Having a significant other is something most of us spend a large portion of our lives looking for. We try out different relationships to find the fit that will last forever. Unfortunately, however, this continual “trying on” of relationships comes with a cost – the cost of breakups. Difficult and painful, breakups mean loss, even if the fit wasn’t right. That said, normally we expect the pain of a breakup to last for a few months and then for it to be done. This isn’t always the case though. On occasion, you can find yourself still upset a year down the road, and when this happens you tend to be desperate to learn how to stop obsessing over an ex.
Luckily, there are some steps you can take that will help you do just this.
The thing that perpetuates this obsession is an anxiety spiral where:
a. One thought builds upon the other and creates a big pile of shit that gets harder and harder to crawl out of the more focus and energy you give it and the more consumed you are by it.
b. You do something impulsive such as cyberstalking your ex or calling and texting them many times in succession. That creates feelings of shame and embrassment which turns into frustration, bitterness, despair, or anxiety.
To break this pattern, do this:
▪︎Center yourself. Stop everything you are doing right now and focus only on your breath for a few minutes. Do nothing else (only do this when you can safely relax and don’t drive a car or operate heavy machinery).
▪︎Focus on what is happening around you.
▪︎Be aware that nothing bad is actually going on and that 99% of the suffering you experience is fabricated in your mind and body, not as much by external events.
▪︎Respond, don’t react. Once you are centered and grounded in the present moment, your emotions stop controlling and consuming you. Making better and healthier decisions and having more clarity becomes a lot easier. You begin to choose a response to any given emotion or thought and therefore have more control over yourself and what you do. Decisions are now made from a place of inner calm, clarity, and self-confidence, not from fear or anxiety.
2. Bring more calm and relaxation into your life.
Especially when you are an entrepreneur or a professional who works 60-80 hour per week and whose partner just left, finding time to process emotions, just relax and taking a break to relief stress can be difficult.
But there are things you can do to bring more ease into your life despite a demanding and busy schedule.
Some of them are:
⁃ Making your bed be the first thing you do after you wake up rather than impulsively checking your phone the moment you open your eyes.
⁃ Generally spending less time on social media. Because of its fast paced nature, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle where you always look for quick fixes rather than applying just one or two things consistently over weeks and months that are more than enough to solve your problem such as letting go of your ex.
⁃ Starting and ending your days with emotional releases. Because in order to truly let go of an ex and thrive during your breakup, you need to allow yourself to grief first.
3. Let go of the need to control everything.
Obsession is a form of control and a byproduct of anxiety.
Most of all of the need to control what your ex does or how they feel.
These things are outside of your control though.
And in the context of a breakup, the places this need to control comes from is (more often than not):
▪︎Non-acceptance of what is.
▪︎A fear of accepting the loss as real.
To let go of the need to control, you need to identify which of these places it comes from.
If it’s caused by denial or non-acceptance of what is, begin to accept the loss as real by finding closure within yourself and sticking only with the facts of what actually took place and takes place right now.
If it’s a fear of accepting the loss as real, realize that grieving is never permanent and that emotions and states of being and feeling are fleeting and not meant to be permanent.
If it’s ego, take more responsibility for yourself, for how you feel and for what you do and remind yourself about what you can control and what you cannot control.
If it’s shame – since shame is identity based, look at what beliefs you have about yourself, if you view yourself as unworthy, not good enough, or somehow broken and unlovable. Then do some inner child healing to let go of these beliefs and the shame and so you have a healthier and better sense of self-worth.