Why You Must Let Go Of Your Ex (Even If You Want Another Shot)

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Holding on isn't 'sweet,' it's unattractive!

Letting go after a breakup can feel like an impossible task. The problem is — if you allow yourself to stay mired in grief, guilt, longing, and resentment, you’ll only go on causing yourself pain way longer than your ex ever hurt you.

If we want our ex back, we may feel almost superstitious about our grief, like, by hanging onto our bad feelings our ex will notice how much we care and how deeply this affects us. 

By holding onto our negative feelings, we somehow believe we’re magically introducing hope into a situation that feels hopeless.

If we don’t want them back, we might believe that we’ll prevent more hurt and pain in the future by reliving the negativity and pain and promising ourselves “we’ll never do that again, here’s why s/he was awful,” but the exact opposite is true.

By self righteously hanging onto the pain, all we’re doing is making our lives harder in just about every way imaginable.


We may say that we want a happy relationship with our ex (or someone else), but we can’t get there from here. 

It always amazes me how stuck people are on the idea that with more effort, they’ll create what they want in a specific relationship when the opposite is actually true. The more needy, anxious effort someone expends, the more it drives the other person away because of the undercurrent of needy dependency. It’s impossible to create happiness with anyone when we’re so dead-set on beating ourselves up, blaming our ex or ourselves and generally throwing an emotional tantrum.

The more guilt, pain and hurt we lug around, the more we impose it on the people around us, making us feel even worse, leading to more rotten relationships and negativity and — you guessed it — the cycle just continues.

After a negative event like a breakup, instead of healing, there we are, insisting on reliving, re-imagining, making resolutions about, and generally wallowing in the what-ifs and remorse about the past.


To drive this point home, think about the situation in the reverse. If someone HAS TO have you, that might feel initially flattering, but after about three minutes, it’s slimy and off-putting. You feel responsible for carrying the burden of the other person’s heavy feelings.

Unless you’re in the same place of extreme neediness and/or feeling desperate for attention yourself — which is unlikely since it’s such an unattractive, repellent state— you’re going to wonder if that person truly wants you, or if they’re just naturally unhinged and could transfer their attentions to almost anyone if given the opportunity.

That’s why, even if you pray every night that your ex-love will come back, the attempt to gain control over the situation by stalwartly carrying the torch of broken hearted negativity is a plan waiting to backfire. 

Trying to force your ex to do anything will give off such an unattractive vibe that you only push that person further away.

You’re better off working through your negative emotions on your own rather than harboring them in a misguided attempt to somehow wrestle control over the situation via your sheer force of will.


Consider a time when you were the one to push the kill switch on a relationship. Were you attracted by your ex’s extreme pain? Did it make you feel like changing your mind and dating them again?

Perhaps you felt pity or guilt about breaking their heart; pain and shame over the failed relationship, but those feelings probably pushed you further away from your ex and actually diminished your respect for them. The more intensely negative they acted, and the more they tried to “show you how they felt” the more it probably pushed you toward certainty about never wanting to see them again, right?

But when you’re heartbroken, I know intimately that the desire to “show them how you really feel” in an effort to win them back is almost overwhelming. You might feel like time is of the essence, that they’ll find someone else, that if they “don’t know how you feel about them, they’ll be gone for good.”

All of these thought processes come from a place of lack — and for good reason — I get it.

But, if you buy into that insecure impulse, you’ll act desperate, needy and look even more unattractive to your ex than you already are.

They already know that you love them. They just don’t want you right now.

So, trying to get them to wake up and realize something wonderful about you to get your way right now is going to have the opposite effect and solidify their negative opinion of you.

That’s why, paradoxically, you must let go of your ex completely. 

It’s time to bring your attention squarely onto yourself and away from your ex, the breakup, and the outfall of all of this — whether you want another shot with them or not.

It’s time to let go.

If you keep getting into frustrating relationships where the guy pulls away or dumps you, get to the bottom of it for good with a free copy of Elizabeth Stone's book, Why Men Lose Interest and daily (almost) email series. In it, she explains the most common reasons why men pull away and most importantly what to do about it.

This article was originally published at Digital Romance Inc. Reprinted with permission from the author.