Here’s How To Handle It When You’re Tempted To Reconnect With A Dude You Know You Shouldn’t

We all have someone in our past who’s capable of swaying our better sense. It can be damn hard to let go of this guy but for your sanity, you know you really must. Here’s how to stay strong when your heart gets disconnected from your better sense.

  1. Remember what a POS he actually is. Sounds mean,  but it’s a good tactic when you’re trying not to get waylaid by deceptively good memories. First, immediately toss anything that makes you feel sentimental about him (or at least seal it somewhere inaccessible for the next few years until you’ve healed and moved on). Second, choose a few artifacts representative of his bad qualities. A quote from an insensitive text message or a super-thoughtless birthday gift. Keep your museum of his poor behavior somewhere you won’t have to see it if you don’t want to but can access it easily when you’re wondering if you should give him another chance.
  2. Think very carefully before hashing it out with your girls. All your ladies’ warnings and encouragements to “block the a-hole forever” may fall on deaf ears if you’re really determined to make a mistake (everybody has those self-defeating moments, so you’re totally not alone). Worse, they might actually strengthen your resolve to hit him up again. Twisted logic does ugly things to the decision-making process. If your crew is howling at you not to be an idiot, you might just call him to spite them. Be honest with yourself: are you ready to hear them trash the guy who still has a hold on you, or will their opinions only worsen your complicated feelings?
  3. Be smart with your phone before you drink. Alcohol is the devil on your shoulder when you’re already vulnerable to poor choices and accessible tech makes those poor choices SO easy to indulge. If you’re going out for a few cocktails, you can prepare ahead of time. Download one of these anti-drunk-dial apps to stave off impulsive texting sessions.
  4. Call somebody who makes you feel awesome. Who’s the best influence in your life? Who props you up and reminds you of your worth? Reach out to the person who always inspires you to be your best self. Craving an unreliable guy is like craving a doughnut for breakfast. If you continually subvert that longing with a wholesome replacement, you’ll eventually stop fantasizing about the empty, temporary fix that only makes you feel bad in the long run.
  5. Put some muscle into it. Make your body focus on things that aren’t this bad-news boy. It’s tough to stay caught up in the same old pattern when you’re concentrating on your mile time or your bench press. But no, this isn’t strictly an encouragement to log gym time. Your brain is a muscle too, so if mental workouts are more your style than pumping iron, grab the Sudoku and recalibrate your focus. The idea is to engage your senses with a more productive activity than missing the douche who doesn’t deserve you.
  6. Give yourself something to look forward to. When you’re planning for the future, it’s hard to get tangled in the past. Revisit your “one of these days” dreams. How can you bring yourself closer to where you want to be? Is it time to start checking out master’s programs? Time to shop your manuscript to agents? Channel your emotional state into excitement for your own progress, and leave that no-good guy in the dust.
  7. Visualize the things you need in a man. Happiness takes guts and faith. It requires you to be honest about what will truly satisfy you and to believe such a thing is possible. Rather than carry a torch for the jerk who broke your heart, give yourself permission to dream of better relationships to come. Getting the specific details down will make you more attentive to what you’re looking for AND occupy brain space to keep your mind off the one you need to forget. 
  8. Go somewhere new. There are memories of your ex around every corner. Like a stubborn stain, these lingering reminders have ruined your favorite hangout spots. No wonder you keep wanting to text him “for old time’s sake.” The trick to washing him out of your consciousness for good is to discover unmarked places, to have your girls’ night or your client meeting somewhere he’s never been. If there’s only one restaurant in town, at least order something new off the menu or stop in at a different time of day from your usual date night with him. Create as much novelty as possible, and after a while, he won’t seem like such a fixture in your history and routines.
  9. Make it a game. Why not award yourself points each time you choose to ignore your questionable urge for communication? You get five points for removing his number, five for disengaging on all social media. A point for each you eschew contact and two points per day for resisting your inner online stalker. Every time you tally fifty points, give yourself a reward. Sound silly? Whatever, it actually helps!
  10. Don’t beat yourself up if you backslide. This is a process. One slip doesn’t doom you to a future of love life hell. Honestly, no matter how many times you screw up, don’t relinquish hope. Let your self-belief guide you back to the right track. Never forget: you’re a badass, beautiful chick, and this annoying, painful phase won’t last forever.
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.