4. He/She was perfect.
Refusing to see your ex’s faults and weaknesses goes hand in hand with over-exaggerating how “wonderful” the relationship was. It’s something that’s common with men and women who find it hard to wrap their minds around the fact that “good” and “bad” can co-exist in one person. They somehow think that acknowledging the negative aspects of something or someone negate the positive aspects. I have also met some who feel that loving someone with “bad” qualities makes them “bad” too.
In many cases, the relationship ended because they put their ex on a pedestal s/he doesn’t deserve, hasn’t earned and/or even doesn’t want.
When you put someone on a pedestal s/he doesn’t deserve or hasn’t earned, you open yourself up to being taken for granted, and even abused. You overlook red flags. Excuse inexcusable behaviour. Don’t speak up. Neglect your own needs. Walk on egg-shells… only to be dumped for being “too needy”.
While some people enjoy and want to be idealized, most people find such “worship” uncomfortable and even annoying. If you are lucky and they give you the reason for the break-up, they’ll tell you they don’t think they deserve you, or that you are too good for them, or that they think you deserve someone who’ll give you what you want.
In your over-analytical mind you conclude that they are intimidated by “all that you are”, are scared of how strongly they love you, or are afraid of commitment.
There is a difference between someone who’s intimidated by what or who you are, and one who feels you are putting them on a pedestal they don’t want to be on. It is in how they respond when you try to reassure them that they deserve you.
The person intimidated by what and who you are will tell you exactly how they fall short. What they say makes sense. Very often it’s something you know is true (gap in age, education, income, future goals, what you both want, etc). It may even be something you already discussed at some point.
The person who feels you are putting them on a pedestal will point out to things that don’t make sense or can easily be resolved. Very often their “reason” for it not working out keeps changing and it’s always something you can’t do anything about. One day “we’re not compatible”, the next day “I need space”, and the next “I have issues that I need to work on”. The more you insist that you are a match, the angrier they get.
That’s because when you put someone on a pedestal or idealize them, they feel the pressure to live up to your expectations. And if you go telling them the break-up is all your fault, it makes them even angrier because you are still idealizing them.
5. What’s wrong with me?
Some people can’t take criticism even if it’s well-earned. Personally, I think that we went too far with “affirming our kids” and things have backfired. Somehow we seem to have created a generation of low-esteem whiners who think saying they made a mistake is “blaming” them, or saying they are a bad person (and lash back like a wounded buffalo).
The majority of over-analyzers are the exact opposite. They don’t need anyone to tell them they made a mistake because they’re experts at emotional self-terrorism. That is, they beat themselves silly over one simple mistake.
Beating yourself once in a while just to remind yourself not to make the same mistake is okay (in my opinion), but when it gets to the point where it’s all you think about, talk about, cry over… and think about, talk about, cry over some more… that’s self-abuse.
So you made mistakes. You messed up. You pushed away the love of your life. That doesn’t make you a bad person. We ALL make mistakes. We ALL have faults and weaknesses. This is what makes us human.
The irony in being human is that when you let others see your humanity (vulnerability), it gives them permission to be human, and be vulnerable themselves.
Reflect, analyze, take responsibility, apologize, forgive, work on becoming a better man/woman, and don’t give up on love. But even more important… BE REALISTIC.
Being realistic keeps you grounded because it allows you to see that the glass is not just half empty OR half full. It’s half empty AND half full. That’s the only fact. The rest is perception.
Being realistic especially about why the relationship ended helps you see more clearly what went wrong, what needs to be improve or change, and what you can do to make it work again.
Being realistic especially when in communication with your ex helps you be present. You can determine with more accuracy what your ex is saying, how you should respond at any given time, what you should be doing more or less of.
Being realistic will help you know if you should keep trying or walk away.
Anything else is just you and your over-active brain drifting further… and further… away from reality!
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