Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Relapse Effect

Oftentimes, when something feels good (I mean really good) we try to hold onto that sensation for as long as possible. Think back to landing that first job, getting the last spot on that club/team, the first time someone you loved told you they loved you back... All amazing, euphoric feelings that are hard to duplicate... And ones we'd do anything to keep. 

So when something ends -- like, say, a break-up with the first love -- it's hard to let go of. I mean, how could you let go of something that felt so good? How could it be over just like that?

That's exactly what I found myself wondering on Friday afternoon, when hanging out with colleagues. See, I spotted Charles, who was eating lunch with one of his friends. And while he looked amazing (literally, my heart skipped so many beats I wasn't sure I was still breathing), I had to remind myself again about everything that had transpired. And remember that I didn't want to go back to all that uncertainty when I could never really call him mine. So I played it cool and kept walking. 

Later, I found myself thinking about why we do this -- why it's so easy to crave and relapse into the feelings we had. And that's when I broke it down to the following: 
  • Romanticizing the Past: It's kind of like the "hindsight is 20/20" argument. We see things a lot clearer after the fact. That is, we create a happy ending for something that is so-so. Why? Maybe it's a protective thing... But it allows us to take a picture and remember things the way we want to but not necessarily how they were.
  • Current Love Life Status: Are we single? Is the current guy missing a certain quality? Are the sparks just so-so? It's easy to fall back to the last time things were good and use them as a yard stick for any future guys. (Man, I'm notorious for this one)
  • Milestone Relationship: Was the one you're trying to get over a first of some sort? First long-term, first love? Those are usually the hardest to see die. 
Of all the relationships I've had thus far (or ones you can consider as such), Charles is the only one I learn to deal with everyday. Not wanting him, but instead it's the aftermath of it all. 

In any event, whether it's one of these or a mix of all three, I realized that when feelings run deep, it's not worth running away from. Instead, only by understanding them can you move on. At least, that's what I'm doing... In the process, I'm also remembering to clear a little room in the clutter of my heart for the man that deserves it... As soon as I'm ready. 

Photo Credit: Philippe Leridon/PhotoXpress

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