relationships

Nostalgia and your ex. Why we may have trouble moving on after a breakup. 

If you’re like me, almost 30 (let’s not mention it after this), you’re probably feeling a bit nostalgic lately. I almost buried myself in a hole of 90’s and early 2000’s memorabilia. There’s nothing like watching shows, listening to music, or going through old boxes from your childhood to make you a confused mix of happy and sad. By definition, nostalgia is a longing for the past. We associate happy memories with things that trigger a feeling of affection for a time long ago. Luckily I was able to dig myself out of my hole long enough to browse through my old journals. I had completely forgotten how difficult and often times, rocky my childhood actually was. I was blindsided by the things I wrote. Here I was, practically yearning to travel back in time to relive these “happier” or “carefree” days only to realize it wasn’t exactly how I remembered. So it got me thinking, can nostalgia prevent us from moving on and finding real love? I think so.

They say time heals all wounds and in most cases this is true. But another thing time does, sometimes it makes us forget. You may feel angry, heartbroken, or even hate your ex at this very moment. But months, weeks, or even years from now that will subside. We tend to romanticize our past and remember good things much longer than the bad. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to eat something I “loved” as a child and was left disappointed afterwords. It wasn’t as satisfying as I thought it would be. But I had this memory of it being amazing and mouthwatering. Not to compare your ex with food, but I mean I compare everything to food. 

It’s also said that distance makes the heart grow fonder. For me, out of sight out of mind usually works wonders, but sometimes distance can have the opposite affect. What I mean, after the storm has died down, sometimes the calm tricks us into believing the storm may have not been that bad after all. Or plainly, we get lonely and forget that lonely is actually way better than the actual toxic relationship. Another way we fall into the trap of nostalgia, we get glimpses of our past through pictures, love songs, or gifts we may have received. We have more reminders of the good times than the bad. Anything that reminds us of the good times will have us longing for that mushy-gushy feeling of love. But nostalgia doesn’t only affect the way we view exes but it can also interfere with the way we date and who we date afterwards. We are creatures of habit and sometimes we end up dating the same type over and over again even if that type isn’t working for us. It’s comfortable even if it’s miserable. There’s nothing wrong with looking back on your past in a positive light, but it’s important to know, sometimes even our happiest memories are a bit construed. We shouldn’t look to recreate these moments but rather have newer and better experiences now. I hear a lot of people say they want that “old school love” or that feeling of “young love” again. But remember young love is often fleeting, unpredictable, and goes from hot to cold. Nostalgia acts much like a big pair of “rose colored” glasses, in which everything seems better than it is…or better than it was I guess I should say. Don’t fall for it. Remember the good times but also remember they weren’t nearly as great as we may think, in regards to your ex in particular, and the best is yet to come. 

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