I receive messages on a regular basis from people indicating the feelings and affections of their significant others seem to have changed overnight. “What do you think could have happened to change our relationship so dramatically in such a short period of time?” First of all, it did not change “overnight.” There may have been signs you failed to see or you are — or were — in denial, but there is a decent chance the signs were evident long before now.
Here is a list of possibilities I have seen manifesting over time in various relationships where this ‘overnight’ scenario has occurred:
• They feel smothered and need time away from the relationship to work through their thoughts and feelings
• Their feelings for the other person have changed
• They have lost physical attraction
• Your physical relationship has become predictable, mundane, routine, or boring
• One or both parties “let themselves go” and are now dramatically out of shape
• They are jealous or resentful of your success (and feeling a lack of success on their end)
• A sense of chemistry has disappeared
• They feel you are not pulling equal weight in the relationship and are removing themselves from the situation
• They first got together because of infatuation, not love, and the infatuation period is over
• There is someone new in their life that has caught their attention, attraction, and/or feelings
• There is not someone new. They simply want to be single and unattached again
• They got what they wanted and are moving on
• They felt ignored or mistreated and are removing themselves from the situation
• They are feeling badly about themselves and are withdrawing not just from you, but from life
• Their job or career has taken over, leaving them precious little time to focus on you
• A friend or relative is in a new relationship and they want to feel that “newness” in a relationship again
My suggestion right now would be to take a step back and to become VERY observant. If you are the one who is constantly holding the relationship together, the other person is in complete control. The person who loves, cares or tries the least has all the control in a relationship. They know the less effort they put in, the more their partner will do to avoid losing the relationship. This is extremely unfair and unhealthy.
Why do people have a tendency to date or marry the wrong person? Why do they break up with them or divorce them, but then end up finding a clone of the person to replace them—or sometimes even going back to the same person? This is because people have a tendency to seek out what is familiar to them. What they practice they become good at. A person may be wrong for them to be in a relationship with, but it is comfortable for them, versus the fear of the unknown. The thought of being with someone healthy and being in a satisfying relationship is foreign to them.
Here are some of the more common reasons that people remain in unhealthy, unsatisfying relationships. If you find many of these to be true for you personally, I highly suggest that you see a counselor, therapist, or pastor who could give you helpful advice on how to maintain only healthy relationships:
• They feel they’re somehow responsible, as if they caused it and don’t want to abandon their partner
• They get used to it and it becomes familiar and comfortable to them.
• They fear they might not be able to find anyone new, that no one else will want them
• If they have children, they don’t want to separate the kids from their partner
• They believe that over time, their partner will come to love them, to change and see things in a different light
• They are in complete denial. Never underestimate the power of denial
• They believe they can change their partner for the better with no outside help
• They believe that things will change for the better naturally, all by themselves, over time
• They lack the courage and conviction to exit the relationship and save themselves and their children
• The believe they deserve to be treated this way and it becomes acceptable to them
How Do I Get Over My Ex and How Long Will It Take?
My general rule for getting over an ex is that it takes an appropriate amount of Time and Distance to get over them. You must also realize that you will never totally forget everything that occurred, nor should you. You need time to process the loss you feel and to think about what you two had—or lacked—as a couple. Everyone is different, so it may take you longer than others to get over an ex, but as a general rule of thumb I share with you David’s Rebound Ratio. At a minimum, I believe it takes 2 weeks for every month or two months for every year to begin to truly get over someone, especially if you were intimately close and did not see the break up coming. If you were the break-er and actually took the lead in the separation, it should be easier for you to recover. If you were the break-ee (and were broken up with) it could take quite awhile longer.
The reasons that break ups often hurt so badly is because these intense feelings were developed and you shared the time of your life together. Odds are, you invested heavily in each other mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It took time to fall for one another, therefore it will take time to adjust to life without each other. That is natural, normal, and human. Do not run from it or try to stifle it, embrace it, deal with it, and grow as a person.
Couples also struggle with the fact that many of their friends run in the same circles, so there is the acute possibility you will still have to interact with each other on a regular basis. That is not easy nor desired. When those situations occur, be brief, be cordial, and then get out of each other’s way. To involve others in a “blame game” or cause polarization among friends due to your break up (and encourage them to take sides) is not fair to them. Take the high road, the view is always better from there.
Although it is terribly difficult, the key to getting over an ex is to have ZERO contact with them — this includes all types of social media, email, and texting. Any contact! They may have been an integral part of your life, so there will always be people, places, images, movies, songs, discussion topics, even times of day that cause you to think of them. This will dissipate over time as new experiences take their place. It may not seem that way now, but time and distance will help heal you.
If you have done all of these things and you still feel hung up, let yourself off the hook! When we try not to think of something, it’s all we can think about, like going on a diet and then dreaming of chocolate! Cut yourself some slack, get out into the world, and make new friends. Join a team or club, volunteer for philanthropy, take on a new project, learn a new hobby or skill, work out, get plenty of sunlight, eat well, and get proper sleep. Doing things you enjoy, with friends and family who love you should take your mind off your ex, help you focus on the future, and maybe ever help you find a new relationship in the process!
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