Why Can't I Get Over My Ex? 7 Reasons Why You Might Still Be Hung up on Your Ex-Partner

Updated on May 2, 2018
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After seeing many friends (or himself) seduced by love, only to crash and burn afterwards, Jorge writes advice based on his observations.

Are you having trouble getting over your ex?
Are you having trouble getting over your ex?

Why Can't You Get Over Your Ex?

So, it's been awhile. 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 break-up.

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?

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.

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 sense of lack.

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 awhile 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 some day, 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

Finally, 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 awhile.

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.

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.

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Why You Can't Get Over Your Ex

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Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jorge Vamos

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      • dashingscorpio profile image

        dashingscorpio 2 weeks ago

        "..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 break-up." - Amen! I couldn't have said it better!

        The top reason why people can't get over their ex is because they really don't want to! You have to "let go" in order to "move on".

        As long as someone holds out hope for a future reconciliation they will never be over their ex. Other issues involve their (ex) being their "first" real love or relationship. Clearly no one is going to forget the first time they feel in love, had sex, or just about any other "firsts" in their life.

        However with wisdom and maturity oftentimes when we look back our "first" is rarely ever our "best". One puts things in perspective.

        In order for your (ex) to have been "the one" he/she would have had to see (you) as being "the one". At the very least a "soulmate" is someone who actually wants to be with you! (And vice versa).

        Last but not least recalling "milestone moments" which occurred while you were together can make it tough for some to let go of their ex. Examples might include the loss of a mother or other loved one and their mate was there to help them get through it or vice versa.

        Major hardships and personal tragedies which took place throughout a relationship can cement the bond one feels similar to having gone into battle and being in the trenches together.

        Shared pain is hard to forget.

        It can make one believe all future relationships will be superficial by comparison. After all your mother/father or whomever dies only once. Whether it's "shared pain" or "times of joy" it's (choosing) to have a selective memory rather than focusing on the "deal breaker" that led to the breakup.

        There are three basic reasons why couples split:

        1. They chose the wrong mate. (They're too incompatible.)

        2. A "deal breaker" was committed in the eyes of another.

        3. They fell out of love/stopped wanting the same things.

        In a world with over 7 Billion people rejection just means: NEXT!

        "Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

        - Oscar Wilde

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