When will you stop thinking about your Ex? Possibly never!
When someone has been an important part of your life you will be reminded of them in many ways over the rest of your life. When a couple has children and their marriage ends their activities and ongoing contact with both parents, will be a constant reminder of each other.
Thinking about your Ex is going to happen. How you think about him or her is what will make the difference in your happiness. You can learn to have the ability to control your thinking and your feelings. Learning to have this personal power is a life skill that you can acquire.
When your marriage first ends you will have mixed feelings depending on your circumstances. There will probably be times of anger, regret, sadness and loneliness. There will also be feelings of fear as your life dramatically changes. Being aware of what you are feeling is the first step in taking control of how you react when your feelings are aroused.
Keeping a journal is a great way to improve your awareness of your feelings and thoughts. You can do it with a notebook or a secure digital system that you password. Consider it as a safe place to pour out the reactions you have toward your former spouse. Don’t worry about good grammar, proper spelling or sentence structure. Getting your personal responses is what matters.
“I’m so lonely. I wish I’d never left. No one knows me and understands me like my Ex.”
To identify the feelings revealed in this short post you probably will come up with feeling one or more of the emotions of sadness, regret, fear and loneliness. You can then decide if you are feeling a specific sadness about ending your marriage or ask your Self if the sadness is about being alone. When you can identify what characteristics about your former relationship have triggered these feelings you can use your thinking to analyse what is happening. When feelings are intense it is very hard to think. Shifting into thinking mode can help lessen the strength of the emotions. Changing from the belief that only the former spouse can help you heal is counterproductive to healing.
“I just want to have him/her hug me and reassure me that everything will be alright.”
This thought can be changed to; “I want someone to hug me and reassure me that everything will be alright. Who do I know who will be there for me?”
Finding other sources of physical and emotional support from people you trust is part of taking control of your Self so you focus on new goals for your new life. Believing the myth that your former spouse is the only one who can help you through the changing process of personal growth is not helpful to healing.
You can make the thought and attitude adjustments necessary to be able to think of your Ex without becoming emotional smothered. Stop your Self from imagining “What if . . .” Stop creating fantasies about the ended relationship being better than it really was. Accept responsibility for your part in the marriage breakdown. There really are two sides to every story.
Some day you should be able to think of your marriage to your Ex and the good times and not so good times and not have your emotions overwhelm you. It will take longer if your marriage lasted many years. It will be a bigger challenge if you were deeply emotionally involved in his/her life.
Reading back over your journal entries will help you see your own personal growth and alert you to places where you may be stuck.
Instead of trying not to think of your Ex ask your Self what started you thinking about them. Was it something one of your children said? Did a piece of music remind you of your time together? Did you see someone who looked like them or has the same first name? Did you open a cupboard and see something you shared? Is it your anniversary? Did you meet someone you knew as a couple but have not kept up contact? Are your children with your Ex while you are alone for a holiday?
As you grow into a new life style you will find that your thinking of them remains but your reaction changes. Being aware of what you learned from the relationship and being thankful it ever happened can also help adjust your thinking.
There is nothing wrong about thinking about your Ex. Learn to control your thoughts so thinking about your Ex takes you to a place acceptance.