How to Stop Feeling Nostalgic for an Ex – Free Ebook

After considerable agony, we’ve left a relationship.
We’re on our own now – and, when we can

bear to be honest, it’s a little harder
than we expected. We aren’t going on many

dates; the central heating broke down last
week; the shopping is proving a hurdle.

In idle moments, we find ourselves daydreaming,
returning fondly to certain occasions in the

concluded relationship. There was that wintry
weekend by the sea: they looked adorable walking

on the beach in their thick scarf. We fed
the seagulls and drank cheap white wine from

paper cups on the seafront and felt connected
and happy.

We’re newly conscious of the charm
of so many things that seemed ordinary at

the time – coming out of the supermarket,
putting everything away in the fridge and

the cupboards; making soup and toasted cheese
and watching television on the sofa.

With these thoughts in our minds, we feel
weepy and tender – and at points distinctly

tempted to call the ex up again. They would,
we suspect, allow us back, or at least give

us a hearing.
What can we make of our feelings? It might

be that we have realised a genuine mistake.
But it’s even more likely that we are in

the grip of a characteristic mental habit
of the newly single, facing the vertigo of

independence: nostalgia.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, Britain

underwent industrial and scientific revolutions
that transformed old settled ways of life,

ripping apart communities, throwing people
together in large and anonymous cities – and

dislocating the loyalties and certainties
once offered by religion. In a search for

ways to soften the confusion, artists and
thinkers began to imagine what a better world

might look like – and in certain circles,
the search turned towards the past and more

specifically, to the perceived wisdom, coherence
and contentment of the Middle Ages. While

railway lines were being laid down across
the land, and telegraph cables under the seas,

members of the artistic class celebrated the
simple, innocent communities that they proposed

had existed in the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries. Art works depicted handsome uneducated

but happy labourers, cheerful villagers celebrating
harvests and kindly lords and ladies ministering

to the deserving poor. There seemed to be
no violence, alienation, fear or cruelty.

No one minded not having much heating or subsisting
on a meagre diet of oats and the odd piece

of lard. It had, it was alleged, been very
much easier back then, in the thatched cottages

and pious stone churches.

When it was all so much better… Frank Dicksee,
La Belle Dame sans Merci, 1901

At the heart of the nostalgic attitude is
a disregard for why things ever changed – and

might have needed to do so. For the nostalgic,
the past never required alteration or development;

history moved on for no sane reason. The complexities
of the present moment are in this sense deemed

wholly accidental. They are not the tricky
byproducts of a legitimate search for growth

and progress away from what must have been
at some level, despite the odd delightful

occasion (perhaps at harvest time or on a
midsummer morning), an intolerable previous

arrangement. The nostalgic can’t accept
that the present, whatever its faults, came

about because of inescapable difficulties
with the past. They insist that we had already

once been perfectly happy, then mysteriously
changed everything for the worse because we

forgot we had been so.
Relationships can find us reasoning no less

selectively. Here too it can feel as if we
must once have been content and then grew

ungrateful through error and inattention.
Yet in locating profound satisfaction in the

past, we are crediting our earlier selves
with too little acumen. The truth about what

a relationship is like is best ascertained
not when we are feeling low six months or

a few years after its conclusion, but from
what we must have known when we were in its

midst; when we were most familiar with all
the facts upon which we made our slow and

deliberate decision to leave.
The specific grounds for our dissatisfactions

tend to evaporate. We edit out the rows, the
botched trips, the sexual frustrations, the

stubborn standoffs… The mind is a squeamish
organ. It doesn’t like to entertain bad

news unless there is a highly present danger
to be attended to. But knowing our amnesiac

tendencies, we can be certain that profound
unpleasantness must have existed, for there

would otherwise have been no explanation for
our decision to rip our situation apart. We

would never have needed to act if things had
ever remotely been as gratifying as we are

now nostalgically assuming they were. The
portrait we are painting of the relationship

is emerging not from knowledge, but from loneliness
and apprehension.

Furthermore, our sense of ourselves as people
who could be satisfied with what was on offer

is as untrue to our own nature as is the fantasy
of a modern urban dweller who dreams they

might find enduring happiness in a medieval
wooden hut. The solution to the problem of

satisfying our needs is not to hallucinate
that they don’t exist. It is to square up

to them and use every ingenuity we’re capable
of to devise workable solutions for them.

We should trust not what we feel now, in our
weepy disconsolate state, but what we must

have known then. A simple rule of thumb emerges:
we must invariably trust the decisions we

took when we had the maximal information to
hand upon which we made them – not when

we have emotional incentives to change our
minds and mould ourselves into a caricature

of an easily-gratified creature. There were
persuasive reasons, even if – in our sadness

– we now can’t remember a single one.
Returning to the past wouldn’t make us content,

it would merely – at great cost to all involved
– remind us of why change was in the end

so necessary.
We need to accept that good things did exist,

but that they were no proper solution to certain
of our well-founded emergent needs. It means

accepting that we are as complicated and as
difficult to satisfy as we are – and that

the way forward is to accept our characters
rather than assume a simplicity we could never

live up to. We should have the courage of,
and be ready to pay the full price for, our

true complex natures.

Love is a skill that we can learn. Our relationships book calmly guides us with calm and charm through the key issues of relationships

to ensure that success in love need not be a matter of good luck. For more click the link now.

Leave a Reply