So this girl I work with is so crazy hot it makes any man who sees her immediately stop what they’re doing to watch her walk down the hall. Though a little conceited she has a pretty good personality as well. She’s talented, smart, sexy as humanly possible, and fun to hang around. And she’s had almost 10 boyfriends this year.
Understand, she hasn’t slept with them all or anything. It’s just that she seems to always find a way to kill any relationship she gets in because she’s comparing him to “Bob”, the guy she considers “the one”. Bob broke up with her via email at the beginning of the year and let her know that he’d actually been seeing someone else for a few weeks as well. He cared for her and all, but he just didn’t see a future with her.
This was powerful because this was literally the first guy who had ever dumped this girl. She had always been the dump-er, and now she was the dump-ee. It did not go well.
And now, despite the fact that he cheated on her, she can’t let him go. Every relationship she gets in is automatically compared to this fantasized version of Bob. In her mind he’s not the cheating two-timer she hated with a passion as she finished that email. Instead, he’s the caring sensitive guy who loved her with all his heart.
So what is it about ex’s the keep people so enamored? Why can’t we move on sometimes when a relationship goes sour and ends?
First, it’s because of what we imagine might have been. We see ourselves waking up in the middle of the night and having this person roll over onto us for “movie love”. They wake up in the morning ready to go with their hair perfect and their breath fresh. They never get mad and always worship the ground we walk on. Of course, none of this happened while the relationship was going on, but that won’t stop us from imagining it.
When I was single, I had a girl who was a very good friend of mine. The years we were together were fun, and we were very close though we never took it to a physical level. Thinking back on it later, I reconsidered a lot of our conversations and realized there were times she was tentatively opening the door to me for more, and I never caught it or took it. Now when I think of what might have been I picture her doing incredibly athletic things to my body as I fight for every breath in a bliss I had never thought possible. Would it have really been that way? Probably not…but that’s just the way we are wired to see things. Rather than look at reality and see them as a real person, we lock them forever in our memories as “perfection”.
Second, time heals all wounds. The things that drove us away from them or annoyed the fire out of us are long forgotten as we concentrate instead on little things that meant so much. They might have been loud, or obnoxious, or even downright cruel at times…but there were those precious moments like when they picked up a candy bar for us while in the gas station, or when they reached for our hand in the dark during a movie. She might have been banging your brother, but when you picture her she’s this angel.
Third, something special happened at least once with them–and we keep hoping it will happen with someone else. It might have been incredibly deep conversations, or mind-blowing passion, or wonderful laughs, but something happened that made that person stick out. That one part of the relationship is usually what we hang on to, focus on, and desperately want to recreate. Most of the time, unfortunately, we can’t hope to.
In the case of the girl I work with, the guy she’s so hung up on was “her first”, and as such he holds a place that no man can ever possibly hope to have. Almost everyone can remember their first time even decades later, so you can see what her future husband will be fighting against. It’s really unfair to hold any other guy up to the standard she’s placed “Bob” in (and she didn’t even think it was that great), but she’s holding out hope because she doesn’t want to be considered a tramp and wants to be a one-man-ever kind of woman.
Whatever the cause, it’s often unfair to think anyone else can ever measure up to this standard that has been placed on them. Ex’s sometimes get those special glorified places that can never be matched. How many times do we miss out on something better simply because we hang on to something we think was so incredible.
And the funny part? If we do find a way to make the relationship get another chance, it ends the same way. Those incredible moments we thought would forever move us may show up for a minute or two, but then they’re overshadowed as reality sets in once more.
So what’s a person to do if they find their mind constantly wandering back to that “perfect love”?
If need be, focus on the bad things and knock out the good. It may seem cruel, but if it will help you get over them and move on you should do it. I’m not saying your should cheapen whatever great times you had, I’m just saying if you have to move on then you do whatever you need to in order to make that happen.
Give someone else a fair chance to win your heart. The poor guy or gal might be better for you than anything you’d ever imagined, but if you don’t give them a chance to prove it you’ll stay lonely and pining away for “the one” forever. Really, truly, honestly move on as best you can and don’t allow yourself to think of that other person as you’re with the new one. You never know…it might be better than you’d ever imagined it could be.