So, you started dating someone and it was wonderful, and you fell in love, which was wonderful too, but then you started to notice that things were going very poorly a lot of the time, and so you broke up or got broken up with, but you still really care about each other. You end up arguing or having hurt feelings whenever you get together, and yet, you can’t stop thinking about this other person.
Are you starting to feel like a ping pong ball?
Or maybe it’s pretty obvious that this person isn’t a good fit. But you hate being lonely and something feels better than the prospect of being alone, and no one else seems to want to spend time with you. Pathetic I know, but many of us have been there.
And it’s not surprising that many of us have been there. As Reid Mihalko and Cathy Vartuli point out in this video, for thousands of years, being alone was synonymous with mortal danger for human beings. People who could manage to stick around with other people had more offspring that grew to adulthood. So our bodies feel really bad when the one person that we used to spend most of our time with isn’t around any more, and our minds can get filled with obsessive thoughts. That isn’t a sign that we are broken, it’s a sign that we are human.
If you have ever watched a baby go through separation anxiety, you know how that baby feels. It’s now thought that this isn’t an accident either, that our adult love attachment system is just our baby survival mechanism with a little frosting of sex on top. That explains a lot, doesn’t it.
But an explanation without a plan doesn’t get us very far, does it? Please read on.
With me it usually shows up with knowing that I can’t think clearly when the person is around, and I can’t decide if I want them in my life or not. I am low on creative ability to imagine what I might like to do with this person. I want to be ‘off the hook’ for all the promises, spoken and unspoken that I have made and press the reset button.
People have looked at me amazed that I don’t know what I want. I don’t think that any of us know what we want under those conditions. The only difference is that I am skeptical of the answers my mind feeds me, like giving a toddler cookies as a bribe to be still, and most of us just take the cookie and suck on that. Give yourself the gift of time. Don’t make the other person into a monster in your mind. Just let them know that things aren’t going well, that you are going to take 3 months off to remember who you are, what you like, what you need and breath. Take their phone number out of your contact list, defriend them on Facebook, write a date in your calendar 3 months in the future when it’s okay to meet for coffee and see how they look with new eyes. Tell your friends that you have decided not to talk or think about this person for 3 months, so that they have your permission to interrupt your rudely when the topic of conversation turn back to that creeky subject.
You may not be able to control your thoughts, but you can regain control as many times as you need to.