Do you often think of your ex and wonder why you still feel so connected?
Whether you were with your ex-partner for six months or sixteen years, letting go of a relationship and moving on isn’t straightforward. There’s the loss of what once was and the dreams of what could be.
25 reasons you might still feel so connected to them and how to deal with it
1) They keep popping up on social media
If your breakup was on ‘good terms’ and nothing catastrophic happened to trigger blocking them on social media, chances are you might come across them while scrolling.
Seeing a photo of them looking happy and living, what looks like, their best life is going to be triggering – regardless of your circumstances.
Maybe blocking feels too extreme, but why not discreetly mute that person or hide their account? This way you can avoid the anxiety that follows seeing their content.
Research published on The Conversation confirms that stalking an ex can become addictive and do more harm than good in the long-run, actually disrupting the natural process of getting over them.
As if that’s not enough, this study warns it is “almost impossible to move on” if you’re logging onto Facebook and seeing your ex’s face plastered everywhere.
2) You share intimate memories
There’s no one we get more intimate with than our romantic partners. Forging true connectivity with another person requires us to drop our guards, leave our masks at the door and be who we really are.
We don’t display this level of vulnerability in our everyday lives as we go about our business: we get to choose who we want to be in those moments, while our romantic partner sees our truth in moments of intimacy.
For that reason, we feel deeply connected with this person who knows our real essence.
There are also many positive associations we make with the intimacy that we only share with our romantic partner: Counseling Today reports that the closeness in romantic relationships actually improves our health, from lowering pain responses to increasing our longevity.
3) You text, email or speak on the phone
It’s a strange adjustment going from constantly sharing pictures of cute dogs, memes and updates throughout the day to sending nothing at all.
When my boyfriend and I split up, I established ground rules where we agreed to not text and let the decision to separate sink in, and he respected my wishes for space. It felt weird and unnatural not hearing from him, and I felt compelled to send him things I came across.
After a few months, we decided to start emailing just to share life updates and see how we were doing, and I’m aware this contributed to me feeling more connected to him again. We’re still doing it now, six months on, and every time I send an email I spend the time in between wondering when he’s going to reply.
If you’re in a similar boat, don’t feel bad about it: Glamour reports that a poll conducted by the Associated Press and WE tv shows that cutting contact is easier said than done.
4) You feel like there’s unfinished business between you two
Simply put, no breakup is the same: maybe you and your ex-partner went back and forth before deciding to separate or maybe your decision was forced by circumstances like taking a job overseas.
You might feel like there is unfinished business with you and that you’re without a resolution. This is going to be a strong reason for feeling connected.
A resolution doesn’t have to come from speaking to that person. Consider writing a letter to that person and symbolically burning it.
Reiki healing Athena Bahri suggests that a letter-writing burn ritual will allow you to process words unsaid and take the step towards healing.
5) You’re questioning your decision to separate
Months down the line from your breakup, you might be wondering why you decided to part ways as you’ve forgotten all of your issues and the toxicity it bred.
But remember that the mind has an amazing ability to warp reality and there was, of course, a reason you called time.
You see, towards the end of my relationship, I journaled religiously about how I felt. In my moments of doubt since breaking up, I’ve found it helpful to return to these entries and to reflect on the thoughts I had.
In a new journal, I’ve also jotted down my current feelings.
WebMD suggests that journaling can help you break away from obsessive thinking and ruminating, and to help create awareness.
6) It’s only been a couple of months
It’s said that time heals and this couldn’t be more true in the case of breakups. A survey conducted on 2,000 Americans suggests that the healing process lasts over six months if you were in a serious relationship.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re still breaking down regularly after a few months, remember that shifting the pain takes a while so give it time. It’s a massive adjustment you’re going through.
Optimistically, the study suggests that it takes an average of three months and eleven days to feel ready to date again.
7) You had a twin flame connection
Twin flames are one-of-the same; they are mirror souls. As Lachan Brown tells us, no Twin Flame relationship is the same – but you can generally know if you were in a twin flame relationship if you felt emotionally, mentally, physically and spirituality in alignment with that person.
If you think you were with your twin flame and now you’ve lost them, don’t despair. The end of these relationships are immense catalysts for personal growth.
Use this time to focus on yourself: if you two are meant together, you’ll be the people you need to be for one another when you reunite.
8) You’re triggered by objects that remind you of them
I’m not suggesting you need to burn all of your ex-partner’s possessions or things they gifted you, but you don’t want to constantly walk into your bedroom and think of them because of material possessions.
It could be a painting they did for you or an ornament they gave you that keeps triggering a pang of upset. If that’s the case, why not store them safely away in a cupboard?
Give your place a thorough sort-out and design it around all of the things you love.
Best of all, this study explains that an improved mood and reduced risk of depression is associated with a good cleaning session.
9) You’re not allowing yourself to open up to someone else
You might feel connected to your ex because you’re refusing to let yourself move on. Is there someone who’s caught your eye, but you’re holding back because you don’t want to let yourself open up?
Perhaps you feel like you’re cheating on your partner while your subconscious catches up.
It might be a rebound relationship if your feelings for your ex-partner haven’t totally disappeared, but this study shows that moving on quickly can improve your emotional state and be more beneficial than believed.
10) You still have romantic feelings for them
You’ll struggle to let go of the connection if, deep down, you feel as though you’d like to get back to your ex.
In this case, return to your journal and reflect on your decision – whether it was yours, your partner’s or a mutual agreement. Take an honest look at why you two decided to separate to help you navigate the feelings that are coming up.
Remember, as I say above, time heals and will allow you to process your emotions to move on.
11) There is a karmic connection between you two
This type of relationship is all-consuming, filled with many ups and downs and lessons you’ll learn along the way.
These relationships are typically hard to maintain, filled with repetitive arguments, and rife with codependency issues.
Just because the relationship was filled with intensity and passion doesn’t mean it was right. In fact, as Lyndol Lyons writes for Love Connection, karmic relationships aren’t meant to last instead, they serve the purpose of healing.
The level of fire in these partnerships will most definitely intensify the connection and you’ll find it hard to separate, but just remember it wasn’t meant to last.
12) You don’t want to fully let go
This is a bitter pill to swallow. Despite claiming you’ve let go and have moved into a good place, there’s a part of you that doesn’t want to fully let go.
Take a close look at your behavior patterns to see whether this is the case for you.
In my own experience, I’m aware my emails to my ex-partner are a means of staying connected in some capacity.
In keeping this communication, I see I’m keeping myself prisoner and making things all the more complicated for myself.
13) You’re looking back with rose-tinted glasses
This one calls for some brutal self-reflection. Be honest with yourself and question whether you’re romanticizing what the relationship once was.
Just like I said earlier, it’s important to remember there was a reason you two decided to separate.
Elsewhere, research shows that the brain actually shuts down pain, which means all of those awful arguments where their comments cut deep have been blocked out.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as the brain will trick you into believing.
14) You keep talking about them
It requires self-discipline to not constantly refer to your ex-partner when storytelling. I’m guilty of this one: I often find myself making comparisons or talking about something we did together.
But wait, let me tell you something:
We were together for over five years so we share loads of memories. I think it’s normal to find yourself referencing things you did together, although if you find yourself doing it obsessively throughout the day then it’s going to be a case of reflecting on what you’re looking to gain.
Through mentioning my ex-partner consistently, I wonder if I’m trying to keep him alive in my mind’s-eye and therefore strengthening the feelings of being connected with him.
My gut says yes, and I imagine it’s likely the same case for you if you talk about your ex all the time.
15) You’re going through the stages of grief
Breaking up with a partner sees you go through the stages of grief like you would losing a loved one. These stages include:
When my partner and I separated, I spent a long time in the denial stage. I couldn’t believe we weren’t together anymore. After living together and building a life together, it was a total shock to the system.
I was living in the first four stages for some time until I decided to accept my circumstances. At this stage, I felt that I had come to terms with and arrived at my new reality. As Christina Gregory Ph.D. notes for Psycom, “emotions may begin to stabilize” during this stage.
16) You remember how they made you feel
Does your mind take you back to the times you and your ex-partner snuggled on the sofa and had a date night? Every time it goes there, undoubtedly you’ll go straight back to embodying the feelings you two shared.
It’s not about blocking out all of your past memories with your ex-partner, but you have to question why you’re reflecting on those memories. Is it to make yourself feel something?
I’ve been guilty of this and it’s only made me long for my ex-partner more, overlooking all of the negatives that led to the separation.
17) They were your first big love
It’s true that we believe our first loves are for forever. This was certainly true for me!
The level of intimacy and vulnerability with my ex-partner, who was my first love, was like nothing I had experienced before. It meant our connection was one of the most significant in my life and losing it was incredibly hard to accept.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was clinging on to him and wondering how we could ever separate, so it’s no wonder I still feel a connection.
I’m working through this by living in the present moment and accepting the circumstances.
18) They’re still a part of your life
Do you share the same social circle as your ex-partner? Having a crossover of friends is pretty normal, especially if you’ve been in a long-term relationship.
Or perhaps they regularly show up unannounced to see you.
But seeing friends you associate with your partner and thinking about the good times will be incredibly triggering. I’m not suggesting you cut ties with those around you, but maybe take some time to be with a different group as you heal from the breakup.
The experts at Mend suggest that joining community organizations, whether that’s a wellness space or cultural center, and taking up a fitness class are among the ways you’ll be able to make new friends after a breakup.
19) You feel lonely
Going from spending all of your time with someone to not even texting them is a shock to the system.
Loneliness isn’t good for us. In fact, research shows that it can be a killer and a trigger for addictive tendencies, which is why we see people turning to excessive drinking post-breakup. It’s a form of escapism.
During this time of loneliness, you might reflect on your connection to feel as though someone is there with you. If you’re really struggling, actively seek ways to feel a little less lonely:
- Phone a friend or family member, and remember you have a network of people who care about you.
- Volunteer at a local center where you can meet like-minded people and gain perspective on all of the blessings in your life.
- Take up a new hobby – be it arts and crafts or learning a new language.
20) You are supposed to be together
There’s a chance the universe is sending you a sign that you two are supposed to be together. Maybe you are twin flames after all and you’re destined to be together.
If this is true, just know that the time will be right when you two find eachother again.
Whatever you do, don’t try to force things between and keep the focus firmly on yourself. You’ll want to be the best version of you, in all areas of your life, if you two do cross paths again.
21) You have a soulmate connection
Do you think your ex-partner was your soulmate?
First things first, we don’t just have one soulmate in our lifetime.
While you only have one twin flame, you’ll have many soulmates who might be friends or romantic lovers. A study even suggests that we fall in love with three people in our lifetimes.
The soulmate connection is a strong one, where you have a natural affinity with the other person. This connection is one that won’t disappear overnight, but just know that they’re not your only soulmate.
22) Your self-esteem has taken a beating
Breaking up can trigger thoughts around not being wanted or good enough, battering your self-esteem and making the world of dating feel like a daunting place.
You may feel scared of going it alone and find yourself clinging to your past connection with your ex for support, but the best thing you can do is to be in the present moment.
Shifting to this final stage of grieving – to a place of acceptance – will allow you to start moving on.
23) They can’t let you go
This one is out of your control: maybe your ex-partner is refusing to let go of you. If you have a twin flame connection, then you’ll probably be able to sense when the other person is thinking about you.
If this person is in your energy field then it’s a big reason for heightened feelings of connection.
I find support in guided meditations. As well as lowering the heart rate and getting clarity, visualization meditations can take you through cord-cutting exercises between you and your partner, so you can release them and let go.
24) You don’t practice self-love affirmations
Take the power back into your hands with daily affirmations that focus on building up self-love. In his book Good Vibes, Good Life self-love author Vex King asks how many external things you would list that you love before writing yourself.
There is so much to be said for practicing affirmations across the board, and self-love statements hold the keys to shifting our core beliefs about ourselves.
Why not start with noting down 10 things you love about yourself from the first-person?
- I love how I make people laugh
- I love how beautiful my body is
- I love how I connect with so many people
- I love my ability to communicate clearly
This will take the focus away from your ex and the loss. Instead, you’ll realize you’re able to give yourself all of the love and attention you need.
25) You need more gratitude in your life
Gratitude is also a big one in finding personal strength.
It’s said that if we master the first 20 minutes upon rising, we can win the day. Use this time to think about what you’re grateful for.
Is it the roof over your head, your loved ones or the fact you have a job you love?
Think about it: like attracts like, so gratitude breeds more gratitude.
By shifting the focus to the things you love in your life, you’re shifting it away from the lack and things you wish you had.
Simply put, there are so many wonderful things you do have in your life and you’re exactly where you need to be.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.