Relationships do not always have a happy ending. Many break along the way. In these cases, it is normal to go through a period of mourning, which helps us say goodbye to that person and make the necessary changes in our lives that allow us to adapt to the new situation. However, there are people who cannot turn the page and remain stuck in the orbit of their ex-partner.
How do you know if you are orbiting someone?
The phenomenon of orbiting is the tendency to become attached to someone from our past, whether it is an ex-partner, a former friend, co-worker or any other person for whom we have stopped being significant. Orbiting does not simply mean maintaining contact sporadically, it goes much further:
• You stay up to date with everything that happens in that person’s life, whether by checking their social networks or talking to their friends or family.
• You continue to send messages or call him with a frequency that crosses the limits of the level of closeness established by your current relationship.
• You continue to care about that person beyond what you would expect after the breakup or estrangement.
• You nourish unrealistic illusions about the possibility of a reconciliation or rapprochement, wishing that things would go back to the way they were before even though the other person has not given clear signs of wanting to retrace their steps.
• You make decisions that affect your life as if you were still in a relationship with that person, taking into account their preferences or seeking their approval.
In many cases, the tendency to orbit around others materializes in the digital world, monitoring and interacting with their profiles. In other cases, especially when people maintain a bond because they have a child in common or work in the same place, the orbit extends to the physical world through face-to-face contacts.
The problem with orbiting is that you can end up planning your daily life or even your entire life around a person for whom you are no longer significant. As a result, your decisions and behaviors are no longer adaptive and, sooner rather than later, will harm you.
The 3 reasons for orbiting that prevent you from moving forward
1. Difficulty letting go
Breaking all ties with someone you still have feelings for can be very emotionally challenging. Letting a significant other out of your life can be terrifying, especially if you considered them as a source of support that gave you security and around which your life revolved.
If that breakup has taken you by surprise, you are more likely to end up in that person’s orbit as you cling to the bond so as not to lose the ground under your feet. The difficulty in accepting change, whether due to fear of the future or because you don’t know how to reorganize your life, is the main reason for orbiting.
2. Confirmation bias
We all have a tendency to focus on information that confirms our expectations and beliefs, it is a psychological phenomenon known as confirmation bias. In a relationship, if you still have feelings for the other person, it is understandable that you look for signs that tell you that they also have feelings for you.
If that person responds to your messages just to be nice, for example, you can assume that they really want to get back into the relationship. If he congratulates you on your birthday or is polite when you meet, you may think that he still loves you. Those small details become a reward that reinforces your hopes.
In this way, confirmation bias causes you to hold on to the belief that reconciliation is still possible. Illusions, most of the time completely unfounded, push you not to cut ties and stay in that person’s orbit waiting for what you want so much to happen.
3. Lack of closure
In other cases, the lack of closure is what leads to orbiting. In other words, not receiving a clear explanation about what has happened can make you cling to the illusion that everything will go back to the way it was before.
If the relationship has broken up abruptly, without talking about the problems and causes that led to the breakup, you may have the feeling that it was not a true end point but rather a break. Orbiting around your partner then becomes an attempt to find answers that will allow you to close that chapter of your life.
You may fall into a loop where you question the other’s intentions and wonder if they are still interested in getting back into the relationship. However, that confusion will do nothing but keep you emotionally stuck, preventing you from moving forward and finding proper closure.
The consequences of orbiting around someone who doesn’t want you in their life
It should be noted that although orbiting seems like an innocent action, it can actually lead you down toxic or directly harmful paths. If you stay on the periphery of the life of a person to whom you have stopped caring or in whom you no longer have a place, you will be putting your own life on pause.
Orbiting around someone can lead to obsession, affect your mental balance and generate deep emotional dissatisfaction. In fact, orbiting is a false emotional investment that makes you waste psychological energy uselessly.
Holding on to this false hope can hinder your personal growth and will delay your emotional healing. That’s why it’s important to start cutting ties, even slowly, so that you can let that person go. This way you can rebuild your life and make the decisions that are better for you.