One of the frequent questions I receive from my visitors is “How do I get over my Ex husband”? People want to know what to do and how to make it happen as fast as possible.
But sometimes, some of these same folks also want to know what they can do to get their ex husband back or at the very least, keep the option open.
An odd pairing of desires, don’t you think?
Actually, it is not that unusual.
I do think it is critical to keep the two goals separated.
Recovery from an ex breakup is not something that just comes natural. It is important one acquires the knowledge of how to fully recover from a divorce or separation.
Before I forget. I recently wrote a post for those who are plagued by on and off relationship. If your marriage is plagued with the up and down cycle, you will want to dig into this post….
Understanding what struggles you might expect to face and how to get over those hurdles as quickly as reasonably possible are important goals. Spending time trying to assemble a plan to possibly reconnect with your ex husband will often get in the way of your own healing and recovery process.
But for some people, giving the relationship another chance to succeed is important.
I am not saying it can’t ever happen.
There was a groundbreaking study performed by the Family Institute at Northwestern University. The looked at this question from the perspective of the children that were involved. What they found is that 92% of the time, parents that had split up, decided to reunite and work on repairing their relationship if their kids asked them to do so multiple times.
So getting back with your ex husband is not out of the question.
But before we put the cart before the horse, let’s get back to how you should go about getting over the breakup he dragged you through in the first place.
You see, any success you might have in getting your ex husband back (if you later choose to pursue that path), is specifically correlated to how committed you are to getting over your ex.
You have to let him go, before you can expect to have a decent chance of being with him again in the future.
Often, my challenge as a relationship consultant is convincing people to not think in terms of trying to reunite with their ex.
Unfortunately, my initial advice is often ignored by some. Or, I get this very odd and quizzical look.
Some people who come to me are often singularly focused on what they can do to get their lover back. As far as they know, they have lost something special and must get it back.
The heartbreak of a lost love can be debilitating. I wrote about this recently.
Often, it is the only thing they can think about. It would not be an exaggeration to say that some of my clients are OBSESSED with reuniting with their ex husband or ex boyfriend.
So imagine their shock when I tell them, “No, what you really need to do is focus on getting yourself back”.
I explain to them, “if you can really get your life in order, you stand a better chance of getting your Ex back if that is what you ultimately wish to do.”
Recovering From Losing Your Ex Is About Engagement
People who are struggling with the pain of a breakup tend to gravitate to isolation.
That is something I want you to avoid. If you find yourself often left alone with your thoughts, a lot of negativity can follow.
Now, sometimes it is a good thing to spend some quality time, just with yourself.
But when your behavior to seek out isolation becomes the norm, you open yourself up to a dark place.
An idle mind and body “is the devil’s workshop”
The breakup devil is not a nice guy. I think of him as the King of Chaos.
So how do you combat the tendency to isolate yourself?
How do you go about keeping yourself engaged?
I have a simple, but very effective solution.
In all of my coaching of thousands of love-lost clients, I have come across two main personality traits.
For purposes of illustration, I am going to exaggerate just a tad!
First we have what I would characterize as the “Stay Alone Bunch”.
When a relationship breakup happens, these folks tend to shut down and stay down. They don’t feel inclined to go out. Rather, they find comfort in just staying put. We all have some stay along tendencies in us and that can be a good thing, if practiced in moderation.
Just getting some alone time, at first feels perfectly natural and necessary.
At least, that is how it all starts.
But soon a “Stay Alone Type” can get locked into a routine of shutting out the outside world. They can be seduced into over eating, drinking, excessive video game playing, and other addictive behaviors.
However they act out their misery, they frequently will just stay put. They are content to exhibit the attitude of, “me against the world” or “I just don’t give a damn”.
Then we have the “Wild Bunch”.
These are some very interesting people! They pretty much are as they sound….outgoing and extroverted.
Now don’t get me wrong. The “Wild Bunch” can sometimes take it a bit too far. I once had a client who convinced himself that nothing was wrong in his life. He acted like his breakup was really not a big deal.
He went out a lot and had a great deal of fun. Indeed, he had a little too much “wild” in him and went overboard. That adventure lasted about 3 days and he ultimately morphed into a “Stay Putter” when the reality of what had happened to him finally clicked in.
But generally, a “Wild Bunch Type” will exhibit an attitude that irrespective of their sorrows, they are going to make a grand effort to “keep living life” and enjoy it to the fullest.
They may decide to do some impulsive things, even takes some risks, just for the enjoyment They figure it will help them keep their mind off their sorrows and better yet, it will be fun.
A “Wild Bunch Type” is usually good at moving forward and keeping up their healthy, daily routines. Though sometimes, they move too fast, trying to do too many things.
They like to get out. They might go on shopping sprees with family and friends. These folks tend to be gregarious, less prone to get depressed and into sports and outdoor activities. They also tend to be a bit reckless, even sometimes getting involved with the wrong person.
What you want to do is embrace the positives from each of these personality types.
There is a time to find peace and solitude and enjoy the serenity of a quiet walk in the woods or along the beach. And there will be times in which you should get involved with a new activity and meet new friends and experience new challenges.
Having balance in your life includes both increasing your spiritual connect with the world around you and seeking out avenues to be physically and intellectually active.
Lose Yourself In Life
I want you to consider something very carefully….
Emotionally, you may not be in the right place to accurately process things right now.
If you and your ex husband have gone through a gauntlet of bad experiences, chances are that there is a lot of personal debris that needs tending to.
You may be lost.
You may be confused about where to turn after the bitter disappointment of your marital breakup.
That is why I think the No Contact Principle can potentially be of great benefit. It allows you to get in touch with your feelings and to improve your station in life.
I have discussed this Principle in great detail in a few posts on this website. You can read about it more in the article below:
You will benefit from having additional perspective.
You will also want to take an objective look at what may have gone wrong in the relationship and shore up those things you can control.
This is how you are found. You hold the key to your own recovery.
There are a lot of things I want you to consider as you embark on your journey to become the best version of yourself.
Perhaps you should take a Yoga or Fitness class to reduce anxiety and gain a better life balance.
Perhaps you will realize you have been too clingy or too demanding.
Perhaps you will want to start a journal to draw closer to your feelings about things.
The other day I doing a podcast with a relationship expert and she made what I thought was an excellent suggestion. She talked about writing a “Completion Letter” following your break with your ex husband or lover.
The Completion Letter is NOT something you write and give to your ex so that he knows that you are completely through with him. Rather, what is is used for is to capture your feelings about the relationship, with a focus on the positive things you learned about yourself.
Every relationship and experience we have can serve as a stepping stone in our life’s journey.
It’s Time For Self Examination
The No Contact Period can also be a time for self examination.
Go out and get feedback from those you trust and who you feel are objective. Ask them what they think you can do differently to heal and grow as a person. You will be surprised at the number of people who wish to offer you support. And you will be grateful for some of the creative ideas they share with you.
Perhaps it is several things or just a few things or possibly very little you could have done differently.
Perhaps it’s your Ex husband that needs to take a lesson from the “wrong of his ways”.
The core intent behind the No Contact Period is about creating an environment for you to heal and grow as an individual.
Spend time with close friends and family.
Make new friends
Do not isolate yourself.
Your tendencies may be to obsess over your Ex. I don’t think it is practical to expect people to stop “cold turkey” from reflecting back on the times with their ex husband.
If you can’t seem to control certain past thoughts, then allot yourself 15 minutes during the day to think about the relationship with your ex, then slowly unwind the amount of time you spend on such an activity.
And if you allow yourself to reflect back, choose those memories that are positive. Express appreciation (to yourself) that you were able to experience these positive moments. When you play them in your mind, be sure to emphasize to yourself that you help create these moments because of the nature of who you are. Thank yourself.
It is also important to keep engaged in life. You need to keep to your regular routines that give you fulfillment.
Add more routines.
Seek counseling as needed to enhance your awareness and understanding of the troubled times you experienced.
While you may feel like you have entered the “wasteland” following your breakup ..….trust that these next few weeks of your life have every opportunity to be lesson filled and enriching.
Draw Closer to Your Attachment Preferences
One important learning I wish to pass on to you, revolves around something called “Attachment Theory”.
Our understanding of a person’s “attachment preference” emerged from research that took place over 50 years ago.
It has a lot to do with how people relate to each other. It goes to the feelings people express, how we think, and ultimately how we behave within a relationship.
Understanding this concept will give you greater insight into the psychology of what drives some people to push others away or struggle within their marriage.
It might just help you understand a bit more about yourself and your Ex husband.
Perhaps your ex husband has an “attachment style” that is not conducive to having a successful relationship.
Possibly, the catalyst that drove your ex husband to call it quits was influenced by his “avoidant style”.
Don’t expect to have answers for all the reasons why your ex behaved the way he did. Human behavior is complex and is neither entirely logical or rational.
You could spend a lifetime trying to understand your ex husband’s behavior during and after your marriage, yet never entirely make sense of it all.
But I do want you to understand something about the different types of attachment styles as I believe the information can benefit you in the future.
Since you will be getting back on your feet. You will want to expand your insight on how you might go about finding a man that will be a much better match for your needs and values.
Ok, so let’s get into this!
This is how it shakes out.
There are essentially 3 types of attachment styles.
And some words of advice! While we each may have a dominant style, we all possess elements of the other attachment styles…some more than others.
Now, I will tell you right up front, since we humans are such complicated creatures, I am always a little skeptical when a psychologist or some really “brainy” person reduces our complexity to only 3 types of attachment styles.
There are probably many ways one can slice and dice what I am about to present to you.
But with that said, I think this is very useful and insightful information.
Just understand, there are very complex environmental and biological forces at work that shape and mold us all.
So, let’s get started with describing these styles:
- The Secure Attachment Style: This person tends to embrace the world with positivism. They see the glass as half full. This individual is relatively secure with who they are and have a network of meaningful relationships with friends, family, acquaintances. They tend to gravitate to other individuals who are positive and when relationship roadblocks are encountered, they take action to make constructive changes. Such a person is usually socially adept, with a balanced attitude. In most cases, a person with a secure attachment style was positively influenced by their parents who were supportive. Though one cannot ignore the biological component as helping shape an individual, one’s family upbringing plays a meaningful role. This person has a history of forming strong bonds and believes a relationship should be filled with trust and intimacy. While many who embrace a Secure Attachment Style adopted this behavior when they were quite young, anyone can learn to embrace this mode of thinking.
- Anxious/Preoccupied Attachment Style: This individual tends to give out a vibe of being somewhat insecure. Mind you, they are not totally insecure. For the most part, they may have a lot on the ball. It is just that sometimes, this person can fall prey to needy behaviors. While they can interact in the world effectively and are often socially well adjusted, they can succumb to their insecurities. Fear is usually the driver of their insecurity….fear of doing something wrong or losing out on something. Sometimes an individual with this style can be obsessive or moody. Then again, they could be relatively upbeat much of the time, but may tend to follow the cues of their partner since they are determined to please. Sometimes this person worries too much about pleasing their partner (lover). All of us can be anxious and preoccupied for a variety of reasons. So don’t be surprised if you see some of this attachment style within yourself.
- Avoidant/Dismissive Attachment Style: This individual tends to avoid commitment. They may be afraid if they get too close to another individual, they could get hurt. Their trust levels are often lower for those around them. They tend not to be very supportive if their partner is distressed and are generally uncomfortable with sharing their own feelings or hearing about other’s feelings. Empathy is not their strong suit. They tend to view the world as somewhat chaotic, where others can treat each other badly. When confronted, they tend to push away their partner (lover), creating emotional distance. This approach to “escape” can backfire and make matters even worse, which confirms their secret fear that “relationships” are inherently troublesome. Of course, they are wrong, but they cannot seem to escape thinking about things in this way. Fear lies at the heart of this kind of thinking. The fear of rejection, abandonment, or even the fear of falling in love and how that could effect them in the future.
There seems to be considerable research which strongly supports the notion that our attachments styles formed when we were as young as 12 months old and that the parental influence is a strong component in the attitudes ultimately shaped.
It is said that if one’s parents were consistently available to love and support their children, it can positively shape one’s attachment style.
If an individual grew up in an environment in which intimacy and feeling close to another individual is considered a vice, this can adversely shape one’s attachment style.
But as you probably realize, our behaviors are not all shaped by parenting and environment.
There is a biological (i.e. DNA) and nutritional component that plays a role in how our brain develops and this accounts for some of our behaviors.
Putting It Together In Order To Move Forward
So how does knowing all this, help you?
Well, for one, it gives you a perspective of how attachment styles can shape and influence relationships.
No one individual is forever trapped in any particular style. Our attachment styles change to some degree depending on who we meet and the chemistry or connection we have with that person.
Our style is also influenced by our experiences and where we might be in our life.
And the same goes for your Ex or your future lover.
Once you have insight into a person’s attachment style, it can enhance your understanding of their behavior and support future discussions about the root of the problems within the relationship.
Also, knowing about someone’s attachment style give you a window into their behaviors during and after the breakup.
It also helps you with finding the right man for your needs.
Those with an “Anxious/Insecure Style”, tend to deal poorly with rejection and can easily jump from one relationship to another. The rebound relationship is an effort to placate the anxiousness of being alone, which can be very uncomfortable for some.
The individual with the “Avoidant Attachment Style” has little interest in reconciling at first. They are pushing away from any form of commitment. Such individuals are more known for seeking out one “night stands” or quick sexual encounters and/or dates to satisfy their physical needs.
Now, if you are concerned that your particular attachment style contributed to the breakup or may not allow you to be successful in another relationship, please STOP thinking that way!
I don’t mean to be fussing at you.
Most everyone, on occasion, will suffer from the “mind wandering into the dark places”.
If you have some insecurities……well join the club! We all do.
Just recognize that when the dark inner voice is speaking, it’s intent is the lead you astray.
Chase such thoughts out of your mind.
Seek to recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
Work on the things you want to improve. But take little steps. Don’t over think things and don’t rush things as you will put more pressure on yourself than necessary.
We can all make meaningful strides in life, but if they happen incrementally, that is better.
You want to avoid any quick or impulsive decisions in Life.