Thursday, October 23, 2014

Crazy Brain is a Crazy Bitch

"It's called a breakup because it's broken." I don't have any ex boyfriends out there who I am still pining for, who I wish I was still with, or who frequently cross my mind (or my path) for any reason. Each of my individual relationships ended for good reason, at a good time, when they were no longer benefiting my life or making me a better person. I have had relationships end because they were simply not satisfying any longer, because they were boring, because of cheating and lying, and because of abuse that I was no longer able to tolerate. I have also had relationships end simply because one of the two of us had lost interest or were not ready for an adult relationship. Across the board, though, each of my relationships was - and is - over for a reason, and I am not left with any regret or wonderment over the classic, what if.

None of the guys I have dated in the past are a staple in my life presently. And I feel that with most of my friends, that statement reigns true. Very few people I know (or have known) maintain relationships with ex boy or girlfriends. Because, it's called a breakup because it's broken. There is a reason you are no longer with this person, so why would you continue on some feeble effort to maintain some weird friendship after a romantic relationship did not succeed? For most of us, we don't. We wash our hands, we say goodbye, and we move forward as best we can, attempting to heal from the wounds in place well enough to be successful in the next relationship we find ourselves. And even in the instances where a friendship does remain possible, that friendship is only possible because you were able to get out before you got too far in; before you got to that point of no return. 

So, knowing what we know about how people generally feel about their exes, what is it that continues to make us jealous of those exes? Why are we jealous over a Facebook post or a Snapchat, and why are we nervous or uncomfortable running into someone's ex? Why do we care what they're saying or doing, what they're texting or emailing? Knowing that we are the one in the current relationship, the one making our partner's life better, why does it matter so much what their ex is doing?

Our logical brain tells us, it doesn't. It really doesn't matter. I could run into all of my ex boyfriends in one day, and it would be like any other day, albeit a bit more awkward. But seeing any one of them at a party or running into them somewhere does not change the fact that they are, in fact, an ex; a person from my past who no longer matters in my present. I could get an email from anyone I've ever broken up with today, and it would have literally zero to do with how deeply content I am with the man who woke up next to me this morning. Whether someone finds me on Facebook or reads my blog, has no relevance in my current relationship. And I assume the same is true for most of us. Our logical brain knows that we really don't care what is happening in the world of our ex boy or girlfriend, and that what matters lies in our current relationship.

Keeping our logic just out of reach, however, is our jealous and/or crazy brain, trying to convince us that is does matter. Crazy brain wants to know why you're friends with your ex on Facebook, or what they could possibly be sending you in a Snapchat - I mean, come on, we all know Snapchat was invented for the sole purpose of sexting without evidence! Crazy brain wants it to bother you, wants it to drive you mad, wants it to piss you off. And crazy brain tends to be stronger, faster, louder than logical brain. Which is ultimately why we sometimes do find ourselves caring about (and being jealous of) the ex. Because crazy brain easily takes control and takes over, and because we often don't even see it coming until it's too late: until we're fully jealous over nothing.

It can be hard to reign in our crazy brain, but our current relationships - and our lives in general, really - are so much better when we get a handle on it and live more in our logical brain. Am I suggesting that I am never jealous, never crazy, never upset about something I read on Facebook? Of course not. I'm human, and it happens. But when it does happen, I have a couple of choices to make. Do I choose to let crazy brain take over and ruin our day, making it hard to maintain any sane level or normalcy? Or do I choose to get it together and remind myself that everyone has a past, and that the past sometimes makes a slight appearance in the present?

Everyone has a past. And truthfully, we all carry baggage from the past into our future; maybe running into someone's ex, or having to meet them at an event, or seeing them on Facebook or Snapchat, is just another means of the baggage we chose to accept in our partner. When you start a relationship with someone, you do take on some of their past - maybe they are afraid of commitment, or maybe the idea of moving in with you is both exciting and simultaneously really frightening, or maybe they've been cheated on or pushed around. Whatever it may be, we all have baggage, we all have triggers, and the person who takes that on, accepts it. The same goes both ways - when I take on a new relationship, I am accepting that person for their past, present, and future, and that includes the messy parts.

The truth is, perfection does not exist. And if it did, it would be insanely boring. I can't imagine a perfect world, with a cookie cutter house and white picket fence, with a perfect boy waiting for me to present him with a perfect meal day in and day out. Perfection isn't real; messy is real. Messy is passionate and deep. Messy is what you fall in love with, the type of love that leaves you tangled in the sheets, wrapped up in each other's arms and legs, at the end of the day. So maybe you have to deal with someone's ex, and maybe they have to deal with yours, but that's just a little bit of mess that connects the two of you on a level you didn't realize you could ever have.

Just remember that at the end of the day, you're with someone who is in love with you; be in love with them back.

Don't let your crazy brain win.