Lark, Reyes, Juno, Slumber, Ludwig, Perpetua, Mayfair, Hudson, Valencia, Lo-Fi, Inkwell, and Hefe.
Yes, I know I skipped a few filters… there were just so many!
We have come a long way since simple black and white photos.
Deciding which Instagram filter makes your Monte Cristo look like you are truly enjoying your day off to the fullest extent has become as difficult as deciding which insurance plan to go with. I have a friend who actually had to drop her Instagram account because it was stressing her out too much.
But back to all of these filters… they me think about a song my mom has on vinyl. We used to play records in the morning while I got ready for school and dance around the kitchen in between bites of breakfast. I can’t remember a single Christmas during my childhood that didn’t begin a week ahead of time with her blaring Elvis at 5:30 in the morning as she wrapped gifts and getting the house ready for visitors.
If you’ve read anything I’ve written, you probably already know that I have a great appreciation for music. That started when I was very young, as you can imagine.
So, anyways, this song, “Rose Colored Glasses” made sense to me even as a kid.
And they let me hold on to the good times, good lines
The ones I used to hear when I held you
And they keep me from feeling so cheated, defeated
When reflections in your eyes show me a fool
These rose colored glasses
That I’m looking through
Show only the beauty
‘Cause they hide all the truth
You see, looking at his situation, his love for his partner has colored his perception of his situation. Despite being wronged, he still only saw the good things.
So often, after a breakup, we find ourselves looking outward through rose colored glasses. We see a distorted version of the relationship because we were in love and had an altered perception while in it. It’s why it is so hard to pinpoint and exact thing that caused the issue in our relationship, but we can easily look at other people’s relationships and point out exactly where they went wrong.
Other people’s perception of us has always been important. Throughout history everyone was concerned with being lady-like or gentlemanly, acting properly, and being aware of one’s place. Now, it is more desired to be perceived as fulfilled. Hence the abundance of social media sites pumping out photo after photo of people having babies, buying cars, going on vacations, and whatnot.
Generally, when you look at what people actually post online, aside from sharing news posts about the horrible things going on around the world, a majority of it it is positive. Very rarely will you see people post negative things about their own lives, unless they are:
A) looking for sympathy
B) Trying to avoid having to call a million people and repeat the same bad news over and over again while risking missing someone.
You see, even though Instagram filter are something a person perceives their own situation through, both are doing the same thing. They are distorting reality, either to create a connection with someone or to hold onto a connection with someone.
After you create a romantic connection with someone, it is difficult to let that connection go even if they already have.
In 2007, a study in The Journal of Positive Psychology concluded that 11 weeks after a nonmarital breakup 75% of their subjects had reached a place where they felt a sense of personal growth from the split. David Sbarra, a psychologist at the University of Arizona, does research on the impact of breakups and he posited that, even after a divorce, the sense of acute pain typically abates after “a matter of months, not years.” There are very few people that experience this acute emotional pain for longer periods of time.
“But I want to know know how long I’m going to have to deal with this hurt that I’m feeling!”
There are tons of people out there that claim to know the “super-secret formula” that will tell you exactly how long it will take you to get over your ex. But, there are so many variables that play into that recovery time that each person would have to have their own individualized version of the formula.
And most of those formulas don’t take into considerations the way that you perceive your relationship. It’s more like,
“Divide the time you were together by 3 then multiply by 7 and that’s how many months it will take you to get over your ex, then add a year for every kid or animal you had together.”
And that is just silly. No person’s life, full of experiences unique to only them, are equal to another’s. Breakups are not one size fits all.
So, if you find that it is taking longer than you expected to leave your relationship in the past, you should probably consider what in your past is contributing to your inability to move forward.
As I said before, there are many factors that play into the amount of time it takes to get over your ex. Here are a few that could be holding you back.
- Type of Attachments
- Confused Emotions
- Goal Linking
- Perception of the Future
- Stuck in Limerence
So, Lets just go ahead and jump right into what these are, because right now, they’re just words.
And remember, first we’re just going to look at the different obstacles that might be keeping you from a quick and speedy “recovery.” I’ll talk about how to address these obstacles.
TYPES OF ATTACHMENTS
This is probably the most complicated obstacle there is. So, I’ll go ahead and get it out of they way. The reason it is so complicated is because it require a little soul searching and an analysis of your childhood.
So I’ll go ahead and draw you a map.
You see, throughout your lifetime you create attachments with people, family, peers, friends, and romantic partners. However, the type of attachments you make with these people is entirely up to you… subconsciously.
During infancy and childhood, we develop our first significant relationship… with our parents.
I know, psychology always leads back to childhood because that is when the fundamentals of how we interact with the world are created.
This parent-child relationship is the foundation on which our ability to connect is built. It results in three different types of attachment styles in adulthood, secure, anxious, and avoidant. If you’d like to read the information from the scientific study you can do so here.
Long story short, in 1987, when this study was done, the majority of people, specifically sixty percent, were apt to build secure attachments. And the other 40% was split evenly between anxious and avoidant attachments.
I would be interested to see what the results of this study would be in today’s society. I venture to guess that the percentage of people making secure attachments would be much lower than 60%.
So, anyways, all children are born with a set of emotional needs that are required in order for them to grow up and be independent, sufficient, and confident adults.
No one has to tell them that they need these things, they are hardwired in and the desire to receive them is overwhelming at times.
I once heard the list of these emotional needs listed in the acronym P-A-R-E-N-T-S.
Which is kind of fitting.
Don’t you think?
When a child receives these needs within that base relationship with their parents, they are building their first attachment that is solid and secure.
People who have developed the ability to create secure attachments are comfortable in their relationships. They don’t feel the need to be clingy or hold people at arm’s length.
Secure attachments are characterized by the ability to feel connected while also being able to go about life freely. There is no need for them to fabricate a false sense of connection because there is a genuine one. They go to their partner when they need comforting and offer their own support freely when it is needed.
This requires a level of trust that is uncommon in most relationships today. That’s why I’d be interested to see that study redone in present day.
A lack of these childhood needs being met, can result in a lifelong quest for a sense of belonging or completeness. However, since their base relationship did not have these qualities, most people have an idealized and imagined perception of what these relationships should be like. This leads to them creating anxious or avoidant attachments.
Anxious attachments are built on that quest for that imagined connection. People who have these kinds of attachments are forever dealing with an insatiable emotional hunger.
They seek safety and security by being clingy, while constantly keeping their partner at bay due to their insecurities.
Imagine constantly wondering where your partner is, what they are doing, and if they really care about you.
This is the anxious preoccupied attachment.
They are liable to act desperate and self-conscious. When they act desperately their behavior usually feeds into these insecurities. For example, becoming possessive, demanding or clingy because they are unsure of their partner’s feelings, but this type of desperate behavior will surely make their partner uneasy. And sensing that uneasiness the person acting erratically will most likely mistake it as their partner pulling away for other reasons.
You see the dilemma?
It’s a perpetual cycle.
There are two types of avoidant attachments, dismissive and fearful. Both create attachments while doing everything they can to avoid letting their emotions get too involved.
The dismissive will seek isolation and will display characteristics that are very self-centered and focused. Their emotions are rarely on display and they will downplay any connection they have to anyone, making it easy to detach themselves at any moment. They go into relationships already withdrawn.
This is a psychological defense allowing them to distance themselves emotionally, preventing them from being put in a situation where they feel complete and then have that feeling taken away.
The fearful avoidant doesn’t block their emotions initially like the dismissive. They allow themselves to create connections and then when they suddenly feel as if they’ve gotten too close they will pull back. They do not have the ability to control or reign in their emotions. This makes for very tumultuous relationships with everyone in their life.
You see the need to feel connected still exists, so they allow themselves to get close in order to fulfill that need and then pull away in order to avoid being hurt.
They are followed by an emotional storm of drama everywhere they go.
Fearful avoidants remind me of cats. They’re all like “Pet me! Pet me! Love me!” and then the next instant they’re like “Oh my gosh! quit petting me! You’re smothering me!”
Another thing that could be keeping you from moving on quickly is confusing the emotions you are having now, about the breakup, with emotions from the past.
This is closely related to your attachment style. Both deal with unfulfilled needs and memories most people don’t really want to think about.
Perhaps you faced a loss in the past that you didn’t completely deal with.
Unresolved emotions have a way of bubbling up to the surface when you least expect it.
In order to deal with it though you have to realize that this is what is happening. So, if you find yourself being unreasonably emotional and relating everything that hurts now to memories of the past that have nothing to do with the relationship you just out out of. Then maybe the emotions you are dealing with aren’t all related to the breakup.
For example, I had a good friend that went through a messy divorce. She stayed in a state of “not over it” for longer than she should have. She and I spoke about her relationship often and it came to my attention that she was relating everything that her ex did to her mother and father’s relationship. Some of the connections she made didn’t even make sense, like how her ex drank straight of of the milk carton and her dad used to fight with her mom.
Finally, I asked her if all of this anger she had for her ex that was keeping her from moving past the breakup wasn’t a little misplaced. Perhaps, some of it was coming from the fact that her dad wasn’t around for her to be mad at.
This happened to me and my old roommate a lot. We rarely fought, but when we did, somehow, we would wind up arguing about things that had nothing to do with what the actual fight was about. Then when we finally ran out of gas we would realize that all of that fire was fueled by something else, like pressure at work or lack of sleep.
I know that is minor compared to the pain of a breakup, but I’m saying that, even on a small scale, it happens to everyone.
After a breakup, it is natural to start mulling over the relationship. Without feedback from “the ex” most people wind up assuming that the fault lies in something they did or didn’t do.
This can cause all sorts of insecurities to come to the surface making the idea of finding a beginning a new relationship look pretty scary.
So in reality nothing is holding you back, but the fear of moving forward unsure of if there is something you did that you might do again.
Every person in every relationship imagines what the future would be like if with the person they’re with. Some people just can’t see it and that is actually the reason the relationship ends.
But assuming that you weren’t the one who ended things with your ex, I’m going to assume you imagined the two of you together conquering your goals.
Perhaps you were planning on going back to school and you were counting on taking some time off work while he kept the ship afloat for a while.
I have this friend, Rachel*, that plans out EVERYTHING! and I mean EV-ER-Y-THING! She lays out a timeline and a budget and she factors in both her and her boyfriend’s income minus taxes. She has every day off planned from now until 2040 and has boarding for her dogs planned as well.
Last year, her usual kennel went out of business and I thought the was going to die. All of that just because she had to find a new kennel. I can’t imagine what would happen if her boyfriend broke up with her. Her entire life that she already has planned and scheduled would unravel.
It would be like watching a game of Jenga where the bottom five layers only have one block and Rachel* is balanced on top. Pulling that one integral block with Richards* name on it would cause the entire thing to come crashing down.
I think we can all agree that trying to pick up those life-size pieces would be a little daunting.
Perception of Future Possibilities
This one is something I hear about ALL the time! I’m almost certain I can explain this in just a few simple statements.
“I will never love anyone again.”
“I’ll never find anyone better.”
“All the good men are taken.”
Can you see the future?
Have you vetted every single man on the planet and know it to be a fact that every single man that is single and available is “bad” or unsuitable for dating?
People tell themselves these things as a result of fear.
Just like Rachel’s* situation, the task laid out in front of them is scary and new and they aren’t feeling up to it yet, so they tell themselves these things to make themselves feel better about not getting out there yet.
Are you telling yourself fibs to get out of moving on?
How to Realign
If you are having trouble getting over your breakup, you might be experience one or several of these roadblocks. If you aren’t experiencing any… maybe now is the time to work on your patience.
Whether you are or aren’t, knowing how to deal with these things can come in handy in the future. So, don’t just quit reading now.
Altering Attachment Tendencies
As you can imagine, secure attachments are the optimal choice for the type of attachments you want to have. Recognizing the tendency to have insecure attachments is the first step to creating secure attachments in the future.
This means changing the filter through which you see your world.
Sorry, it’s not as simple as putting on a pair of goofy looking glasses.
Most insecurities come from comparing one connection to others in the past. In order to move past that, you have to make a conscious effort to see each connection as its own individual situation. For example, you hear people lump all of their relationships into one generic, “I keep dating unavailable men.” or “Why am I attracted to jerks?” You have to realize that each connection you make throughout your life, whether with friends, colleagues, or in romances, is a collision of two unique individuals. there is no way that any of them are identical. So, learn to keep your relationships separate in your mind.
Some psychologists suggest writing down the story of your connections in a coherent narrative. This creates a timeline and helps you mind keep your relationships in order as opposed to colliding and creating one blob of unsuccessful relationships.
Okay, so you don’t have to do them with every interaction you’ve ever had ever, but writing about how the major attachments in your life have affected you and how you feel about them IN ORDER can help you create healthier connections in the future and helps you keep your current ex from become the punching bag for so much more than he’s responsible for.
Also, it is important to seek connections and relationships in the future with people who already have the ability to create secure connections on their own. Let their ability to do so give you comfort as you learn to do so on your own. You can use the description I gave earlier to help you spot a person prone to secure attachments.
Deal with Unresolved Issues
If you find that maybe you are piling the emotions of another issue on top of the pain from the breakup, perhaps it’s time to step away from the pain of the breakup for a moment and deal with whatever the issue is.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, focus on finding a solution.
If you are stressed out because your grades are tanking in school because of the distraction you’ve been focused on, maybe put all of your effort into that for the moment.
Often, when I’m upset, I start missing my grandmother who passed away several years ago. She and I were quite close. Combining the current upset with the pain from the past is just too much. I usually take the time to step back and spend some time remembering the good times we had by pulling out some old photos, or doing crosswords and drinking coffee on the patio like we used to.
Usually after I get past the emotion of missing her by appreciating the good that came out of having her in my life in the first place, I realize that I’ve been overreacting to whatever is upsetting me in the present. It puts things in perspective and makes getting over it a little easier.
Sometimes, if you realize this is what’s happening, but you don’t want to face these emotions alone, talking to a professional can make it easier.
I’m not sure if you read or watch Game of Thrones, but here is one of my favorite quotes from Tyrion, a dwarf, to Jon Snow, whose known mostly throughout the entire series for being Ned’s Stark’s illegitimate son.
“Let me give you some counsel, bastard,” Lannister said. “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
If you are insecure about something, learn to use it to your advantage, to overcome it, or to live with it. Those are your only three choices.
I used to be quite awkward. In fact, some people still say I am. It comes from feeling uncertain or insecure at any given moment.
I was always certain that everyone was judging me so I would talk loudly or become quite clumsy. Which, in turn, would cause everyone to notice me and which made them actually start judging me. This would make me even more awkward.
One of my good friends, a teacher of mine, pointed out something.
That this feeling that everyone was paying attention to me was absurd. When you are in a group of people… how much time do you spend actually thinking about the people around you? Not much right? Your thoughts flit from person to person, always returning to focus on how everyone is perceiving you.
Every single person is doing the exact same thing. They aren’t giving you more than a few seconds thought, even that hot guy who is so cool. Half of the people that I was so worried about were too busy thinking about the millions of things going on in their lives to even give me a second thought.
This helped calm the awkward storm for the most part.
Yes it was a storm.
I was very… very awkward.
I became more comfortable. And on occasion when I slipped up and did something because I got nervous, I would turn it into an entertaining moment. Believe it or not people like to laugh. Who’d have thought?! And they wouldn’t remember it as that moment Ashley knocked a glass of wine on herself. Instead, it was that time Ashley made a joke about being clumsy and didn’t make a big deal out of it.
For more advice on building confidence, check these other articles out.
Be Ready to Make a Great Second First Impression– You know how you go out looking and feeling great and don’t see anybody, but you go to the store in your jammies with a nose strip on and your hair piled high at 2AM and for some reason run into everyone you’ve ever known. This is to keep you from doing that in life with your ex.
Finding Motivation– Finding the right motivation and building confidence go hand in hand.
The Confident Woman’s “Get Over It” playlist– Make getting over him fun by jamming out to some tunes that make you feel like you can handle whatever he dishes out.
Create a Future of Your Own
If you had planned your entire future around your ex without coming up with a backup plan, well then kudos to you for being so confident in your relationship!
But now is the time not to sit on your butt and be sad about it, letting life’s tide come around you and pull you out to sea.
I get it, getting derailed when you are a planner can mess up your, finances, healthy living, your transportation situation, and I’m sure there are a lot more things it can mess up depending on how detailed you planning gets.
Now’s the time for that emergency plan. If you don’t have an escape plan in the event of a fire you don’t just sit there and whine
“Why oh why didn’t I make a backup plan for the unexpected?!”
No! You find a way out. and if there isn’t a way… you make one!
With that same sense of urgency, you need to go ahead and look at life that is still happening and make it into something that works for you. That way, you aren’t just sitting there waiting for someone to come save you.
Talk to your close (let me stress CLOSE) friends and family about what is going on, be open to letting them help you get back on track if your life-plan has gotten a little more than a little off track, just don’t let that be a permanent fix. Find a way to support yourself.
And then, when you decide to date again, you can use this as a learning experience and always have a backup plan even if life seems perfect.
Stop Lying to Yourself
Seriously. Your ex wasn’t the last good man in the world. Stop leading yourself to believe that he was. This isn’t the end of the world.
Charlotte, from “Sex in the City”, was a moron when she quoted that article that said “you only get to great loves in life.” The thing is, that when loves fails, most people give up on finding it again or even enjoying life again. They just decide that life is going to suck and choose to give up.
If you do this and you live the rest of your life afraid to move on, then you only have yourself to blame. My mother always complains that she never goes anywhere, when her biggest dream was to travel. I always tell her,
“Well, there’s the door and here are your car keys.”
I’m just saying. Don’t stand in your own way.
If you believe the nonsense you tell yourself after a breakup to make yourself feel better, then perhaps it’s time to do this old school and write lines.
I’m just playing.
Really though, the only way to stop telling yourself these things is to be honest with yourself.
In fact, most of these roadblocks that hold you back can be boiled down to one thing, they’re coping mechanisms. Once you recognize them for what they are, they go from being impossible to overcome, to beatable.
Understanding why you do things and seeing things for what they are can be life-changing.
So, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to evaluate what is holding you back.
Is it the things in your past?
Is it a fear of what the future holds or doesn’t hold?
Is it simply that you’ve told yourself that you can’t?
I think you will find that the only thing holding you back is you.
Which is good news!
Because that means YOU can do something about it.
So, take these suggestions and get your life back in line!