When we look back on relationships, we go through a couple of stages. The first involves hating or resenting everything about the past relationship in question; dwelling on the reasons it didn’t work out, kicking ourselves for time wasted and mistakes made.
But eventually, we make it to the stage of moving forward. At this point, girls try tricking themselves into thinking that by dating other people, any notions of missing an ex will disappear, and all will be as it was. Usually, this isn’t the case. Usually, when we try dating a new guy, we inadvertently drudge up feelings of disappointment from the initial breakup.
At this point, some of us will go back to our exes and either plead for forgiveness for having broken up with them or restlessly tell them how we’ve changed. Others of us will continue on our self-destructive paths of dating new guys. Regardless of your choice of path, neither option will yield the significance of your broken relationship.
So, why does this happen? Why do we commit ourselves to this self-destructive cycle of missing an ex and trying to ameliorate the situation by replacing him? It’s simple: We don’t remember events absolutely. We glorify the good and brush the bad under the rug. While this positivity and happy grasp of nostalgia can be a much sought after quality, it’s important to also remember the bad so that the chance of relapse is unlikely.
Forgetting the bad aspects of a relationship is counterproductive because in working so hard to replace an ex, we often manage to trick ourselves into forgetting why the relationship ended. We start to believe that he was the sweetest guy we ever knew, when in reality, he was kind of a jerk to our friends. But in the end, none of this really matters. None of these new replacement guys will replace an ex until we learn to remember the times when we were unhappy, embrace that the breakup was productive and stop comparing every new person to the good stuff we had with someone else.
This doesn’t mean letting go of all the times that he made you smile or consoled you when you were crying, but it does mean that it’s time to realize that there were real reasons you broke up. Whether he broke your heart and cheated on you or you just couldn’t handle his questionable hygiene, there were real reasons why it had to end.
Maybe you remember being the happiest you ever were with him, but there were times when you also probably felt pretty badly, too. You may not be able to see those instances clearly now but eventually, you will come to realize that wasting time remembering will bar you from moving forward. Neither overanalyzing that past nor dating every guy you meet out at a bar who tells you a quirky joke and buys you a cheap beer will make the past disappear.
Moving on is hard and it takes time. Idolizing an ex and defending his behavior will actually prevent you from finding someone who can surpass who he was in your life. Glorifying an ex is paralyzing, unhealthy and stupid. So the next time you think about the way he used to graze your hand sweetly, also try to remember that he was just reaching for the beer on the table next to you. It’s time to move on and realize what you loved about him, what you hated and most importantly, what you couldn’t get past. Ultimately, the checklist in your mind doesn’t matter; it’s not about his apparent perfection, it’s about how well you fit into each other's lives. And obviously, it wasn’t a good fit.
So for now, rather than trying to get over him by dating other people, go out and discover what makes you happy and who makes you happy. Stick with these people until you can find someone who actually is a good fit for you.