The Case of The Ex

1 Sep

What do you do when your ex won’t stay away?

Not these two again...

I’ve held off on writing about this for a while because I firmly believe in the law of attraction: that whatever you focus on is what will be attracted to you. I have a few exes who, try as I might, I cannot shake them (or maybe it’s them who can’t shake me? hmm). In my younger years my solution for an old boyfriend was to replace him with a newer, shinier one but do I need to explain how problematic this line of thinking is? I didn’t think so.

After nursing my wounds from a bad relationship or toxic friendship I often make a vow to myself to be kinder, nicer, more compassionate to myself than the dearly departed were. It’s a vicious cycle that I have fought myself on for years and it goes something like this: make vow to be nice to self –> make progress –> get sidetracked/back slide into negative behavior –> pain –> back to square one. I want to touch on the step smack dab in the middle – getting sidetracked.

Let’s use a real scenario: you’re on minding your business one day and your phone goes off. Its an text or email from your ex – what do you do? I’ll be honest, on a good day I can ignore a message and keep it trucking. On a day where I’m not my best I might engage them but that never ends well. Or maybe you’re the one who is acting as the initiator, sending messages and  maintaining contact with your ex. Opening the door for your ex to communicate with you is never a good idea. I have my theories on why exes come back but this Madame Noire post explains them better than I can. Which brings me to my first point:

Stop Entertaining

Communication is 50 percent what you say and 50 percent what you dont say. In other words, that simple ‘hey, how are you?’ is never that simple. Your ex is an ex for a reason and depending on when you broke up usually no communication is for the best. You might be tempted to reply to that text but think about what it really means. You’ll be waiting by the phone for their reply, reading into the conversation way more than necessary and pretty much allowing this person to rent space in your head.

Distract Yourself

Work and working out are two of my coping mechanisms. When life gets rough I bury myself in work and torture myself with new and creative workouts. Ok maybe the word ‘torture’ isn’t the best descriptor but if my muscles are aching I don’t have time to think about my ex. The time I’ve spent pining over a failed relationship have never brought me anything but a headache. Putting that time to good use on a project or at the gym will always benefit you. Always. I thought I’d never say this but, my mom was right, time really is the best medicine.

Call for Reinforcements

If you’ve put in those extra hours at work, did all you could on the treadmill and you still can’t shake the feeling to call your ex then its time to call for help. Those friends who helped you during your breakup should be on speed dial because a friend who helped you through the break up will not want you to go down that road again. This is not the time to gloss over details or conjure up theories about the hidden meaning of the message he sent. Keep it real with your friends and ask that they do the same for you.

I don’t have all the answers. Writing this post is as therapuetic for me as it is for those of you reading it. What I can say is that usually communicating with my exes came from a place that remembered the good times of our relationship. I won’t lie – I can be a sucker for love. I get to thinking about the good ol days, looking at pictures, listening to some Jill Scott and BAM I’m actually giving the relationship a second chance. It happens to the best of us. What I’ve learned about myself over the years is while I can feel nostalgic for good times with an ex, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was meant to be (Belle touches on this in her book). If you go fishing for reasons to get back together I guarantee you will find at least one that makes sense to you.

The bottom line is this: someone out there is better for you than your ex and keeping in touch with your ex could be keeping you from meeting them. Think about it: how can you get a new living room set if you’re holding on to the old one?

-Nikki B.

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