Love is something that happens. You do not know when and how you will fall deeply in love. But when it does not work out the way you want it to, you might be left grappling with the question, “I still love my ex. But how to move on when you are still in love with your ex?”
While some people can move on quickly, some people find it hard to move on after a breakup for months, even years. It is hard for them to find closure. Let’s face it. Like you cannot fall in love when you want to, you cannot move on by snapping your fingers either. There are times you are left thinking, “My ex has moved on but I am still in love with him.”
In a situation like this, what do you really do?
How Do You Know If You Still Love Your Ex?
It has been 9 months that Shaun and Lilly (name changed) broke up. Shaun said, “My pillow still gets wet every night. I just keep thinking of our happy days. I have spoken to her a few times and she only remembers the bad things I realize. I just keep asking myself how does she feel so much hatred for me when I still love my ex? Why do I still love her?”
Shaun is not the only one in a situation like this. Many people go through similar emotions after a breakup and many men say that the reality of a breakup hits them much later.
There is no sure-shot formula of getting over an ex but there are things you could try. But the signs that you are still in love with your ex will always be loud and clear.
Here are 8 signs you are still in love with your ex.
Related Reading: How To Get Over Someone You See Everyday And Find Peace
1. The memories remain fresh
Every time you look at a book he gifted or the movie on Netflix you used to watch together you feel a rush of emotions. The food you eat, the café you visit, the mall you go shopping at are all about memories. You just feel they would suddenly appear around the block when you take a turn. It could be a very sad feeling, we agree.
2. You keep looking for answers
You keep analyzing and re-analyzing what went wrong. You think of what you could have done so that the breakup wouldn’t have happened.
Where did you go wrong? Where did your ex go wrong? You are stuck in a vicious cycle of questions and more questions and you don’t know how to move on because you are still in love with your ex.
Ryan was so deeply entrenched in this loop of seeking answers and not getting any that drunk texting and midnight calls became routine for him. He says that he knew it made him come across as pathetic but no having the answers was worse. After all, they’d been together 7 years, and one day, his partner just decided to pull the plug. “His reasons just didn’t feel convincing enough,” he adds.
3. There is emotional dependency
After a hard day at work, you miss interacting with them. Talking, cribbing, sharing and laughing together were all the things you used to do with them.
You feel a vacuum when you look at your phone. It doesn’t ring, there isn’t a text. You feel a sense of hollowness inside. There may be other people in your life who are just a phone call away but no one them come close to making you feel the way your ex did.
Sheena, a bright and independent career woman, was so emotionally dependent on her ex that well after a year of breaking up, she’d playback old voicemails and audio messages he’d sent her just to feel connected to him.
She says, “The awareness that I still have feelings for my ex was too painful but I saw no way out of them either.”
4. You still think you can make a difference
When you get to hear about a new job opening that could be suited to them or a workshop they would have loved to attend, you end up texting them about the opportunities.
You still feel you could make a positive difference in their life. The feeling of belonging still exists. When you still feel connected to my ex, you continue to care about them the way you did when you were in a relationship. They may have moved on but that hasn’t changed the way you view your connection.
5. You cannot wish them well
You know you still love your ex when you cannot tell them you are happy they found someone. Or for that matter, find it in your heart to be happy about them moving on. In your mind, they still belong to you and you belong to them.
You feel hurt, jealous and angry at the very thought that they could find happiness with someone else. Even when the news of them getting back on the dating scenes reaches you, instead of figuring out how to move on from an ex you still love, you seethe over thought of how could they move on.
6. You lose interest in sex
Your body craves for that touch, that intimacy. It doesn’t look only for sex. The very thought of reaching out for the toy to satisfy yourself is revolting to you.
You cannot imagine achieving any kind of intimacy with anyone else neither can you love yourself physically. There is no question of a rebound. The thought of sex with someone other than your ex puts you off completely.
Jacinda has been single after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend. “The dry spell has gone on for so long that may have turned asexual,” she says half-jokingly. It’s not that she hasn’t entertained the thought of casual hookups or tried having flings.
‘It just doesn’t do anything for me,’ she says.
7. You still believe they care for you
You still believe that no matter what they still care for you. If you are unwell and in dire need of support, they would be by your side. You believe this.
If you hear they are down with a cold, you want to take care of them only to be told to keep away. But you still don’t realize they don’t want you anywhere close to them.
Related Reading: 11 Practical Tips To Get Over Someone Fast
8. You still feel they miss you
You could miss them like crazy but you believe that they miss you too. After all the love, intimacy and happiness they shared with you, you feel they miss you as much as you do.
Misha had developed a tendency to keep calling her ex every time something reminder her to him. His cold responses and several unanswered phone calls weren’t enough to drive home the point. He ultimately blocked her number, and that hit Misha like a bolt out of the blue.
The writing was on the wall on all along – he didn’t miss her the way she did. Except, Misha was still too connected to her ex to see it.
If, like her, you too are not willing to admit that they have moved on, have become emotionally detached from you, you are clearly still in love with your ex and don’t know how to move on.
15 Ways To Move On When You Are Still In Love With Your Ex?
My cousin was in a relationship for 8 years and then she got married. Within a year, her husband cheated on her and they divorced. But she is still in love with her ex after years.
She has been unable to cook since they divorced because he used to love her cooking and I have seen her welling up when I got her Blueberry Cheesecake. Apparently, it was her ex-husband’s favorite and she got it for him often. He has moved on, got married, has a kid, but my cousin is still in love with her ex.
So, how to move on when you are still in love with your ex? Psychologist Kranti Sihotra Momin has some expert tips to offer.
“A friend of mine broke up with his partner after 8 years of relationship. Letting go and moving on is usually the topic we ponder about these days. Each one of us has gone through this phase of adjusting to a breakup. As we navigate calibrating with a breakup, there are things that can help one adjust holistically and be happy,” she says.
You have to take baby steps to gradually move on. We tell you 13 ways of how to move on from an ex you still love:
Related Reading: 18 Proven Ways To Get Over Your Ex-Boyfriend And Find Happiness
1. Get the right support
To key to moving on when you’re struggling with the ‘my ex has moved on but I still love him’ realization is to surround yourself with people who genuinely love and care about you.
“Reach out to friends and family who are supportive. Connecting with others will make you feel less lonely. Accept every social invitation that comes your way. Work on meeting people with whom you can develop new friendships,” Kranti says.
2. Stop brooding
People who are still in love with their ex do this a lot. If you want to know how to move on if you are still in love with your ex, then our advice would be to stop brooding and wallowing after a point. Yes, it’s perfectly okay to spend a few days, holed up in your room, crying your heart out, binging on ice-cream and romcoms, and then crying some more.
This is an essential part of the grieving process, so by all means allows yourself to do that. But set a limit on how long. You cannot spend endless sleepless nights thinking about how you could have fixed a broken relationship.
Instead, focus your energies on thinking about all the efforts you made because you thought the relationship was worth saving. If things still didn’t work out, it was not meant to be.
3. People fall out of love
Not every loves story gets its “happily ever after”. That ideal outcome belongs in fairytales. Falling out of love is as common as falling in love. You might be still in love but your partner might have fallen out of love. The way you feel towards them they don’t feel towards you. Accept that.
Yes, it may hurt and sting. Reiterating this reality in your mind, over and over again, is the best way to counter the unshakable sense of ‘I still have feelings for my ex’. Gradually, you will find that you are coming to terms with the reality.
The process of moving will begin
4. Don’t keep grieving forever
If you are this person who wells up at the slightest opportunity or keeps talking about the ex then other people around you might run away. Grief is inevitable after a breakup and helps in the healing process but accept that you cannot keep grieving forever.
Losing love and an important relationship can feel like an almost crippling experience. Rest assured you will be able to look back at it some day, and say perhaps it was for the best. For that to happen, you have to move on from grieving to slowly letting go.
Working on pulling yourself together and get through your day as normally as possible. If thinking ahead seems too much, take things one step at a time.
Related Reading: Why Trying to Make Your Ex Feel Jealous is TOTALLY Silly!
5. Deactivate your social media accounts
Social media can really set you back on any progress you’ve made on how to move on from an ex you still love. You’d inevitably find yourself stalking your ex on social media. Their posts that show them going about their life completely unaffected by the breakup will only hurt and sting more.
A social media detox doesn’t hurt in such a situation. At least you don’t have to see those happy couple photos and think that you are the only person in the world whose relationship did not work out.
6. Go on a solo trip
If you are thinking about how to move on if you are still in love with your ex then solo travel is a great idea. When you travel alone you discover new things about yourself. Solo travel gives you new confidence and perspective about life that would help you take a fresh look at the future and move on.
After her engagement fell through and her partner called off a 4-year-old relationship out of the blue, Nic felt claustrophobic in her old life. Everything reminded her of him and their relationship. So, she took a brief sabbatical, took the money she was saving for the wedding, and spent three months traveling across Europe.
“It was sometime during my second month there that I realized that I hadn’t thought about my ex in days. Suddenly, I didn’t still feel connected to my ex anymore. I’ve never felt freer or more liberated,” she says.
7. Look for closure
Closure helps you to find an answer to the questions that have been tormenting you. Kranti says, “Letting go of something that was once important can be difficult and many people ponder over closure in doing so.
“Having answers about one’s past relationship can help us maintain our identity and learn something about the behavior of ourselves and others. You should start with taking responsibility for your own actions.
“Accept that your partner might not want to communicate with you or give you answers that are justifiable to you. However, give yourself time to grieve, understand what happened wrong in your relationship and finally move on and be happy.”
Remember only you can give yourself closure. Your ex has no part to play in it because they may never say the things you want them to. Sitting around and waiting for that to happen will only keep you hung up on them.
8. Keep yourself busy
If you are going through a breakup staying busy does help. You could take up some more work at the office, take online painting classes or join a music class.
Doing something creative would help you to process your emotions. In the back of your mind, you could think “I still love my ex’ but in the midst of a busy day you will not get the time to mull over it.
Related Reading: How To Get Over Someone You Love Deeply – 9 Steps To Follow
9. Avoid a rebound relationship
If you are still in love with your ex and you are grappling with an emotional vacuum then there is a possibility that you could end up in a rebound relationship.
This is the most dangerous thing to do because you will be carrying your emotional baggage into the relationship and you are setting yourself up for more torment.
Just think like this: “I still love my ex but I am also trying to love someone else.” Does it really happen?
A friend of mine got into a rebound relationship just two weeks after getting out of a long-term one. Her new partner became emotionally invested rather quickly. They were away on a weekend trip where he popped the question. Despite herself, she said yes.
They were married two months later, and divorced within the first year. Now, both are emotional wrecks who blame and resent each other for all that went wrong in their relationship and marriage.
10. Leave the same group of friends
How to move on when you are still in love with your ex? Leave the same group of friends you used to hang out with. Yes, we know friends matter. But if you had the same set of friends, it’s inevitable conversations would veer towards your ex or your breakup.
You will keep going back to the same memories and the questions. Leave this group. They would bring you news about your ex and could even try to laugh or manipulate you if you say, “I am still in love with my ex.”
11. Chalk out your own plan
Have a diary. Write down what you want to do with your life. Write down your goals, motivations, aspirations and bucket lists. It could be anything from working toward that promotion to learning a new life skill, getting another degree or devoting yourself to a cause.
Focus your energies on working toward these goals little by little. Journaling your goals and aspirations will help you stay determined and focused.
As you immerse yourself in these pursuits, the pain of the breakup will take a back seat. Slowly but surely, you will begin to heal from the heartbreak.
Related Reading: 22 Tips To Forget Someone You Loved Once
12. Follow the No Contact Rule
If you get to see your ex every day because you worked in the same office or you were neighbors, then moving on can become that much harder. Following the No Contact Rule is ideal for getting over a breakup in such as situation.
Consider finding a new job or place to live. If such drastic changes are not feasible, you can always request to be moved to another department within the same office or another branch of the same organization. Likewise, if you cannot move out immediately, change your schedule to minimize run-ins with your ex.
Definitely, don’t try to accidentally run in to them or hang around them on purpose.
13. Join new groups and clubs
If there’s a readers club in the café in your vicinity join it or is there a yoga group that does beach yoga on weekends and online yoga through the week? Join it.
This not only helps you to get involved in new activities and cultivate new interests, this also helps you push away that thing that’s always on your mind: I am still in love with my ex.
14. Do something adventurous
Go for a bungee jump, join the biking group or try that hiking trail at the Himalayas. Re-discover yourself through these experiences. This will help you get over the ex you still love.
You will get a new perspective of life and maybe you will end up being grateful the relationship ended and move on.
15. Take care of yourself
Kranti says, “Do not use food as a means to cope with a breakup, do so with a friend. It is important to create healthy physical rhythms after a breakup. Plan to do something soothing and calming every day.
Try meditation, yoga, journaling. Breakup puts us in a state of chaos and disorganization. In order to counteract that, one must find a new routine. It can be comforting to have a structure in your life. Also, forgive yourself for whatever happened, accept that your emotions will fluctuate.”
As we said earlier like you don’t fall in love in one single day you don’t get over it just like that. It is normal to be in love with your ex. I have people saying, “I still love him after years.” It’s definitely not easy to forget your love but if you are thinking,
“How to move on from an ex you still love?” we gave you the answers.
Yes, it’s natural. Like you don’t fall in love with someone in a day you cannot snap out of that love in a day either. It takes time to get over your ex.
If you are aware you are still in love with your ex then it’s better to stay away from the dating scene for some time. Because then it becomes a rebound and you carry the emotional baggage of the past relationship into this one.
If your ex has moved on and there is no way you can fix the broken relationship you should try to do things that will help you to move on too.
You must have tried your level best to save the relationship but it did not work out. Then it’s best to let go because the more you hold on the more you torment yourself.
If you are still welling up when you think about them, if you are constantly grappling with the memories then you are still in love with them.
Yes it is normal to think about your ex every day. Many people do so years after their breakup but they don’t admit it. Some even have dreams about their ex after they are happily married and parents to their kids.