Why Can’t I Get Over My Ex? Why You’re Holding On

In an ideal world, you’d be able to simply dust off the emotional pain after a breakup and resolve to heal and move on. But in reality, it can be impossibly hard to let go of the beautiful connection you once had with that special person, even when you’re trying really hard to get over it. If this is where you find yourself, here are some of the reasons why you’re still hung up on your ex and unable to let go.

You’re still grieving what you lost.

When you commit to someone, you become deeply attached to them. You weave them into your future plans. You come to rely on them for a sense of security, comfort, and happiness. Having to abandon the life you’ve built and the memories you dreamt of making with them is a huge mental task. Holding on to them might be your mind’s way of telling you it’s still mourning all the amazing things that will no longer be.

You’re maintaining contact with them.

With breakups, out of sight really does help with keeping them out of your mind. So if you’re still seeing your ex regularly, hooking up with them every now and then, or cleverly stalking every move they make on social media, it’s only going to prolong the time it takes you to bounce back from them. Forget about trying to remain friends and try to avoid them for as long as it takes you to heal.

You’re still thinking about them as the perfect partner.

You might be finding it hard to move on from your ex because you’re still idealizing the relationship. You keep replaying only the positive memories over and over and refusing to acknowledge the issues the relationship had. You are convincing yourself that no one will ever match up to your ex instead of remembering the ways and times when they were not so great.

You’re afraid of the future.

The fear of what comes next might be the reason why you’re still holding on to the past. You had already mapped out a possible life with your ex, and with them gone you’re not sure what to do with yourself or how you’ll survive on your own. You’re scared of ending up alone, of never finding another love that equals this one.  You just need to accept that there will always be another love waiting for you.

Your identity is tied up in the relationship.

If you lost sense of your individuality or gave up your life or support system in your relationship, you’re likely to have a harder time moving on. Your partner used to be your whole world and without them, you don’t know who you are, so you keep returning to what feels familiar—thinking about them.

You’ve been ignoring your emotions.

Maybe all you’ve been doing is drowning out your emotions and constantly numbing the pain. You haven’t taken the time to grieve properly and confront your feelings about the breakup so it’s taking you longer to let go of your ex. Instead of pushing away your feelings and pretending to be alright, try processing your emotions for a change.

You’re addicted to your suffering.

As a result of past relationships with parents, ex-lovers, or other adults that were less than desirable, you might have gotten so used to suffering that you now believe you deserve it. So instead of trying to move on, you keep wallowing in the hurt you’re feeling. As bad as the pain feels, it’s your only link to your ex, and you feel like if you were to move on, there’ll be nothing left of them to hold on to.

The breakup reawakened past trauma.

The reason you can’t seem to get over your ex might be because the end of the relationship stirred up old feelings and issues for you. If you’ve had to deal with abuse, neglect, abandonment, or feeling misunderstood at one time in your past, the breakup could have you feeling that way again. So you keep replaying the relationship over in your head, trying to figure out how you’ve ended up in the same position again.

You’re still processing the breakup.

Maybe you can’t move on because you’re yet to wrap your head around what happened. You’re still trying to understand why you’re no longer together and how you could have prevented the breakup. Your mind is focused on overanalyzing every aspect of the relationship to find an acceptable explanation for things ending instead of accepting there’s nothing you can do about it.

You blame yourself for the relationship ending.

Even if you betrayed your partner in some way or did something to engineer the breakup, beating yourself up over what happened is only going to complicate and prolong your healing process. Instead of the endless blame game, take note of the mistakes that were made and what you can do to prevent them from happening again in future relationships.

You haven’t cleared out their baggage.

Holding on to emotional or physical baggage from the broken relationship can be what’s preventing you from letting go of your ex. Maybe there’s stuff you need to get off your chest or questions you need answered to help you find the closure you need to move on. In that case, go get it. But if that’s not possible, getting rid of any personal items belonging to your ex can also bring a sense of closure.

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