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Why Can't I Get Over My Ex? 10 Reasons Why You're Still Hung Up

Jorge's relationship advice is based on experience and observation. Let his trial and error be your success (hopefully).

Here are some reasons why you may be struggling to get over a breakup.

Here are some reasons why you may be struggling to get over a breakup.

Why Can't I Move On From My Ex?

So, it's been a while. You broke up long enough ago that you'd think by now you would be over your ex, but you're just not. That's the nature of the human heart, you could say. It does what it wants, even against your will.

What does it mean that you're not over your ex, though? Does it mean that you're still in love with them and should, therefore, do everything you can to get back together?

Well, no. Not necessarily. Life is not a romantic comedy. Usually, when a relationship is over, it should stay over (unless something radically changes to make the circumstances different).

If you're not over your ex, it probably has less to do with love and more to do with your own internal issues. Not being "over" your ex is simply another way of saying that deep inside, you have not yet accepted the breakup.

Believe it or not, it is possible to love your ex-partner and still accept that you're not together anymore. In fact, one could argue that part of love is being able to let go.

So if the reason you're still thinking about your ex isn't necessarily that you're still in love, why can't you get over them?

"Not being 'over' your ex is simply another way of saying that deep inside, you have not yet accepted the breakup."

10 Reasons Why You Can't Move On

  1. Not Enough Time Has Passed
  2. You Feel Like You'll Never Find Somebody Else
  3. A Part of You Still Thinks It's Not Over
  4. Your Environment Reminds You Too Much of Your Ex
  5. Your Ex Was a Big Part of Your Life
  6. You Put Up Emotional Walls
  7. You Ex Continues to Contact You
  8. You Keep in Touch With Your Ex
  9. You Still Blame Them or Feel Guilty
  10. You're Idealizing Your Ex and the Relationship
Are you having trouble getting over your ex? Give it some time.

Are you having trouble getting over your ex? Give it some time.

1. Not Enough Time Has Passed

The simplest reason is that not enough time has passed since you broke up. You may think that there has been "plenty of time" for your heart to heal, but this isn't always the case. You may need more time than you think, especially if the relationship lasted for a long time.

After all, there are lots of patterns and habits that we develop in relationships. When we let these go and are suddenly thrust into a different situation, it can be hard to adjust. It's almost like losing a part of ourselves.

Now, if it's been a very long time—like years—and you're still not over your ex, then probably something else is troubling you.

2. You Feel Like You'll Never Find Somebody Else

A common sentiment of people who left a relationship against their will is that they will "never find someone" like their partner. In a sense, this is true. Your partner (just like you and everyone else on the planet) is a unique human being, and of course, there's no one else who is quite like that person.

However, this doesn't mean that you can't find someone who is equally compatible—or even more compatible—with you. After all, if your ex was really that perfect for you, you wouldn't have broken up! Even if they had stayed with you out of a sense of duty or something, a one-sided relationship is not perfect or ideal.

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There's a deeper problem here, though. If you feel that you won't be able to find another person, and this is why you can't get over your past relationship, then the issue is less about how great your partner was and more about your own internal neediness.

Why do you need another person? Why do you need a partner to be happy?

If being alone is really that terrifying of an issue for you, then there are probably some self-worth issues that you need to address first. Try being single for a while to work those out. Perhaps talk to a friend or even consider seeing a therapist about these issues.

You won't be attractive to the right people when you're in a state of neediness, anyway, so avoid trying to ease the pain with someone new. Once you're okay with being alone, you'll probably be surprised to find the right people coming out of the woodwork for you.

Do you feel like it's useless to look for love again? Have you resigned yourself to playing sad love songs on the piano?

Do you feel like it's useless to look for love again? Have you resigned yourself to playing sad love songs on the piano?

3. A Small Part of You Still Thinks It Isn't Over

At the end of the day, when we can't "let go," what that really means is that a small part of our identity is still caught up in the old patterns.

You have not become a "single person" yet. You are caught in this gray area between letting go of a relationship and wishing that you still had one. This is a very unpleasant spot to be in, and it's also very futile. From this position, you can't really expect to attract someone new, since you're in a state of ambivalence.

Examine yourself for those small hopes and beliefs that you and your ex will get back together. If you know in your rational mind that this isn't going to happen, then make it a point to watch those thoughts when they come up, thoughts you may have not even noticed. From there, you can slowly let them go. Remind yourself that it's over and that you need to move on.

Even if you and your ex do get back together someday, it's much better to come into the relationship again with few expectations than full of hope that you can reclaim what you lost. After all, even if it's with the same person, it's a new relationship. Both of you probably will have changed by the time you get back together.

4. Your Environment Reminds You Too Much of Your Ex

Sometimes, you really do need to wipe the slate clean and start over to be able to let go of your ex. This is especially true if your lives were very intertwined. After all, every little thing that reminds you of your ex is going to re-trigger patterns and thoughts that you associate with them.

You might consider moving to another town, switching to a different social circle, or taking up different hobbies. This would be a good time to exercise that new freedom that you get from being single. Certainly, throw out stuff that makes you think of them if it tortures you to see it.

And if you're still living or working with your ex, then obviously there's your answer right there: You're not over them because you keep seeing them every day. Move, or start making plans to get away from them, at least until you're over them.

5. Your Ex Played Many Important Roles in Your Life

Are you the kind of person who worked well together with your ex? Did you each have roles, and were there things that your ex just took care of for you that now you find yourself having to handle on your own?

In cases like these, you might not be over your ex simply because their presence was an integral part of the practical side of your life! If you suspect that this might be it, take a step back and think about things. Your ex may have been useful, but that doesn't mean you should be together.

Of course, the void that they leave in your life when they abandon these roles can serve to remind you again and again of the breakup. If that's the case, try to find a way to fill those roles. If your ex would always change your car's oil, for example, schedule regular maintenance for your vehicle so that you don't have to think about it. If your ex always cooked for you and you can't stand to do it for yourself without thinking about what used to be, switch to convenience foods for awhile.

You're probably not going to completely fill every role they played in your life, but you can help yourself out by making things a bit easier. Don't try to pick up all of the slack at once, or unconsciously search for a new partner that can replace them.

Keeping others at bay probably won't help you heal in the long run.

Keeping others at bay probably won't help you heal in the long run.

6. You Are Hiding Behind Walls

One of the things that can depress a person the most is a lack of deep relationships with other human beings. In our culture, unfortunately, we are encouraged to concentrate all of that love on one person (our romantic partner), and we tend to forget that we can have deep, loving connections with friends and even sometimes strangers.

Of course, none of this is possible if you're not willing to be vulnerable and open with people. Lots of people subconsciously feel that they can only be their true selves with their partner and that if they lose that person, then they are simply left completely alienated with no emotional intimacy in their lives.

This sudden lack of emotional intimacy can leave you unable to get over your ex because they were simply a source of this important energy in your life. You may even find yourself scrambling to find somebody else because you crave that close connection.

The best way to address this is to simply realize that things don't have to be that way. You can have intimate connections with friends, family—anybody, really—and it doesn't have to be in the context of a romantic relationship.

Obviously, the deeper issue here is an inability to be fully yourself with everyone around you. This is what leads to that sense of emotional lack, like you don't have someone to be completely authentic with.

It's difficult—probably one of the most difficult changes that a person can go through—but the ultimate solution to this is to become the kind of person who can lower his or her walls and become authentic with anyone, even a stranger.

You'll be surprised the kind of love and trust that flows your way from other people the moment they realize that you're not afraid to be exactly who you are, 100% of the time.

Besides, it'll make it way easier to attract a new partner who is actually compatible with the real you.

Does your ex keep contacting you, even though you're having a hard time healing from the breakup? Let them know you need some time alone.

Does your ex keep contacting you, even though you're having a hard time healing from the breakup? Let them know you need some time alone.

7. Your Ex Keeps Contacting You

If you keep seeing your ex and hearing from them, then that might be what's keeping you from letting go. As I already mentioned, you will need to forge your own, new paths, and that usually requires not seeing your ex for a while.

Go no contact (unless of course, you have pets or children in common), or try to limit your contact as much as possible. If there's really no reason your ex should be calling or texting you, then make the boundaries clear. There's no reason to be nasty about it, but you can calmly and lovingly explain that you're still hurt and that you will need some time to heal—alone.

8. You Keep in Touch With Your Ex

On the flip side, you might still be the one in communication with your ex because of some of the reasons mentioned above, making it even harder to move on. If you still talk or text regularly and if you still follow them on social media, you are only making it harder on yourself. As painful as it may be for you, you have to cut those ties and give yourself time to heal.

9. You Feel Guilty or You Blame Them

Depending on how the breakup went down, you may blame your ex for ending the relationship, and you hold on to those negative feelings. You hold your ex as the guilty party for treating you poorly, and because you feel wronged, you hold onto these feelings well after your relationship ended. These feelings keep you from moving on with your life; they only hold you back.

On the other side, you may feel guilty for ending things, perhaps now looking back on it you realized that you ended things too quickly or that you did not give them a chance to turn things around. So, you feel guilty and start to romanticize the relationship more than you should, which leads to a host of other issues.

10. You're Idealizing Your Ex and the Relationship

Since you're no longer in a relationship, you may look back on your time together and think that it was not so bad. Instead of remembering why things did not work out, you cling to the good memories and let them warp your mind. If you keep doing this long enough, you'll have this idealized version of how things really went down in your head, which will prevent you from moving on to anyone else because you're still carrying all this baggage from the past.

How Do I Let Go of an Ex?

Getting over a breakup is easier said than done, I know, but here are some tips that you can use to help get over things:

  • Understand the reasons why you're no longer together: Think about what caused the breakup and why it happened. Remember that things went wrong, and the relationship had to end. Coming to terms with how the situation unfolded is important for moving on. You probably realized that things were not going well before the breakup, so naturally, things had to end. Understand that both of you are better of that it's over.
  • Start loving yourself more: It's natural to feel bad and have low self-esteem after a breakup, but it's also important to start loving yourself. Just because things did not work out, it does not mean you are not capable of loving someone or being loved. Forgive yourself for what happened in the relationship and give yourself a chance to love yourself.
  • Think about the positive aspects of your ex and look for someone similar: Think about what made you want to start dating your ex in the first place. What was it about how they looked and what was it about their personality that attracted you in the first place. Use these aspects as a guide when you're out there meeting other people, and when you're ready, try dating someone who has similar qualities.

It'll Be Okay

Breaking up can suck. Your brain is practically wired to resist it and to mourn the loss of a relationship.

But you know what? You are something greater than your relationship (and so is your ex). Sometimes, to be able to move on and grow as human beings, we have to let go of the things that don't serve us anymore—and that includes romantic relationships.

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: How do I get over being scared about the future and any future relationship? I feel petrified.

Answer: It's a common human trait to be afraid of the unknown. The future is a blank map to you now, and that can be terrifying if you're used to the stability and predictability of your past relationship.

There is no easy answer to this. The only thing I can say is this: Remember that there's a reason why your relationship ended. Even if you can't see it right now, the core reason was probably that you and your partner were growing and changing, and eventually you became a bad match for each other.

That's the REAL reason most people break up, underneath all the superficial reasons.

And this means that life itself is calling you to grow and change and become a newer, improved version of yourself. If it wasn't, your relationship would have stayed the same. Changing requires going out of your comfort zone, though.

Trying to cling to how things used to be will make it harder for you to attract a new partner who matches the person you are becoming. That's ultimately what all of us are afraid of: we are afraid of who we are becoming because it is something new and scary and it requires letting go of the past.

So that's the answer basically: To stop being afraid of the future, you have to let go of the past. You have to embrace the blankness and emptiness of the unknown. It's okay if you don't have a plan. Just let go of the past because it no longer matches who you are, and new things that match you better will start to come into your life.

And one of those new things may very well be a new relationship. It's okay to be scared, but just know that if you honor who you truly are, things will work out, sometimes in unexpected ways.

© 2018 Jorge Vamos

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