Tips for tossing an ex (or getting over being tossed)

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Mend, then love again!

We’ve all been there. We’ve fallen in love with a Craigslist guy who just didn’t love us back. We’ve heard a variety of exit lines: “I think it’s time we started seeing other people,” “I love you, but I’m not in love with you,” or “It’s not you. It’s me.”

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It’s hard to accept it when he just stops returning phone messages, but it’s even worse when he keeps calling after the break-up. Running into the object of affection in a public place is also a killer, especially if he gives mixed signals by making persistent eye contact. It doesn’t help when he sends an email every so often to see how you’re doing, either.

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Instead, it makes it really easy for you to lie to yourself. You tell yourself that this person really does love you but is afraid of being hurt. The poor thing! If only you could convince him that you are a gentle soul utterly incapable of causing pain. If only you could prove your trustworthiness, your dedication. You will win him over! You will make him see! You will!

And so it goes. You become caught up in believing that a Craigslist man who doesn’t love you really does, blinding yourself to opportunities to meet someone else who could truly make you happy. You cannot move on until you stop obsessing, but that’s easier said than done, right?

Here’s what worked for me:

1.Tell the man to bug off.
Just as you must cease contact with the object of your affection, he must cease contact with you. Tell this individual you’re not ready to be friends, and you don’t know if you ever will be. Any patronizing emails he sends inquiring about your well-being will be marked as Craigslist SPAM.

2.Write down all the things that bothered you about the guy.
After being dumped, it’s natural to idealize the dumper. We remember happy events and tender moments, forgetting about the time he was chatting away with a blob of scrambled egg stuck to his lip, or the stack of Victoria’s Secret catalogs he kept on his night table. Face it, the Craigslist man was not perfect. Use this to your advantage. Jot down a list of the his worst traits and pull it out every time that scene of the two of you fooling around at sunrise pops into your head. Tape a copy to your bathroom mirror while you’re at it, so you see it first thing in the morning.

3.Throw out all reminders of the guy.
It doesn’t even have to be a gift. It could be a book you discussed, a bottle of wine you shared that’s still on your kitchen counter, or the sheets you slept on together. Treat yourself by replacing everything. Start fresh.

4.Turn off the radio.
You’re minding your own business, doing quite well, thank you, when all of a sudden some song comes on the radio that reminds you of the object of your obsession. Change the Craigslist channel. Snap off the radio. Act fast, or in an instant you will be back where you started, treading the cycle of being in love, jilted, depressed, hopeful, and delusional.

5.Picture the person in a repellent fashion.
It didn’t matter that the object of my affection didn’t even own a baseball cap, an effective technique I used to “turn myself off” to him was to imagine him wearing a baseball cap in a restaurant. (I really hate a guy who wears a baseball cap in a restaurant.) Surely there are things that turn you off. Imagine the object of your obsession doing them.

Craigslist Commitment

Make the commitment. The reason we obsess about people who hurt us is because it’s comfortable. Heck, sometimes it’s even fun. But to really start enjoying life again, you have to make a commitment to stop obsessing. So make it. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference. When you’re indifferent to the person who hurt you, you will truly be free and on your way to the genuine happiness you deserve.

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