Whether we’ve been “dumped” or the split was a mutual decision, breaking up is never easy.
Even if we are the ones breaking up with our partner, it’s possible it was a difficult decision we have struggled with but ultimately came to the conclusion that we needed to call it quits and move on. We may still even have feelings for that person but something inside made us made a decision to break it off.
Time passes, the healing process takes place, we think we are ready to put ourselves out there for love again. We meet someone new or someone crosses our path and we are drawn to them for some mysterious or specific reason. We enjoy their company, and now we want more.
We want to spend more time with this new person who interests us so deeply or intensely.
This is a new relationship—out with the old, in with the new.
Often, we end up comparing new relationships with earlier ones without even knowing it.
I was in a relationship with the woman of my dream—she seemed like everything I could ever want. Every moment I was with her, I felt butterflies. We had some amazing physical and emotional experiences together.
I’ve been in many relationships, but this particular felt like “the one.” In a my relationships, I had never felt that way before.
She broke up with me for her own reasons. There was no animosity on either side and it was an amicable break up.
After what seemed like ample healing time, I felt I was ready to be back on the market. Not long after putting myself out there, I met someone new.
She is outgoing, beautiful, fun to talk to and be around and she has this quirkiness about her that draws me to her. Yet as we began our relationship, I started thinking more and more about my ex and comparing her to my ex. I was making “pro and con” lists in my head comparing her to my ex.
This lead me to ask the question, “How do we really know if we are over our exes?”
I’ve come up with five things to help us figure it out.
1. We do not compare our new companion to our old one in any way.
Not physically, emotionally, spiritually or via any other measure of attraction. We recognize that each of our partners are separate and unique. We appreciate more of the individuality of our new connection than we do from our old one. We are happy with our connection with our new partner and we do not miss the old times with our ex. We are more excited about the possibilities of the new connection than we are missing the connection of the old partner.
For me, I am embracing and looking forward to the new experiences with my new partner.
2. We feel comfortable doing the same things with our new partner that we did with our old partner.
Some things I did with my old partner I felt were sacred and I told myself at first, “I will never do this with another person.” My ex and I used to play mini golf. We had a lot of memorable deep sacred connections while playing. If we feel comfortable doing those same things with our new partner, we have moved on and released ourselves of our previous connection to our ex. We are willing to include them in more aspects of our lives and the experiences we enjoy. If I’m dating someone and I take them mini golfing, it means I’m in to them! I have not taken my new partner yet, I’m still mentally wrestling with the idea.
3. We don’t secretly wish that an experience we just had with our recent partner happened with our old partner.
Many relationships leave certain things on the table. I dated a girl once and we had a special list of all these things we wanted to do together. We broke up before finishing the list, however I carried over some of the same ideas that we never got around to from the list to my new relationship. Here I must confess that while I enjoyed the activities with my new partner, a small part of me wishes I did some of the list activities with my ex.
One of the list activities in question was being on a boat together. I thoroughly enjoyed boating with my new partner, but at the end of the day, I still wished I got around to getting on a boat with my ex. My ex loved being on boats as much as I did and it was a huge common interest we shared. My new partner likes being on boats, but it does not excite her like it would have my ex. I would have liked to have seen the reaction/excitement of being on a boat with my ex.
4. We talk differently to our new partner.
I’ve noticed that most relationships I’ve been in me and my girlfriend at the time had a unique way of speaking to each other. We had nicknames for each other, we spoke in a certain tone and spoke in a certain fashion to each other. If we have moved on, we have created a new way to communicate, new pet names for each other and feel comfortable speaking with our new partner in a different manner. We have moved on from our old forms of communication and created new ways of talking, texting and overall unique communications with our new partner that we thoroughly enjoy.
5. Conversations with our exes are either limited, short or non-existent.
If we keep in communication with our exes and remain friends, it’s easy to fall back in to the trap of love again. However, if we still do communicate with our ex, there needs to be a specific purpose. Texting, calling or emailing them in hopes to strike up meaningful conversations usually signifies that we are still holding on to something from the old relationship.
Communicating with our exes without a specific purpose may also set off a red flag to the new partner in our life. If we feel the need to constantly communicate with our ex, we are still holding on and using time that we should be communicating with our new partner. I rarely communicate with my ex now, and even when I do, it’s only for a specific purpose and never intended to lead in to a serious or drawn out conversation.
Of course, there are many other ways to figure out if we still are not fully over exes, but these five points are a good start for checking in with yourself. I scored a 3.5/5, so there is still a small part of me that holds on to my ex.
We don’t always need a perfect score to move on, but the further we can distance ourselves from our exes and the more new experiences we create with our new partners, the easier and quicker it will be to be fully emotionally available to our new partners.
Author: Adam Wilkinson
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Ed Gregory at Stokpic