Having trouble getting over your ex?
Do you miss the way that they looked at you? The way that they smelled? The way their hand felt in yours?
Do you think you see them walking down the street when really it’s a stranger? Do you still hear certain music that reminds you of them?
When someone takes up so much of your life, it’s impossible to get over them in a day or two.
And while doing things like reading, walking, working out, journaling, and hanging out with friends can certainly be positive distractions, if you really want to deal with the root cause of the emotional pain you still feel you’ll have to do things a little bit differently.
A Personal Story Of Heart Break
I have a secret to confess…
I went through a break up that took me several years to get over.
She was intelligent, challenging, loving, kind, and absolutely beautiful. We dated for just over a year and the mark she left on my heart was undeniable.
I had imagined our futures together. Repeatedly. I pictured her smiling face looking up at me at our wedding. We had discussed what we would name our children.
I fell in love with her, hard. And one day it was all over.
It took several painful years to get over her. Years of hiding myself emotionally and engaging in surface level relationships.
I could have done it a lot sooner if I knew how to properly address what was really going on in my unconscious mind… and I want to help you get through things much faster, by laying out that process in this article.
The Chemical Process You Experience During A Break-Up
Emotions are one of the most addictive things available to you.
When you are in love with someone, your brain is hit with massive surges of dopamine (brain scans have shown that our minds follow very similar patterns when influenced by cocaine or nicotine).
When you no longer have access to your intimate partner (post-breakup), your brain doesn’t fall out of love with them… it simply continues to be in love with them, but you no longer have access to them.
And, like a crying baby who doesn’t have access to his mother that it so yearns for, our minds “rejector stimulus” is on overdrive.
We simultaneously feel the pain of abandonment, the deep craving for a “fix” of our drug (aka partner) of choice and our once-regular hits of dopamine and oxytocin are nowhere to be found.
In fact, immediately after a breakup, your happy chemicals are replaced with a flood of cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline. It’s almost as if your body is saying “Here’s a rush of energy… time to get up! Either work your ass off to get that one back, or go make yourself a more valuable partner and find someone else!”
Long story short, if you were hooked up to a brain scanner, your brain after a painful break up is highly similar to the brain of a drug addict in rehab.
Getting Over Your Ex – Do These Things First
1. Remind Yourself Of The Good, The Bad, And The Awful
Part of the reason we get stuck in processing our break up is that we idealize the relationship as a big collection of amazing, emotionally fulfilling times with very little downside. In reality, you fought frequently and there were core incompatibilities that drove you apart.
To get a more accurate view of your past relationship, journal about the things that you loved about the relationship, the things that bothered you about your ex, and your part in the downfall of the relationship.
2. Allow Yourself Space To Grieve By Yourself
Take a few days (at least) to sit with your emotions and let them move through you.
Every time you resist feeling an emotion it goes down to the basement to lift weights. So if you ignore the frustration, anger, resentment, hurt, or pain that is present in your body, it will only get stronger and come back louder than before until you listen to the signals.