Once a breakup is done, that should be the end of the relationship, but if that's the case, why do you still think about your ex after ten years?
We've all done the 'no contact' and removed all the reminders and did some writing in the gratitude journal.
But it's been years since the breakup and you still are finding yourself thinking about your ex.
So what's this about?
Your ex was a wonderful resource for companionship, sex, conversation, etc.
Sometimes we still want/need some of that stuff.
In those moments, the brain looks through it's memory banks for info related to those resources.
Yes there is Tinder, Bumble, Match...but those are new people and we have no history with them.
Your brain wants what it already knows can work.
And that leads to your ex and so your brain plucks out those memories and evokes them to push you towards them and whatever they were good for.
But, of course your ex was problematic. That's why they are an ex.
However, they still have some good bits and it is those good bits of memories that are nudging your brain towards thoughts of your ex. They were handy for so many things and some were on a deep emotional level that are still somewhat impactful. This is like tossing bread crumbs in the yard in the hopes birds would come.
Once they learn that the yard sometimes has food, they keep coming back.
Just like thoughts of your ex. Your brain saw your ex as a resource and thoughts of them keep coming back because apparently there is still some breadcrumbs of nourishment available, and as tainted as those bits were, they might be a lot better than the alternatives.
This is a survival mechanism to make sure you know where to go for the stuff you need. Sort of like how hunger triggers us to get into action. Being hungry for lovey times can trigger memories of your ex.
The problem is that the ex is no longer a resource, but your brain hasn't got the memo...yet.
So what can be done to reprogram your mind in such a way that your ex is categorized in the 'useless' or 'non-resource' or 'avoid at all costs' category?
That requires a shift in the memory.
Without that change in the memory structure related to your ex and the value your brain has attributed to them, things stay the same. And for some, years. Others, perhaps never.
Memories do change and this is a fantastic evolutionary mechanism to take advantage of.
What is this mechanism exactly?
It is called 'memory reconsolidation' and this is a recent discovery for updating memories in a particular way.
The application of this mechanism is highly therapeutic for treating people that have PTSD flashbacks. If you haven't seen the television news footage below about the veterans that updated their memories, the summary is that the veterans would have problems about intrusive thoughts of an emotionally significant event, (much like you occasionally have pop up thoughts of your ex) and that they were cleared of those problem memories using a step by step protocol.
This brain process for changing memories is likely what would help these people asking questions about how to forget your ex after many years.
What are the best strategies to forget your ex?
To answer this it's probably a good idea to see what has worked for others and then copy their strategy.
Strategies are great because they are like a blueprint of what works.
A strategy is a particular area of modeling in which you are specifically looking for a mental map that was used by the individual whom you are modeling in order to orchestrate or organize his/her activities to accomplish effective results - Robert Dilts - Strategies of Genius.
One of the best strategies for changing memories is the Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories protocol.
In this T.V. clip, Dr Frank Burke and Dr Denise Budden-Potts talk about how this strategy has been used on hundreds of civilians to help them forget painful memories from 9/11, and this is with a 95% success rate and all without using any medication. Now the protocol is being used on women veterans with a similar success rate.
What are they doing and can you do it on your own?
It's a skill and like anything else, it would take some training, practice, education.
Dr. Frank Bourke charges $1,999 to train this skill to Ukrainian therapists. Once they learn the protocol and how it works, those therapists can help those with recurring memories of emotional events. My guess is that you just want to know enough to finally decouple the feelings you have from that past relationship and would also benefit from . If that's the case, you can speed learn this in my book about how to use these techniques to forget your ex for good. This is the same strategy Vietnam veterans have been put through with the help of Dr. Frank Bourke to able to get over horrific traumatic memories.
Once you learn this skill, you can apply it to other problem memories and flashbacks. Also, you can apply this same strategy on traumatic events that haven't happened yet. For instance, if in the future, you encounter something worth forgetting, you can use this same strategy to greatly reduce it's potency.
To get over your ex for good and significantly speed up the process, you might to check out this crash course on how to reconsolidate memories of your ex by using a variation of the strategies on T.V.