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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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Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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