Breakups are difficult and sometimes awkward. But something that’s even more awkward is figuring out what happens after the breakup. What are the general rules around it? Do you talk or do you just see through your ex like they don’t even exist? Or maybe something a little moderate, like ignoring them while not completely denying their existence?
While there are no rules around it and you should do what you feel is the right thing to do, still, hear us out. What we are proposing here is to ignore your ex, and we’ll tell you why ignoring your ex is powerful. We aren’t saying that you ignore them from a place of malice. What we are saying, however, is that you can respectfully distance yourself with the sole purpose of self-growth.
In this article, trauma-informed counseling psychologist Anushtha Mishra (MSc., Counseling Psychology), who specializes in providing therapy for concerns such as trauma, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, grief, and loneliness among others, writes about why ignoring your ex is powerful. She offers insights into how your ex feels when you ignore him or her, if it is even the right thing to do, and more.
Is Ignoring An Ex The Right Thing To Do?
This is a very treacherous slope, to decide the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ thing to do in any situation. Instead, let’s start with this: Is ignoring an ex something you feel you’d want to do? Is it something that you have read about and feel might help in your case?
There are many reasons as to why ignoring your ex is powerful. However, it’s up to you to fit the pieces together. Ask yourself, does this solution fit the problem that I am facing due to feeling empty after my breakup? No two breakups are the same even when the reasons might be. The dynamics of any relationship are never a hundred percent alike. So it’s YOU who takes that call.
That being said, ignoring your ex can be an important coping tool that you can use after a breakup in general. When there are chaotic or overindulgent communication patterns, it is beneficial to ignore and cut the cord with your ex to give yourself the space to breathe and process.
While not commenting on the narrative of right or wrong, ignoring your ex is, without a doubt, a very helpful way to give yourself scope and time to get over the breakup and move on. It isn’t so much to do with your ex as it is to do with your growth and healing process. So make that call. If you ignore your ex forever, would that be the right thing to do for YOU?
When Does Ignoring An Ex Work?
Ignoring an ex works in every scenario after a breakup, especially when there were enmeshed boundaries between the exes. This means the boundaries between them are permeable and unclear. And staying in contact with them only instigate the unhealthy boundaries and patterns that they shared as partners.
Let’s look at it through an analogy that I give to my clients. There’s a deep wound and now and then, you poke that wound. This comes in the way of healing the wound and all the progress that has been made seems lost because the wound is poked again and again.
That wound is the breakup and the poking of it is talking to your ex. Ignoring your ex and leaving them for a while gives your wound the open air that it needs to form the new skin and heal. While ignoring your ex, the mental energy that you have should be spent on working on yourself, learning how to make healthy boundaries, and more.
Related Reading: Ignoring Someone You Are Attracted To? Do It With Finesse…
What Happens When You Ignore An Ex?
Let’s again modify the question a bit. Instead of what happens when you ignore an ex, let’s ask specifically what happens to YOU? Because remember, our focus here is on you and not your ex-partner. What matters after the breakup is what is happening within you, and not to your ex. It’s not about how ‘they’ feel when you ignore them.
So, what happens to you when you ignore your ex? Especially when you are ignoring an ex boyfriend that dumped you, or any ex-partner for that matter? New skin starts to form around the wound and you start to heal. The distance this brings gives you a better headspace where you can process what happened, how you want to proceed and heal after a breakup.
Then, you’ll be able to further detach or distance yourself from your ex and the messy situation the breakup might have brought with it. When everything reminds you of them, you so badly want to jump and fall again. The distance will give you the strength to hold on to your power.
9 Reasons Ignoring Your Ex Is Powerful
Now that we have discussed a bit about what ignoring your ex entails, let’s explore the ‘why’. Why do we ignore our ex? Why is ignoring your ex powerful? Is it even all that powerful to begin with?
Remember, ignoring them in this context doesn’t mean forgetting them or denying their existence. It only means that you are now prioritizing yourself, and your mental health has made the top of the to-do list this time. So, let’s talk about why ignoring your ex is powerful.
1. Gives you space to explore your emotions
Here’s why ignoring your ex is powerful: it gives you space to explore your own emotions and heal from the pain of heartbreak. Naming, acknowledging, and accepting your feelings. Noticing and naming emotions gives us a chance to step back and make a choice about what we want to do with them.
Once you explore what you feel, you’ll also have a better understanding of the kind of support you need at the moment and assess what hurts the most. All the emotions that we feel are forms of energy and acknowledging and sharing them helps release that energy, thus helping you feel them with less intensity.
2. Gives you a break from constant contact
Right after a breakup, everything reminds you of your ex. You’re reminded every day of the way they smile, the way they called your name, or just the way they existed around you. It’s a constant battle of reminding yourself that you can’t go back. Even if it seems all sunshine in retrospect, you know better than to believe that delusion. It’s a wonder how you resist contacting them and following the no contact rule.
Giving yourself this break from constantly being in touch with them can be the first step toward a fresh start where your everyday life doesn’t include or revolve around them. Breaking all contact and ignoring them creates a conducive and safe space for you where you can start on the path of healing. Remember the wound analogy?
Related Reading: The Right Way To Use Power Of Silence After A Breakup
3. Gives you a clearer headspace
Headspace refers to a person’s state of mind or mindset. Clear headspace means the capacity to think clearly without any interference. To stay in touch with an ex will only keep your headspace chaotic and would give you no space to think straight.
A reason as to why ignoring your ex is powerful, especially ignoring an ex-boyfriend that dumped you or an ex-girlfriend who ghosted you, is because it clears your head from all the overwhelming emotions and thoughts that being in touch with them induces. It also helps you in organizing and understanding your thoughts.
4. Gives you time to process what has happened
Cutting contact with your ex gives you a clearer headspace which in turn helps you process what happened. Sometimes, a breakup can come as a shock even when it’s mutually decided. In a shocked state of mind, we don’t respond, we react to our reflexes and impulses. It doesn’t lead to any closure after a breakup.
Why ignoring your ex is powerful here is because it gives you the space to change the pattern of reacting to responding. It gives way for the shock to subside, and for the calm to return. We all know the saying, “A calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.” Your challenge is the breakup, your weapon is the ability to respond to the situation and not give in to your reflexes.
5. Helps you get back on your feet again
It gives you the strength to be independent again. This is not to say that you were not independent when you were with your ex, but we all depend a little on the people we feel secure with and on the people we love. Now is your time to get back that independence and stand solely on your two feet again.
This is also why ignoring your ex is powerful – it helps you break the vicious cycle of stalking them on social media or in the real world, feeling worse about yourself when you see them post general updates, going back to stalking them for any sign of hope of getting back together, and feeling miserable yet again.
Ignoring your ex helps you give space to yourself where you gain your strengths back and reclaim your independence. It gives you the time to look beyond what your ex provided you and see what you can provide yourself.
6. Why ignoring your ex is powerful – it boosts your self-respect
You walked away from them, or maybe they did. But in the end, the decision was to walk away from each other and not to be constantly in touch, revisiting the old wounds. By ignoring your ex, you keep that word you gave yourself, and this is what will get you back your self-respect.
This is especially the case in toxic relationships where the partners are in a lot of self-doubt and confusion, and lose their self-respect along the way. Ignoring your ex is powerful here because you get to take back the respect for yourself that you lost. You realize that you didn’t deserve to be treated unfairly or to be left hurt and alone, that you deserve to take back your love for yourself, and ignore your ex forever.
7. Gives you perspective and helps you break away from old patterns
In retrospect, we are able to connect the dots more clearly. Here’s why ignoring your ex is powerful and important: it gives you space to explore the full picture. See beyond the hurt and pain. Reflect beyond the happy and merry. Process what unfolded and gauge what you learned about yourself in the process.
This perspective you gain will not only help you get closure but also help you grow as a person and heal. It’ll help you recognize your patterns and your belief systems. It’ll help you shortlist which of these are healthy for you and which are not. Eliminating your unhealthy patterns will help you in your future relationships as well, not just with a partner but with friends and family too.
8. Here’s why ignoring your ex is powerful: it gives you time to heal
All of the above reasons help you heal after a breakup, almost in that order. When we say heal, what do we mean by that? Healing means that you realize you are not alone in this. It’s you working through the pain and coming to a place where it doesn’t hurt as much as it did when the wound was fresh.
Breaking up is a painful process. It is a loss, there’s grief of losing a relationship that mattered so much. Of course it hurts. Healing is reducing the intensity of that hurt. Healing doesn’t mean you forget what has happened but accept that it is done and dusted. This is why ignoring your ex is powerful.
9. Empowers you to move on
The most important point on why ignoring your ex is powerful and liberating is because it helps you move on. Moving on is the extension of healing, where the hurt is minimized, and you are gradually ready to fill the space hollowed by the breakup with other opportunities.
Distancing yourself from your ex gives you space to explore your emotions, gives you the time to process the hurt, gives you perspective, and more, which eventually allows you to move on from the heartbreak. Forget what guys feel when their ex ignores them or what anyone feels when they are cut off by their ex. What matters is how it feels to you and helps YOU. Whenever you find yourself stranded in your ex’s shoes, remember to come back to yours.
So, does completely ignoring your ex work? It works well if it helps you heal and move on. It might be a good idea to explore what ‘work’ means for you. Everyone can want different things out of a breakup and there are no timelines for it. It’s important, however, to know what you want out of it.
Breakups can leave you feeling lost on a highway far away from your city, it gets isolating dealing with it by yourself. But you don’t have to be alone. Reach out to your support system and remind yourself that you can lean on someone’s shoulder who would understand.
So, what do you think? Would ignoring an ex make for a good way to go about a breakup? Would ignoring an ex help the person move on? There are more reasons you can add to your own little list of why ignoring your ex is powerful.
Well, relationships are no battleground, and ways to cope with a breakup are not a matter of revenge. If you feel like you want to take revenge on your ex, maybe a good place to start can be to figure out what need of yours the revenge would fulfill. It’s important to dig inward when these powerful emotions show up. That being said, your ex, if not very self-aware, might wrongfully perceive you’re ignoring them as a form of revenge. But then it’s time for you to ask, are you doing this for them or yourself?
It can be perceived by the other person as a power move, but there are multiple reasons people block their exes other than to show dominance over them. Again, this is something you’d have to reflect on, are you blocking your ex as a power move? If yes, then what are the unmet needs that this will fulfill? What would happen to you and within you when you block them? Shift the focus to ‘your’ needs, and not what guys feel when their ex ignores them or how girls feel when they face the same.
Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, to get away from the toxicity in a relationship that your ex can bring with them, it’s okay to silently sideline them and shift that energy and focus to yourself. Silence also clears your mind and gives you the headspace to process your surroundings and emotions.
It can convey what you want to express more beautifully than words ever will. Sometimes, as they say, silence is the best answer.