Listen, I'll be the first to stand up and say that when it comes to getting over an ex, I might just hold one of the longest "titles" ever. I mean, getting fully over my first took a couple of decades (no joke. Check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour" and "Why Running Into Your Ex Can Be The Best Thing Ever"). But if there's something that I've noticed, is becoming a pandemic of the heart these days, it's women who struggle with getting over someone they've only been seeing for a short amount of time. Since I know that "short" is relative, let me just say that I'm referring to folks who've only been on a few dates with someone or it's only been a couple of months since they've been hanging out with them on a more intentional level. More and more, women are contacting me about how a potential relationship has ended and they are 1000 percent torn up about it. That concerns me because hearts are precious and no man, who you've only known for a hot-skip-and-jump amount of time, should earn your pain and grief. He really shouldn't.
If you know all of this in theory, but you still find yourself being damn near close to devastated whenever something new comes to a close, here are some questions that just might help you get down to the root of why that very well might be the case.
Can You Honestly Say That You Healed from Your Previous Relationship?
Lord. If there's one word that I've seen, perhaps more than any other this year, it's "normalize". That said, when I think about the top 10 things I would like to see normalized, "denial transference" would most certainly top the list. What is that? It's my way of describing what happens when someone, who doesn't do well at being alone, goes from one relationship to another, thinking that the new situation will fill their voids and/or heal them. Instead, what typically happens, is they take their pain, drama and baggage from the old person into their new dynamic. And because they didn't properly heal from the first relationship, they end up being way too intense, way too pressuring—way too everything which ends up costing them their new relationship too (because healthy people like to be with other healthy people). And since healing wasn't a priority before the new thing that they got into, sometimes that person ends up grieving it way more than they logically should. It's not because the new relationship was so impacting that they can't let it go—it's because they now have to deal with the pain of the former relationship, compounded with the rejection of the new one.
It's not a case of the new relationship being "such a big deal"; it's more like they've never realized that they have a tendency to partake in "denial transference"—they deny that they are transferring the unresolved emotions of one relationship into another, all because they move too damn fast.
So yeah, if you've only been seeing someone for a few weeks or months, it's over (or heading towards being that way), and you feel like it's about as heart-wrenching as the break-up you had with an ex of a couple of years, ask yourself if you're someone who tends to be a denial transference person or a rebounder. Everyone needs time and space to process the end of one relationship before hopping into another. Otherwise, it's hard to tell if you are properly seeing each situation clearly without merging them together. And emotional mergers can oftentimes turn into big ass accidents with a good amount of wreckage as a direct result.
Did You Have Sex Way Too Soon?
This is perhaps the greatest pun that wasn't intended, but when it comes to deciding when it's too soon to have sex, it literally is different strokes for different folks. Based on your religious upbringing, your personal preference, your take on the purpose of sex, etc.—all of these things play a direct role in why some people engage sooner than others. What I will say is everyone, regardless of their value system and perspective on sexuality, needs to factor in that oxytocin is a natural hormone that is literally one hell of a drug. That's why, more times than not, I'm like, "Yeah…OK" when someone who had sex with an individual, within a month of meeting them, is talking about how "in love" they are.
While it can happen (John Legend and Chrissy Teigen say that is a part of their journey), that is a HUGE GAMBLE. The reason why I say that is oftentimes, what people fail to factor in, is the fact that oxytocin is triggered during kissing, cuddling and orgasms and oxytocin is designed to bond you to the person you have sex with. So "duh" and "of course", you're gonna feel like you're into them after doing-the-do.
A wise person once said that insanity is doing the same thing while expecting a different result. If you're quick to engage in casual sex, without processing that you are setting yourself up to give your heart with your parts, try dating without that level of intimacy for a while. The right guy won't mind, plus it could reveal to you if sex too soon is why you have a hard time getting over (or past) men you really don't know all that well.
Have You Ever Taken a Love Addiction Quiz Before?
A couple of years ago, I wrote "6 Signs You're A Love Addict" for the site. If you're skimming through this article and you'd like a quick definition of what a love addict is, it's basically someone who is so desirous for a relationship that they will overlook red flags, numb themselves to emotional pain and neglect and/or create chick flicks and fantasies in their mind—all in the effort to feel "loved" by someone else.
Mind you, this isn't as simple as falling for someone and getting your heart broken a couple of times. No, a love addict has a pattern of choosing people who they put on pedestals while they typically receive very little affirming, reciprocity or even respect in return—and they keep repeating this pattern over and over…and over again, usually until they seek therapy for their addiction.
If you really let what I just said sink in, it probably makes perfect sense how a love addict would be absolutely devastated after only seeing someone for a short period of time. It's because they probably said to themselves, after the first or second date mind you, that he was "the one". Then they started treating him as such, only to realize the pressure of moving too fast too soon sabotaged the connection or worse, caused them to realize that they were in their love story all by themselves, all along.
While it's perfectly normal to be disappointed when something that shows real potential doesn't work out, it's not exactly healthy to be so distraught that you feel like you're going through a divorce or something. If what I just said makes absolutely no sense to you, because that is typically how you feel, whether a relationship is new or not, do yourself a favor and check out LoveAddict.org's 40 questions to ask yourself to see if you are truly a love addict or not. If more than half check out, a therapist, counselor or relationship coach may be what you need in order to find balance, where matters of the heart are concerned. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But it is something to take seriously and get help for. Love addiction can be just as traumatizing as any other addiction. Please don't take it lightly.
Have You Never Learned the Art of Non-Exclusive Dating?
Interestingly enough, it was actually around this time last year when I wrote, "Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?". Since less people are getting married (and having less sex; we'll have to deal with the sex part in another article), it's important to also put on record that, just because people may not want "for better or for worse" for the rest of their lives, with the same person, that doesn't mean they don't desire companionship; it also doesn't mean that they aren't deserving of it.
Accepting this reality—especially if you grew up in the Church or have a family that's always pressuring you to start a family—can be difficult. So difficult that you might have programmed yourself into thinking that if you're not exclusively seeing someone, almost right off the bat, it's a colossal waste of time. Personally, I think that is a super false hot take.
While, on one hand, if you are the type of person who "dates to marry" (meaning, the only purpose that you see in dating is to find the person to jump the broom with), I get why you might not want to get into non-exclusive situations. Yet, on the flip side of that, something that can teach you a lot about who you are and what you really want in a relationship, still while having a good time and meeting new people along the way, is non-exclusive dating. No one is saying you've got to sleep with every guy you go out with (please don't). But since you're single…why not live like you are? Interact with a few folks. Enjoy different kinds of experiences with different types of people. Learn how not to "act married" with folks who aren't anywhere close to being your husband.
Learning the art of just dating is something that can help you to learn how to engage others without putting your entire mind, heart and soul into the mix. It's something that can show you how to not take everything so seriously, to live in the moment and simply have a good time. You're single. You should.
Did He End It for the Same Reasons Other Guys Have?
Yeah. If there's one question that only someone with a huge sense of humility (which is a superpower, by the way) is quick to answer, it's this one. In fact, something that I tell my clients, when we have our first session is, anyone who is quick to say what they need to work on as a person as opposed to running down the list of their partner's flaws—that is someone who is self-aware and has a far greater chance at their relationship healing and succeeding than the one who thinks things would automatically get better, so long as their partner improved and not them (SMDH).
When it comes to our exes, whether we like it or not, we've got to accept that the one thing they all have in common is…well, us. And so sometimes, when a relationship ends, what makes it especially painful is we oftentimes hear the guy say something similar that we've already heard from some other dude (or dudes) before. And when that's the case, the "trauma" isn't so much about "losing" the person as it is realizing that if we don't get a handle on our issues or flaws, we will just keep making the same choices and/or selecting the same kind of person and/or wasting our time.
That's why, it can only benefit you to ask yourself, "Am I hurt because this relationship is over or because I'm sick and tired of hearing about myself, just in different forms of human beings?" If the answer is Column B, the good news is you can take some time to do some real soul-searching and, if need be, habit breaking. That way, when you are ready to date again, you can be confident that you'll be doing it…differently.
Do You Always Tend to Leap Before You Look?
To thine own self be true. The reason why I write articles like, "The Pros & Cons Of Creating A 'What I Want In A Man' Checklist", "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner", "14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners", "Are You Dating The Same Guy Over And Over Again? Maybe." and "These Are The Deal-Breakers You Shouldn't Hesitate To Have In The Bedroom" is because, it's really important to know who you are, what you need, and the kind of relationship that you are looking for, before getting involved, on any level, with another individual. If you don't, it can be really easy to become a relational chameleon—you know, someone who is more concerned with being what someone else wants/desires, to the point where you put yourself on the backburner and, quite possibly, end up losing yourself once the relationship ends. Why? Because you were more concerned with being with somebody than being your authentic self and letting the chips fall where they may.
What I mean by that is, if you make being in a relationship more important than getting the kind of relationship that you truly want, the first guy who wants to be with you, you'll accommodate him more than yourself. As a result, should he leave, you'll feel lost because it was more about having someone than being with the right person. Make sense?
The reason why we look down before jumping into a pool is so we can make sure that the water will "catch" us. Being discerning while you are in the beginning stages of a relationship—which includes asking the questions you really want the answers to, taking your time, not revealing everything about you until he's earned that information—is just as wise.
There's nothing wrong with meeting a guy and hoping that it will work out. But if it's only been a short amount of time, it doesn't and that damn near destroys you—I doubt it has much to do with him. Look within to see why those kinds of situationships are able to rattle you so much and so hard. I promise you that the more you focus on you in those moments, the more you'll realize that it was about you—NOT HIM—all along. And the truly wonderful thing about that is you can always fix/heal/change/love on yourself. Amen? Amen.
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