Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Dealing With Nostalgia: Why Your Decision To Move On Was Right

After experiencing enough misery, we parted ways with our ex. And even though we’re now seeing other people, or might even be in a fresh, wonderful relationship, we occasionally find ourselves wistfully daydreaming about our former partner.

We revisit old memories of when we felt connected and happy with our previous lover and it makes us sad. Perhaps even a little weepy. 

Doubt creeps in and we wonder if we made the right choice. After all, if we had so many good times, isn’t it possible ending things was a mistake?

Perhaps our connection withered not due to incompatibility, but to negligence or a lack of appreciation for what we had.

Might that be a more true retelling of what happened?

No. That’s a terribly foolish narrative to believe in.

When looking back to our prior relationship—months, or even years later—it’s natural to home in on the good times and ignore the bad times. That’s called nostalgia. And it’s a terrible judge of whether or not breaking up was the right move. 

The noodle in our noggin simply prefers pleasure to discomfort. 

That’s why we have to trust the feelings that we had when we were in the middle of the relationship. That’s when we were most alert to all the actions and events that slowly convinced us to walk away.

Such as their talent to turn every disagreement into a discussion, their knack for omitting important truths, or their tendency to look for hidden meanings instead of taking our words at face value. 

Our nostalgia conveniently leaves the troublesome out. If things were only as good as our brain suggests, then we would have never broken up in the first place. 

So occasionally longing for an ex isn’t a sign we should fix a broken relationship. It simply means we’re a little lonely or confused about our lives and need some comfort. 

Which we might get from daydreaming about our ex. But that doesn’t mean we’ll also find relief or happiness by making our dreams a reality.

Our relationship ended for a reason. And if we have forgotten why, we need to have faith in our former self’s wisdom to end the relationship.

While we might be pining, we’re not missing out. Because if our ex couldn’t give us what we wanted then, they almost certainly can’t give it to us now.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach