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Why is it so hard to forgive an ex?

The Protest Phase

When people experience breakups they go through the ‘protest’ phase initially, and the rejected lover becomes obsessed with winning back the person who has quit the relationship.

Rejection, paradoxically, makes the rejected person love the partner even more. This is called a ‘Frustration Attraction’, and can be categorized as an addiction.

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Why is it so hard to forgive an ex?

Why is it so hard to forgive an ex?

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200608-why-is-it-so-hard-to-forgive-an-ex

bbc.com

8

Key Ideas

Rekindling Of An Old Flame

Breakups and subsequent renewals are quite common across all types of romantic relationships and even marriages.

Falling apart and then seeking to mend the old relationship seems to be deeply rooted in our psychology.

The Protest Phase

When people experience breakups they go through the ‘protest’ phase initially, and the rejected lover becomes obsessed with winning back the person who has quit the relationship.

Rejection, paradoxically, makes the rejected person love the partner even more. This is called a ‘Frustration Attraction’, and can be categorized as an addiction.

Chemical Reactions

The rejected lover experiences high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, and are visibly stressed out. These chemical reactions trigger many to do crazy things to win their ex back. Such feelings are erased quickly if the lover starts dating a new partner.

Some people also feel increasingly passionate and loving after the breakup and are more likely to forgive their ex.

Attachment Theory

  • Secure attachment is caused by healthy emotional communication.
  • Lovers who are anxious and insecure tend to have low self-esteem.
  • Avoidance of attachment is done by lovers who are emotionally unavailable and self-sufficient.

Nostalgia And Loneliness

They play an important part in moving towards forgiveness. A bad present relationship (or lack of it) makes the lover remember the good times with the ‘known devil’, with feelings of loss and grief surfacing. Lovers who are now single have stronger desires to get back to their ex, as they fear they would remain single otherwise.

Past relationships, now easily found on Facebook, are generally viewed in a rosier light than they were when they were an ongoing relationship.

Life After Breakup

Post-relationship relations are a thing, with the ex doing all kinds of things like ghosting, orbiting, benching and zombieing their past lovers. Social media makes breakups visible, so any broken relation has the necessary audience to play out the post-breakup games.

Millennials the Gen Zs

They take the breakup game seriously, and are vulnerable to anxiety, depression and even suicide, due to a lack of understanding of life and the public nature of their relationships.

The smartphones and tablets that seem to be surgically attached to them right from birth are a cause of their getting into relations, breaking up from it, and also for post-breakup therapy and coaching.

The No-Contact Rule

  • One of the popular ways to move on in a relationship is to not contact the person for 30,60 or 90 days, even forever, to help mend a broken heart.
  • Social media posts of the ex are to be avoided.
  • Time heals everything, and it would also help to get busy doing something interesting, instead of constantly sulking and overthinking at home.
  • One experiences an emotional roller coaster of pain and anxiety, and then there is recovery.

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Research On Our Partner Preferences
Research On Our Partner Preferences

Our own partner preferences may not be fully understood by us.

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Real Life Vs Dream Life

People may not be communicating well about what they want in their partners or may have a lack of awareness, or even a myopic view of their life. Experiencing it for themselves is a better bet to find out what works.

The dreamy idols that make up our early stages of attractions, especially at a young age, do not translate into someone one can spend the entire life with, where mundane activities like picking up groceries and taking care of the kids take precedence over being handsome or inspiring.

Falling in love

To us, being loved in a relationship is perhaps the highest ideal. It gives our lives meaning and purpose. Being loved validates our sense of self-esteem and soothes our fears of loneliness.

Whom We Find Attractive

Our self-esteem, mental and emotional health, positive and negative life experiences, and family relations all influence whom we’re attracted to. 

The Ideal Stage of Romance

There is an amount of healthy idealization that helps us fall in love.

However, if we’re depressed or have low self-esteem, we’re more likely to idealize a prospective partner and overlook signs of trouble, such as unreliability or addiction, or accept disrespectful or abusive behavior. A lack of a support system or loneliness might also blind us to potential faults.

It is far better to first deal with these concerns before entering into a relationship.

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Attachment Theory

Attachment theory is an area of psychology that describes the nature of emotional attachment between people, starting with your parents. The quality of how well you were cared for will then influen...

Secure Attachment Style
  • People with this style are comfortable showing interest and affection. 
  • They are comfortable being alone and independent.
  • They can correctly prioritize their relationships.
  • They are able to draw clear boundaries and stick with them.

50% of the population is secure attachment types.

Anxious Attachment Style
  • They are often nervous and stressed about their relationships.
  • They need constant reassurance and affection from their partners.
  • They have trouble being alone or single.
  • They are often in unhealthy or abusive relationships.
  • They have trouble trusting people.
  • Their behavior can be irrational and overly emotional.

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When you're in love

When humans fall in love, their bodies are actively producing feel-good hormones and preventing the release of negative hormones.

When this process suddenly stops, the "w...

Going through a breakup

Heartbreak is a form of grief and loss that can cause serious issues with insomnia, anxiety and depression.

The pain we feel during heartbreak is similar to the physical pain we feel due to a severe burn on a broken arm.

Healing from a breakup

  • Visual reminders are likely to create dopamine surges in your brain that relate to feelings of craving and withdrawal.
  • Replace those surges of dopamine by taking a fitness class. Exercise can also release endorphins that trigger positive feelings.
  • Find a "new normal".
  • Accept the reason for the breakup.

Flow is the state of mind

... where we are so immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity that we lose sense of space and time.

It is thought to be t...

Why it’s hard to achieve flow in your workplace
  • The processes, policies, and busy work gets in the way.
  • Most jobs don’t have a clear goal.
  • Feedback can be inadequate.
  • The pace of work has increased, and it’s hard for people to spend time thinking deeply.
  • Your skills aren’t well matched to the challenges you are allowed to pursue.
  • There’s a lack of control over interruptions or when and how you work.
  • The job doesn’t push you out of your comfort zone.
Take more risks

... to push your mind beyond its comfort zone. Flow happens when we get a bit out of our comfort zone. Too much, and you get anxious; Too little and you get bored.

You need to know your physical or emotional limitations and consciously push past them.

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Fear of abandonment

Fear of abandonment can come from childhood loss or neglect as a child, especially if it is more emotional.

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Inability to commit to your partner

Studies showed that the experiences as a baby within the first three years of life lay the foundation for how the brain is wired well into adulthood.

However, it is possible to "re-learn" things as adults and change the framework of our brains this way. If you are committed to your partner but fear the "label," consider how you view attachment, dedication, and loyalty in relationships.

Entitlement

Entitlement is an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and treatment by others. It is a selfish quality.

People act entitled in relationships because they are overcompensating for never getting what they want or are comfortable in always getting what they want.

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The Benefits Of Sex

Schedule it if necessary. Having sex regularly helps with keeping a relationship from going stale and drives up the testosterone system, which makes you want to have more sex.

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Avoiding Routine

Trying new things will keep the relationship from coasting into routine. this drives up the dopamine system and can sustain feelings of romantic love.

This doesn’t have to be a major change, like taking a trip around the world or deciding to have a baby. Little things, like trying a new recipe together, or going for a walk around the block instead of staying in for a movie, can provide the novelty your brain craves.

The Benefits Of Touch

Touch is proven to foster connection, it drives up the oxytocin system and can give you feelings of deep attachment to your partner. 

Elements of well-being
Elements of well-being

Well-being can be broken into five elements:

  • Positive emotion
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Accomplishment

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Wired for pessimism

Pessimism comes naturally to people because thinking about the bad stuff that could happen helps us to prepare for survival.

The problem is that pessimists think bad events are permanent and unchangeable. "I think my interview is going to be a disaster." We need to learn to recognize what we're saying to ourselves and then argue against it. "I've done many interviews in my life, and they generally turn out well."

The need for hope

Meditation - mindfulness, focusing on the moment - is an excellent anti-anxiety, anti-anger tool..But accepting suffering and finding contentment in that means you can't move into doing something good in the future.

One important idea is hope. Positive human future doesn't come about by accident - it needs hopeful people who plan for it and make it happen.

Take some time off and let it out

It’s probably best not to suppress or hold back one’s emotions, especially immediately after a breakup. 

However, the emotions can be so intense that they may not be appropriate for publ...

Listen to sad music

In the short term, it might reinforce or flare up painful memories, but it also normalizes the grief you are feeling so that you know you're not alone.

Talk to supportive people

Family and friends can help, but make sure you recognize their limits as well. 

You may decide that professional help may provide a more neutral and long-lasting perspective. They can also point out deeper patterns of behavior or thinking.

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You have an eye on the exit

You avoid anything that leads to a bigger commitment. You're always wondering: "if it goes wrong, how can I extricate myself easily from this relationship?

Because comm...

You gaslight your partner

The aim of Gaslighting is to deny the other person's reality or experiences. It is a sign that you don't really believe your partners' feelings are real. 

For example, if your partner says: "I'm really upset that you canceled our date", you respond with something like: "You're not really upset, it's your fault I canceled and you're just trying to blame me for it." 

You are known as a "serial dater"

You break up with partners on the slightest of issues, only to start dating another person right away and repeat the cycle. 

You don't want to be seen as a "player" but you can't seem to find someone who you can commit to.

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