A freelance writer for many years, I like to explore and question everything. Especially the fascinating realm of human relationships.
When you are drifting off to sleep, whose face do you picture? When you wake in the night whose voice is whispering in your ear? Whose caress do you long for? You might think you are over your ex, but when you find your thoughts wandering through the sweet field of memories, who is it who dominates them? Is it possible you still love your ex?
1. You Check His Social Media Feeds
You try not to do it, but you can’t help yourself. And anyway, he shouldn’t have given you his password. It breaks your heart to see he’s changed his Facebook status to single.
2. You Cannot Delete His Photos
You’ve pretended to delete them, of course, but you’ve transferred them to that teeny, tiny pen drive your niece gave you for Christmas, and stashed in your memento box under the bed. Every now and then, out it comes and you sorrowfully scroll through the hundreds of images that document your relationship.
3. When You Hear His Name..
Your heart leaps. Doesn't matter if it’s someone else with the same name, it’s just the sound of ‘his name’. It has resonance within your soul. You take every opportunity to mention him to your friends just so you can say his name. Watch out for the eye-rolling.
4. Comparisons Don’t Cut It
You might have begun dating again, but you find yourself constantly comparing your new beau to your ex. And they just don’t match up. Not only that, you feel as though you are being unfaithful. So you dump them.
5. You Talk To Him
You have imaginary conversations with him in your head. You plan what you would say to him if you ever met. You imagine how he would advise you in certain situations. You pretend that he is standing up for you any time you are involved in a conflict. Every time you make a decision, you wonder if he would approve.
6. You Buy Him Gifts
Not really, but when you see a nice jacket or well-cut pair of jeans, you think how well they would suit your ex. You also miss buying him those cute tokens of affection that made you both laugh.
7. You Can Only See a Future With Him In It
No matter how hard you try, you just can’t envisage a future without your ex in it. Home, family, children… even a puppy. You can see them all, yet he’s the one in the background sharing it all with you.
8. Other Couples Make You So Jealous
Seeing other people in love, holding hands, smooching in the dark is enough to send your emotions into a tailspin. It should be you. In his arms.
9. You Smell Him
If you are in a mall and someone passes nearby wearing the same cologne as your ex, your heart jumps out of your chest. You consider buying yourself a bottle in order to bring back the good times. You’ll hide it somewhere safe, of course.
10. Your Journal is Only About Him
When you journal you are writing about him. Whether you name him or not, all your feelings are filtered through your ex’s perspective. As you write, it’s as if he is guiding your pen. You’ve even written a poem about your love for him.
So, You’ve Worked Out You Are Still In Love With Your Ex
What Are You Going To Do About It?
You have three options:
- Carry on as you are, pining and missing him.
- Make an attempt to reunite with him.
- Let him go.
Option one is self-explanatory. If you are happy in your love-lorn misery, there’s nothing anyone can say to make you change your mind. So carry on.
Option two requires a proactive response from you. If he is available, you make contact and you ask to meet him for a discussion. If he agrees to meet, you have to have an agenda mapped out in your head. What sort of approach do you think he would prefer? For you to come right out and tell him you miss him and ask if he would like to give it another try? Most men we know say they’d prefer it that way because, so often, they feel they are expected to read our minds. Men are simple creatures; they need it spelled out for them so they know where they stand.
Option three is when you have no other choice. You are sick of wasting your life moping after a relationship that will never work. Or he’s already moved on and met someone new.
How To Let Your Ex Go
- Acknowledge that you feel what you feel and that’s okay. Of course you miss him. Of course you are in pain. You love him and he’s gone. It feels like death. Simply allow yourself to experience the feelings. Don’t try to force them down. Have a good cry or three.
- Seek out the company of people who love and understand you. Be with your friends. Chat with your mom. Go out for lunch with your favorite coworker. Being with other people will temporarily make you feel better.
- Pack up his gifts, and anything else which is a direct reminder of him. That includes the pen drive with the photos. You probably can’t bear to trash them, so give them to a friend to look after. One day, she’ll ask you if you want it all back and you might surprise yourself by saying no.
- Know that your happiness does not depend on being with him. It really doesn’t. Happiness can sneak up on you, so don’t push it away when it does. Let yourself enjoy those moments of joy. Gradually they will happen more frequently.
- Be present in the now. If you are constantly thinking of your ex it means you are living in the past. So do a little research on mindfulness. Read Elkhart Tolle’s book, “The Power of Now”. It could change your life for the better in many ways. He explains that our dependence upon a ‘special relationship’ is our ego’s way of feeling complete. You can be complete as an individual. You don’t need your ex to make you a whole person. Once you come to understand this, you become much more attractive to others, who, naturally, are looking for someone as together as you are to complete them. When you become whole, you become irresistible.
“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” ― Eckhart Tolle
See this as a chance to press the ‘reset’ button. You can start right here, right now. Your new life begins here.
Let him go.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: My ex and I split up, and now they live one state away. We talk and text everyday because of the bond we had. Being away from him is hard, and I just want our relationship back, but I don't know how he feels. When I ask him "are we done," he says, " I didn't say that" and that he still loves me. Can you help?
Answer: You have to agree to an honest conversation. No game-playing. Be two adults engaging in straight talk.
Question: Hi, I have an ex whom I still love and miss every day. It seems as if my world has stopped without her. I want her back but I fear talking to her what can I do?
Answer: You have two choices. You can carry on as you are, wondering if she will ever want to talk to you, or you can simply contact her and find out her reaction. At least you will have an answer. Be courageous.
Question: My ex broke up with me a few days ago but he has mixed emotions. He says he wants his space right now and for us to focus on ourselves. What does that mean? I still love him and want to be with him.
Answer: I'm very sorry to hear you broke up. When a man uses the phrase 'mixed emotions' it means he is trying to soften the message for you. Trying not to hurt you. It can be confusing because 'mixed emotions' makes it sound as though he is in in two minds about his words and actions.
Having said that, if he's asking for his space, then it could mean he feels overwhelmed or constricted by being in a relationship. Telling you to focus on yourself may indicate that he intends to do exactly that.
My advice to you is harsh, but it sometimes works. Make yourself unavailable to him. Don't contact him at all. Make sure you carry on living life to the full. Go out with your friends and try to be as happy as possible under the circumstances. You never know, you might find you are not so in love with him as you think you are right now.
Question: My ex and I broke up on friendly terms. What it came down to was differing opinions on sex before marriage - I want to wait, but to him, sex is an important part of a relationship. We're both in college, and neither one of us is ready to get married, so rather than compromise my religious beliefs, we decided to break up. I stand by that decision, but at the same time, I still love him so much. Do you think there's a chance for us later down the road?
Answer: I can't tell you that because I can't read his mind. Only you can know if the relationship has potential. Talk to him. Meanwhile, if sex is that important to him, he may well be tempted.
Question: I broke up with my ex five years ago. I have been in another relationship ever since, but still feel like I can only be happy with my ex. He already has a wife and a child. We used to communicate a lot, but he stopped talking to me. What do I do?
Answer: You have to decide to move on. Why are you wasting your life like this? It is completely untrue that you can only be happy with him. The power is in your own hands--no-one else can fix this for you.
Make a choice: move on and find some peace and happiness or stay miserable as you are.
Question: My ex-boyfriend texted me, saying he is sorry for letting me down. He said he still loves me but didn't say we should get back together. He is also in a new relationship. What should I do?
Answer: Ignore him. Block his number. Forget him. He is in the process of betraying his new partner. Is that the sort of guy you want?
Question: We broke up and agreed to be friends but he couldn't take it so he deleted my contact. Now four years after a relationship that lasted three years, I still see every moment we spent together. What should I do?
Answer: You should think about this. Why do you feel this way? Is it because you can't be with him? He's moved on and so should you. You are not the same people as you were four years ago. Why did you break up? Those reasons are still there.
Question: My ex and I broke up 6 months ago and we both got into other relationships. We still talk. I have a boyfriend, but I'm not happy. I recently found out my ex is not happy with his girlfriend. I'm heartbroken every time something reminds me of him. How should I handle this? How do I break up with my boyfriend?
Answer: Your first priority is to break up with your boyfriend. There's no point in a relationship if you are unhappy and constantly thinking of someone else. You simply tell him it's not working for you and you want to end it. No need to mention your ex.
Then you have to step back and wait. Your ex might decide to end his relationship. But you must be prepared that he might not. The other thing to remember is that the reasons why you two split up in the first place are stll there.
Question: My ex and I have had some breakups, and then I found out he is cheating. I was going to break up with him, but he did it first. He said that he still loves me and will always love me. The problem is that I also still love him, but I don't know if he is playing around with me or if it's true. I still love him and want to be with him, but I don't know if it's the best thing. What do you think?
Answer: If you don't know for sure, then you are not in love. The fact he did what you were already planning on doing is key. You were going to break up with him, which gave you the upper hand. Then he did it first, which suddenly gave him all the power. This is not about love. Move on. Then you get your power back.
Question: I dated a girl for a year in high school. We had a perfect relationship until it was time to go to college. I was accepted to a different university to hers. We broke up after five painful months because we couldn't handle the distance. Now I've got an opportunity to study at her university, but I'm wondering if it's still worth it or not because she seems happy now in her new life. I'm scared that she's over me. Can you help?
Answer: Why not email her and see what her reaction is? Only you and she can determine if it's a good move or not.
Question: I'm still in love with my ex, and he said he likes me back, but I made a promise to someone at my church I wouldn't date anyone for a while. But he's all I can think about and we go to church and school together. I want him back so bad. What should I do?
Answer: It depends on why you broke up. If you are over 18 and you are not hurting anyone else, then get back together.
If you have been forbidden to see him for whatever reason, then you should respect that promise you made. Maybe you are too young? Perhaps this person you made the promise to is concerned that you are neglecting your studies? I can promise you one thing: this boy won't be the last person you fall in love with. You have all the time in the world so set your priorities now.
Question: My ex and I broke up eighteen months ago after dating for six years, but I still love her and want to be with her. I haven’t talked to her in over a year, and we didn’t end on the best terms. What should I do?
Answer: Write her a letter. A proper old-fashioned, honest letter. Make sure to include your contact details if they have changed.
Question: Four months ago I broke up with my ex. I moved on, and didn't see her for a while. But a month ago I started to have feelings for her again. A week ago she started dating one of my best friends. Since then I am convinced I want to spend my life with her. What should I do?
Answer: You can't do anything. You made the decision to break up with her and she has moved on, while you have not. Your feelings are based on the fact that you want what you cannot have. Let her go and get on with your life.
Richard Green from New Mexico on November 13, 2017:
Love this article.