Photo by: Ihor Malytskyi
This is an excerpt from my guide, Manning Up: The Guide to Get You Back in the Relationship Game.
First, you will not forget your ex, but until you complete your relationship with her, it is likely to haunt you. (I wrote this originally for guys; if you're not a guy, just switch the pronouns: it should work just as well.)
So here's what I suggest:
- Thank Her: Sit down and write a letter to her thanking her for every little thing she did with and for you. Acknowledge her for how she made you feel, and for who she was for you.
- Forgive Her: Make a list for yourself of every way you think you have been slighted by her. Consider that any and all of these things might have come from a place that had nothing to do with you. Maybe she slept with someone else because of her own insecurity, not something that had anything to do with you. Write down at least one reason for each of those things that would make it not about you.
- Forgive Yourself: You are human. You make mistakes. You screw things up. You might have just killed the best thing you ever had, and just now come to realize it. But as long as you hang on to this, you will not have any chance to see the next great thing, the one that could be ten times better than the best you've ever had. As long as you entertain any conversation that you are a screw up, you will not give yourself permission to be fully in the next relationship. That's a shame, because you deserve a great relationship. So write down every way you were a dick (excuse my language), maybe note where that came from, forgive yourself, and make a commitment not to do that again.
- Acknowledge Yourself Give yourself credit for everything you were and brought to the relationship. You are great. Notice all the things you did to build the relationship you had. And thank yourself for that. And note that even if your ex didn't get it or appreciate it, you made a difference. And get that that passion was not wasted. Maybe misdirected, but not wasted. Don't let that go. It's part of what makes you the amazing person you are.
- Learn from Her: Take on that maybe you did have something to do with every thing that happened. I know this sounds the opposite of a previous point; it's not. It's not that anything was wrong or your fault; it's that if you take on that you are cause in the matter, you actually can choose to come from somewhere else. Maybe she slept with someone else because she wasn't feeling loved by me. Where could I bring love into the next relationship so that doesn't happen again?
- Get that the Next one is NOT YOUR EX: We are human. We look for patterns. We get burned. We say “Aha, I'm not going to let that happen again.” The problem is we start looking for “that.” When we look, we find it. This will kill your love life. I'm not saying be stupid. But don't be suspicious for no reason. That would just be some bad experience haunting you now. Don't let it.
- Get that the next one is Different: Even if she's your ex's identical twin, she reacts and thinks and loves and hurts diffently. You can not expect to know anything about her because you know anything about humanity, or women, or even her school or family. Let her suprise you.
As a bonus opportunity, you could actually call your ex and ask her if there is any advice she has for you. Thank her for all the stuff in number 1 above. Ask forgiveness, especially if you think it was all her fault. Ask her please to share with you everything that plugged her in or turned her off. There's probably a ton of stuff you just didn't notice.
Only do this if you can avoid reacting or getting angry. You want to learn here so you can be better in the future. Then finally ask her, “What's the one piece of advice, that if I got it, you think would make the biggest difference for me in my next relationship?” and listen like your love life depends on it.
Then thank her and move along. This should be enough to get you complete. If it's not, you've probably got other conversations about relationships not distinguished. If that's the case, then write down everything you say, or even hear, about relationships. Then look at each item and ask yourself if it's true. You'll notice that there are a lot of conversations in the background that could be getting in the way. But the neat thing is, the minute you notice them, you can let them be, and not let them have power over you. You can choose to come from some place else instead.
And once you've got that behind you, come follow me on Facebook, where I share a regular word of encouragement, sprinkled with some questions for a better date.