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The Struggles of Dating When You’re Clearly Not Over Your Ex

Some say the easiest way to get over someone is to get under someone else. We’d like to formally reject that notion, and here’s why.
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I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying: “The easiest way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” That sounds like a great mantra. It’s got everything a good slogan should have – symmetry, sex, and empowerment – right?

Wrong.

Dating is hard enough when you’re not hung up on someone. Why would you force yourself to go through with it if you’re really not ready?


You can’t fully give your heart to someone if somebody else still has it.

I don’t believe the notion that you can only love one person at a time, but I do definitely feel that you are limited with what you can do if your heart belongs to another. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an ex we’re talking about, but if you’re already committed to one person, you can’t fully commit to someone else.

If you’re dating someone with the prospect of it being a serious relationship, this isn’t fair to the other person.

No matter how much you care for them or how hard they try, they won’t be “your love”. You can love them, but it’ll only be a fraction of the love you could give them if you take the time to get over your ex first.


You will be confused.

I know many of us don’t like to admit when we’re confused, especially if it’s over matters of the heart. We like to think we’re these strong, independent creatures – and we are! As long as we allow ourselves to be. But if you’re still hung up on your ex, you’re not going to be 100% certain on anyone else. Is that really fair?

Love is never easy, and it’s possible that you’re going to be confused no matter how you proceed. It should be obvious, then, that you should do your best to eliminate any unnecessary confusion. After all, everybody likes things that are simpler, right? Your new lady is likely to feel the same way – so let things be simple for her.

Don’t try to commit yourself to someone if you’re still not over your last commitment, or your ex will have the power to destroy the new relationship without much work. (Possibly even unintentionally!)


You may blame her for your ex’s mistakes.

Dating a new girl when you’re not over your past is damaging because we tend to project the mistakes our ex made onto this new person. Since our ex is still on our mind, we assume that every little similarity is really a big similarity, and we may obsess over it.

Possibly worse is the fact that we might not see this as not being over our ex. More likely, we’ll think that we are so done with our ex that we can’t handle someone who reminds us of them at all. Looking at it from the outside, it’s obvious that this logic doesn’t hold up, but hey – love doesn’t always listen to the obvious signs.

Chances are, the way you felt about your ex wasn’t out of nowhere. There are reasons you liked her, and avoiding someone who reminds you of the good things is probably not going to get you very far. You need to be far enough past the hurt that you can identify the difference between her positive aspects and her negative ones – and realize that you can’t assume any of these things with someone you hardly know.


You may project your ex’s “perfections”, too.

Just as easy as it is to project your ex’s shortcomings, it’s possible that you’ll see good qualities that aren’t there, too. You need to remember that no two people are exactly alike, and if you assume that your new partner shares positive qualities with your ex, you may end up disappointed – possibly through no fault of the new partner.

Sure, we hope that the good things in our relationships will be good things in future relationships, too. But it’s not fair to someone to have to live up to expectations that have nothing to do with them. So your ex bought you dinner every Friday night – that’s great! But your new partner shouldn’t have to live up to the picture you have in your mind, especially if you’ve “painted out” the bad parts already.

Your new partner should be showing you affection, but it doesn’t have to be the same way your ex did. She should be free to express her feelings in her own way. You’re allowed to decide if it’s enough or not, but you are not allowed to decide if it’s the wrong way. Everyone is different.


You’re just not ready yet.

There’s this big fascination with the “rebound affair”, and if you decide it’s what you want to pursue, that’s fine (as long as the other person is aware of the situation). But if you still feel for someone else, you are not ready to be a serious partner to someone new. Sorry, not sorry.

This isn’t to say that a rebound affair can’t possibly turn into something more, but if you’re not ready for it to develop, you shouldn’t push it past that point. Keep it casual until you know for sure that your ex is no longer a part of your life (or a keeper of your emotions). If this new relationship is really meant to be, it can wait for you to be ready. Trust me, your heart will thank you for waiting!

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Author

Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” – an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

One Comment

  • […] I must advise you against pursuing anything with her while either of you is in a relationship. I’m also not saying that you should dump your boyfriend specifically to get with her, or that you should convince her to leave her girlfriend. If you start a relationship with the pain of ended relationships, it’s highly unlikely that either of you will be happy in the relationship – and it’s incredibly possible that you’ll still be hung up on your ex during the first part of the relationship. (Here’s why that’s a bad idea.) […]

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