Is it normal to still love my ex?
I’m going to answer that question for you in two ways:
By defining “normal” and by looking at what’s healthy or not when it comes to past relationships.
What’s “normal” and “abnormal”?
The word normal is used in many ways in modern society.
In ancient Greece, the concept referred to something which approaches an ideal balance of achieving functionality and success, it did not mean average or conformist.
The word “normal” entered English from the Latin word “normalis” in the 17th Century, meaning when a carpenter’s square is used properly and forms a right angle. We also see the related words norm, normative, normalcy, and so on.
In other words, normal in the original sense, means something which functions according to its purpose.
So, what’s the purpose of a relationship?
It varies, but common ingredients include happiness, partnership, trust, having a family, sexual intimacy, and an emotional bond.
Is still being in love with your ex going to potentially lead to a return of those experiences?
If yes, then it’s normal and potentially healthy to still be in love with your ex.
If no, then it’s abnormal and potentially damaging to still be in love with your ex because it will not lead to any productive or fruitful outcome.
With that said, here are five reasons it’s potentially normal to still love your ex and five reasons it’s potentially abnormal.
Check yes or no next to each item.
If you have more pros or cons then make your decision accordingly about whether to do everything you can to leave your love for your ex behind or find a way to try to make it work.
Is it normal to still love my ex? 5 reasons it’s not normal
1) You’re living in the past
The past is a land of rich experiences, joys, pains, and confusion. It’s a nice destination to visit sometimes.
You can cruise by Betrayal Boulevard, have a Cherry Coke on Heartbreak Hill, and even go back to the good times over at Lovers’ Lane and First Crush Crescent.
But at the end of the day, you can’t stay forever.
Living in the past can be absorbing but it has one major and obvious flaw:
It’s over, man.
If you try to stay in the past forever, you’ll miss the present. Plus you’ll stop looking after yourself and basics like getting enough sleep and eating well.
You may still be in love with your ex but living in the past is bad.
2) You’re undervaluing yourself
You can’t help being still in love with your ex, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume there’s a reason they’re your ex and not your current partner.
Regardless of who broke up with who, by clinging to that love you have, you’re undervaluing yourself.
You deserve to be happy and find someone who respects you and who satisfies you.
If that wasn’t your ex, or something went terribly wrong that changed that trajectory, then you need to do everything you can to dust yourself off and move on.
Sometimes that just means literally getting out of bed and putting on a pot of coffee.
One foot in front of the other until one day you wake up and you’re… basically OK!
Don’t undervalue yourself, there’s a high cost to pay if you do.
3) Your ex doesn’t deserve you
Whatever it was that went wrong, it’s tempting to go through all the ways it could have been different.
Why couldn’t you have acted differently or why couldn’t they have?
But at the end of the day, you need to be fully honest with yourself.
Look at happy couples who have stayed together and the challenges they’ve weathered. I’d bet good money many of them got over much worse than you and your ex and what broke you up.
So why did it break you up?
You need to be honest and admit if it was you or your partner who was the weak link.
Sorry to be brutal here, but there’s always one person who more or less bows out or can’t put up with a challenge.
If that was you then maybe still loving your ex is a sign you need to get back together. But if it was them then you need to fully accept that your ex simply doesn’t deserve you.
Harsh, but true.
4) You’re putting your happiness in their hands
I believe that you have to be somewhat vulnerable to open yourself up to the chance of love. But there’s such a thing as going too far.
In fact, you can go so far that you become codependent like a junkie looking for their next hit (but less respectable).
You put all your happiness in someone else’s hands, craving the sweet love and affection they gave you and pawing after it like a homesick dog.
Not a pretty image, is it?
I mean, sad dogs are cute and you just want to pet the heck out of them, but they’re not exactly James Bond suavely undressing a room of women and having them chase him down the hallway to kill and/or sleep with him (or both), are they?
Don’t put your happiness in someone else’s hands, friend! Your own hand is perfectly good enough for — OK that went a bit far didn’t it…
5) You’re missing out on new romantic opportunities
Another reason it’s not normal or healthy to still care about your ex is that you’re inevitably missing out on new romantic opportunities.
Centering your focus on this individual who didn’t work out is trapping you in a cycle of disappointment and pain.
It definitely can feel like you’ll never find love again after you lose somebody you love, but you absolutely can.
And even if it doesn’t happen for a long time, you can be improving yourself and improving at loving yourself in the meantime.
Is it normal to still love my ex? 5 reasons it’s totally normal
1) Your relationship still has potential
It can be normal and healthy to still love your ex if the relationship still has potential.
If there was love both of you still have that’s gone unexpressed, major miscommunication, and more, then maybe your missing them is a sign that something is still there to spark back up.
Does your relationship still have potential?
Tana Gilmore and Kelli Fisher have a great article about how to tell. As they write:
“Take a moment to reflect on what absolutely irked him about you and see if you’ve become any more flexible on those issues or behaviors or not?
Make a list and be honest with yourself on where you stand now that some time has passed. Chances are, if it bothered him before, it will bother him even more again.”
2) You haven’t met anyone better yet
Sometimes people tell you it’s impossible to meet someone new if you’re not over your ex. And I get the reasoning behind that opinion.
Like I wrote above, sometimes it’s true that you miss out on new opportunities because your heart’s just not open.
But in other cases, you move on and…the world just doesn’t.
You go on dates, you meet cute, interesting, and fun new people, but nothing clicks. It just doesn’t.
This isn’t about saying you should try harder or blame yourself because honestly sometimes people really do move on and they just don’t meet someone better.
The thing here is this:
Never focus on your love for your ex as a fallback or a solution to being lonely. Only pay attention to it if you’re meeting great people but still honestly just feeling that the relationship you had is still something you need to explore further.
3) Your relationship isn’t actually “truly” over
Sometimes the end of a relationship isn’t really the end, I get that.
Maybe you ended on a really unresolved note…
Or had a fight and just left without really talkin’ it over…
Maybe you’re still in love and they are too and neither of you really know it and you just need to — at the very least — let your ex know that you still have feelings.
Even if it’s really the end, you just want them to know you’ll always care and always be there for them in some capacity.
Just make absolutely sure you don’t get stuck in a cycle of hot and cold, chasing after some guy or girl in an endless loop of disappointment and highs and lows.
You’ll lose self-respect and possibly your sanity.
Plus, ain’t nobody got time for that kind of useless, endless drama.
4) You’ve tried moving on but it’s simply not possible
There are many people who will tell you to cut the drama, stop idealizing love, overcome conditioning that gave you belief in romantic love or “the one” and so forth…
I’m not one of those people.
I genuinely believe there are times — few, but possible — when you simply cannot move on and even should not move on.
I have close friends who had breakups they simply could not accept. They eventually got back together and are now happily married with kids.
I also know people close to me who’ve had a breakup and never been able to date again.
Not just because of the emotional trauma they had but because that really and truly was there one and only.
Call me a romantic (or a codependent)…but it is truly my view that sometimes there is someone so special that you just cannot move on or would not value your life in any of the same ways if you did.
If this is the case then yes it’s normal to still love your ex and to do absolutely everything you can in this world to make it work someday, including giving it a lot of time and patience.
Just make sure your love story doesn’t end the same way as the myth of Tristan and Isolde (they both die horribly).
5) You let them down in a major way that you want to make up for
If your relationship went south as a result of your wrongdoing, then there may be a huge amount of unresolved stuff still backed up there.
You are still in love with your ex and you want to make amends.
And in rare situations, it can be the right thing to do.
If you did something wrong, the least you can do is fully apologize and really try to make up for it in some way.
Even if it won’t lead to getting back together, sometimes this can be a very empowering and smart way to build your own self-respect and learn how to treat others in a more caring way.
With all of this said…
Usually still loving your ex is not something you should focus on
The reason is that the past is the past and you can’t just snap your fingers and go back to how things were.
Regardless of the reasons you both moved on, you need to do your best to start a new chapter in life.
Acknowledge your love and respect it, but don’t let it tell you what to do.
How do I expect you to just “stop” loving someone?
I don’t. Not at all.
And I don’t expect you to just “get over” him or her, either.
The purpose of this article is to redirect your focus and give you tools to interpret your love for your ex.
Will it lead somewhere in the future or just drag you down into a black pit of despair?
The above lists are to help you determine exactly what’s going on and why you’re still in love. It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to focus on your love for your ex.
You can’t help what you feel or the experiences you’re going through, and even the hardest life challenges can have a grain of meaning or a growing experience contained within it.
But you can at least mentally choose to believe in that love you’re feeling and know whether it’s something that’s likely to lead somewhere or headed for a dead-end.
Best of luck and remember:
Don’t let anyone else tell you you’re “broken” or “wrong” for being a human being with a heart and intense life experiences.
And if you’re trying to get over a breakup that’s torn you apart and you’re still in love I know it’s a long and tough road.
Don’t beat yourself up for falling down or having down days or weeks.
You’re a fighter and I believe in you and that you will find love beyond your wildest dreams the more you progress on the path of life and embrace your authentic self and inner power.