the only person you need for closure is YOU.
Let's discuss how by talking about the two things that we're typically seeking when we're looking for closure.
ONE. We're often stuck in our frustration of not expressing all the things that we wanted to say.
We want an opportunity to say, no to scream, "Dude! This ended because of you! Because of all of the insane things that you did that I just sat there and took!"
But here's the thing.
Yelling at them does nothing for you. You're still going to be left with all of your leftover anger and resentment. On top of that, if they're as big of a jerk as you remember them to be, nothing you say will matter to them anyway. In fact, they'll likely just brush off or deny everything you say, thus making you that much more angry.
TWO. We're often stuck because we want to hear what we did wrong. We want an explanation, "Why did it end?"
When it comes to "why did it end." What could they possibly say that would make you feel better?
Let's say they list out every single thing you did wrong in the relationship, is that going to truly help you grow, or just make you feel like shit? What if they say, "it wasn't you, it was me?" Wouldn't that just end up driving you even more crazy?
Your closure lies within yourself.
Even if they were a jerk, we must accept that we chose that relationship for a reason. Your closure comes in figuring out WHY.
And when it comes to "why did it end?" You can provide closure for yourself here with the right knowledge and understanding.
Both of these questions are things that we help clients to understand and resolve within our coaching program Crystal Clarity Online.
Next, let's talk about grief and loss.
Mourning the Relationship
Sometimes you might keep thinking about your ex because you never gave yourself time to mourn the loss of the relationship.
The end of a relationship can result in feelings of grief and loss that are similar to the process of losing a loved one. We might think about our exes as a way of processing emotions and adjusting to our life without them.
This is completely natural. Necessary even.
When we move from one relationship to the next without giving ourselves time to process the loss of a relationship, we kick our can of grieving down the road.
This is not only unfair to the person in our next relationship, it's not fair to ourselves either. Because it's difficult to give your next relationship the attention it deserves when your mind is still stuck processing and grieving over the past.
Along these same lines, there's the emotional attachment.
Emotional Attachment to Your Ex
Another reason you keep thinking about your ex is because of your emotional attachment to them. Right after your relationship ends, your body is still flooded with chemicals. All of the pain and feel-good chemicals of love are still in your mind and body.
One of the biggest mistakes that we make is entering another relationship without giving ourselves time for our bodies to get back to a state of chemical balance.
At a minimum, this is 30 days. But depending on the relationship, it can take longer. Again, moving on to date another person too quickly means that we're going to pull our prior emotional attachment into the next relationship.
Just like grieving the loss of our relationship, we also need to give our mind and body time to reset from the emotional attachment of our prior relationship.
Attachment Bonds with Your Ex
Ok, this is a big one.
You'll often think back to the "euphoric" highs of your relationship with your ex because it triggered your attachment wounds. In fact, if you're currently in a healthy relationship, you might feel as though your current relationship is boring or lacks excitement.
In our coaching program Crystal Clarity Online, one of our major focuses is to help clients understand the nature of healthy versus unhealthy relationship dynamics. We want our clients to choose relationships based on their values rather than based on their past pains.
Want to know why?
Because somewhere around 80% of the romantic relationships we create are based on our attachment wounds.
Meaning that feeling of excitement and euphoria, it's not "chemistry." It's actually your old attachment wounds that are coming to the surface and giving you a sense of "familiarity" within a new relationship. Put another way, this person standing in front of you is subconsciously reminding you of your childhood experiences. Only you're not interpreting it this way.
When new relationships complement our attachment wounds it feels like fate or that it was "meant to be." We feel like this other person completes us or fills our gaps.
As we step into the relationship, we jump into an unhealthy dynamic filled with incredible highs followed by equally as incredible lows. The emotional rollercoaster ride is creating a chemical cocktail that's influencing you just like a drug addiction.
This means that when you finally end the relationship, you'll not only go through a period of withdrawal, but you'll also crave or even miss that past relationship. You might even compare it to your current relationship and think that this new relationship just, "lacks passion and excitement."
But your new relationship isn't boring. It doesn't lack chemistry. It's simply healthy.
When you miss your ex because of the excitement and highs of the relationship, you must remind yourself that those highs were the result of a toxic relationship dynamic.
There's nothing healthy to be had there.
Nostalgia and Reminiscing
There's also the possibility that you're thinking about an ex because it was genuinely a good relationship filled with positive memories.
This is completely natural.
But here's the thing with the past. For some reason, our past is always more interesting, positive, and memorable than our present. This makes the past a terrible comparison to your current relationship.
The reason I say this is that there are two common experiences that will often trigger our nostalgia.
ONE. You do something in your current relationship that reminds you of a positive memory with your ex.
TWO. You're struggling in your current relationship and that's making you think of the past, or even compare your relationship with your ex.
In both cases, we need to allow our memories to remain in our past and here's why...
For some reason, we tend to look back to nostalgic moments with more fondness than we have for present-day experiences. The pain of the past fades, and what's left are memories that always tend to be more fun, interesting, and memorable.
This makes your past relationships a terrible comparison point for your current relationship. Your current relationship should be evaluated on its own merit, not compared to a partial view of an ex.
If your current relationship is by-in-large healthy, then the solution to remaining about an ex is creating new memories with your partner today. You can't compare a relationship with an ex that has a deep history to one that lacks a similar depth of experience. Stay present and work on creating those experiences and watering your current relationship.
If your current relationship is by-in-large unhealthy, you don't need to be reminiscing about positive memories with an ex. You need to be figuring out of the relationship can be repaired or not. In either case, your time and energy need to be in the present rather than thinking about an ex.
It's normal to think about an ex.
But it's also worth studying WHY you might be thinking about that past relationship.
In some cases, your nostalgia will be benign.
But in others, it might just point you to areas of personal healing that are worth a bit of exploration.