Have you ever felt stuck with repeated negative thoughts about your ex after the breakup? Listen up, this could be your story.
Firstly, because guys just don’t speak out about this stuff, they often feel like they are the only ones suffering and ‘obsessing’ about their ex. This is absolutely not true as I have seen it countless times in my work and personal life.
Some relationship breakups just don’t leave you. They still haunt you months later, and thoughts about the breakup often have a self-defeating flavour to them. Perhaps these thoughts go something like this, ‘Where did I go wrong? If only I could be better, do more, be more caring, be fitter, be more (fill in the blank) - she would have stayed.”
What we’ve discovered is this. Relationships that were particularly emotionally tumultuous are actually harder to get over and often leave us ruminating about what went wrong. These relationships are what we would consider ‘emotionally abusive’ - like an emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs.
Let me paint the picture for you here.
Things go badly more often than not. Perhaps your partner turns on you, becomes verbally or emotionally abusive and dismissive. Then occasionally things will turn for the better, and it’s these intermittent ‘good times' that we desperately cling to. We get so hooked on trying to keep things going ‘well’ that we end up doing everything in our power to keep them happy, often to our own detriment. In the end it feels like you’re walking on thin ice, putting on a mask to hide any of your own insecurities out of fear that things will turn sour yet again. It’s emotionally exhausting to endure these kinds of rollercoasters, where the love seems so conditional.
These are often one-way relationships with a lot of give and no take and something a lot of men fall victim to. Perhaps it’s the expectation for men to ‘court’ women, to be there for them and remain strong at all cost. This becomes toxic if the women gives no emotional understanding in return, or remains set on having things her way. In the end, men often find themselves feeling ‘emotionally empty’ after having given so much, and the recovery can be a lot more difficult following the breakup.
In these kinds of relationships, people spend so much time thinking about the other person, that these thoughts become like hard-to-break habits. Furthermore, the ups and downs can actually become neurochemically addictive, where the unpredictability of the relationship leads to higher highs and lower lows. The brain learns to crave those highs - much like a drug. A consequence of being in such an addictive relationship is that the ‘withdrawal’ is so much more painful to endure. Even just breaking the habit loop of always ‘focussing on her’ for so long, takes extra time and effort.
If any of what I’ve said above resonates with you and your past breakup, know that this is in fact incredibly common. Having this knowledge can help - especially if you feel like you should ‘just get on with it.’
Running off to the next relationship or distracting yourself with booze and other numbing agents likely won’t help you move through the grief. It just bottles up the pain for later. Sometimes, it’s simply acknowledging that this recovery will take some time, as you build yourself back up again. Patience and understanding is key, something that men are often deprived of in this crazy modern world.
So if you need time and a little self-compassion, permission granted.
Author: Dr Kassi Klein from BLOKES IN MIND
If you would like more support - Dr Kassi Klein offers 1-on-1 Coaching to help men move through difficult breakups. Get in touch using the enquiry form below:
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