When you’re seeking a new relationship in your mature years, one undeniable fact is that everyone has a past. Most of us would state with a degree of certainty that we’re ready to get into a new relationship when we start dating…. yet it’s rare there’s absolutely no unresolved past stuff. Today, the unresolved past stuff I’m going to focus is the Ex – for we all have one.
There’s a lot of wisdom out there about how long it takes to get over someone – anything from 21 days (which is when you may start to get used to their absence) to 18 months in order to recover from a divorce. I’ve previously seen suggestions of a certain number of weeks for every year you were together. But the truth of the matter is that there’s no set equation, for grieving is an entirely individual experience.
The emotions when you’re the wounded party in any split are obvious but, even if you initiated the ending, there will still be emotions – distress and disappointment that something you’ve given time and energy to didn’t work out, and the loss of that shared future you’d allowed yourself to visualise. And that’s before you consider the impact of losing someone you loved through death.
When the person you’ve lost has died, it can be difficult to deal with the expectation that you’ll move on. But there’s no need to move on – you can simply choose to move forward. For you will always have your memories, ones you’ll doubtless cherish, but you can choose to keep living – as they would have wanted you to. Just take the time to grieve their loss properly.
When you have unresolved emotions, you can choose to tough it out alone, to talk it through with friends or family, to take advantage of professional support – there are many ways to to process your feelings. The only wrong way is to to lie to yourself (and so to others) that you’re fine, because you’ve put those emotions in a box so you don’t have to face them. Why is it wrong? Because those messy emotions will burst out of that box, and spill all over you and anyone else you’ve become involved with in the interim.
In order to form a healthy relationship – not one of those “I’ll show ’em” via the medium of social media – whatever happened in your past has to faced, resolved and healed if need be. If you’re not there yet, you’re not ready to be dating – at least, not without providing a health warning to any potential future partners. This is why it’s so important to have the “what are you looking for” conversation. If there’s anything lurking from the past, it’s likely that they’ll not be actively looking for anything serious or long-term… because they’re just not ready yet.
And if anyone alludes to their ex being crazy – be wary. Imagine for a moment how you’d feel if they were talking about you. Check them for clues as to the feelings behind those words – the tone of their voice, the emotion you see in their eyes and on their face, what you observe in their body language. Unless we’re talking actual sectioning, or Basic Instinct-like bunny boiler behaviour…. be very wary indeed.
Do you think it’s healthy to maintain a friendship with an Ex, even when there’s no children involved?
© 2022, Debs Carey