Why Can’t I Forget my Ex Wife?

why can't i forget my ex wifeAfter divorce many men have the same recurring thought – “Why can’t I forget my ex wife?”Whether the thoughts of your ex wife are good, bad, or mixed; the shadow of your former lover, friend and partner can stay with a man for a long time haunting him well beyond what seems reasonable. While some guy can flick a switch in their minds and forget their ex wife, I have found most men do not have this ability and are a lot more affected by recurring memories and dreams that can really derail their post divorce recovery plans.

While memories are not inherently bad things, intense memories that seem to hit you when you are feeling vulnerable are a problem. When I talk about forgetting your ex wife I just want to clarify that I do not mean literally forget them. No part of your life should be forgotten as we only learn from the mistakes we make, and the successes we have. Your marriage no matter how good or bad or mixed up needs to be remembered, it is HOW we remember these things and having control of those memories that is the important thing.

So why can’t you forget your ex wife then?

Well let’s look first at how the brain works when it comes to memory because this is not common knowledge, and even the experts are not entirely sure as the brain is a very complex organ. This explanation is simply my personal opinion after researching this a little so it might not be 100% accurate but it seems to work for me 🙂

The brain has short term, and long term storage mechanisms that allow us to remember events, senses, information and everything around us. However not all information that comes into our short term memory gets stored in long term memory. We remember some things clear as day, while are hazy on others, and can completely forget many details in life too. The weird thing is how certain memories stick while others do not and while there is no explanation for some, we can defiantly see that some memories stick because of their significance, or intensity.

There are some biochemical reactions that occur at these stages that tell the body that these memories are significant be it adrenaline during a big fight or dopamine when we are happy and in love. The second part of embedding these memories comes down to repetition. The more we think about something, the stronger it becomes. The more we do something, the easier it is to remember how to do it and the stronger that sort of memory becomes.

Someone explained it as a metaphor to me once. Imagine a memory as a path someone has walked through in long grass, you can see the path but not strongly the first time you walk through it. As you continue to walk through the field over and over though, the grass bends and the path gets more defined until it becomes very hard for this path to be overgrown anymore. The other interesting thing is that because this “path” (to keep with the same metaphor) becomes so well defined, it also becomes a default path – or way of thinking.

So continued remembrance of intense memories will mean they are easily accessible, strong in your mind, and difficult to get rid of! This is why you cannot forget your ex wife, these painful memories are deeply ingrained in your brain and can spring forth very easily to overwhelm you.

This is getting a little long; I will follow up with another post about ways you can fight against these painful ex wife memories so you can move on from divorce much easier.


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2 Responses

  1. cooneygirl says:

    hello – i don’t think it is a bad thing to not forget your ex. maybe it was a wrong thing to begin with to divorce. god hates divorce and i believe forgiveness needs to take place before even trying to forget – this latter is a dangerous sign. because there is guilt and maybe accountability that needs to be taken care of first, then, the forgetfulness happens. we were created by GOD to be one soul with our wifes and husbands. when a breakup occurs this is truly a horrible thing but it does happen and where i live, if you just disagree with your spouse, you can get a divorce! i live in california where there are no laws that say you have to have a reason. the problems will continue down the line…divorce after divorce if forgiveness does not take place. i know, i have been divorced from my husband because of adultery and it has been a long journey. some 15 years. i am remarried now but i do still remember my ex-husband. each time he comes to mind i ask God to forgive him and to forgive me for whatever i did to make him decide to leave me for another woman. it was his choice…thanks for your blog…hope i didn’t but a damper on it. cooneygirl- so calif. 2012

  2. Larry Milton says:

    Not a damper at all Cooneygirl!

    Forgiveness is the keystone of true recovery from divorce. You have found yours through religion, other can find it through other means – but in the end the psychological, or spirital aspect of being able to forgive your ex and yourself is the end point wheer you know you have recovered and re able to move on with a heart filled with love and hope again. 🙂

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