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03 Mar 2024, Edition - 3155, Sunday

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Health & Lifestyle

Why It’s So Hard To Get Over That Ex Who Was The World’s Worst Boyfriend



I had a friend who went through a bad break up. It was a classic case of love gone wrong – she was into this guy a lot and he was this narcissistic man, the kind who makes a mess just for the sake of making it and then blamed her for it. Somehow, my friend always fell for it, as many of us do.

Many of us have dated men like that, men who make us feel like they were the ones we were waiting for only to whisk the carpet away from under our feet and take our breath away but not in a good way. These are men who would get away with saying hurtful things to us in the name of open communication; they are the ones who blew too hot or too cold, keeping us on our toes and having us walk on eggshells. And when you called them out on it, they acted like the victims. Them.

So why is it that when we break up and it is all done with, we find it hard to get over these terrible exes?

Haunted by their ghost, playing the reel of what happened over and over again, we keep wondering how it could have all been different, and how to stop feeling so unwanted and worthless. Because that is how they leave us feeling, like we weren’t good enough.

Left craving for validation that the guy used to give us once upon a time, almost like a drug, we find ways to tell ourselves that maybe we built the whole thing up in our head and maybe they weren’t as bad as we made it out to be. And we are scared that we will never be able to love again.

I have been there too. Which is why it is time for me to own up to admit that maybe it wasn’t him who was making me feel like I wasn’t enough. It was probably myself.

What we forget is that after the break up, whatever happens in the ex’s life is not about us or isn’t a commentary on us. It is us, imagining that we weren’t good enough that is holding us back from being a better version of ourselves and moving on from the last relationship.

The ex simply brought out your self-hatred and feeling of worthlessness by being a manipulative person, which is why they are the one you are hung up on. These narcissistic partners make you feel like they have all the answers, and you fall for that because who doesn’t want to feel that they are loved, beautiful and worth it? But then they leave and you are hung onto something that is gone.

What we have got to do is remove from our heads the idea that the partner, now gone, is still the centre of our universe. We have to shake off the fear that there isn’t better love out there. When their voice inside our head fills us with feelings of self-hatred and rejection, it is simply our own voice we are hearing.

I think that we end up with so much negativity for our exes that we forget to forgive them for what they have done, and then forgiving ourselves. Because that is where it begins. You grieve, you are sad, and then you start moving on by forgiving them and realising that they aren’t the ones for you after all. And that better love will come along, it always does.

If anything, realise what a loving, sensitive person you are – that another person needed you to feel better about themselves.

And maybe then you will love someone real, someone who doesn’t make you chase them for validation, or doesn’t look away. Real life is real, not a fantasy that we build up. And in that we find real love.

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