Opinion

Why Staying in Love With Your Ex Is a Bad Idea

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Love comes and goes, and the experience of love is always different. The love you have with your exes will always be distinct from the love you have with your next boyfriend. Holding onto the love you had could diminish your future relationships, which is something I learned the hard way.

When you lose a lover, it feels like a piece of your heart is missing. Replacing that piece can grow into an obsession that will inevitably imprison you in a cell made of memories of your ex.

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We have all dealt with heartache, and most gay men have exes. We have all experienced it in one way or another, yet we feel alone with our broken hearts. Trust me; the trick is to let go and transition the love we carry for our ex into something else.

My ex and I had it all. Everyone knew we were in it for the long haul, which put tremendous pressure on us to prove them right. It was one of the best relationships I have had, and looking back I still feel like I “lost” something special, even though breaking up was a mutual decision.

A gay couple in bed.

Never convince yourself you lost something. Otherwise, you’ll feel like you failed at something that could have been and that is when you’ll start to obsess. If you are not careful, he’ll stick with you forever.

Related: 5 Qualities You Should Look for in a Boyfriend

You’ll compare every boyfriend, partner or lover to your ex, and you will try to convince yourself every man, kiss, and rendezvous are not as good. Falling into this trap can prevent you from feeling fulfilled and satisfied not just in love, but in life as well.

Nothing is “better,” just different; every partner is unique, and you have to appreciate them as individuals. When you become hung up on your ex, you’ll begin to pull away from the beauty of the moment you are in; you’ll focus on the ghosts of your past instead of the faces of the present.

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If you let it, the ghost of your ex will haunt you — stealing the joy from everyday life. The fixation with his spirit prevents you from moving on and detains you in a state of grief and longing. If you submit, the fear of never finding love again could become a reality.

Related: 10 Signs Your Boyfriend Is a Jerk

Letting it go is like giving up an addiction, but many counselors will tell you that the best way to give up a habit is to find another. It does not have to be a person; you could replace the longing for your ex with a new hobby.

Giving love heals our pain. Be thankful for your past, even if you feel like the best is gone. This turns into armor, which becomes the balm for our agony. We are all made by love — it is the glue that holds humanity together. We are never going to be absent from it, yet when we are heartbroken, we feel like we’ll never have it again. We are blind to the countless number of people trying to give us love.

Adorable gay couple kissing.

It is ok to love your ex without being in love. You could love what he taught you, and the fabulous memories he gave you, without which you might not recognize true love when you see it again. Having been in love should remind you that you are, in fact, capable and worthy of love.

Related: Why a Perfect Body Won’t Help You Find Love

For many men, it is hard to separate the act of love from being in love. Although your ex could be hardwired into your mind, you can override your brain’s attraction. However, he does not need to go away; your memories of him helped shape who you are today, and that is how you can move on.

It is time to rid ourselves of our ex’s ghost. There is no “unfinished business.” Give him the signal to move on, and he will leave your psyche and take the pain with him.

David Artavia is an actor and writer from New York City. He loves living vicariously through his friends. Follow him on Twitter and Like his Facebook page

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