Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) is out today and apart from doing as Taylor Swift asks and not bothering any of her exes (even if they may have inspired some of the greatest heartbreak songs of all time), fans are looking back on their own past relationships and the feelings that Speak Now TV has brought back to the surface.
Taylor Swift is of course no stranger to being accused of being obsessed with her ex relationships, as if most artists don’t sing about love and past relationships but ANYWAY, the in-joke with fans that we’ve never gotten over anything, ever, in our lives did have me wondering if actually, do we have to forgive our exes? Or is a little resentment sometimes a healthy little treat?
So, should we forgive that ex?
Well, I spoke to relationship expert and psychotherapist Alex Limanowka to get to the bottom of why we sometimes feel we can’t move on and if forgiveness is always necessary.
She said that if we find ourselves constantly dwelling on the past and feeling a deep sense of betrayal, it indicates that we haven’t fully moved on. It’s completely normal to feel hurt, and it takes time for healing to occur.
Sometimes, even if we are aware of the situation, we still emotionally long for our ex and hope that the relationship can be rekindled.
She adds that this is a psychological mechanism where our brains associate rejection with an intensified desire for the person. During this phase, rejected lovers experience heightened levels of dopamine and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.
Finally, the unresolved nature of the relationship can make it tempting for partners to consider giving it another try. In essence, feeling hurt can hinder our ability to move on.
… So maybe it’s not always best to hold onto our grudges, even if they make for great art (and tipsy anecdotes)?
Limanowka says: “In my experience working with individuals going through breakups, this misconception about needing closure for forgiveness is prevalent. Many people believe that they cannot forgive without closure.
“While having closure, the opportunity to understand and process the reasons why a particular relationship didn’t work, can potentially expedite the healing and moving on process, it is not a prerequisite for forgiveness.”
She adds that she ‘firmly believes’ that forgiving our exes, despite the pain that they caused us, is essential for our personal growth and holding onto negative emotions towards them hinders our own ability to progress and move forward.
You could say that choosing to forgive your ex is… better than revenge. Sorry. I’ll see myself out.