I Cannot Get Over My Ex

Source: Orin Zebest
Source: Orin Zebest

Carmen was a young woman in her twenties who came to see me two weeks before her wedding day. She had no time to lose so she quickly stated her problem: she couldn’t get over her ex. Even though she had broken up with this former boyfriend and had completely let go of that past relationship, and was about to marry the man of her dreams… she had become obsessed with her ex-boyfriend.

She had tried to forget her ex-boyfriend but couldn’t. Among the complicating factors was that this ex-boyfriend was a good friend of the family and as such he was invited to the wedding.

The closer Carmen got to the wedding day, the more obsessed she had become. She felt terribly guilty and blamed herself for the persistent thoughts swimming around her head.

After listening to her story, I told Carmen that I agreed with her: she should feel guilty. I suggested that a good way to resolve her problem would be a good punishment. I argued that she deserved it because she still was thinking about her one man when she was about to get married to another.

She firmly believed in the power of rituals and was certain that a proper punishment rite would resolve her problem. She said that she was willing to do anything.

This was the ritual I asked Carmen to perform:

“You must wear a very dark homely dress for seven days. You should avoid applying any make up nor taking a shower during these seven days. On the seventh day, not a day before and not a day after, you will take an apple with you and go to a cemetery. You must bury the apple under a tree and return home. You will then throw out the dark outfit and have a good cleansing shower.”

Eleven days passed. With only three days left to go before her wedding, Carmen called me. She said that she had followed the ritual I had outlined completely. During the seven day ritual people had kept asking her, why she wasn’t wearing any make up and why she had on such a dark dress. She had brush them off with some excuse.

On the seventh day, she had buried the apple and felt relieved. Two months later, I talked to her over the phone. Even though, her ex had been present at the wedding she was indifferent toward him. She had managed to let go of that past relationship and start a new life with her husband. She sounded very happy, just as you’d expect a new bride to be.