Whether he broke it off with you or whether you called it quits, he now wants nothing more to do with you.
And you feel horrible.
Maybe you want him back.
Maybe you don’t, but you still feel like there is a stone left unturned.
Whatever your circumstances, you know you want to talk to him. To see him, to explain yourself, to get answers.
He hasn’t been open to contact, and it’s frustrated you. Now, you find yourself tempted to text him, call him or even visit his house.
This is normal.
Yet, part of you knows, deep down, you shouldn’t.
When a trauma shifts our world, our brain must reorganize its models. It looks for answers to make sense of things again.
It’s a painful process, and to lessen the pain, your mind seeks the one thing that could reduce it – your ex.
Sometimes, your brain tells you to put every fiber of your being into getting your ex back. Even if your ex treated you poorly and you know you deserve better, you still find yourself lusting after him.
Thus, be on the lookout. Here’s 7 excuses your brain will throw at you as reason to justify you contacting your ex that, ultimately, do nothing but prolong your suffering.
You want to be friends.
I am a supporter of the ‘friends with the ex idea’. I really am. But it cannot happen immediately. You need ‘no-contact’ time to reestablish your identity and life model as an individual (and so does he). It’s time to do your own thing, get out on some dates, and find your own feet again outside of the relationship.
Don’t try to kick off a successful friendship with an ex straight after a relationship ends. Any attempt to do so is an attempt not to really let go of your ex at all.
You want to get back some small piece of property.
I see this one all the time, and it can often appear the most legitimate reason to contact an ex.
After breaking up, you’ll have a ‘move out’ session, where you collect the majority of your things from him and his place. But there’s inevitably extras you’ll miss, things you forget, stuff you didn’t realize was still over there that you may be tempted to chase up obsessively later on.
If you repeatedly call your ex, head to his house unannounced, send outlandish numbers of texts or Facebook messages with the guise of getting a minor, not-especially-valuable piece of property back, this applies to you.
Ask yourself in these situations, “Is this really worth it?” Is the stress of sending 8 texts or having to make 14 phone-calls really worth that only somewhat-interesting $40 dress that, if you’re honest, you didn’t like that much, anyway? The answer is usually no.
After the initial ‘move out’ (which should be completed swiftly after the breakup), there is rarely a piece of property that’s so important to get back that it’s worth your sanity.
You want help with work/study/homework.
“I’m not trying to get back with him. I just always needed him to help me with X, so I need to see him for that”. Yeh, right.
I promise there’s other who can coach you trigonometry or help you learn Spanish. It’s not a gift exclusive to him. Breaking up and becoming single again is about learning to stand on your own two feet. Be it at TAFE, university, or work, you’ve got to look to build yourself and your self-esteem by kicking ass in life and doing things on your own.
If you’re really in need of the assistance, there are plenty of other people in your workplace or your course who would be happy to help you. Make some new friends.
Not only will asking him for help prolong the already traumatic ‘getting over him’ period, but it’ll cost you self-esteem gains as you go forward and learn you can do anything and everything perfectly well on your own.
You want his emotional support
Despite being broken up, avoid contacting your ex under the not-so-subtle guise of ‘needing him’ for your emotional health. Texts, such as “I can’t handle this without you. I really need you to call me so I can chat and be ok” through to “I think I’m going to do something stupid if we don’t talk” all convey a similarly needy and disastrously low self-worth message. That you can’t function in your life without someone who has flat out told you they don’t want to be in it.
Surround yourself with friends, distractions, and interests that help minimize your time thinking about him. Use positive affirmations, “My emotions are no longer his responsibility – I’ll handle this without him.” Delete his number and all contact details. You don’t need him. Show yourself.
You want explanations.
As your mind sorts through the rubble of what happened, you yearn for more information. This is a normal part of the grieving process, as you try to piece the series of events together to make sense of the world again.
But chasing down your ex to get such explanations is not the answer. You’ve broken up, and your ex has declared he no longer wants to have you in his life. Listen to this next point, because deep down, if you’re honest, you’ll know it to be true…
There is no explanation he can give you that would satisfy you.
He might apologise; he might be steadfast. He might be passive; he might argue. He might deny what he did, or he might admit it.
But no matter what he does, there is no explanation that’s going to make you feel better and able to dance off on your merry way.
The only explanation necessary is this. You’ve broken up, and he’s decided he no longer wants you in his life. Treat yourself with the respect you deserve and surround yourself only with people who do the same. The quicker you do that, the quicker you won’t be worried about having to explain your ex’s nonsensical actions.
You want closure.
Closure is a common reason to want to contact an ex. To move on, to say goodbye one last time and finally feel better about things.
Many years ago, I tried to get ‘closure’ with an ex. She’d broken up with me a week earlier, but convinced I needed closure, I twisted her arm into spending one last day with me. We went out, we had fun, we chatted for hours.
But no longer would she hold my hand. No longer would she kiss me. Her energy had changed, and I spent an afternoon with a real life example of exactly what I’d lost.
It was like taking a dog’s food away, but holding it for a while in front of his nose, just to remind him what he was losing. Six months later, I ran into that ex, only to realise I still wasn’t over her. Thinking I could get ‘closure’ cost me over 6 months in real time getting over her.
Trying to get closure by seeing or speaking to an ex will only delay the process and reopen all the old wounds. It’s an excuse to have them around you, just a tiny bit more.
Closure can only come from one place. You. You close the book, once your mind has gone through the pain of sorting through the breakup and reorganizing your structure of the world. Once your mind finds its own explanation for how things went down and you forgive yourself and move on, you achieve closure. It has nothing to do with the other person, and wanting to see them to get your closure will only extend your pain.
Next time you’re in the acutely painful phase of a breakup and go to contact your ex, think twice. Are you doing this because you can’t bear to face the pain head on? Are you using one of the above reasons to find an excuse to keep part of your ex in your life? How much time in getting over him is contacting him going to cost you?
You’ve been drinking
Do I really need to explain?
Breakups are never easy. Don’t let these thinly veiled excuses serve as reasons for you to do something you’ll regret. The last thing he deserve from your post breakup is more of your time and focus. Use it instead to heal yourself and find something more compatible.