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Why Do I Still Think About My Ex? (7 Surprising Reasons)

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Your ex is on your mind. And you really wish they weren’t.

Maybe they broke up with you out of the blue, or maybe you broke up with them for very good reasons.

Whatever happened between the two of you, you just can’t get them out of your head. And it’s not doing you any favors.

We all know how hard it can be to concentrate on anything when you’re consumed by thoughts of someone, or trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

Spending time obsessing over what happened or whether there’s any future between you isn’t going to achieve anything, and you know that.

But you need some solid advice that will actually help you stop thinking about them every waking second… some tricks to help distract your brain and allow you to focus on other things.

That way, one day soon, your thoughts will stop drifting to them, and you won’t have to consciously distract yourself anymore.

Let’s start by looking at some of the reasons why you might still be thinking about your ex, and then move on to some concrete tips that will help you to put them behind you.

Why are you still thinking about your ex?

Of course, the most obvious reason you might still be dwelling on your ex is that you still have feelings for them, no matter complex those feelings might be.

The love you felt for them is still with you, whether you were the dumper or the dumpee… and whether or not you would want them back if you had the chance. 

But it’s often not as simple as that. You might have completely fallen out of love with this guy or girl, and still have them on your mind.

Here are a few reasons why he or she might still be taking up a lot of your mental capacity, even if you don’t love them anymore.

1. You liked what they brought out in you.

Maybe they had certain qualities or interests that brought out a side of you that you really liked.

Perhaps with them, you were more active, adventurous, relaxed, settled, daring… you name it.

If you think this might be your problem, it’s important to recognize that just because they encouraged that side of you, doesn’t mean you can’t ever be that way without them.

It’s just a matter of recognizing what you liked about yourself around them, and making a conscious effort to continue that way even now they’re not around.

They might have brought out qualities in you, but those qualities are entirely yours, there to be tapped into.

2. You miss them as a friend.

You spent a lot of time with them, and as well as a romantic relationship, the two of you built a solid friendship.

Maybe they were your best friend, the person you had fun with and always the first person you told when anything happened.

Just as you’d miss and think about your best mate if you were to fight, you’re missing their friendship now you’re not together.

3. You miss the physical contact.

Having a partner can be wonderful because, as human beings, we’re naturally very tactile creatures, and being romantically involved means you have someone to hug and kiss and feel close to.

Being physically close to someone releases feel-good hormones, which are more than a little addictive.

It might be that you’re thinking about them because you miss the comfort of that physical contact and those rushes of hormones, rather than anything deeper.

4. They made you happy.

You might be thinking about your ex just because, for the time you were together, you were genuinely happy.

You might not be able to make each other happy anymore, but you still treasure those memories and can’t help thinking about them.

5. You have regrets.

Maybe you’re dwelling on your old relationship because you have regrets about things that happened between you, and how it ended.

You don’t necessarily wish you could have them back, but you wish you could go back and do things differently. 

6. You feel guilty.

Your ex might be playing on your mind because of feelings of guilt about something that happened between you.

Maybe you betrayed their trust in some way, or you behaved badly toward them at the end of your relationship, and now you can’t bear the idea that you hurt them, or that they might resent you.

7. You never got closure.

Things between you ended in such a way that you never got any real closure, so you’re struggling to draw a line under the relationship and put them out of your mind.  

How to stop being obsessed with your ex.

Now you’ve started to figure out why you might still be obsessively thinking about your ex, it’s time to change that.

Here are a few tips to help you put them out of your mind for good.

1. Accept the situation.

This might sound like it’s easier said than done, but the first step to stop obsessing over your ex is to accept what’s happened between you, so that you can put it behind you once and for all.

If you’re struggling to come to terms with it, meditation or journaling can help you to recognize where your feelings are coming from and accept that there’s nothing you can do to change the situation.  

2. Reach out to the other people you love.

This person was really important to you, and you loved them. But you have a lot of other wonderful people in your life that you love, and that love you back.

Fill your time bonding with the other important people, reminding yourself that whilst romantic love is wonderful, there’s so much more to life.

3. Remove them from all your social media.

One sure-fire way of having your ex on your mind is to have them pop up on your social media feeds. You might think you can handle it, but it’s not a good idea.

Do yourself a favor and unfollow them, or at least hide them. Out of sight really is out of mind.

4. Don’t spend too much time with mutual friends.

If you have mutual friends with your ex, then there’s no reason you can’t maintain those friendships in the long run.

But right now, it might be a good idea to spend a little less time with them, as they’ll only remind you of your ex, and you’ll be tempted to ask about them.

5. Try new places instead of old favorites.

Getting out and about is a great way to distract yourself and fill your mind with things that aren’t your ex.

But rather than going to your old haunts, where you used to spend time with the person you’re trying to forget, make a point of discovering new places.

6. Meet new people.

An injection of new friends into your life is just what the doctor ordered after a breakup.

You might be looking to meet new people romantically, and that will definitely help you start to forget your ex if you’re doing it for the right reasons, but new people in general can be refreshing and distracting.

7. Try new things.

Breakups are opportunities for renewal and rejuvenation. They can be very tough, but they are an opportunity to break with the past and discover new things about yourself.

So, if you’re trying to forget your ex, it’s time to push yourself. Put yourself out there and try new things. New hobbies, new experiences, new adventures.  

8. Set yourself fresh goals and challenges.

Thinking about your ex means thinking about your past, and right now you need to look to the future.

So, set yourself goals for the months ahead, and give yourself a new focus.

Push yourself, challenge yourself, and try to learn more about yourself.

Still not sure how to stop thinking about your ex once and for all? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About The Author

Katie is a writer and translator with a focus on travel, self-care and sustainability. She's based between a cave house in Granada, Spain, and the coast of beautiful Cornwall, England. She spends her free time hiking, exploring, eating vegan tapas and volunteering for a local dog shelter.