Why You Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Ex — It’s Not About Love

There are plenty of reasons past romances keep finding their way into your head, but none of them have to do with any leftover feelings. Here are the real reasons why you can’t stop thinking about your ex.

You liked the person you were when you were dating him. Luckily for you, this has nothing to do with him. The common denominator here is you. You can always be that person again, whether it’s with a new man or on your own. Harnessing those qualities he brought out in you is the first step; replicating them is the second.

You were innocent. The adrenaline you feel even thinking of all the firsts you shared with him is only natural. These thoughts don’t find their way into your head because you miss your ex, but because you miss the innocence and newness. Getting older sometimes means losing the excitement that comes with doing things for the first time. That’s normal and has nothing to do with him.

You miss the friendship. Losing a boyfriend could mean you lose a friend in the process. Maybe you don’t really miss him, but miss the friendship you had. You can still be friends and not expect anything more.

You miss the romance. Romance is magical and makes you feel like you’re walking on cloud nine. It should come as no surprise that once a relationship is gone, it’s really the romance you want back, not the person.

You liked his personality. This doesn’t mean you were meant to be together forever, though. This just means that you have a type, and he fits that type. There are others like that, but you’ll never find them if you spend all of your energy thinking of your past.

You love the way he made you feel. You don’t love him — you just love the way it feels when someone adores you. Who doesn’t? Keep searching for that because it’s still out there, and thank him for letting you know that it’s possible for another person to make you feel so good.

You liked being in love. But the only person you have ever been in love with was him, so that’s the same thing, right? No. This doesn’t mean he’s your soulmate. This just means that you’re capable of love and that you’ll find love with someone else and have this feeling again — you just need to close the door on your ex for good first.

That time in your life was happy. When you think back on that time in your life, you smile. Maybe your family was around a lot, the music was better, you hung out with friends more often… you get the picture. Maybe it was a time when someone was alive that isn’t today. Either way, you have to ask yourself if it’s purely a coincidence that your ex was around then and whether he’s truly the reason for your nostalgia.

You haven’t found anyone else decent to date. Maybe you’ve joined dating apps or your friends have tried to set you up with a guy and it just… didn’t work out. They were all lackluster or outright weirdos and you just weren’t feeling it. It’s no wonder why you can’t stop thinking about your ex when no one else has caught your eye just yet.

He moved on before you. This is petty as hell but it’s all too real. When your ex starts dating other people or even gets into a new relationship before you do, it can be soul-destroying. It makes you feel like he never really loved you and starts that awful cycle of comparison. Is she prettier than you? Funnier? More intelligent? Why doesn’t he want you back instead? Girl, don’t even go there.

You worry you’re running out of time. If you’re in your late 20s or even your 30s, you sometimes find that you can’t stop thinking about your ex because you feel like you’re not getting any younger and he was your best (or perhaps your only, in your mind) shot at living The Dream. Obviously, it should go without saying that you’re lying to yourself here. There are plenty of other guys out there, any number of which would be way better for you than he was.

You’re the only single one in your friend group. Does anything suck more than when all of your friends are happily coupled up and you’re just there on your own, single and lonely? Definitely not. It leaves you feeling sorry for yourself and obsessing over your ex because even though the relationship was crappy, if you were still together, at least you wouldn’t be the third wheel.

You’re addicted to toxic relationships. This is tough to admit but if you can’t stop thinking about your ex despite the fact that he was obviously a loser, it could be because you thrive off drama and wouldn’t know what a healthy relationship looks like if it slapped you in the face. You won’t allow yourself to move on because doing so would mean breaking the habit you’re so used to partaking in. If you’re struggling in this way, it might be useful to seek professional help so you can truly move on to something less dysfunctional.

You’re bored. Life can’t be exciting all the time. Sometimes we just get bogged down in routine and things end up being pretty boring. It’s somewhat depressing. When you have nothing or no one else occupying your mind, sometimes you end up trying to fill the empty space in your head and heart by going over old relationships. You conveniently remind yourself of the good times while completely forgetting about the bad ones. Don’t do it to yourself.

How to stop thinking about your ex once and for all

Get busy. You’re obviously going to be hung up on the past when you’re not actively working on creating an amazing future. Laying around on the couch watching Netflix is fine sometimes, but if that’s all your out-of-office hours consist of, there’s a serious problem. It’s important to find constructive ways to fill your time, whether that’s taking a class, picking up a new hobby, or even volunteering. Anything that keeps you moving will keep your mind clear.

Leave the house. Again, sometimes you just need to get off your butt and get out in the world. Fresh air can do a load of good, as can going on a walk to stretch your legs and take in your surroundings. Incorporating movement is not just a good way to help your physical health but your mental and emotional well-being too. It will allow you to shift your perspective and get out of your head a bit, and we can all use that from time to time.

Get with your girls. When’s the last time you had a girls’ night? If you can’t even remember, it’s been too long. Call your best friends and get together. Maybe you check out a new restaurant in town or you go to the club to do some dancing. Whatever you decide to do together, just having that quality time to bond with your best friends will make you feel so much better and put you in a much healthier headspace.

Work on yourself. If you can’t stop thinking about your ex, maybe it’s because you’re not thinking about yourself. It’s time to focus on self-love and self-improvement. What do you want to achieve in life? What are some things you need to work on to be proud of yourself? There’s no better time than when you’re single to really start addressing your issues and living your best possible life. If you need the help of a therapist, hey, no shame in that!

Go on dates. When you’re finally in a good place and you’re over your ex, you can enjoy going on dates with other guys. You may not see them again and they may not lead to anything serious, but they can be fun, and that’s what dating is really all about. Ex who?

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