Are you obsessively thinking about your ex-partner?

When love turns into an unhealthy obsession, we undergo experiences that, though seemingly dominated by passion, can bring us more suffering than happiness, turning every day into a struggle for emotional balance.

Breakups are often complicated and painful, leaving behind anger, frustration, or sadness, even when we are the ones who choose to end the relationship. Sometimes we manage to recover a few months after the relationship has ended, but other times we fail to get over it, remaining stuck in obsessive feelings or thoughts about our former partner.

Obsession is a cycle of repetitive and intrusive thoughts about a person or situation, which consumes a lot of our time and emotional energy. An obsession with a former partner can stem from an inability to accept change, fear of the unknown, a sense of loss of control, feelings of rejection, fear of loneliness, idealization of the past relationship and partner, certain unfulfilled desires or needs, etc. It can prevent us from enjoying the present, making future plans, opening ourselves up to opportunities, or building new relationships.

This obsession may also be related to how we process the breakup and the meaning we give to the lost relationship. Some people may endlessly seek answers to questions that trouble them, while others may refuse to accept the reality of the breakup. This refusal can be fueled by the fact that we only remember the beautiful things, idealizing the relationship and ignoring the fundamental problems that led to the separation.

Signs you have an obsession over your ex-partner

If you're caught in the trap of obsessive thoughts about your ex-partner, this can create an intense feeling of discomfort and negatively affect the quality of your life. So, what are the signs?

- neglecting your own life and responsibilities due to constant worries related to your ex-partner or losing interest in other aspects of life;

- acting in ways that disadvantage you;

- having problems with concentration, eating, or sleeping;

- obsessively checking the social media profiles of your ex;

- stalking your ex-partner persistently;

- your conversations constantly revolve around your ex, which over time can become tiresome for those around you;

- feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and despair when thinking about your ex-partner;

- you still suffer, even a long time after the breakup;

- repeatedly analyzing the moments spent together;

- constantly thinking about what could have been or how it should have been;

- refusing to accept the fact that the relationship has ended;

- sabotaging the new relationships of your ex-partner;

- fixating on the current partner of your ex;

- exhibiting extreme jealousy and controlling behavior;

- feeling that your happiness depends solely on them;

- believing that you have a special, soulmate connection, and that you must be together at any sacrifice/price.

What to do?

 Eventually, either you or your ex-partner will move on first (if they haven't already). It's a part of life that you must accept.

If you're obsessively thinking about them or even putting yourself in situations that bring you no benefit, this will not bring you closer to getting back together nor will it help you meet someone new. The only one affected is you.

Accepting and facing your emotions

The first step in overcoming this situation is accepting that the relationship has ended and that it's time to move on. This acceptance can be difficult and involves facing the pain and feelings of loss, but it is an important step for your healing. Understanding that the breakup does not mean a denial of your personal value, but rather the end of a chapter that no longer fits with your life's trajectory, can be an essential step in overcoming feelings of rejection. This perspective allows you to view the breakup not as a personal failure, but as a natural evolution of human relationships that sometimes distance themselves from our path to make room for new beginnings.

Gather everything that reminds you of your ex and eliminate those items. This includes gifts, photographs together (including on social media), deleting text conversations, and other similar things. These memories can make it more difficult to move on, constantly reminding you of the time spent together.

Limiting contact with your ex-partner and stopping online checks

Removing or limiting any form of contact with your ex-partner is crucial to break the obsessive cycle. One of the most effective ways to reduce obsession is to remove them from your social networks and resist the temptation to check up on them online. This step can help you distance yourself emotionally and start focusing more on your own life.

Remember why the relationship ended

Not everything was perfect in your relationship; there's a reason you're no longer together. It might be helpful to write down the reasons for the breakup and the negative aspects of it, without omitting anything. This exercise can help you maintain a realistic perspective when nostalgia tries to cloud your judgment.

Also, try to see your ex-partner in a realistic way, recognizing both their qualities and flaws. Understanding that nobody is perfect can help you disconnect from the idealization that fuels obsession.

 Do not act based on your emotions

Emotions can be intense following a breakup, but it's important not to make decisions that you might regret later.

Fill your time with activities that bring you joy and personal satisfaction

 Whether it's discovering a new hobby, sports, spending time with friends and family, dedicating time to causes meaningful to you, or trying new activities, these can help you reconnect with yourself and find joy in living again.

Dedicate time to rediscovering yourself and rebuilding your identity independent of any previous relationship. Set new personal and professional goals and work to achieve them.

Replace negative thoughts with positive perspectives and affirmations about yourself and your future.

Talk to trusted people or a psychotherapist

 Sometimes the best decision is to acknowledge that you need help. If you feel overwhelmed by emotions and thoughts, the support and perspective of trusted people can be extremely valuable in this process. Therapy, in particular, can offer an objective perspective and a safe space to explore the deep-rooted causes of your suffering, help you process your feelings, set future goals, and develop effective coping strategies.

Remember, healing takes time and patience, but it's a journey worth taking for your emotional wellbeing. We learn from every experience, including relationships that end. Although the pain will diminish, the memories of your ex-partner will remain. It's normal to keep certain memories in your mind, but the key is not to let them define your present or future.

Overcoming the obsession with a former partner is a complex and often painful journey, but it is also a necessary step toward healing and personal growth. Each strategy mentioned above has the potential to help you free yourself from the chains of the past and confidently move towards a brighter future. Remember that time, patience, and the right support are essential in this transformative process.

Are you ready to take the first step towards healing and open the door to new possibilities?

Dr. Ursula Sandner


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