Focus on the present
January 12, 2014 9:35 PM Subscribe
I don't like the amount of time that I spend thinking about my significant other when we're not together. How can I curb my enthusiasm?
posted by sockermom to Human Relations (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
A bit of background: my 31-year-old boyfriend and I (also 31) broke up abruptly in mid-October, and got back together recently. Things have changed: we're a lot more communicative with one another, and I feel secure in my knowledge that he likes me, respects me, trusts me, and wants to be with me right now. I love him, respect him, and really like having him in my life as my significant other. I forgive him for the breakup and we've moved on. I think that we broke up because he was concerned that I wanted to push the relationship further along than he did, but we've talked about the breakup extensively and he hasn't really been able to pinpoint why he did it, exactly - he essentially got his back up after an argument and dumped me instead of taking a few deep breaths or a walk. It was a rash decision, which he has said every time we've discussed it, and he says it was a very big mistake. I don't think that it or anything like it is going to happen again - our communication has improved by leaps and bounds since that time.
When he broke up with me, I was pretty shocked - it was really sudden - and I spent a few weeks afterwards going over everything in our relationship over and over in my head, trying to figure out what had happened. Now, I seem to be having trouble breaking that pattern: I think about him a lot, and I don't care for it. I see something funny online and want to send it to him. I remember something pertinent to a conversation we were having and want to text it to him. I look forward to hearing from him and seeing him quite a bit and when our plans change it makes me feel a lot worse than I think is healthy. I worry when I don't hear back from him that he is purposefully ignoring me or that I've somehow upset him or have asked for too much without knowing it. Etc.
I'm a serial monogamist and the last time I dated a guy that I didn't live with I was in high school. I have no idea how to navigate this relationship, where we live in separate places and where we aren't interested in spending every minute that we aren't at work with one another. We both really value our independence and need a lot of space, but I'm finding myself thinking of him at work, in the shower, first thing when I get up, last thing at night, and I am spending a lot more brain space on him than I care to do. My thoughts aren't all negative - it's just that there are too many of them for me to actually feel like I'm living my life and that the relationship is just a part of a much bigger whole.
So, how do I break this pattern of thinking of him a lot when we aren't together? Is the only answer just to break up again? I'm considering it, but I'm not even sure that will help - it actually got a lot worse the last time we broke up (before our breakup I felt really normal, and while I thought about him a lot, it didn't feel so... obsessive). My therapist tells me to just breathe and to focus on the present, but I seem to only be able to do that for short bursts of time. I worry, though, that all of this worry over the relationship is actually going to ruin the relationship that I so like and value. How can I just chill out and go with the flow and enjoy this awesome relationship, without sacrificing the time I spend without him thinking about him?
It also seems important to note that my last boyfriend was abusive and I spent every waking moment thinking about him, too, but for very different reasons - I was constantly scared and learned to monitor him very highly and to always take his potential feelings or thoughts into account so that I wouldn't set him off. So a big part of me feels like this is learned behavior, and that it can be unlearned.