How You Perceive Your Ex = How You Perceive Yourself

Posted: 04/19/2011 by Singlefied in Dating
Tags: , , , , , ,

Some of you love talking shit about your ex.  Especially right now, because of Breakup Season.  The wounds are fresh and the claws are out!  But next time you start on a rant about your former flame, really listen to what you’re saying about her.  Ever since Breakup Season started, I’ve had an influx of clients coming to me looking to start dating again.  Of course, every consultation starts with talking about what was lacking in their ex that they MUST have in their potential future mates.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m a dating coach or a therapist (or stand-in girlfriend, even).

What I’ve found interesting is that what people complain about in their ex is often times reflective of their own insecurities, that are in turn projected onto their ex.  Yikes, that sounds like some philosophical bullshit but let me give you my argument.  You’ve all heard, “It takes one to know one.”  It’s true.  What we find lacking in others is what we find lacking in ourselves.  Here are 3 different sessions I recently had with 3 clients (don’t worry, I was given permission to use these stories):

1) Client #1 didn’t trust his ex.  He felt that she was shady, ambiguous about her plans, and had too many guy friends.  He was convinced that she was cheating, even though there was never any evidence.  Going forward, he wants a girl who is trustworthy, transparent, and has less guy friends.  At the end of our one hour session, Client #1 reveals that he cheated on the ex before this one and was hiding his escapades by being shady and ambiguous.  The girl he was cheating with happened to be one of his close girl friends.  Uh huh.  He’s projecting his past adulterous behavior and trust issues onto a girl who may or may not have been cheating.  Who’s the shady one now?

2) Client #2 found his ex unambitious.  She changed her career path 3 times in the 3 years they were dating.  She went from teacher to fashion designer to MFA art student.  Going forward, he wants a girl who is decisively ambitious, with a set career path and successfully climbing the corporate ladder.  Result at the end of our session?  Client #2 has been climbing up the corporate ladder and is extremely unhappy in his career.  He’s projecting his professional discontent on a girl who is searching for a career she will actually enjoy.  Although both of them are on opposite sides of the career spectrum, they’re both at the same place when it comes to dissatisfaction (and need for change).  Hello, wake up call!

3) Client #3 thought his ex was getting fat.  She was skinny and fit and a year later, she was “soft,” as he put it.  Going forward, he wants a girl who is fit and stays fit.  But what was the real deal?  Client #3 was not Mr. Fitness himself, either.  As a former athlete, he put a huge emphasis on girls who worked out but since ending his athletic career, he has totally let himself go.  He is now “soft,” too, with borderline man boobs.  His insecurity about his body and disappointment in his lack of self-discipline has turned into resentment for the ex for letting herself go.  Um, if you expect your girl to be fit and healthy, you gotta trade in the doughnut for some weights, too.

It’s easy to project your own insecurities onto someone else, but when we criticize others, it usually is a criticism on ourselves.

Who knew your ex could bring you so much self awareness?

  1. The T says:

    I like where you tried to go with this…however…let’s back up just a bit… they are our ex’s because they aren’t like us… when i said unconidtional… I meant unconditional… did my ex? no… when I said forever and she said forever, the words sounded the same but her definition was apparently different than mine… when I say the word amazing, she’s not in that definition, yet I still am…

    So I wish I could gel with your thoughts, but for me, I’m well above my ex and that’s where I’ll stay…


  2. Datingisms says:

    […] you talk about your ex may be how you view your own shortcomings Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. ▶ […]

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