Do you feel you are committing emotional infidelity when you reminisce memories of an ex while having a romantic relationship with a new person?
By definition, emotional infidelity is feeling some type of emotional connection with another person apart from your current partner. You might feel this way when you suddenly have flashbacks of your past relationship and the good parts of it. Let us paint you a picture.
Say you and your new beau are at an ice cream parlour. Then all of a sudden this memory of your ex makes its way to your brain and reminds you of a time you two were laughing your heads off. The memory puts a smile on your face.
Then, your partner all of a sudden asks, “why are you smiling?” The smile evaporates from your face instantaneously because you feel sudden guilt from that memory. Then, you say, “Nothing. Just happy to be here with you.”
First, you’re thinking of your ex. Next, you’re lying to your partner. Then, the next thing you know, you’re way down a spiral wondering why you even thought of your ex in the first place. What does this all mean? Does it mean you still have feelings for him?
It’s easy to panic when you are in a relationship, and you have all of these questions that you need answers to. Good thing we did the digging for you. In this article, we will help you understand what that happens and what it means. So, keep on reading.
Cherishing Memories of You and Your Ex – Is This Normal?
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So, you’re probably asking if it’s normal to think of your ex while you’re in a new relationship. According to psychologist and co-director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes, Rachel Needle, it is perfectly normal and okay.
This happens because the relationship may have ended because of some negative aspects, but the reason why countless times you decided to stay was because of the good times.
So, when you give a thorough evaluation of the relationship, there were pros to it. It’s just unfortunate that the cons weighed heavier. So, that explains why it’s okay to take a trip down memory lane of your ex.
But, why does it happen? Why do you all of a sudden have these bursts of flashbacks? Oftentimes, it’s your mind’s way of closing your grieving process for that relationship. Remembering your good memories together is an indication that you are honouring that relationship in order to bring yourself to a closure. And, in achieving that closure, you can now fully be ready for your next relationship.
What It All Means
Western culture has made such a toxic stigma around people holding onto fond memories with their exes. They’ve made it seem like doing so lessens your capacity to love your current partner. That is just not the case though, according to Joy Berkheimer, a marriage and family therapist.
Love is not finite or limited. Thinking of an ex doesn’t make you less capable of offering your love to your current partner. It’s not like your heart has space only for one person.
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It’s the same way when you have a different best friend in every clique. You have one among your cousins, one at work, one from college, and so on and so forth, because your heart is capable of loving more than one best friend. Because the truth is, no one is replaceable.
So, remembering an ex and your good times together is not emotional infidelity. You are not cheating on your current partner just because of those thoughts. And, no you are not betraying your current partner because, as discussed earlier, it’s part of your moving-on process. So, should you feel guilty? No.
Instead, what you should feel is to be happy, because though the relationship did not turn out alright, you ought to be glad you met that person because he/she may have taught you something no one else could have. You will be glad this person had a chapter in your life; otherwise, you wouldn’t have had such amazing memories with them.
Benefits of Cherishing the Good Times
Remembering your ex and your good times together is not only okay, but it’s also actually a good thing to do for many reasons.
Through these blasts in the past moments, you get to reflect on the things that you like in a relationship.
Say you aren’t in a commitment right now, and you suddenly thought of your ex. That trip down memory lane will have you identifying the things that you ought to look for in a relationship because those are the things that make you happy. You are more likely to find the right partner if you know what you want.
The same can happen if you also happen to think about your bad memories with your ex. In that reflection, you get a better sense of who or what to avoid in a new relationship.
And, if you are in a relationship already, this reminiscing may also be an opportunity for you to reflect on how you would have handled issues differently. So, when they do happen with your current partner, you’d know what to do.
Beware of Emotional Infidelity
So, we said that thinking about your ex is completely normal and healthy. So, when does it become emotional infidelity? When are you actually already cheating on your partner?
If reminiscing about your past toxic relationship makes you realise that you shouldn’t have broken up with him, you are not going through a moving-on phase.
Therapist, Erica Turner, calls this “emotional reasoning,” where that trip down memory lane led you to feel hopeful that your ex is really the one for you. This is dangerous territory because you broke up with that person for a reason or reasons. The cons far outweighed the pros, so you have to remember that.
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Reminiscing about the good times with your ex doesn’t make all of the mistakes he made suddenly right. So, it’s good to keep your trip down that memory lane focused on only one objective – to discover yourself and what you want.
It also helps to do the reminiscing with a friend or a relative, so you can have someone to discuss such feelings with. Your friend or relative can help bring clarity to the situation.
If you feel you need more help, you may also try discussing such emotions with a therapist or any mental health professional. In doing so, your therapist may be able to give you some guidance on how to manage your emotions.
Signs of Emotional Infidelity
Signs of emotional infidelity go beyond just cherishing the good moments. You all of a sudden feel some type of longing. Another sign is when you find yourself comparing your current partner with your ex. Keep in mind that they are two different people. You’ll know your current relationship is failing because he isn’t meeting your needs, not because he is nothing like your ex.
Emotional infidelity sounds like dangerous territory if you don’t keep your objectives in mind. So, remember that if you start thinking about your ex, you are thinking about both good and bad memories. So you are reminded of why you broke up in the first place. Then, in doing so, you learn to move on and find happiness in your current relationship.
In conclusion, emotional infidelity can be a challenging issue in a marriage, but it can be overcome with effort and commitment from both partners. One way to beat emotional infidelity is by cherishing past memories with your current spouse and letting go of any attachment to past relationships.
It is essential to focus on building a strong emotional connection with your partner by communicating openly, being present in the moment, and actively working on strengthening your relationship. With dedication, honesty, and a willingness to work through challenges, couples can overcome emotional infidelity and build a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.
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