Long after your relationship has ended, your ex may still have the power to screw with your happiness. Getting over a rough relationship takes a lot of time and healing, so it’s easy for those first few connections you make after a break up to fail. Even after you no longer think of him, here are 8 ways your ex continues to sabotage your love life:
- In the back of your mind, you’re comparing every man to him. Part of you compares every potential match to him. You see his strengths and his flaws in other men, and rate them as being better or worse in certain categories. You value where a new guy is objectively better, but immediately mourn any category where he doesn’t match up to your ex — especially if that category is passion.
- He’s made you cautious to the point of being paralyzed. You’re being cautious to protect yourself, and that’s not a bad thing. But he’s made you careful with your heart to the point of being unable to move forward. Good guys won’t wait around forever, but you can’t just jump in before you’re ready. You need a long healing process from the relationship, and that means you’re going to miss out on possible relationships for a while.
- Part of you still believes the lies he told you. He made you feel inadequate or crazy to keep you from leaving him, and you can’t just ditch those feelings the minute you’ve finally gotten rid of your crappy boyfriend. You know logically that those things are lies, but the insecurities take time to heal. In the meantime, they can absolutely rear their ugly heads and ruin your new relationships.
- He distorted your view of what a relationship is supposed to look like. You sometimes forget that a good relationship doesn’t involve constant fighting and drama. That isn’t passion, that’s dysfunction. A normal, healthy relationship might initially feel boring or insincere in comparison, causing you to choose more drama loving jerks over nice, quality guys.
- He made you second guess your instincts. You used to be so sure of yourself and your inner voice. Any time your intuition made you feel like that relationship wasn’t right for you, he talked you out of it and told you you were being silly. It turns out you were completely right- but the damage is already done. It’ll take time to learn to trust your instincts again, and you’ll need to be able to listen to your gut to find love in the future.
- When he reaches out, it screws with your head and your heart. Just when you find a little bit of happiness and stability — BAM! Your ex reaches out and shatters your day. It’s like he has a sixth sense for you finally being OK after the breakup, and needs to mess that up. When he starts calling or texting again, it brings up a lot of feelings and very easily screws with whatever new relationship you’ve been working on. You don’t even realize it’s tanking your new love life until it’s too late.
- He caused you to lose faith in the existence of nice guys. They’re out there, but thanks to your crappy ex, you now see every nice guy as a phony. You think the good guys are just faking it and it’s only a matter of time before their true colors come out. You prefer the company of jerks these days, because at least they’re being upfront about who they are.
- He shook your belief in happily ever after. You used to believe in love and happy ending. Now, you feel every romance is a ticking time bomb that will inevitably result in heartbreak. You make your decisions in love based off the notion that everything will end eventually anyway, and that usually causes things to crumble. Your break ups are a self-fulfilling prophecy, thanks to your ex that shattered your belief in happily ever after.
- You still care about him. You know you can’t be together, but part of you can’t help but still care for him. You might hate him, but you also still love him a little bit. As long as he still has a piece of your heart, moving on with someone else can feel impossible.