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6 Reasons Why You STILL Can't Over Your Ex

If you're still "stuck" in a relationship that's been over for a while now, maybe this will help.

Love & Relationships

Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with someone who is still hung up on her ex. The deets are these—they were together for a couple of years, they broke up because she wanted something more long-term while he didn't, and they've been broken up for about six months now.

Me? I'm the kind of person who is a total advocate for taking as much time as a person needs to heal. At the same time, I don't get how anyone can do that if they don't "clean break" their relationship with someone; even if it's only for a season. Unfortunately, the woman I'm referring to isn't doing that. Not even close. While she's out here thinking that she can't move on from her ex because there is some sort of cosmic connection between the two of them, I'm on the sidelines totally believing that it has more to do with some of the things I'm about to share with you.

When you dated someone that you were really into, just like you didn't fall for them overnight, it takes more than a week to get over them too. But, if you are really struggling to let one of your exes go, something tells me it may have to do with one of the six reasons on this list, sis. Does it?

He Broke Up with You (Not the Other Way Around)

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One particular ex that I have, I wish we had never gotten into a relationship. Not because he isn't a good guy; last I checked, he totally is. It's just that, he has a rule that once he breaks up with someone, the last thing that he wants to be with them is friends. And since he and I were homies first, not having him in my life can be hard, at times. Anyway, when I ran into him once and shared that with him, he rolled his eyes in the most masculine way possible and said, "Shellie, you already know that I don't stay connected to exes…especially you because you are the one who broke up with me."

On the onset, what he said might seem egotistical. And yes, there might be some of that thrown into the mix. But I can sympathize with a lot of where he is coming from. When you're in a relationship with someone, you care about them deeply and ending it isn't on your radar, when they decide to call things off—where exactly are your feelings supposed to go? Even if you are truly hurt by what they did, that doesn't mean that you don't care about them anymore.

So yeah, out of all of the reasons why you may not be able to get over your ex, them breaking up with you could be the most impacting. For this one, clean-breaking, time, healing, and accepting the reality of what happened is the prescription that I would recommend. You deserve someone who wants you. It's hard to get to him if you're still all mentally and emotionally caught up in your ex.

You Didn’t Get the Closure That You Needed

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I've got a theory that a lot of men don't want to give women closure because they have, what I call, "keep her on the shelf" syndrome. What I mean by that is so long as they don't formally or officially end things, in their mind, it gives them the opportunity to come back—or at least reach out for time to time or (if you're not careful) get some a few times a year. As a result, when we don't require that closure transpires, that can get us caught up in their tawdry little web. We'll be out here not letting ourselves fully move on because we think there is still a chance to make something happen with "him".

Not only does this kind of drama keep you stuck, it's also pretty cruel on his part. Sure, he might still have feelings for you and sure, he might not be sure what the future holds but he's not guaranteeing you anything either. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised in the least that he's got five other girls caught up in the very same web he's been spinning for you (SMDH).

If there's one thing that I know about a man, it's that what he wants, he will make it clear that he desires it; he will also do everything within his power to obtain it and maintain it.

If your ex is only making the effort to call to see if he's still got an emotional hold on you or if he can come over and "hit", engage the conversation. Invite him over. Then get the closure that you need while making sure you close your home's door and your heart's door afterwards. A man who is emotionally ambiguous is a man who doesn't need to waste one minute of your time. Don't let him.

The Relationship Is Now a Situationship

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Please tell me that you said "duh" when you read this particular point. Oh my goodness, words cannot convey enough how real oxytocin is! If you're out here downgrading what you've got going on from a relationship to a situationship, what that sounds like to me is, he's getting all of the perks and privileges of being with you without the responsibilities. When a man gets that comfortable, of course he's not going to totally end things. Why should he? There's a huge chance that you're being his girlfriend without him being your boyfriend in return.

Just recently, while getting my nails done, I was talking to a woman who told me that she was no longer with her ex. You know what else she said? They still have sex and she's even had—count 'em—two children by him since they "ended" things. But because they aren't "officially" together, he sees other women.

Why wouldn't he? They aren't in a relationship; they are in a situationship. And when there aren't clear standards put into place between two people, that makes things confusing. It also makes it close to impossible to get over them too.

You Haven’t Set Boundaries with the People You Both Share

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In hindsight, one of the absolute hardest things about breaking things off with the exes in my life was realigning boundaries with their family members. Shoot, to this day, one of my exes nieces and nephews still come to me for insight and advice and we've been broken up for well over a decade now. My ex has a relative, in particular, who continues to hope that we'll end up back together someday. Yeah, that's not gonna happen, but when the break-up was fresh, hearing that person talk about what could've been, on loop, it was a little difficult—and I was the one who actually ended it.

I'm not saying that it's automatic that if a relationship comes to an end, the relationships that were birthed out of that connection need to automatically follow suit. But what I am saying is, if you're still talking to his mama every week, shopping with this sister all of the time, or going over there for holidays, that is bound to do a number on your psyche. Same goes for both of you having friends who like to provide updates on what the two of you are doing, even though the two of you are apart.

So yeah, a new normal, complete with a new set of boundaries of each other's peeps, are also needed. Otherwise, it could take you for-e-ver to totally get over your ex.

You’re Not Being Intentional About Grieving and Moving On

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Anyone who doesn't feel that a relationship is like a death is someone who hasn't been in love before. I've been through a lot, but when I look back, very few things even come close to heartache. Sometimes, it's so devastating that we want to do any and everything but walk through the grieving process. But believe me, if you don't, you are going to feel confusion, pain, resentment or all of the above for much longer than you ever should.

A few months ago, I wrote "Why You Need To Grieve Your Past Relationship". If you're not still over your ex and you actually want to be (I'm about to get more into that in just a sec), please check it out.

Sometimes, no matter what our ex is or isn't doing since the break-up, we're not able to get past him because we're not making it a point to walk through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) so that we can really, truly and fully heal.

You Don’t Want to Get Over Him

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I recently read a quote that said, "How often have you wounded yourself by getting angry, fearful, jealous or vengeful?" In the context of this article, I'll add another quote about the power of the mind—"I found that when you start thinking and saying what you really want, your mind automatically shifts and pulls in that direction." What both of these points point to is the fact that if you can't get over your ex, it's probably because you don't want to. You're literally not choosing to.

Just think about it. If the break-up was bad and/or he has made it abundantly clear that he doesn't want to be with you anymore, to keep pining for him…is that not a form of self-harm? And since thinking and saying what we want is what ends up tugging at our spirits, isn't that continually choosing to hurt yourself?

I'm not saying that there aren't instances when exes break up and get back together. In fiction, there's Queen Sugar's Darla and Ralph Angel. In the real world, there are examples like R&B artist Miguel and his wife Nazanin Mandi and Common and his girlfriend Angel Rye. Still, I'm thinking that if you're reading this, there is something within that is telling you that it's time to focus on some other things; that holding a torch for your ex has been burning you, not benefiting you.

Besides, if he wants you back, he'll make that abundant clear in his own way and time (check out "If He REALLY Wants You Back, He'll Do This."). In the meantime, why not use the time apart to heal, to better yourself and to evolve as an individual. That way, if getting back together is truly meant to be, hopefully, because you are both in a healthier space, breaking up again will hardly be necessary (reading this article again will be too).

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Have You Brought Ex Baggage Into Your New Relationship?

Why Running Into Your Ex Can Be The Best Thing Ever

#AskDV: How Do I Get Over An Ex?

I Broke Up With My Boyfriend After Four Years And A Year Later He Became The Love Of My Life

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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