Is Your Ex Holding You Back? 11 Signs You’re Still Hung Up On Him

There’s no doubt about it: Breakups are the worst. There’s nothing in the world quite like the pain that comes with the end of a relationship and no matter who did the dumping, it can take some time to get back on track; looking forward to your future, instead of lingering on your past.

For some of us, it can take a really long time to move past a relationship. Whether it’s because you just don’t want to move on or because you’re not making the effort to do so, you just might find that all those feelings are keeping you at a standstill not just in your personal life, but in every other corner of your life, too. Is that the case for you? Here are a 11 ways to tell.

  1. You can’t stop comparing new people you meet to your ex. Of all the signs that your feelings for you ex are holding you back, the constant comparing him to everyone else you meet is definitely on the top of the list. But the problem with comparing is that it gets you nowhere and forces you to miss out on what’s right in front of your face.
  2. You still let any news about your ex affect you. You find out your ex is dating someone, and your week is destroyed. You find out your ex lost his job, and you become fixated on where or not to call him and offer a shoulder to cry on – you just can’t shrug off any news about him that comes your way.
  3. You obsess about the “what if”s of your former relationship. We all love to ponder the “what ifs,” but at some point we need to realize just how much of a waste of energy it is. It’s when you obsess about it that you don’t leave room for much else and you just start missing out on life.
  4. Your ex consumes your thoughts both day and night. It’s not just that you think about him all day long, but the thoughts of him invade your dreams, too. With all the other people you could be dreaming about, don’t you think you owe it to your subconscious to take a break and maybe start inviting other people to your nighttime brain activity?
  5. You feel like you only date to prove to others you’ve moved on. Actually, it’s not just that you feel like you date to prove to that you’ve moved on, but that you know for a fact you do. Because of this, each date you have is exhausting and you end up hating the whole process even more than you usually would.
  6. You can’t be in the moment for sex, because your ex invades each experience. Well, to get straight to the point, if you want to successfully orgasm, you need to be in the moment. But if you’re too busy letting thoughts of your ex in between you and whomever you’re screwing, then you can kiss your orgasms goodbye.
  7. You avoid places you love, because you’re scared your ex might be there. After an ex and I parted ways a few years ago, I went out of my way to avoid anywhere where I thought he might be, and considering how many of those places I genuinely loved, I was really doing myself a disservice. I was letting him dictate my social schedule and it was really sad and unfair.
  8. You talk about your ex. All. The. Time. Not just all the time that’s a bearable level, but all the time, like to the point that your friends are begging you to start seeing a therapist – they’re even willing to chip in for your first session, because they miss the old you who could talk about other things!
  9. Your home is a shrine to his stuff. From big things like gifts to the little things like receipts from that trip you took to Vermont that one November, it’s in not being able to let go that you become truly stunted in your process of moving forward. Constant visual reminders are basically a prison, and there’s no way you can escape it as long as you have them all within sight.
  10. All your online stalking of him is interfering with your life. You’re not only late to everything because you can’t get enough of stalking your ex on social media, but it’s starting to affect your personal and professional life, too. In fact, you’re the main reason why your company just banned access to Facebook at work.
  11. You’re still holding out for a second chance. It’s not just that you’re holding out, but you’re visiting psychics on your lunch break, reading every article that exists entitled “How To Get Your Ex Back,” and drunkenly sending texts riddled with apologies and words of love. No good. At this rate, you’ll never get over him and this time next year, you’ll be in the same place both emotionally and mentally.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.