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Avoiding Being "Reminded" of People You've Dated?

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Hi folks, thanks for checking in. The abridged version of my dating history in the last year has been like this: had a boyfriend who really made me feel great, until he got super immature and strung me along before and after breaking up with me. I rushed into a rebound which came to a mutually agreeable end; we're still friends. After that, I did what I should have done after that previous breakup: take a couple months for myself to chill out from dating. I recently got involved with a new guy who last night told me he didn't want to see me anymore. We got along very well but it was a simple case of us not looking for the same things. Not going to say I'm not disappointed but I know it does happen.


Anyway, what I started to notice with that first ex, and even an ex before him, is that there were certain places and things that reminded me of him. Maybe a restaurant we ate at, maybe the town he lives in, maybe a place we used to hang out, maybe a song or type of music he likes, etc. I find that these days, there are places I can't go or things I can't do because I'm afraid that I'll all do is think of these guys I saw. After this last guy left, I realized that the "list" is already a little long for my tastes.


I hate that I feel like there are places and things that I just have to avoid because of what might cross my mind. There are places I might want to/have to go to someday or songs I might want to listen to again but I'd say it's more than a little hesitation. I don't want to feel limited, but it's as though these guys still have control over me. This probably comes back to a need to fully heal from all of them, I'm guessing -- maybe I just systematically blocked out things that remind me of them rather than actually healing.


How would you suggest that I go about disassociating these guys from the past from things that just remind me of them? I'm sure it's a lot easier said than done, but I don't want to have to avoid half the state just because something makes me think of a guy. Your advice is appreciated as always.

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I know what you mean; I found the best way of dealing with a place which had particular associations for me was to replace them with someone/thing stronger.


For example, if there's a particular holiday location that makes you think of an ex, visit it again with someone you have very strong emotions for, and that will gradually displace the previous associations. For example, back in 1995 I had a very painful breakup, and about a year later a friend/partner in crime asked me where would be a good place to take a visiting friend on Saturday night. I took them to a bar where my ex-partner's band used to play, and spending the evening with these two guys who were just out to enjoy themselves, with no hidden agenda or pressure, and who were totally unaware of any associations for me - just blew that one away.


Conversely, I had a relationship with a guy back in 2008 which lasted about eight months, and I left him when I'd established quite firmly for myself that he was emotionally abusive and not just having a bad patch. We spent a weekend away in a part of Wales which means a great deal to me, but he was being absolutely vile - so I didn't take him to most of the places I would have done otherwise because I didn't want them tainted with memories of him.


There are places I take new partners to, if it looks as though the relationship's going anywhere, because it means that they will now be part of the current relationship, and not rooted in the past.


Hope this works for you!

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I have a similar problem but instead associating my ex with certain tangible things (although sometimes the reminders are tangible), the stimuli that often makes me reminiscent are emotions which is much much harder to overcome.


My suggestion would be to create new emotions and memories for these places/things that remind you of your exes. In some case, this just isn't possible. For example, I can't listen to Less Than Jake without being reminded of my ex. I won't ever be able to change it but I have managed to just accept that Less Than Jake will remind me of her.


Memory triggers are often to do with association. You associate these places/things with your ex because they are probably the strongest memory you have of these places. Time will weather at these memories but new experiences will also help greatly.


You will learn which memories can be replaced and which can't.

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I agree with creating new memories for these places.


A week after my breakup my friends organized a leaving party for me at a place I used to go a lot with my ex. I seriously did not want to go there but it was a surprise and I couldn't change it. I'm really glad now that I didn't. Although I did spend the first part of the evening feeling a little sad, but then really cheered up and now the association has changed

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I agree that making new memories can help. The last song I danced to with my ex (who abandoned me on the dance floor because she's a stupid child) was, let's say "Bend with the wind" (just made that up).


Well on New Years I went karaoking with some friends and one of them went to sing "Bend with the wind." I was all "Noooo, you can't sing that because it'll remind me of..." and she was all "Tough! I like 'Bend with the wind' so now I'm gonna sing it...AT YOU!!!" So then I was forced to sit there while a gorgeous woman sang that horrible song at me and pretty much overwrote my bad association with it.


Your milage may vary...!


(Rest assured it's a true story; I just made up the song title because I change the names of people, places, and things here.)

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