Some couples can rebuild a sense of safety in the relationship when the person who took away the sense of safety from the relationship works hard at helping their partner experience safety and truly believe they are safe.
Other couples make a trade-off for the well-being of the kids, for financial security or because they do not want to be alone. Basically, what they are saying is “I know that you do not have my back, but I can live with it if you meet this other need of mine”. That bargain is well within their right to make.
Most of the time, a sense of safety or security can never be restored. It’s imprinted in memory that “you are not safe” because your partner or ex does not have your back. When given the chance, they will hurt you (again).
When you are hurting because you were dumped or cheated on, making your ex feel jealous to get back at them seems justified. But step back from your own hurt, and ask yourself:
- Am I meeting my ex’s need for emotional safety or threatening it?
- Do my actions say that I will always have my ex’s back no matter what?
- Would I feel safe and secure in the relationship if my ex was making me feel I can’t trust them to make me feel safe?
Just like a loving parent’s job is to make an infant feel safe, someone who loves us wants to make sure we feel safe and secure, not make us feel threatened and fearful.
Next time you are posting pictures of yourself with other men or women, flirting or having sex with someone else as a tactic to get back your ex, think about the message about emotional safety that you are sending your ex.
- How do you think they feel?
- Are you triggering a childhood memory of when their sense of safety was threatened?
- Are you planting another memory into their sub-conscious that will affect the way they treat future partners and/or approach relationships in general?
Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
The person telling you to make your ex jealous may not care how your ex feels, but you should if you care about your ex, and about having a healthy, happy and lasting relationship with him or her.
Better to trigger happy and positive feelings and create attraction than trigger the fear of loss and create the feeling that you can’t be trusted because you are capable of hurting your ex and will, given the opportunity.