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)
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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