Still In Love? How To Get Over Your Ex

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Shorter Version


Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute

A divorce doesn’t always mean the end of one’s feelings. In fact, even if you and your spouse mutually decide to end your marriage, there may be some residual feelings on one or both of your parts. These residual feelings can tie you to your ex and prevent you from moving on with your life. This can be a confusing time for you, so it makes sense that you could still be crushing on your ex.

But how can I tell if I’m still in love with my ex?

Well, if you are stalking your ex on social media, hanging on to his/her belongings, cozying up to your ex’s friends and family, thinking about and talking about him/her continuously, bouncing from one partner to the next, feeling as if something is missing from your life, and not “acting” like yourself, you’re most likely still crushing on your ex.

It is important to understand you’ll never find true happiness if you are pining over your ex. To move on you’ll need to open your heart and mind up to new people and new experiences. You’ll need to grieve, vent, stay busy, mingle, and focus on yourself.

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Longer Version


Est. Reading Time: 9 Minutes

It is normal and healthy to grieve for a failed relationship, especially if you are in the midst of a divorce. The time you’ll spend grieving and the intensity of your grief will vary, depending on how long you were married and how invested you were in the marriage (i.e. being married for a few months vs. being married for decades). Another factor that influences how long and how intensely you grieve is whose decision it ultimately was to divorce.

Is there any end in sight?

Yes, thankfully there is. Although it hurts like hell to lose someone you still love, if you are able to naturally progress through the various stages of grief, you will see a light at the end of the tunnel. The pain, disappointment, and sadness will eventually fade away and you’ll emerge with a newfound appreciation for life – and love. More specifically, you will gain a new perspective of what you want and do not want in your next relationship.

Okay, but what if I’m having trouble moving on?

Well, sometimes one ex gets “stuck in a rut” when it comes to totally letting go of the other one. In other words, one ex remains in love with the other one, preventing him/her from moving on and finding love elsewhere. In essence, this individual becomes “stuck” at the denial stage of the grieving process. He/she refuses to believe that it’s really over, even though the couple is getting or has gotten a divorce. This is not healthy.

Why not?

Because, your life stalls, causing you to possibly miss the person who is actually meant for you! The good news is this article will help you determine if you are still crushing on your ex, so you can heal and open your heart to the person who is truly meant for you.

Signs you still need to get over your ex

You’re still hanging onto your ex’s things…

If you are still hanging onto your ex’s things, you most likely are still crushing on him/her. For instance, if you refuse to return your ex’s football jersey or his/her beloved iPad after the divorce, that’s a good indication you haven’t moved on yet. Why would you want to hold on to your ex’s things so fiercely, if you weren’t still attached to him/her?

Another sign you’re still hanging on is continuing to wear your ex’s favorite track t-shirt to bed every night or hanging onto and re-reading love notes your ex wrote to you when you were dating and/or newly married. The truth is hanging onto these “things” after their “expiration date” means you haven’t moved on and you still long for a connection with your ex.

In addition, if you make a big fuss over insignificant belongings that don’t really mean much to you, such as your old, beat-up DVD player (that no one really uses anymore) or a lawnmower you bought your ex for his birthday, you’re still crushing on your ex.

You’re still following your old routines…

If you’re still following your old routines (things you did when you were married), even though you are getting divorced or are divorced, you’re probably still crushing on your ex. For instance, if you and your ex used to go to Amerigo for lunch every Sunday and you continue to visit this restaurant every Sunday, even though you are getting a divorce or are already divorced, there’s a good chance you are missing your ex like crazy.

This urge to recreate activities you used to do when you were married is a clear indication you haven’t completely moved on with your life. In other words, you are still crushing on your ex. The only way you’ll ever free yourself from the past is to create new routines and visit new places – ones that are not tied to your ex. 

Going to the same places you went to as a “couple” is not a good way to get over your ex. However, the best way to actually get over your ex is to…

Explore new places, develop new hobbies, and open yourself up to new people!

~ Psychologist’s Tip!

You’ve started stalking your ex on social media…

One of the strongest signs that you’re still crazy about your ex is if you have started stalking your ex on social media. What do I mean? I mean creeping on your ex’s Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumbler pages to check-up on him/her and see what he/she is doing.

Now, it’s totally normal (maybe not all that healthy, but totally normal) to peak at your ex’s social media pages from time-to-time – you’re human after all. However, if you are on his/her pages multiple times a day, if you continuously “like” or “love” your ex’s comments and posts, and/or if you start making “troll-like” comments on his/her pages, you are still crushing on your ex.

Checking-up on your ex on social media is not going to make him/her want you back; it only makes you look “stalkerish.”

~ Psychologist Tip!

This is especially true if you become depressed or angry when you see other people flirting with him/her. The real reason you are making your presence known on your ex’s social media pages is so he/she will “remember” you. You can’t get over your ex if you are constantly checking up on him/her. 

You’ve become “buddy-buddy” with your ex’s friends and family…

Even if you aren’t trying to stalk your ex on social media, you may still be using nefarious undercover tactics to ingratiate yourself with his/her friends and family. Unless you became extremely close with your ex’s friends and family after you married, or you were friends before you got with your ex; there is no reason for you to still be hanging around them, once you’re divorced.

Being “buddy-buddy” with your ex’s friends and family won’t make him/her want you back; rather it will probably only frustrated, irritate, or anger him/her.

~ Psychologist’s Tip!

If you continue to be “buddy-buddy” with them after you’ve called it quits, you’re most likely doing it to keep tabs on your ex. In other words, your goal is to extract information from his loved ones – i.e. who he/she is dating, if he/she ever mentions you, and if there is a chance you’ll eventually get back together. 

You “bounce” from one person to the next…

If you find yourself “bouncing” or “rebounding” from person to person, there’s a good chance you’re still crushing on your ex. More specifically, if you can’t get through a week without hooking up with a new person or getting into a new relationship, you’re probably not over your ex. The truth is some people deliberately date a lot of different people after their divorce as a way to prove something to themselves and their ex.

Never “date” someone new to just to prove a point or make your ex jealous, it will only backfire on you, leaving you angry and alone.

~ Psychologist Tip!

Most of the time, the thing you are trying to prove is that your ex should want you back because others want you. Another thing that could be happening in this scenario is that you “bounce” from person-to-person because none of the people you are dating resemble (in personality or physical appearance) your ex. If you can’t let go of the past, you’ll never find anyone you consider to be “as good” as your ex.

You’re not “acting” like yourself…

Getting divorced is a hard pill to swallow – so hard that it can cause you to behave uncharacteristically. In other words, it can cause you to not “act” like yourself. Some people become so distraught after the end of their marriages that they turn to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and/or over-eating to ease their pain.  Others turn to promiscuous behaviors and other dangerous and risky behaviors to prove they “don’t care about anything anymore.”

So, if you suddenly start “picking fights” with friends and loved ones (which is out of character), or if you have become sullen, irritable, depressed, moody, and/or angry, you probably haven’t completely gotten over your ex. And, you’re most likely behaving this way because you secretly want your ex back, but know it’s probably not going to happen.

If you’re recently divorced and you find yourself walking around angry, depressed, and/or moody, you are still in love with your ex. If that is the case, you may need to speak with a counselor, who can help you move on with your life.

You still think about & talk about your ex

If you can’t stop thinking about and talking about your ex, you are still holding on to your ex. It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking something bad about your ex or you’re “badmouthing” him/her to anyone and everyone. If he/she is always on your mind, you’re still in love with him/her. Period.

What’s even more alarming? If you only think about the good times you spent with your ex and only talk about how wonderful and attractive he/she is. No one really does that after the end of a marriage, unless some part of them still feels a spark.

Now, it’s normal to say things from time-to-time right after your divorce – you’re probably a little pissed off, confused, and disappointed. However, if your ex is still on your mind a year or more later, you’re stuck in “stall mode” and you need to restart your engine.  

You feel like “something” is missing from your life…

Sometimes, it’s hard to move on because you feel like “something” is missing from your life after the divorce. Maybe, it’s the cuddles you received from your ex every night or maybe, it’s how you used to get up early each Saturday and cook breakfast together.

If you feel like “something” is missing from your life, you still have romantic feelings towards your ex.

~ Psychologist’s Tip!

Maybe it’s just not having your ex there – to comfort, love, and protect you. Regardless of what that “thing” is, you miss it, which means you miss your ex as well. It’s impossible to get over your ex if you keep dwelling on what you have lost, instead of celebrating what you have found – freedom.

Getting over it is hard

Letting go of someone you loved (and probably still love) can feel overwhelming and daunting, especially when you either are in the midst of the divorce or recently divorced. The good news is there is still hope. You will eventually heal, but first, you have to allow yourself to let go.

Why does letting go feel so impossible?

Well, mainly because when you were in love and married, your body increased its production of the “feel-good” hormones – serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine. Your body also ramped up its production of oxytocin (the “love” hormone).

Once you divorce, those levels plummet leaving you feeling “out of sorts,” confused, anxious, depressed, hurt, and angry. Now that your ex is out of your life, you’re no longer getting that boost of happiness and love. It’s time to bring back happiness into your life – check out the steps below to help you move on.

Actionable Steps


1

Create a new daily schedule

One of the ways you can stop crushing on your ex is to create a new daily schedule. Following the same routines and rituals will only prevent you from moving on with your life and making new connections.

2

Keep busy

Another way to get over your ex is to keep busy – at least for the first couple of months after your divorce. Getting divorce can be lonely, especially if you are used to getting your ex’s attention. Now that you’re single, what should you do next? Well, I suggest that you start focusing on YOU. In other words, fill your day with fun activities and bettering yourself.
 
Grab a cup of tea or coffee with a friend, join a couple of fitness classes (Zumba, Salsa, kickboxing, etc.) at your local gym, take your dog to the dog park for some canine fun, do some much-needed housework, pay some bills, go grocery shopping, stop by your parent’s house, go to a spa for a mani, pedi, and/or facial, go play basketball with your buddies, wash clothes, go to a Meetup event (this event helps you meet new people), go to festivals, read books, watch your favorite sitcoms, take your child to a kid-friendly event, chat on the phone or text with a couple of your friends, sign-up for a hobby, etc. 
 
If you keep busy after your divorce, you’ll be so tired from all of the activities, that you won’t have time to crush on your ex.
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

3

Analyze why your marriage failed

The next time you find yourself pining over you ex; think about why your marriage failed. What led up to the divorce?

Maybe, you divorced because you and your ex never got to spend much time together. Or, you divorced because your ex was emotionally or physically abusive towards you. Perhaps, you and/or your ex were unfaithful in your marriage. Maybe, you and your ex had a hard time communicating and problem-solving. It could have been that you and your ex bickered all of the time. Maybe, you divorced because you or your ex’s personality or behavior changed. Or, your ex simply fell “out of love” with you.
 
So, the next time you find yourself thinking about your ex, be honest with yourself. Don’t just focus on the “good times” – think about the “bad ones” as well. Then, make a list of all of the reasons you and your ex weren’t a good fit. 
 
The best way to get over your ex is to be honest with yourself. There were reasons why your marriage failed. The sooner you figure out why you and your ex weren’t a good match, the sooner you can get out and meet the person who is.
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

4

Talk about it

Talking about your ex and the divorce with close friends and family members is both normal and healthy. Venting not only helps you “sort out” your feelings, it also can provide you with some much-needed comfort and support.
 
Make sure you pick someone who has your best interest at heart, and who will listen to you without judgement or criticism. In other words, share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. Ask your confidant to refrain from dishing out advice – unless you ask for it. At this point, what you really need from your friend is a listening ear. If you don’t feel you have anyone to vent to, write your feelings down in a self-reflection journal.  

5

Let your exs things go!

One of the most life-changing things you can do to let your ex go for good is let his/her things go! In other words, get rid of any physical reminders of your marriage – including your ex’s belonging.
 
Either give them back to him/her or donate them to a local charity like Goodwill or Salvation Army. You can’t move on with your life if you are shackled to your ex’s things – so let them go! Seeing his/her things day-in and day-out will only remind you of how much you miss him/her.
 
Seeing you ex’s things on a daily basis will only make you want your ex even more, so get rid of anything that reminds you of him/her asap!
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

6

Mingle

You’ll never get over you ex if you stay cooped up in the house alone. If you’re tired of being ignored, dismissed, or ridiculed by your ex, get out and mingle.
 
Go out Salsa dancing with friends on the weekends, sign-up for hobbies you’ve always wanted to try but never had time to do it when you were married, download the Meetup app and go to some of their events, attend some “singles” activities at your local church, sign up for a couple of classes at your local college to brush up on your skills, ask a friend or two to go with you to plays, movies, concerts, clubs, coffee, and/or out to dinner.
 
Call and text your friends every day to catch up with them and/work out at your local gym. Also, try to attend every celebration, activity, and event you are invited to. Once you are ready for love and romance again, ask friends if they know anyone who shares your hobbies, passions, and interests. Then, go on your first post-divorce date. Take your time – you’ll know when the time is right to open up your heart again.
 
You can’t meet the right person if you hide from the world. Go out and mingle with others. The person who is meant for you may be right around the corner!
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

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About the Author


Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn


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