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Whether it’s a breakup or a bereavement, everyone has experienced the intensity of grief.
And many of us have also been in situations where we cannot see our dearest loved ones for a prolonged period of time.
Missing someone so much that it physically hurts is real, and it can be overwhelming.
It can quickly take over other aspects of your life, too, and can often feel unending.
So we’ve put together a guide on how to deal with this feeling, and what you can do to ease it.
1. Talk about it.
A problem shared is a problem halved.
Talk to someone you love and trust about how you’re feeling. They’ll be there to support you, and may even have coping mechanisms that have worked for them in the past that they can share with you.
You’ll feel like a weight has been lifted… trust us.
2. Speak virtually and regularly.
If you’re missing someone that you’re still on good terms with (as opposed to an ex friend/partner or lost loved one), schedule in some facetime – literally, FaceTime.
Sure, it’s not the same, we know, but it’s as good a substitute as we have.
Why not set an alarm on your phone to have a weekly catch-up over video, or organize a monthly quiz with a group of people you’re missing?
Making your virtual meet-ups a regular thing will really help – you’ll feel like they’re making an effort, like there’s a level of commitment, and like you’re still an important aspect of their life.
Part of the intensity behind missing someone often comes from the fear that they will forget us, or realize that they can live without us. By scheduling in seeing each other, you’ll feel more secure in your friendship or relationship, and you’ll have something to look forward to!
3. Address the issue, don’t avoid it.
If this is an option for you, speak to the person you’re missing.
If it’s a friendship that has ended and you’re desperately missing it, speak to the other person involved. If your partner has relocated for work, speak to them about how you’re feeling.
Remember that your feelings are valid and that, regardless of how understanding and supportive you’re being, you also have the right to express those feelings.
If it’s to someone you no longer have a good friendship or relationship with, send a text asking if you can speak to them as you’re finding it hard to move on.
We’ll address this further in our ‘Get closure’ section, but bombarding someone with lengthy messages and countless missed calls is not healthy and is unfair, however well-intentioned it may be.
If it’s to a friend, a family member, or a partner, you need to be honest about how you’re feeling.
For example, if your boyfriend has moved abroad for a 6-month job, it’s okay to tell him you miss him!
You can be the most supportive, cheerleading partner ever and still get sad – it doesn’t make you needy or clingy, it makes you human.
From there, you can discuss options going forwards – maybe you can travel to see them this month and they can visit the next month; maybe you agree to FaceTime once a week; maybe they’ll even suggest they leave early and come back home to you.
Whoever it is that you miss, tell them how you’re feeling – they’re probably feeling the exact same way. Even just knowing that will help massively!
4. Practice mindfulness.
When we’re grieving someone, whether they’re alive or dead, we feel a hugely intense range of emotions – often anger, guilt, regret, sadness.
These feelings can quickly build up and spill over into other aspects of our lives.
We find ourselves getting frustrated with people that aren’t even involved in the situation, or suddenly bursting into tears at our desk.
Missing someone so much that it hurts can very quickly become an all-consuming feeling, which is why it’s so important to continue to practice self-care – and mindfulness is the perfect way to do it.
Try yoga, or sound baths; go for long walks; even working up a sweat in the gym can be a form of mindfulness.
Aim for something that you need to focus on that helps quieten the other thoughts in your mind.
5. Stay busy.
Sometimes, you need a good distraction!
If the person you miss is an ex, you can get so caught up in the breakup that the rest of your life kind of merges into one big ranting, crying session.
This is totally normal, and it’s healthy to process your feelings and talk about them – to an extent.
If missing them is becoming unbearable, you need to find other things to keep your mind busy.
See friends, go for a run, visit a museum – even watching a funny film (not a rom-com) can help keep your mind off those negative, all-consuming thoughts.
Those thoughts will still pop up, of course, but they’ll get less intense and less frequent.
6. Share your memories.
If you’re missing a lost loved one, it may feel as if the pain will never end.
There’s not the option of ‘getting back together’ or of bumping into them again, and this can be incredibly hard to process, let alone accept.
One thing you can do, that many people find helpful, is to talk about them.
Not necessarily in terms of how much you miss them and how horrific the loss is, but in terms of sharing happy memories and celebrating their life and how much you love them.
Do this with someone you love and trust, regardless of whether or not they knew the person you’re mourning.
The more comfortable you feel, the more honest and vulnerable you’ll allow yourself to be. This will help you process your feelings (almost as a form of ‘talking therapy’) and will also leave you feeling slightly lighter each time.
When we lose someone, we often worry that we’ll forget things about them. It might seem impossible at first, but there may be a day when you wake up and realize you can’t remember exactly what their laugh sounded like, or you might suddenly realize you’ve not thought about them all day.
This can induce feelings of guilt and shame – but it shouldn’t. It is normal and healthy to get to a stage where you don’t constantly think about someone, and it is absolutely not reflective of your feelings for them.
You don’t need to remember the exact color of someone’s eyes to know that you cared about them, and you shouldn’t feel bad or guilty or like you’re not grieving ‘properly’ just because you don’t cry about them everyday.
By sharing your memories with someone, you’re also helping to keep those memories alive. You’ll have someone else who can help you remember things you may have forgotten, and you’ll be able to share the intensity of your feelings in a safe space.
It may be hard to talk about them and may even be too raw at first, but the more you open up, the easier it will become and the less painful it will get over time.
Remember that it’s okay to share negative memories too! You can love someone and miss them so much it hurts – but they can still have pissed you off when they were alive!
Loving someone truly is loving all of them, which is why it’s absolutely normal and okay to have a rant about the time they upset you, or cry over how much they hurt you at one point.
You don’t need to remember them as a saint to honor their life – you can remember them as the wonderful human being, with all their flaws and nasty sides, and still love them more than anything.
7. Get closure.
Closure is such a tricky one, and it’s hard to say what it really means to each individual person.
For many, especially during a breakup, it’s understanding why things ended and finally being able to say ‘goodbye.’
Speak to the person that you’re missing if it’s this kind of situation and, politely, ask for some closure.
They’ll know what you’re asking for and, most of the time, will give it to you.
If they don’t, which is fair enough and well within their rights, that can act as some kind of closure in itself. Accept that this is how things are and close the door – for good.
Related article: 11 Tips To Move On From A Relationship Without Closure
8. Get professional help.
Of course, if you’re really struggling to cope with the intensity of your feelings, seeking professional help can be incredibly valuable.
Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or an ex that you’re missing, a trained counselor can help you through it.
Even if you feel like the situation is ‘not as bad’ as other people’s (e.g. your best friend isn’t talking to you, but you feel guilty getting help for it when other people’s loved ones have died), if it’s having a big impact on your daily life and well-being, you should consider getting help.
Think you need more help to stop missing an ex-partner? We really recommend chatting online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
You may also like:
- 7 Reasons Why You’re Thinking About Your Ex (+ How To Stop)
- If Your Husband Left You For Another Woman, Read This
- How To Reconnect With An Old Friend You Haven’t Seen In A Long Time
- Why Do Breakups Hurt So Much? The Pain Of A Relationship Ending.