Why Do We Let Ex’s Ruin Things For Us?

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Two-Disc Unrated Collector's Edition)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Two-Disc Unrated Collector’s Edition)

Often times, throughout the course of a relationship, we attach certain things to our significant other — things that remind us of them; things that instinctually reroute our brains from whatever it was thinking about them.

Often times, it’s a song. Whether it’s a song you both like and share mutual interest in, or a song that you know they like, or especially if it’s a song you know they like and you can’t stand. Other times it can be an accessory, or a certain smell, or a TV show, or a name. Sometimes they are obvious, while others may not make sense to anyone else but you.

While little things here and there are great ways to have the person on your mind when you least expect it, the unfortunate reality is that when you break up, they leave a stain on all of the things you associated with them.

Often times, it will cause us to stop enjoying these things.

“I loved ‘Boys II Men,’ but now every time I hear them I think of so-and-so.” “I loved ‘Anchorman,’ but now every time I see it, I think of so-and-so’s impression.” The big one I see is, “Oh, you’re name is, So-and-so?” (Thinks about ex, immediately gets turned off.)

The list goes on.

Why do we let our ex’s ruin things? I spent years not being able to enjoy the song, “Brown Eyed Girl” without thinking of an ex. Why? Somewhere along the line I just figured, “It reminds me of her. OK. It’s still a great song; I’m not going to stop listening to it.”

Why did I get less enjoyment out of watching something because I know you liked it? Why did I pretty much stop wear my red sweater because I remember how much you liked wearing it? Why did I cringe when someone made an introduction with your name?

It’s stupid. It’s immature. And it gives them power. Whether you recognize it or not, not enjoying something as much as you used to because it reminds you of them would only give them the satisfaction of knowing that they still have an affect on you.


Plenty of people probably wear that cologne or perfume, it doesn’t mean that they are the same kind of person as your ex. Plenty of people likely have the same name as your ex, it doesn’t mean that every John you meet from now on is going to be a dick and it doesn’t mean that every Jane you meet from now on is going to be a bitch.

If you still let your ex have an affect on something you do, stop. You’ll feel better for it. Put on your red sweater, blast “Brown Eyed Girl” and live your life without giving a damn of what those things meant to you in the past. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Mike Zacchio

Mike is a New York-based writer and admitted hopeless romantic. If Ted Mosby and Carrie Bradshaw had a son, it would be him. When he’s not writing about love, dating, and relationships, he’s working his actual job as a sports reporter and columnist.

Tune into his podcast, “Heart Of The Matter” here.

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