When a client comes to me with: I don’t want to push her away, I don’t want us to be just friends, I don’t want this and don’t want that. I know I am talking to fear, and I have a huge problem on my hands.
Any time you approach an undesired or unpleasant experience or situation motivated by fear, fear has already won, before you even start.
Your reasons, explanations or justifications for moving away from instead of towards your ex don’t matter because once you choose the side of fear, fear owns you. Just like that.
You will be too scared to take any steps towards your ex because all you see is you messing up, something going horribly wrong, you pushing your ex further away, you becoming ‘just a friend’, you not doing enough, you doing too much — all the things you fear.
The worst part of it all, when you are fear or avoidance motivated, you can’t be creative flexible or present. You stick to what’s ‘safe’, don’t initiate anything, react instead of respond, and most of all, you keep trying to re-create the old relationship.
You can’t start over when you are still trying to get the old relationship back. You just can’t.
To start over, there has to be, MUST be, a “before and after”.
So how do you create that “before and after” without “giving your ex space” doing “no contact” or “limited contact”? Without letting fear/avoidance overpower your desire to approach/move closer to your ex?
There are several ways to create distance between the past and present, most of which work or don’t work depending on the type of relationship you had/have, the reasons you broke up, whether or not your ex is open to suggestions, geography/proximity etc.
I’ll share three which work for everyone trying to create distance between the past and present.
1) Let the old relationship go.
There is going to be no new relationship if you keep poking at raw painful emotions or dragging past hurts and grievances to the present. You have to let the past fade away, let the old relationship die.
Keep the lines of communication open, but do not keep bringing up talk about the old relationship or the break-up until you are very sure the raw emotions attached to the old relationship are of the past. Even if you think you are trying to “remind” your ex of the good times, you never know what other unwanted emotions can come up.
Keep the past, in the past. If the old relationship comes up, briefly address why it’s come up and move on the present. The present is where you create the ‘new’ relationship.
2) Whatever you do, do NOT repeat the mistakes you made in the old relationship.
Any and all efforts to start over are useless if you are still needy/clingy, still manipulative, still controlling, still immature, still confrontational, still passive aggressive, still can’t communicate… still the OLD you.
If you are going to convince your ex that you can start over, you must first convince him/her that you are bringing the new YOU to the NEW relationship. Anything less is a waste of energy, emotions and time.
3) Create new memories
Yes, what you had was great, amazing, magical, out of this world… but it’s over.
Start creating something even more amazing by creating memorable landmarks for the new relationship. The first time you spoke on the phone after the break-up, the first time you went to out on a date, the first time you told each other you still had feelings for the other, etc. You get where I am going with this.
If the new relationship is going to be new, it’s got to feel new. For example, don’t go to the same coffee shop/restaurant you went in the old relationship, go somewhere you haven’t been together. Be and do new, to create new.
In a nutshell: You don’t have to “give your ex space” to start over. All you have to do is distance yourselves from the past and it’s problems, and start creating something new, better. To successfully do this, you need not just open lines of communication, you also need to be moving towards your ex.
Moving forward and towards your ex is the only way you are ever going to close that emotional gap created by the break-up. It’s the only way you are ever going to make significant progress. The only way you are ever going to get close again.
It’s okay if you take a step forward and get pushed back two steps, just keep moving forward, towards your ex… and not away from your ex.