Relationships should come with a rule book, or at least with a comprehensive “how to” guide. It would be quite helpful to refer back to an all-knowing relationship manual when faced with a romantic dilemma. Unfortunately, no such manual exists and instead, we are left to rely solely on our intuition, judgment, and vulnerable hearts. Sometimes, breakups are clean, mutual, and clear cut, as both parties respectfully bid each other farewell and part ways. Other times, breakups can be messy, unpredictable, and confusing. Feelings can be unresolved, decisions can be one-sided, or it might be unclear as to why the relationship ended. It is common for some residual feelings and mixed emotions to be left over when breakups are untidy.
There are many reasons as to why a person can miss their ex. If a person has been in a relationship for an extended period of time, they might have gotten used to having their ex around. Their ex may have attended holidays, family functions, or participated in shared hobbies and recreational activities. When those functions come around again, it can feel peculiar without their ex’s presence.
A person might miss their ex if they are still in love with them. Relationships do not always end mutually. At times, partners may fall out of love, cheat, or slowly grow apart. If an individual decides that they no longer want to invest in a relationship, there is a chance that the other partner may still be in love, desiring reconciliation and missing their partner.
An individual might miss their ex if they were part of an unhealthy relationship. Some relationships are harmful and abusive and can leave an array of broken self-esteem and low self-confidence in their wake. An individual might have been demeaned, ridiculed, or convinced during the relationship that they are inadequate. This type of interaction could potentially leave a person feeling like nobody else would ever want to be with them, causing them to miss and re-pursue their ex.
A situation may occur where one breaks up with their partner in pursuit of “greener pastures.” Perhaps that person wanted a partner who was more compassionate, attentive, or hard-working. Upon playing the field, if that person does not find what they are looking for, they can begin to miss their ex and what that individual brought to their relationship. For the first time, they might be able to view their partner and relationship clearly, especially if they were previously looking at it with faulty perceptions.
Being in a relationship gives one the security of always having a companion around. You have a built in “plus one” to bring to weddings, dinner dates, and the movies. When individuals find themselves alone after a breakup, they might miss the companionship that their relationship provided. However, a person might confuse this companionship and erroneously equate it to missing their ex.
A person can also miss their ex if they remain stuck in the relationship, even when their partner has moved on. A person can become caught and stagnant if they continually check their ex’s social media accounts, call them, or constantly peruse old love notes. A person might spend time thinking and re-living positive moments from the relationship, which might trigger intense longing for their ex and happier times.
It is true, breakups are hard and relationships fail to provide a how to guide. However, the best way for you to stop missing your ex is to spend time investing in yourself. Strengthen your mind, build confidence, and become someone that you are proud of. Set goals, reach them, and love yourself, so that somebody else can have the privilege of loving you too.
Tracy is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is a clinical supervisor for the Community YMCA, Counseling & Social Services branch. Tracy has over 12 years of experience working in many settings including partial care hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, community agencies, group practice, and school-based programs. Tracy works with clients of all ages, but especially enjoys working with the adolescents. Tracy facilitates groups using art therapy, sand play and psychodrama.