How can I end these thoughts of the guy who dumped me?
December 28, 2012 3:30 PM   Subscribe

How can I end these unwanted thoughts of the guy who dumped me?

The facts:
I made a new friend in October. I never thought of him as more than a friend until he asked me out in November. I fell pretty hard for him, and we spent almost all of our free time together that month. He texted and emailed me throughout the workday, every day. I thought he was awesome, and was extremely happy. Then one day, after sex, he told me he just wanted something casual. I was shocked, and didn't know what to do. Days later, he told me he didn't even want something casual, but we could be friends. So I tried to stay friends, in shock, but he started sending my calls to voice mail, and didn't reply to my emails. Just went silent. Days later, I ran into him and another of my new friends out at dinner together, being romantic, kissy and all over each other. I heard her say "I have the best new boyfriend ever." The time from his "casual" announcement to seeing him out at dinner was less than a week.

Just afterwards:
I was really messed up for about 2 weeks. I stopped eating and lost almost 10 lbs. I was crying all night. I did everything you are supposed to do (took them both off of Facebook, blocked their emails, went no-contact) but I still couldn't stop ruminating over what I must have done wrong and how I could "fix" things and get him back.

Now 2 more weeks have gone by. So, a month total. Even though I am still extremely sad, I accepted that it is over with him and he's not coming back. I also accepted that while I may or may not have done something wrong, I'll never know so there's no point in thinking about it. I haven't contacted either of them or anyone else in that social circle, and never plan to again.

The problem:

Thoughts of him still come into my mind constantly, and I really want them to just stop. I don't see the point in my having these thoughts because all they do is remind me of what happened and make me feel upset. I have no desire to think about him at all. The main kinds of thoughts are:

-Associations. For example I will meet a girl with the same name as his sister, and suddenly everything he ever told me about his sister will flash through my mind. Or someone will mention a nearby city, and I will suddenly remember all the stories he told me about living in that city. This happens to me constantly, and it's not just triggered by really specific things like those. It can be triggered by things as common and ordinary as rain or dogs or TV shows. My mind will instantly go to everything about him that is related to that thing.

When this happens I deliberately stop and think about something else. But it keeps happening.

-I also have many associations with locations around town ("That's where we saw that movie! That's where he bought me that sweater!), plus he lives right on our small city's main street. I am actually thinking about moving because of this, and because I don't want to run into him/them.

-Every day, my first thought when I wake up is about him and how he dumped me. I do not control it and t is a horrible way to start each morning, and I am starting to get frustrated and upset that it keeps happening. Christmas was actually the first time that I woke up thinking about something else, and I was so happy and relieved when I realized that. This is the one that I most want to fix.

-In the last few days, I've also started having dreams about him. So far I have had 3. One where I asked him to be friends with me again and he rejected me. One where we were at the same concert. And one, last night where I ran into him and the girl out on a date, at an lecture I was attending. I hate that my mind is making me continue re-living the rejection in my dreams, which before this were a wonderful escape from these thoughts for me.

-Every so often, I do something and it occurs to me that he might enjoy it or find it fun. Or he would be impressed with me for doing it. When I realize that I am thinking about him AGAIN, I stop myself. But I am started to get frustrated that it keeps happening.

-Every so often, I think about the friend he dumped me for, about the things I didn't like about her and the lies she told me, and also about all the ways that she is better than me. Again, I stop myself when I realize I am doing this again. I do not always realize it at first. But I would love it if my mind just didn't go there at all.

-I also find myself in the midst of fantasies sometimes about how I will show them up, how I will out-do them in all these different ways, or run into them looking hot, or other things like that. I also stop these fantasies immediately when I realize I am in the middle of them.

How do I end these thoughts? I just want them to go away. It's just wasting my own time and my own life. I know that the two of them aren't sitting there thinking of me, they are out enjoying their lives and each other and would probably be shocked if they had any idea how much time I have spent thinking about this. I feel like I have been dealing with them the "right" way, which is that I just let them pass by and think of something else, but I would really just like for them to stop and not have them in the first place. How?
posted by Sock of Silliness to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
You sound like you're trying so hard to do the right thing and be rational and coping and fair that you forgot to be royally pissed off at him!
He sounds like a major jerk. Bleh. He led you on and then just tossed you away. What a bastard. You did nothing wrong and you couldn't have known.

So maybe go burn some wax effigies?

Also, new girl may be getting played just the same as you.

Maybe if you come to understand that there is nothing you could have done to change his actions your obsessing will stop. It can be a form of trying to keep control to worry away at something.
posted by Omnomnom at 3:46 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]

The best way out is through. Allow yourself to think the thoughts, all of them. Journal them (in a disposable way) so that if you find yourself repeating thoughts, you can check yourself. Feel everything. Cry if you need. Scream into a pillow. Don't hold yourself back. Feel it! Once you have felt each bit of this that your psyche wants you to feel, you don't need to feel it again, or if you do, it will be a paler and thinner and less deep hurt. So, yeah, surf the emotion, accept it, embrace it.

(It is also a technique for quitting smoking, and experiencing cravings - the fight is much harder than acceptance).

This might help too
posted by b33j at 3:54 PM on December 28, 2012 [10 favorites]

I agree with Omnomnom, I think your mind is protecting itself by pretending there's something special about this guy and that there's something you could have done to make this thing work out. Who wants to think that they're vulnerable to some little d.b.'s flighty little whims? Not me, that's for sure. The dude you're describing is not a Mr. Wonderful, he's a garden-variety jerk. There's no magic formula here - stay really busy, go out and meet other people, and let time pass. We all get burned once or twice, it doesn't mean you're a bad person.
posted by facetious at 4:48 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ugh, that guy is such a tool.

Agree: get as busy as you can stand. Go exercise, spend lots of time with friends, watch movies at home, read novels, visit family, take a class, etc.

Also agree about letting yourself cry, get angry, etc. Feeling that stuff instead of supressing it will speed along the process.

It will take time but one day very soon you'll find yourself miraculously thinking: "Why did I let that dumb idiot of a guy mess me up that one time months ago?"
posted by oceanview at 5:00 PM on December 28, 2012

Wow, that would really really upset me. What a horrible thing to have happen.

Don't take this the wrong way, I am not trying to tell you to become Miss Havisham or a bitter man-hating shrew in perpetuity. But I think you should feel free to have whatever thoughts you like.

The goal, eventually, is to stop hating these people. Keep in mind that eventually you will. But in the meantime, go ahead and think your thoughts and feel your feelings. Don't pour gasoline on a fire, but just let your thoughts go by.

Maybe you'd like "The Happiness Trap", a book about just this. You can't really control your thoughts or weed out the thoughts you disapprove of or don't want. Just remember that they're only thoughts. They aren't going to explode forth from your ears and wrap themselves around the neck of this foul villain, even though it would be cool if they did.
posted by tel3path at 5:05 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]

There's a saying: "What you resist persists."

Sounds like you're doing really well at changing the subject when you notice undesired thoughts. Now the job is to put less mental energy into struggling against those thoughts, including blaming yourself for having them.

Instead, loosen your resistance and let them drift away like clouds. Focus on the part of your mind that can watch your thoughts come and go without judgment. That place is your refuge from the suffering you're experiencing.

This particular Jedi mind trick is the essence of Buddhist mindfulness practice, and those texhniques may be helpful to you now.

Another saying that has helped me a lot: "feeling bad is unavoidable, but feeling bad about feeling bad is totally optional."
posted by ottereroticist at 5:46 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

You may need to do what others have said and work through your feelings about him first, but it's also important for you to focus on building up your own sense of self worth. After he dropped you, you were wondering what you did wrong. The answer is "nothing" and you have enough clarity right now to see that rationally, but I still wonder if the feeling that you weren't satisfying enough for him isn't driving part of your longing. (Probably, since he is a big big jerk and not worth pining for.)

The best way through something like this, where you have no chance at closure and the person who hurt you has the definite upper hand, is to fully understand and believe that you deserve so, so much better. Listening to or writing daily affirmations has helped me so much with this personally; you can find good videos on YouTube if this is something you're interested in doing. It sounds goofy at first but soon you will find yourself believing the things that are said even in the face of this hurtful rejection. Remind yourself of the things worthwhile and beautiful about you, to take away your focus on this longing for him.
posted by houndsoflove at 5:53 PM on December 28, 2012

One month? In my opinion you are doing EXTREMELY well so far. As they say, "if you're going through hell, keep going".
posted by pink_gorilla at 5:53 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've got this one!

You keep thinking about him/them because of a combination of Neuro Lingustic Programming and the after-effects of trauma, or PTSD.

(google NLP and PTSD for more insight)

So with the NLP, he said or did certain things that created powerful emotions in you - and then maybe he touched your hand or whatever - which "anchored" the programming of He's So Dreamy in your subconscious. It's what charming people do almost subconsciously, and it makes them very very irresistible. Then the trauma of being dumped after sex imprinted, and then finally, the MindFuck of New Girl.

I'm a bit busy and on my phone, so I can't explain further. Memail me if I don't get back to this thread!

My prescription for relief is SIMPLE: A combination of mindful meditations (with binaural beats underneath) to help strength train your mind (about 20 minutes a day with headphones) listen through your smartphone, tablet, iDevice, or lap top, PLUS, get out there and create some New Memories and New Programming by doing all of those cool things you've been putting off, or just get out into nature a few days a week.

Once you realize how this happened, it is super even to overcome.

Best! Get in touch if you want more tips:))
posted by jbenben at 5:56 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Time. Self-deprecating humor can also work, if you don't use it as a weapon against yourself. Mostly time, though.

Stop overthinking it. Given that no one can really control their own thoughts and emotions, just their behavior, asking "how do I stop thinking X?" is just spending that much more time thinking about X. It will only prolong things. Just feel what you feel and think what you think as it happens.

You keep thinking about him/them because of a combination of Neuro Lingustic Programming and the after-effects of trauma, or PTSD.

Or because it's normal to take breakups pretty hard and have lingering thoughts afterwards. I'm sorry, NLP is not real, and any advice that starts out assuming that it has any basis in reality is terrible crazy talk.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 6:02 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

It has only been one month. Seriously, that's like no time at all.

I find that trying to avoid thinking or feeling something is the surest way of making it linger, and it's when I finally give in and wallow/sulk/pout/have a tantrum/admit to myself that I'm pissed off/whatever, that it starts going away.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:32 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't worry so much about your obsessing - as others have pointed out, a month isn't that much - but DO do as many other things as possible with other people to distract yourself. Soon you'll find you're going longer and longer periods of time without thinking about this jerk. And I agree with Omnomnom - the second girl is also getting played.
posted by walla at 8:53 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Then one day, after sex, he told me he just wanted something casual.

Firstly, goddamn, that's awful behaviour.

If anybody ever does that to you again, here's what you do: you walk out of that bedroom (or kick him out of yours) and don't look back. Nobody deserves to be treated with such callousness.

Secondly, though you can't control what you're thinking, I wonder if it may help you to re-frame the situation. Every time you accidentally think of this guy, end the thought with, "Thank goodness I dodged a bullet there." Because he's a bastard, and as much as it hurt for you to learn it, it would've hurt so much worse if he'd lead you on for six months or a year first.

Take care of yourself, okay? You'll find somebody better.
posted by Georgina at 4:51 AM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

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