Most of us have experienced a breakup at some point. When this happens, we can feel the whole world implode. The emotional impact of ending a relationship is undeniable and inevitable. However, some people do not address the grieving process adequately, and this can lead to harmful behaviors such as being possessed by their ex.
The inability to draw your attention from your ex-partner now that they are no longer a part of your life is relatively common. Many people get stuck in memories, constantly checking their ex’s social network profiles or looking for them in the hope of restoring their relationship.
All of the above situations are detrimental to your self-esteem and prevent you from moving forward. Sometimes, however, the urge seems irresistible. Understanding why this is happening and applying some guidelines will help you get out of this vicious circle.
Why is it so common to be obsessed with your ex?
Being obsessed with your ex is something that often happens when a relationship has recently ended. It is not a question of weakness or lack of willpower. In fact, there are strong physical and mental causes that lead to it.
When we are in love, the brain releases substances such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These activate our neuronal reward circuit and provide pleasant feelings of euphoria and fulfillment.
When the bond is broken, this flood of hormones ceases, which generates a kind of withdrawal syndrome. Cortisol (the stress hormone) also begins to flow through the body and causes subjective discomfort and even health problems. It is easy to understand that the body seeks out the previous levels of neurotransmitters, and causes you to contact your ex.
On the other hand, the end of the relationship also means the destruction of shared illusions, expectations and future plans. If our identity was closely linked to our role as someone else’s partner, the breakup brings with it the need to reconfigure who we are. All of this can be scary and overwhelming, so we respond by trying to regain emotional security.
How to stop being obsessed with your ex
When the above happens, you are not free to experience the negative and unpleasant feelings that come with grief. However, there is a lot you can do.
Stopping being obsessed with your ex is partly a matter of decision and discipline. And for that, the following guidelines can be very helpful.
The first stage of grief is usually denial. However, it is important not to be in this state for too long and to accept that the relationship is over. To keep thinking that it was just an argument, that there is a solution, or that the other person will turn around and come back to you, will just catch you and keep you tied to someone.
If the breakup is recent, it is normal to want to keep in touch with your ex to know how they are doing. However, it is important to practice zero contact, at least for the first few months.
Avoid seeing the person, talking to them and having any kind of contact. But also make sure you do not look at pictures or old conversations or check their movements online.
It is about accustoming the brain to the person’s absence. If you continue to seek out their physical or symbolic presence, you will continue to feed and strengthen the ancient neural connections. Allow yourself to get out of the hormonal current that the relationship produced.
Give new meaning to what happened
Many times we are obsessed with an ex because we find it overwhelming to accept that all the time, energy and illusions that have been invested have been in vain. No one likes to feel that they have failed.
Therefore, it is important to change the way we perceive what has happened, and to remember that every experience we have enriches. Therefore, everything matters, even if the relationship is ended.
Focus on yourself
Finally, focus on yourself. The healthiest thing you can do is to continue to take care of and nurture all other areas of your life. This is true even when you are in a relationship. However, this often does not happen, and we tend to focus too much on each other.
When we lose focus on ourselves, we may feel an emptiness that we do not know how to fill. And the best option is always to start spending all that time and attention on ourselves. Reconnect with yourself and take care of yourself and your goals.
The effort to stop being obsessed with your ex is worth it
Preventing an obsession with an ex is not easy, especially when we are suffering from low self-esteem or we are in an emotionally dependent relationship. However, there is a decision we must make and maintain for our mental and emotional health.
The only person who stays with you forever is undoubtedly you. So prioritize well-being and focus your energy and resources on working with yourself. Be grateful for the time you have spent with the other person, be forgiving, and open yourself to the new experiences and opportunities that come.