You compare every new girl you meet to her, and if you like a girl, it's probably because some part of her, physically, emotionally, whatever, reminds you of who I'll contradictorily refer to as “The One.”
Maybe you met her in high school. Maybe junior year of college. Maybe she was the friend of a friend of a friend. But ever since she broke your heart, somewhere in the back of your head, what you want in a girl is partly defined by her.
It's time to man up, grow up, and move on.
She's Not The One
The first and most crucial thing you need to understand is that you won't be able to maintain a healthy relationship with that new girl you're dating or eyeing until you get over The One.
This new girl is smart and funny, and had you met her before this girl that messed you up so badly, she probably would have been everything you ever wanted. And she is still with you, which has major advantages over that girl you're still languishing over.
The hardest part is that you know all of this. You've known forever The One is no good for you, even if you could get her back. In a subconscious situation like this rationality has nothing to do with it, and so, has everything to do with fixing it.
Love Vs Attached
The first step to moving on is realizing you don't love her. You don't. Maybe you never have. You are attached to her, and this is very different, and you need to learn to distinguish the two. Love is something that doesn't come around very often, and most likely since you're not together anymore, the two of you weren't in love. Love is kind, generous, and giving. It is selfless and understanding. Expressive and prioritized. When have you witnessed a relationship that had these qualities AND was plagued by drama?
On the other hand it is easy to become attached to someone. A relationship with a lot of fights or drama that is intermixed by some good times can create a very deep attachment for someone that can last a lifetime, long after going separate ways. Jealousy, frustration, and unrequited attention are powerful feelings that can create an unjustified sense of depth or importance to a relationship; when in reality these should be signs of a deal breaker.
Any time you've heard someone talk about having “a lot of history” with someone all that means is there was a lot of ups and downs in the relationship. Often times this is used with a positive connotation, somehow implying that because essentially they had a horrible relationship with someone, that they would make up without breaking up, that they have a deep connection with each other. Usually these relationships have been mired by cheating, physically or emotionally, or one person being more into it than the other.
One of the strongest emotions is that felt after recovering from an oncoming break up. A rush of positivity, relief, and accomplishment skew the unfortunate reality into a feeling of potential. It is no wonder that the lack of this “excitement” in your new relationships feels like a lack of passion. When really, it is a lack of turbulence. This is a good thing. This is also why many people continue to get back together with someone after fighting or breaking up several times. With the absence of love, the strongest emotion that exists within these types of relationships is this false rush of positivity.
A relationship like this can trigger strong emotions in someone, and it's easy to see how these can be confused for love or adoration. However having “a lot of history” with a girl is never a justification for not breaking up with her or wanting to get back with her. And this especially should never be used as a crutch for not being able to move on.
An attachment like this is hard to overcome, but understanding that it's based on negative emotions is important so that you can bounce back.
Ignore Her Calls
It should go without saying that if you're really ready to move past this hard time in your life you shouldn't still be talking to The One. While people always try to do the “we're still friends” crap, you're not and you never will be. She will always be your ex-girlfriend. She will always be that girl that hurt you. Even if years down the road you are able to chat or hang out occasionally she will never just be fulfilling the role of “friend.”
If you do still talk to her, it needs to stop immediately. There's nothing like reliving the horrible relationship over and over every time you or her drunk dials each other, or every time she writes on your Wall. Stop taking her calls. Remove her from your friends on Facebook. Take her off your chat lists. You have to fully remove her from your life. Tell her you're going to do it if you want, just do it and stick to it.
So You Like Girls with Freckles…
If you find that you're mostly attracted to girls who share some physical trait with The One, the only way to overpower your subconscious is to just acknowledge it. So you like brunettes with blonde highlights. Tall redheads? Casual girls who love to wear hoodies? Whatever it is just go with it. Who cares, so you're the guy who likes emo girls. I promise you, the girl you finally end up with will probably be the last thing you were expecting in terms of what she looks like, but the only way to remove the blinders The One installed on you is to first acknowledge they're there.
She was important in your life and your development and there is no shame in the fact that you're still attracted to her physically. Now move on.
Getting over a girl who was your first for anything or who really hurt you is a process that takes time, and there is no reason to jump back in full force until you're ready. But if it's been a few years it may be time to take another look. There are a lot of special girls out there that actually deserve all this pining, you just have to let go and find them.