Can’t Forget Your Ex? This May Be Why.

Individual Counseling Insights brought to you by California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Looking for a long-term relationship? If so, then it’s almost inevitable that you will experience breakups as you search for someone to settle down with. Although emotionally painful, a breakup is generally something people deal with, healing and growing in the process.

A man feeling mournful

What happens though, when you simply can’t move on, when you’re stuck brooding over the loss and finding that it affects your day-to-day life? That’s when it’s time to reflect on the possible reasons it’s so difficult to accept. Writing for Psychology Today, Roxy Zarrabi, Psy.D. says “There is no exact timeframe for healing from a breakup, which can sometimes be the toughest part. The passage of time does help, but it is not the panacea it’s often made out to be. For some people, time helps, and others find themselves unable to move on months or even years after a breakup.” With that in mind, she offers 10 situations that may be preventing you from healing and getting on with finding a suitable person for a fulfilling relationship.

“You have hope that you can reconcile.” Hope is wonderful unless it’s misplaced. Is there really a good chance you’re going to reconcile? Should you?

“You didn’t get the closure you were seeking.” In this digital age, it’s sad to say that some people break up by email or text. This deprives you of the opportunity to have a true conversation, which is often they key to closure. If this is the case, says Zarrabi, then “Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to rely on another person for closure. You can write your ex a goodbye letter and rip it up or burn it, or you can try the empty chair technique where you pretend they are sitting in a chair across from you and say all the things you didn’t get a chance to.”

“You have a skewed perception of your ex.” It’s often hard to be objective about an ex but it’s worth the effort. Are you remembering the good times and ignoring contentious issues? Time to step back and look at both sides.

“Your ex represented an important first for you.” “Firsts” have a special place in our hearts. That’s ok. Just realize that that’s the case.

“You haven’t allowed yourself to grieve.” Losing a relationship can be nearly as traumatic as the death of a loved one. Both require grieving. Grief will patiently wait for you. If you haven’t grieved, it’s time to confront your loss — and the accompanying feelings — head on.

You haven’t given other people a chance.” This is hard to do if you’re holding on to hope of a reconciliation. Take it one step at a time.

“You’re drawn to the same type of partner repeatedly, and your ex fell into that category.” This is so complex that if you suspect this is true of your relationships, then it may be time for professional counseling.

“You saw a long-term future with this person.” Losing a love is one thing. Losing the hopes and dreams you had for the future is another. This will take time to heal.

“You’re still in contact with your ex and/or keeping tabs on them through social media.” This is another new phenomenon of the digital age, and not a particularly good one. Think about cutting off all contact — period.

“You experienced an identity loss in the relationship.” This is another complex issue that may require professional counseling. If this hits home for you, or for any of the issues listed above, consider giving us a call to discuss the advisability of professional counseling.