When you’ve shared part of your life with someone, it’s never easy to move on.
Well, not for me anyway.
Whilst I love the ‘Thank you, next’ sentiment, it can be tough to achieve.
The truth is that it takes time to heal, so it may be a while before you truly get over your ex.
Here are some clear signs that you’re not there yet.
1) Looking back with rose-tinted glasses
Selective memory can creep in after a breakup.
When you two were together, you were very aware of all the ways they drove you crazy.
The bad habits that got on your nerves. The arguments you had. The boring days when you craved something more.
But as soon as they’re gone for good, we can quickly forget.
Instead, we roll out the rose-tinted glasses and think of all the ‘good old days’.
Sentimentimentally has a nasty habit of keeping us stuck in the past.
2) Stalking their social media
I have a firm rule after a breakup:
Unfriend and delete.
It may sound harsh but social media makes it way too tempting to check up on an ex.
And when I say ‘check up’, I obviously mean spending hours on end silently stalking everything they do and everyone who is connected to them in any tiny way.
There is a lot of truth in the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
Did it feel good to see him out having fun?
Did you enjoy watching her in a reel with some good-looking guy you don’t know?
And the fact you’re doing it screams that you aren’t over them.
3) Obsessing over their new partner
I’m cutting us all a bit of slack here by saying “obsessing”. Because let’s face it, a slight curiosity is quite natural.
If you are one of those gracious people who are 100% happy for their ex finding new love, then congrats. When I grow up I want to be like you.
But personally, I don’t want an invite to the wedding.
Having said that, when enough time has passed (and if you don’t want them anymore) why would you begrudge them finding someone else?
The answer: Because you’re not fully over them yet.
4) Getting lost in “what-ifs”
“What-if” is a never-ending game once you start to play it. Because there are quite literally endless scenarios you can come up with.
Some of your what if’s may include:
- “What if I never meet anyone else?”
- “What if that was my one shot at love?”
- “What if we were meant to be together?”
- “What if I made a mistake letting them go?”
- “What if in the future we find our way back to one another?”
The what-if game points to a lack of acceptance yet over your split.
It’s often a side effect of the grief and loss you experienced. But it suggests you’re still holding on rather than letting go.
5) Trying to bump into them
You know they’ll be at that party. And truth be told, you wouldn’t bother going otherwise. But the more causal encounters you can try to orchestrate, the better.
Whether it’s driving through their neighborhood, walking past some of their hangouts, or checking in with all your mutual friends.
“Oh hi, Fancy seeing you here!”
The name of the game is close contact but under the guise of it all being totally accidental.
6) Attention seeking
We’ve all done it, but let’s call it what it is.
Post-breakup we need a little boost. So we go searching for that in whatever way we can find.
That may be:
- Flirting with someone we’re not really that interested in
- Instantly heading to the dating apps for some TLC
- Getting a makeover or going on a shopping spree
- Posting 1001 pics of ‘hot girl/boi summer’
- Spamming every little thing you are doing onto your social media
We’re not always conscious of it at the time. But any “look at me” behavior is probably down to the fact you’re still hurting.
7) Posting not-so-cryptic messages aimed at them
It’s not just increased selfies either.
There are plenty of ways that our social media posts give the game away that we’re not over an ex.
- Rants about betrayal
- Memes about forgiveness
- Quotes about inner peace
- Experts talking about true love
Is it really an innocent coincidence? Or are you trying to send a message?
8) Drunk dialing
When we’ve had a few drinks, the truth can come pouring out of us. And often in more melodramatic ways.
The restraint we managed to show whilst sober goes out of the window.
Before you know it you have left them 7 missed calls to wake up to along with a “You awake?” text.
Are they on your mind whenever you’ve been drinking?
Then I’ve got news for you:
You’re over them in the same way that Batman is over the loss of his parents.
9) Sleeping together
It is tempting to keep on enjoying a few perks even after your breakup.
After all, you’ve already been there and done that. It’s easy and familiar.
But it’s pretty dangerous ground.
Sure, a few people will be able to hook up with an ex — no strings attached. But the overwhelming majority can’t.
When feelings are involved it’s hard to separate physical and emotional intimacy.
10) Holding onto momentos
You are regularly opening your little box of memories.
Maybe it contains prized love possessions such as random ticket stubs from concerts you went to.
If it wasn’t for the sentiment, most of it is just trash.
Perhaps you can’t help but scroll through old Whatsapp messages dating back to the moment you first met.
You are still swiping through countless photos of the times you shared together.
Frequent trips down memory lane imply you wish it wasn’t just a memory.
11) Pretending you’re ready to be friends
To be fair, some exes really are friends. Usually, the spark left the relationship a long time ago and the feeling was mutual.
I’m certainly not against staying pals. But I am when it’s just a presence.
I’ve done it myself more times than I care to admit, and it always ends in tears.
You want to hold on to that close connection, and you miss them.
But the truth is you’re not friends.
You’re just trying to hold on to the emotional bond in a relationship you aren’t ready to say goodbye to.
12) Looking for any excuse to reach out
“Hey, I just found a left sock in the closet that looks like one of yours, do you want me to drop it off?”
You manage to justify any tenuous reason to reach out:
- Saw this post and it made me think of you
- Was just remembering that time we…
- Do you have the number for Brian the plumber?
- Have you seen my favorite sweater? I was wondering if I left it at your place.
Whatever it is, you know deep down it’s because you want to start up a dialogue.
You are just trying not to be obvious about it (but it isn’t working).
13) Talking about them way more than you know you probably should
If they were being honest, your friends are probably tired of hearing about it.
They listened intently during the post-breakup dissection. They were happy to let you cry on their shoulder for as long as it took.
But now you’re shoehorning them into most conversations.
When someone is constantly on our minds, that is bound to filter through. No matter how much you try, their name remains on your lips.
14) Acting (uncharacteristically) wild
In my younger years, I had one of those yo-yo romances.
We broke up several times during the course of our relationship. When we did, it used to really hurt me to see him:
- Going out with friends
- Having crazy times
That was until I realized the pattern.
He would initially try to lose himself in distractions. But it eventually wore off and he would come back crying and asking for forgiveness.
What seems from the outside as ‘having a good time’ is sometimes denial.
Especially whenever it’s an extreme rush that you are seeking.
We can go hiding from pain and hope to find it in new pleasure.
15) Comparing them to new people you meet
No one is replaceable.
That’s not meant as some kind of doomsday post-break-up message.
What I mean is that every relationship is unique. It can’t be replicated, because new people create a new dynamic.
So it’s really not helpful (or healthy) to play comparisonitis with former lovers.
Maybe you go on a date and it reminds you that they’re not X, Y, or Z like your ex was. Perhaps you never even get that far because nobody else is measuring up.
Either way, if you are putting your ex on a pedestal that no one else can reach, you probably don’t need me to tell you that you’re not over them.
To conclude: Closure can sneak up on us
There is no silver bullet solution to getting over an ex. Neither does it happen overnight.
I also think it’s ok and perfectly normal to still harbor a few sneaky feelings long after you’ve broken up.
If you’re trying to move on in healthy ways, that’s all you can do. Time and patience will do the rest for you.