Have you ever stayed friends with an ex?
My friend Nora and I were talking recently about a man she had been in a relationship with over 6 years ago and stayed friends with. In fact they are almost best friends.
Nora recently moved from New York to San Francisco and so she is immersed in a new job, new environment, trying to make new friends.
With that comes naturally missing the old and familiar.
So her best friend (and ex) Tom came to visit and they had an awesome time.
Being with him was so easy. They just fit.
She said, “I don’t feel like I have to try. We have similar interests and sometimes we don’t even have to say anything, it just feels totally normal and good.”
When Tom left to go back to New York, a questioning started brewing for Nora.
She emailed me somewhat frantically, asking “should I get back with my ex?” He is such a great person and she didn’t want to MISS OUT if he were to find another woman.
Remembering what wasn’t working.
When we got on the phone to talk it through, my first question was, “Why did you break up with him in the first place?”
She explained that at the time he really didn’t have his life together, he didn’t have a job, he was depressed, and she just couldn’t put herself through that - which was totally valid.
Then I said, “What if tomorrow Tom was in a relationship with a girl, how would that make you feel?”
She said, “I would feel like I totally missed out on an awesome man.”
Then I asked, “Are you still attracted to him?”
Nora said, “Well that’s the thing. Not really, but that can change right? I used to be attracted to him when we were dating.”
If you can feel just through the words I am writing what I could feel through the phone, there was A LOT of HEAD and not enough HEART.
I said, “I can’t hear the excitement for you. All I hear is you are afraid he is going to move on and you are going to be left single forever.”
She had stopped trusting herself.
Nora was like, “Yeah I guess you’re right. I just stopped trusting myself when it comes to love and making choices.”
I asked, “Who doesn’t trust your judgment - your mom or your dad?”
She immediately said her mom.
That’s when it hit me.
It was so clear that she wasn’t excited about Tom but there was a voice inside of her saying “Don’t trust yourself, you don’t want to miss out” and I could tell that wasn’t her.
That voice was actually Nora’s mom’s inside of her head.
I checked in with Nora via email to see what hit her after the call.
This is what she wrote:
What hit me the most was that my mom thinking I’m making the wrong choices, and trying to tell me what she thinks the right choices are, makes me second-guess myself constantly.
I didn’t realize how much her voice is in my head. Her whole ideology that we are responsible for everything in our lives translates into me blaming myself any time anything isn’t perfect in my life and concluding that I must have made the wrong choices.
She thinks if anything is wrong, it must be because I messed something up and now I need to fix it – and usually she has already “figured out” how.
If I’m not happy with my dating life, I obsessively go back to decisions I’ve made and try to figure out where I went wrong and what I should have done instead, which is unproductive and undermines my confidence and belief in myself.
It seems to be empowering for her to feel like she has complete control over everything in her life, but for me it’s not empowering at all – it’s exhausting and discouraging.
The tricky part about believing you are the creator of your life.
Now I totally believe that the healthiest way to lead your life (to get WAY more of what you want and feel empowered) is to believe that YOU are the creator of your life.
Meaning, you can shift and alter your life according to what you believe (and often you have to change those beliefs to actually get what you want). Some beliefs are stopping you from having what you desire.
I also want to add an AND – a BIG AND.
You aren’t doing it alone; there is so much you can’t see.
In fact, scientists say that in any moment your brain is actually only retaining 2% and 98% of what you’re experiencing will be lost.
What the human brain can comprehend and understand is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of knowledge out in the world.
So, to think that we literally have control over everyone and everything is absurd.
We are co-creating with the cosmos, Universe, karma.
And for some of you that is REALLY helpful to hear.
It can feel like you don’t have to carry the world on your shoulders.
Your Lovework is to tell me in the comments over on the blog if you are struggling with trusting your choices in men. Have you ever considered dating a man you knew wasn’t right because you were afraid you would miss out on something better?