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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I think I'm really curious about (this ENFP) being hung up on someone else. Is this common with ENFPs? Believe it or not I've had this response from many different woman I've asked out. They just can't seem to move on from past relationships.
Nearly every ENFP who responded to that thread had suffered a hang-up!

I think it has to do with our Ne-Fi relationship. Our Fi is regulated by our Ne, so if we fall for someone, we are usually convinced that falling in love was a good idea in the first place. We've already prodded the situation's potential, tested the litmus of limerence, and decided that This Love is Real and Worth Committing To. Our Fi goes into free-fall. Te often enters the scene too late to assess the situation without being subject to the bias of the Fi, and our Si is useless; it's probably already slavishly committed to wedding theme colors, baking cupcakes, and learning how to sing.

If we are lucky, the person we fell in love with was A Good Idea. If we are unlucky, we eventually go through the Traumatic Breakup. The Breakup, which contradicts our Ne-Fi expectations, is something which many of us struggle to comprehend. Like I said, our Te is already subject to our Fi bias, and so we continue to Feel Feelings for this person despite having no reasonable reason to do so.

Here's when the hang-up happens. Because our Fi is regulated by our Ne, we have to understand where we went wrong before we can turn off the feelings. Which means we have to rewind the history of the relationship, examine the evidence with a fine-tooth comb, rehash all the particulars, reconcile all the possibilities, and know exactly why and how the relationship soured. How did this happen? What did we miss? Why Can't It Work Out?

But our Fi is so scary and inchoate that we often don't go there. Or if we do, our Te is so biased by the Fi that it can't make sense of the truth and we end up Neing ourselves in circles, making doughnuts on our brains. Then, we call ourselves intractable soul mates with that person, read Jane Austen's Persuasion, and sing the Dido song.

But really, this is not healthy. If we are stuck in the fantasy of our past, we can't actually see the opportunities for love and connection which are right in front of us! Opportunities which might actually help us make the most of our unique and beautiful potential!

The ghost of our ex-lover haunts our thoughts, our dreams, our very existence with its destructive force--we become sad and quiet, push away fascinating suitors, despair of happiness. And, often, we feel unable to make it stop--we've tried to forget, we've tried to expunge, we've even taken a surgical scalpel and scratched out our own hearts, to no avail: it grew back with greater vengeance.

Here are some things that helped me overcome the endless spiral of grief:


1) Drop the Torch. Of course I still love him. I love everybody. But I have reconciled myself to the truth, which landed resoundingly against the soundness of us ever rekindling our relationship, and freed myself to fall in love More Successfully.

The feelings will likely persist until we can get some proper feeling-cide treatment...

2) Ne it. Instead of trying to avoid that painful topic of thoughtful exploration, I finally let my Ne go wild with it, explore every particular, track down all the possibilities, consider the relationship from a fractal of perspectives. It helped me open myself up to the possibility of having been wrong--consider several theories of Why Things Didn't Work Out.

3) Consult the local Ni. Fresh eyes, I told myself. INFJs or INTJs are able to Ni-pinpoint the reality of the situation--the problematic reality, not the romantic fantasy--to ENFPs in a way that makes sense--and with startling ease. Over and over, they were telling me the same thing--this was the problem, and it was a Deal Breaker. I didn't want to believe it, but I listened with my Ne and allowed their "theory" to carry some weight. (If you consult an INTJ, you are extra brave because, while extra accurate according to their Te, their truth-telling won't be tamed by the civility of the F.)

4) Allow Te to inform Ne and Fi. It doesn't mean Te wins. Merely that the Ne and Fi will be better informed without bias to the emotional interests of the case. For me, this was a painful experience--it put me square into the grip of my inferior functions for at least a day--because it was so traumatizing to admit to myself that my Ne had been wrong in the first place. But the pain passes and, rather than the Ne losing its credibility, I found that it gained deeper and more meaningful perspective.

Honestly, I don't believe that love is ever wasted--not when love is true and sincere--but I think we can waste a great deal of time on fantasy love. Sometimes True Love--being committed to someone's greater good--means that we have to let them go and move on. That sort of love is ultimately stronger and more real than endless White Flagging.

Of course, then, perhaps the relationship Really Was Meant To Be. But, if so, it begs the question: why didn't it work out?
 

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Oh Gosh I could kiss you right now!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
So I thought I should update my advice with the realization that Feeling-cide is not only impossible, but it is also a bad idea:


While I know they get a great deal of flack from Rationalists, certain Emotional Realities seem to be immutable. Trying to defy them would be as senseless and as futile as denying evolution or climate change. You can do it, certainly, but then you would restrict yourself to a bubble existence, in which certain realities must be avoided/feared.

I think the honest truth is that there is no "cure" for an emotional hang up/heartbreak. It's just an inevitable bit of pain that occurs in someone's life as naturally as childbirth or knee scrapes in the childhood.

Oh well. Pain can be fun.

EDIT: I also wanted to clarify that I still think it is possible (and, moreover, recommended) to move on from a dead horse. However, moving on does not necessarily imply the fading of feelings. They say time heals a great many things, but, at least in my case, the pain of separation hasn't diminished one jot.

I fought really hard to make it work--really, I have no regrets on that head because I did everything possible short of compromising my integrity. He decided against me, however, and that was that.

I have found beautiful and nourishing love elsewhere, and have been happily married for nearly a decade, a few kids, and my husband is--hands down--the Greatest Thing that has Ever Happened to me. He just doesn't replace the other one.

The persistent nature of the pain is a bit like losing a beloved child (in pregnancy for instance). Having another child doesn't mitigate or replace the first loss--doesn't diminish the ache and anguish of being separated. Obviously, you can have more than one child, but not more than one lover (hopefully!); nonetheless, having experienced both sorts of heartaches, I find the grief to be similar.
 

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profound. extinguish the torch but the cinders will always crackle and bear semblance of light.
 
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