We’ve all done it, to a degree. Some only briefly, while others develop a habit of sorts. What am I talking about? To commit the relationship sin of being controlling and obsessive toward your boyfriend or girlfriend.
Perhaps this is the reason you now find yourself single (or will do soon if you don’t change.)
This behaviour often begins to take shape around the short to mid-term stages of dating, right at the point where you find yourself most in-love and the “happiest I’ve ever been.”
A common sign you’re at this stage is when you’ll spend as much time together as damn near possible. Outsiders will look in and think, “yuck!” although I’m sure they, too, have been where you are, or will do. But I digress. The issue is this: the thought of losing him or her, perhaps to another, terrifies you so completely that you lose all sense of proportion (and sometimes your dignity, too.)
Losing Your Perspective
It is quite probable that, at this point, your focus on the world got real narrow, and almost exclusively fixated on your (now possibly ex) partner.
You may not have realised it, but he or she became your whole world and, as hard as this is to accept, in your obsession you traded in all sense of perspective. In a sense, you became a different version of yourself.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager that you soon developed unhealthy notions about your ex, and other people around you. And unfortunately, it’s quite likely you saw things that were not really there, almost as though your rational mind took frequent short breaks.
For example, you might be out together, say clubbing, but you won’t like how other guys or girls are looking at your ex. You hate that they might see what you do, or that they are “undressing your ex with their eyes,” flirting …and wait, is your ex encouraging it?
Maybe, maybe not.
The point is, you are not coming from a stable place to judge because of the extremely narrow view you’ve adopted.
As a result of your obsessive and controlling behaviour, your ex will have felt suffocated.
Desperately seeking breathing space, he or she may become distant with you, but in your state this only makes you MORE clingy, and so you further suffocate your boyfriend or girlfriend until they can’t take it any more and breakup with you.
Does that sound at all familiar? While the specifics will be unique for you and your situation, the outline will be true for many.
When the person you love becomes your “one and all,” in the unhealthy sense, the damage potential for yourself is much greater. If he or she was “all your world” and more, then to be abandoned by them, to no longer be intimate with them … or the thought they might be intimate with another?
It’s hard enough to go through this under normal conditions, all rejection hurts. But from an emotionally unbalanced, obsessive and controlling state …you feel an even greater, more exaggerated loss.
Do you see now the unfortunate position you find yourself in?
The Two Paths at Breakup
The following applies if you have now broke up. If you haven’t, use it to learn a useful lesson. It could be crucial!
Let me talk about the two paths that follow a breakup.
When your ex felt crowded by you, which may have been for a while, the smartest thing to have done at the breakup point, is to give them the space they so desire.
By extension, the worst thing you could have done would be to increase your intensity and crowd him or her further.
The former removes stress from the situation, creating space and opportunity for a willing return. The latter adds stress, causes more damage, and pushes them even further away with more resolve to stay away.
Those are the two paths.
It’s cruel, but out of the two, which do you think is the more popular? Yes, it’s the 2nd. I’ve already said I’m not a betting man, but odds are good that you also chose the 2nd path, calling and texting your ex multiple times each day, adding pressure to the situation rather than taking it away.
The thing is, you’re only acting and behaving in the manner you feel most natural. You are not forcing yourself. You’re driven to do it by your volatile emotions which are bubbling away under the surface. It’s miserable, but you are suffering great pain and the breakup has sent your life into a spin.
Bottom-line: it’s not reasonable to expect anyone under your conditions to act any different without a strong prod or two in the right direction.
Your Next Steps
Almost irrespective of what you’ve done up till now, there’s still the chance you both will reunite as a stronger couple without either of you displaying those aforementioned unhealthy traits. What that chance will be, though, depends largely on what you do next.
Will you prepare, soak up critical knowledge, and action what you learn?
Those who do, greatly increase their chance of success. And not just in getting back together, but in staying together too.
The obvious place to start is on the unhealthy obsessiveness you have with your ex. Naturally, you first want to cease contacting him or her, and give them the space they need. Space here includes emails and text messages. This step requires willpower, and some of you may even refuse to do it at all! I won’t say “ignore this at your peril,” though I might think it (wink.)
Following the above, you might want to try and turn down the “my ex is everything,” dial, and turn up the “me and the rest of the world,” dial. You want to widen your focus a little, so you no longer hold that narrow-view of only your ex. It is quite likely that in the process of narrowing your view on him or her, you excluded your friends and family from your life. Well, now is your opportunity to reverse this unfortunate side-effect. At this fragile time in your life, you want to have friends and family around you.
Weaning yourself off your ex is no easy task. It is a tendency after the breakup to hold a better-than-reality version of your ex in your mind.
What about you, are you glossing over many of their not-so-ideal aspects?
This really doesn’t help your cause. As such, some people find it helpful to purposely identify all the bad points of their ex, even going so far as to write a list they can later refer to. Having a little reminder of how “normal” they are can really help address this common phenomenon.
It’s crucial you get control of your emotions if you are to succeed, whether that’s in winning your ex back, and keeping them … or deciding you’re better off as you are, and moving on. Keep in mind that while many couples reunite, those who do not resolve the original problem(s) are likely to find themselves single again. And fast. Make certain this is not you.