If you constantly find yourself thinking about your ex after a breakup you’re not alone.
Today we’re going to talk about the psychology behind why you find yourself thinking about your ex after a breakup and what you should be doing when you find yourself in that situation.
And if you stick around until the end of this article I’m going to let you in on some of my best techniques for dealing with this unique situation.
Why Am I Constantly Thinking About My Ex?
The reasons for constantly thinking about your ex are pretty straightforward so I will explain them from three different research-backed angles so you can fully understand why you’re feeling this way.
Dr. Lucy Brown, an author and clinical professor of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, states that romantic love produces the same effect as being high off of cocaine, and it also produces the same feeling of withdrawal as a cocaine addiction when that love is taken away or withheld.
Brain scans have actually revealed that people who had their heart broken exhibit the same kind of desire and longing as cocaine addicts craving their next fix. Those kinds of strong withdrawal symptoms are amplified further if your ex isn’t talking to you or they were the ones who broke up with you.
All that to say, your brain’s actual chemistry is behind your constant thoughts about your ex, so it is totally normal and to be expected!
In fact, it’s so common that a graduate student study found that around 89% of people who go through a breakup will Facebook stalk their exes.
They’re thinking about their ex so much that they lurk around their Facebook to see what they’re up to.
At the time of this study, Facebook was the most common social media platform, but we’ve found that the statistic is pretty similar for other newer platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, etc.
The third research that explains this phenomenon deals with the concept of self-identity and how that’s affected in a relationship and after a breakup.
Without going into too much technical detail I want to summarize the research of Gary Lewandowski, a leading relationship researcher at Monmouth University.
According to Mr. Lewandowski, when someone is in a satisfying relationship, their sense of self expands to include their partner as well. Naturally, when you spend so much time with someone, your whole life starts to include and accommodate them as well.
So, when you lose that person your entire identity is confused. You feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself, so you naturally find yourself thinking about your ex and wondering what they’re up to.
Your ex isn’t safe from all these feelings either.
Whether they show it or not, your ex is also probably thinking about you more than they’d like.
Now that you know exactly why you’re constantly thinking about your ex let’s move on to the hard part – what do you do about it?
How To Deal With Constantly Thinking About Your Ex
A lot of our clients have no idea how to handle themselves when they’re constantly thinking about their ex so they end up doing the exact opposite of what they should be doing.
Before we get into what you should be doing, let me tell you what you should never do.
Don’t start GNATing.
GNATing is an acronym for Going Nuts At Texting and it’s when people blow up their ex’s phone with several texts and voice mails etc. They figure if they’re thinking about their ex so much, they might as well tell them that and try to get them back.
That’s the worst thing you can do.
The right thing to do is actually inspired by several of our success stories that I’ve been interviewing over the past year.
These are people who we’ve coached or who have bought my program and gotten their exes back. My ultimate goal of these success story interviews is to both inspire people by showing that it is indeed possible to get their exes back even in the most difficult situations and to pinpoint the exact trends that distinguish our success stories from those who fail at getting their exes back.
The number one thing we’ve noticed is that people who tend to be the most successful at getting their exes back have this tendency to let go of the relationship.
For the longest time, I couldn’t find any psychological research to back this up. I didn’t really know where to look and often times saying “it works” isn’t enough to convince someone to let their ex go when they’re obsessing over them.
Thankfully, I discovered and started learning more about the theory of attachment styles.
How Attachment Styles Plays Into Handling Obsessing About Your Ex
Attachment theory dictates that the environments you experienced while growing up as a child influence your way of handling emotional relationships.
There are four main attachment styles: secure, anxious, avoidant, and fearful.
Most of the people that we work with tend to fall into the anxious type of attachment style.
This means that they have their entire sense of worth put into the relationship with their ex. They have an incredibly hard time letting go. Their first instinct is to do whatever they can to fix the relationship.
n fact, these are the same people who get so shocked when their ex rejects them or breaks up with them that they want to talk to them even more.
They start blowing up their ex’s phone which is the literal embodiment of an anxious attachment style. And as we’ve already discussed, excessively texting your ex is not the right way to handle this situation.
Interestingly enough, most of our success stories aren’t doing anything tactically or strategically smarter, they’re just really good at rewiring their brain from an anxious attachment style to a secure attachment style.
I highly recommend that you check out my interview with our newest ex recovery coach – Coach Tyler Ramsey to learn more about this.
We talked extensively about attachment style theory and what he said is really spot on with what were practically seeing:
Someone who’s a secure attachment style tends to draw all the other attachment styles to them so you should focus all your energies on becoming a secure attachment style.
How To Become A Secure Attachment Theory
There are a lot of different theories out there for adopting a secure attachment style, but I believe the most important thing for you to understand is the concept of a flow state.
Flow state describes a feeling where, under the right conditions, you become fully immersed in whatever you’re doing.
There’s this laser-sharp focus that, once it becomes intense enough, leads to a sense of ecstasy, clarity, and discipline.
You know exactly what you want to do from one moment to the next and you get immediate feedback. Everything’s a net positive and you can feel yourself becoming a better person in some way.
Often, you’ll hear athletes call this the runner’s high or being in “the zone”.
They’re really referring to how they’ve accessed a flow state where it feels like they can’t do anything wrong and for the most part that’s correct. Now how does this relate to secure attachment?
We’ve noticed from a lot of our clients that they’re extremely undisciplined.
It’s not that they don’t want to succeed, they want to get their ex back as much as everyone else, but they have trouble getting the ball rolling. Taking that first step is always the hardest, especially when you have that anxious attachment style that makes you doubt yourself.
When I talk about flow state all I’m really talking about is finding the strength to take that first step, and the next one, and so on until you reach a point where you’re so focused that success comes to all areas of your life.
How exactly can this flow state help you?
That’s where our concept of the holy trinity comes into play.
The holy trinity is our way of describing the three most important areas of your life: health, wealth, and relationships.
We notice that there’s an interesting synergy between the three, if one goes down the others follow and vice versa.
For example, if your ex dumps you, your relationship category obviously takes a hit. You start feeling depressed and that might cause you to slack off at work and stop taking care of your body. See how the health and wealth automatically go down too?
On the other hand, let’s say you start working really hard at work and get a promotion you’ve been waiting on for the longest time. That’ll make you happy and automatically make you feel more confident in your relationships. It will also give you the motivation (and money) you might need to focus more on your health as well.
We find that most of our successful clients can focus intensely on one area of their holy trinity and then replicate that intensity via the flow state into other areas. Thus, it’s almost like the rising tide – everything just becomes positive.
Now I know that this might seem like cliched advice but even the most cliched advice, when implemented correctly, can yield the best results!
It’s completely normal that you can’t stop thinking about your ex and the best thing you can do is counter your anxious attachment by adopting a secure attachment style.
When you hyper-focus on some other part of your life you will reach this flow state of positivity and achievement that will trickle over to all other areas of your life too.