You know they are toxic, why keep going back? Here's how to stay away

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One thing that makes human beings so complicated is being drawn to people or things that are slightly out of reach.
One thing that makes human beings so complicated is being drawn to people or things that are slightly out of reach.
Photo: Anastasiia Krivenok
  • Relationship coach Dudu Nhlabathi Madonsela shares advice on not being tempted to go back to that bad ex.
  • She says, as humans, "desire drives us." We are drawn to things that are out of reach for us.
  • Going back to an ex is never a good idea, especially if they have not changed anything about themselves, their behaviour, or whatever led to the break-up. 

Don't we all have that one ex that won't go away for good - the one you miss, drunk dial and get so mad at yourself for thinking about him. Or does this only apply to those of us who are "struggling" in the dating scene?

Even when they have been toxic and exhausting, why do you find yourself returning to them?

Relationship coach Dudu Nhlabathi-Madonsela says one of the things that makes human beings so complicated is being drawn to people or things that are slightly out of reach.

"Desire drives us. It drives our goals and aspirations, and our desires determine where we spend most of our time. The psychology of it is that the more out of reach something is, the higher the perceived value," Dudu says.

"Chances are, if you have a toxic ex that has a strong hold over you, probably one of the reasons they are an ex is that you were never quite fulfilled in that relationship. The relationship never materialised to its potential, leaving you yearning for more attention and affection."

READ MORE | 'I helped my boyfriend get jobs, paid for our holidays but he still cheated' - Woman on why she left

She adds in such relationships, we have unmet desires, and as the relationship progresses, your desired state of euphoria seems more out of reach, and thus in your subconscious, you assigned a higher value to your ex without realising it.

Dudu says the other reason for engaging with an ex you swore to never go back to is that you might have experienced unrequited love - which is when the love we give is not reciprocated - and unrequited love is addictive.

Do you have an ex you keep going back to and you just don't know how to not miss them? Tell us here.

"The more we become attached to the dream of what could have been, there more we become attached to the object of our desire."

READ MORE | 7 signs he is not that into you according to a dating coach

Remember there is nothing special about your ex, and the power to elevate him or knock him off the pedestal lies with you. He does not have a hold over you.

Keep busy, and fill your weekends with things that matter to you so boredom does not see you entertaining any funny texts.

Dudu says if you genuinely miss an ex you want back in your life, consider if that person is worth returning to after all you have previously been through with them.

"Have they worked on themselves to become the type of lover you want to build a life with. There is no point in going back to argue about the same things, as that would be a waste of time." 

READ MORE | Intimacy coach on how to choose a vibrator: 'Keep in mind what kind of sensations you like'

Dudu shares how to exercise self-control and not go back

  • Denying what you feel will not make the feeling go away. The first step to healing is to be honest with yourself. Admit you are still into your ex and getting over them will take time. 
  • Remember this feeling is more of an addiction than it is love. No form of addiction is good. Thus, going back and forth with your ex will not yield positive results.
  • We have had the blocking functionality on our mobiles for almost a decade, and still, people return to their exes.
  • Rather than taking this extreme route, put together a reward system for yourself. Get yourself a small gift every time you decline an invite from your ex.
  • Share your accomplishment with a friend who can cheer you on.

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