What To Do About All Those Emotions You Still Have For Your Ex

So you have unresolved emotions for your ex, like anger and hatred, and maybe you still carry the torch of love for your ex. The question is, what do you do with all these emotions within you?

Hate vs Forgiveness

Buddha says, “When you hold on to hate, it is like drinking poison and expecting the other to die.” Anger erodes you from within like acid. Letting go of the toxic anger is therefore a favour done on yourself. Releasing yourself of the bondage of hatred allows you to move on with your life. It is important to note that forgiveness does not mean that you are condoning something hurtful that your ex may have done. Forgiveness simply means, that you are not going to carry the burden of that action of your ex on your heart any longer. Forgiveness is a gift yo yourself. ‘Forgiveness frees the forgiver’, and forgiving is the only way to vacate your heart space, so that peace, love and joy can occupy it once again.

Blame vs Responsibility

When your heart is rife with emotions, it is important to take some ‘alone time’, and have a more aerial view of the relationship. This allows for a more objective evaluation of why things went wrong. The fact is that when things end badly, both have played a role in the same. Even if your role was, that you chose to ignore the early cues that the relationship was not mutually gratifying, and yet you chose to not end it but let it drag out, it is still your contribution to the present pain. Therefore, stop blaming your ex or yourself. Instead, accurately allocate and share the responsibility for stretching the relationship, despite early signs that both had such different dreams for the future.

The Idea of Love

¬†Often one tends to hold on to the idea of ‘lost love’, without even accurately examining whether what is lost is ‘love’, or the ‘illusion of love’. This examination can be done by creating two columns, to list out the hurtful and painful parts of the relationship, as well as the pleasant parts of the relationship. This is helpful to break the illusion of having lost out on perfect love, in case you are still carrying the torch for your ex. On the other hand, if there is bitterness and hatred for your ex, the same columns will help you dissolve the blame and resentment, having clearly seen that there was some affection at some point too. Writing about the good and the bad, and reading both columns everyday for 21 days, lightens your heart progressively, freeing you to move on.

Talk Therapy

Talk to a relationship counsellor or a mature and trusted friend, about the good, bad, and ugly parts of the relationship. By describing all aspects of the relationship, you will gain perspective, and realise that the relationship had numerous cracks that were bound to widen with time. Sharing always lightens your heart. But along with this benefit, the reflection by your counsellor about the bare facts of the relationship, will continue to serve as a reminder of why it is best that the relationship ended. This then expedites your healing.

Step by Step

The letting go process is a step by step one, so be patient with yourself. You are liberated from all the unresolved emotions, only if you first accept that they exist. Do not deny or suppress any emotion. Allow yourself to feel the emotion fully in a controlled environment. Cry freely, as it feels better when you let it out. You can start by writing about all you feel in a ‘not to be mailed’ letter to your ex. Talk to a counsellor or a mature and trusted friend, and read the letter aloud to the counsellor. Talking about it in the past tense helps you accept that it’s over, and it helps you grieve if you have an empathetic listener in front of you. Making a list of all that was good and bad about the relationship and reading it everyday, helps you realise that it was neither the ‘perfect love’, nor that your ex was a ‘total villain’. This helps bring some perspective about a relationship that you can now clearly see was just not sustainable.

Conscious Discernment

Be honest with yourself about the role that you too might have played in staying in a relationship that was untenable. Reflect on your own areas of growth, your own life lessons through this experience of being with your ex. Accept that no one is perfect including you. Get on with the business of personal growth, and humbly and consciously work towards being your own ‘best version’. Make a conscious decision to forgive your ex and yourself. Get into a self-care regime by eating and sleeping well, drink lots of fluids and have a fitness regime, meet up with friends, consciously do things you really enjoy and focus on your work. Slowly you will begin to realise that it’s been days and then weeks that you haven’t thought of your ex. After a few months even if there is a thought, it feels like a flash about someone you just knew for a while, and you experience that there is no longer the pain that once existed.

Dr. Minnu Bhonsle Ph.D. is a Senior Consulting Psychotherapist and Relationship Counsellor at the Heart to Heart Counselling Centre, Mumbai, and has been working with couples for the last three decades.

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