How to stop obsessing over an ex

Most of us have faced a breakup at some point. When this happens we can feel that the whole world is reeling. And is that the emotional impact of ending a relationship is undeniable and inevitable. However, some people do not adequately address the grieving process, and this can lead to such harmful behaviors as obsessing over an ex.

The inability to withdraw our attention from who our partner was now that they are no longer so is relatively common. There are many people who remain stuck in memories, who always check the profiles on social networks of their ex-partner or look for them in the hope of resuming the relationship.

All the above situations are harmful to self-esteem and prevent us from moving forward. However, at times the momentum seems unstoppable. Understanding why it happens and applying some guidelines will be of great help to us to get out of that vicious circle.

Why is it so common to obsess over an ex?

Obsessing over an ex is something that happens frequently when the relationship break is recent. It is not about weakness or unwillingness. Actually, there are powerful physical and psychological causes that lead to it.

On the one hand, when we are in love, the brain releases substances like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These activate our neural reward circuitry and produce pleasant feelings of euphoria and fullness.

When the link is broken, this torrent of hormones ceases, generating a kind of withdrawal syndrome.. Also, cortisol (the stress hormone) begins to flow through the body causing subjective discomfort and even health problems. It is easy to understand that the body reclaims the previous levels of neurotransmitters, prompting us to seek contact with the ex-partner.

On the other hand, the end of the relationship also implies the destruction of shared illusions, expectations and future plans. If our identity was closely linked to someone's role as a partner, the break entails the need to reconfigure who we are. All of this can be scary and overwhelming, so we respond by trying to regain emotional security.

Obsession with an ex-partner is to be expected, to a certain extent, but when it exceeds certain limits it becomes counterproductive.

Read on: The love drug: why is it so addictive for us?

How to stop obsessing over an ex

All of the above happens and as humans we are not free to experience the negative and unpleasant emotions that accompany grief. However, there is much we can do.

Stopping obsessing over an ex is, in part, a matter of decision and discipline. And for this the following guidelines can be very useful.

Accept reality

The first stage of grief is usually denial. But nevertheless, it is important not to stay too long in this state and accept that the relationship has ended. Continuing to think that it has only been an argument, that it has a solution or that the other person will reconsider and come back to look for you will only stagnate you and keep you tied to someone.

Zero contact

If the breakup is recent, it is normal that you want to stay in contact with your ex, know how he is or how he feels. However, practicing zero contact, at least for the first few months, is essential.

Avoid seeing that person, talking to them and having any kind of contact. But also make sure you're not reviewing old photos or conversations and not looking for their movements online.

It is about accustoming the brain to the absence of that person. If we continue to enliven their physical or symbolic presence, we continue to nurture and strengthen the old neural connections. Allow yourself unhook you of the hormonal torrent that caused you.

Find out more: How to nip a toxic relationship in the bud

Resignify what happened

Many times we become obsessed with an ex because it is overwhelming to accept that all the time, energy and illusions invested have been in vain. No person likes to feel that we have failed.

Therefore, it is important to change the way we perceive what happened and remember that each experience has enriched us. Therefore, everything acquires a meaning, regardless of whether the couple's bond has ended.

Checking each other's online statuses and connections are part of the symptoms of an ex obsession.

Focus on you

Lastly, focus on yourself. The healthiest thing is to continue caring for and cultivating the other areas of life, even when we are in a relationship. However, this often does not happen and we tend to focus excessively on the other.

By losing it we can feel a void that we do not know how to fill. And the best alternative always lies in starting to dedicate all that time and attention to ourselves. Meet with yourself and take care of yourself and your goals.

The effort to stop obsessing over an ex is worth it

Avoiding obsessing over an ex is not easy, especially when we suffer from low self-esteem or have an emotionally dependent relationship. But nevertheless, It is a decision that we have to make and maintain for our mental and emotional health.

The only person who will undoubtedly remain with you forever is yourself. Therefore, prioritize your well-being and focus your energy and resources on working on you. Be grateful for the time shared with the other person, forgive and open yourself to the new experiences and opportunities that are to come.

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