Missing your ex-lover after a breakup is practically unavoidable. It doesn’t matter whether your relationship was a pool of pus or a healthy little sunshine, overflowing with unconditional love. And it doesn’t matter who dumped who. Hell, even the fact that you hate your ex is irrelevant.
Yes, you’ve read that last bit correctly.
You might want to break your ex-partners’ neck, on the one hand, yet still crave their presence, the emotional connection, on the other.
I know, I know… Our brains are fucked up.
Ultimately, we’re always predisposed to missing our ex, no matter the whimsical or edgy blend of circumstances in our now-shattered relationship.
Now that we’ve settled that missing an ex is a typical collective human response, let’s move on to our next big question; why does someone miss their ex in the first place?
Why do you miss your ex?
Down below is a list of 4 prevalent reasons why people from all over the world miss their ex-lovers. Perhaps you can find yourself in one or multiple of these instances:
- You miss your ex because you’re feeling lonely. Even worse, perhaps you’re afraid of loneliness. Maybe, you’re so fearful that even a thought of your new single life causes you to expel tears and go rampant with sweat, all while trembling like you’ve seen a dead toddler waving a knife at you.
- You miss your ex because something reminded you of them. Perhaps an experience, like visiting a restaurant or a date-spot where you met them for the first time. Or maybe you’ve simply seen a photo of your ex that struck you with a deluge of exciting and painful memories.
- You could be missing your ex plainly because your brain one day randomly said, “fuck it, let’s miss our ex. Yay! *inhales a 3 tablespoon of cornflour*.”
- You miss your ex because they took a part of your identity with them after the breakup. And because of this, you feel confused and empty – like you have to “find yourself.” This point might be harder to understand, so let me explain.
When you’re committed and in love with someone for an extended period, your identities, that is, beliefs, goals, and values, begin to mix. And, your relationship with that person starts to gift your life with fulfillment, security, and heartfelt meaning.
This process makes it possible for two people to develop a unified relationship identity – a shared meaning, per se.
But now think about this: the relationship, which gave you fulfillment, a sense of security, and life meaning, is now gone.
Puff! Just like that.
What do you think would happen next? Well, you would probably start missing your ex. No wonder…
But tell me, have you ever wondered where that feeling of missing someone actually comes from? I assume you haven’t and that you don’t really care. But fuck it. I’m going to tell you anyway. It’s my article.
Why do you have to be such a nerd, Max? Geez. I mean, who would want to know the science behind missing an ex.
I hear you, my dear reader. But, let me put it this way.
We will leverage and make full use of the exact science behind why we miss someone when discussing methods for stopping your inclinations of missing an ex later in this article. Therefore, understanding this ‘science’ proves to be invaluable.
optional grey box of doom
Top questions from my readers and my best attempts at answering
1. Is it normal that I miss my ex even when I’m in another relationship?
Picture the situation of this specific reader. Let’s call her Cathy:
Cathy just woke up next to an incredible new partner. He’s everything she ever wanted, and he loves her to the moon and back. When Cathy got out of bed, he prepared her breakfast, brewed a nice cup of coffee for her, and done practically everything a healthy partner does.
What’s not to love, right?
Yet, despite everything Cathy’s boyfriend does and the fact that he is a lovely partner (in her words), she still misses her ex.
Is this ok? …It depends.
It depends on the consistency of missing someone, the timeframe, and the feelings’ output. Let me explain. In fact, let’s switch back to you.
It depends on the consistency of your missing them, the timeframe, and your feelings’ output. Let me explain.
For example, if you’re consistently missing your ex like a mad lad (high output) for an extended period – a few weeks to a few months (long timeframe) – then there’s probably something wrong/missing in your relationship.
Maybe your current partner is not meeting all of your primary emotional needs. Perhaps you have problems with intimacy and vulnerability due to your post-breakup or childhood trauma. Or you just might be with the wrong person.
However, if you miss your ex lightly and only occasionally, then we can conclude that missing them is perfectly fine. But keep in mind that these things are tough to measure.
In truth, I can’t give you an accurate answer to what is right or wrong.
The only real answer is the one you find within yourself through self-awareness, reflection, and self-exploration.
I know people hate it when I tell them this answer, but I’m not going to pretend like I know everything – because I don’t.
2. Help, I miss my ex so much it hurts!
Not really a question, but ok. I’ll run with it.
For starters, physical pain after a breakup is possible. It’s actually a condition called broken heart syndrome (yes, It’s a real thing). And by judging your statement, I assume that you might have it.
Broken heart syndrome is essentially a condition where you feel chest pain – like you’re about to have an actual heart attack.
And according to the Mayo Clinic, the syndrome “affects just part of the heart and temporarily disrupts your heart’s normal pumping function. The rest of the heart continues to function normally or may even have more forceful contractions.”
If you notice yourself within the preceding description, consider seeing a doctor. This syndrome can be fatal!
But, when it comes to the emotional healing side, nothing changes. Continue following my free guides, keep reading my books, and consider booking a consultation with me if you wish to recover even faster.
3. how to make my ex miss me?
What are you, fucking 12 or just retarded? Reevaluate your self-esteem, transvalue the values by which you live your life and your priorities in it, investigate the actual reasons behind your actions, and lastly, please grow the fuck up already. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t type “how to get an ex back” into Google.
4. It’s been three months and I still miss my ex. Is this normal?
I mean, it depends on the length of your relationship, but yes. Missing your ex after three months is usually normal and expected. For instance, I needed about eight months to stop missing my ex amid one of my more notable breakups.
5. I miss my ex after a year. Is that normal?
Generally, if it’s been over a year and you’re still missing your ex like crazy, then I would consider a consultation, therapy, or any other form of active breakup recovery.
But, if you’re only missing or thinking about them occasionally, and if that missing/thinking lessened over the months, then you’re probably going to be fine. You just might need more time.
In the end, everyone is different in terms of recovery. Some people get over a breakup in a matter of days, and others need years. It’s just how it is.
Where does the feeling of missing your ex come from
To understand the science behind missing someone, we have to start our search in the twisty depth of our brain.
When we’re in love with someone, our brain signals our body to release a dose of adrenaline, serotonin, testosterone, estrogen – and, most importantly, dopamine (also crowned the “feel-good-hormone”).
The more we’ve fallen for someone and vice versa, the more dopamine our body releases, and the sturdier our emotional bond with that person gets. The sturdier that bond gets, the more we become infatuated with the person we fancy. And the more infatuated we become, and the longer we’re with them, the more painful our breakup becomes when things fall apart.
Now picture this scenario.
The person that enabled you to bathe in a sea of dopamine and acted as a secure base is now stripped from your life.
Naturally, your immediate reaction to this horror is often (but not always) grief, stress, sorrow, longing, loneliness, and above all, heartache.
Conclusively, we can state that the cause – the foe – behind all reasons why we miss someone is the halt of bodily dopamine shots and a fracture of an (often sturdy) emotional bond.
This realization leads us to another one. What we’re fighting with, when missing our ex, is not only an emotional foe; it’s a psychological one.
So how does one fight a psychological adversary? With psychology, of course.
How to stop missing your ex – or at least lessen your day-dreaming
Below are the top five techniques rotted in proven psychology that I would use to feel better about my life and move on if I missed my ex like crazy.
1. Build and engage in a support system
A well-established support system is proven to help anyone cope with a loss, especially if the grieving person is fighting with an existential crisis due to their shattered identity.
This system refers to a group of friends, family, and peers who are willing and able to listen to your problems, give advice, and stand by your side when you feel like carving your eyes out with a spoon.
Studies show that support systems carry numerous mental and emotional health benefits, such as:
- Improving your ability to cope with stressful situations
- Alleviating the effects of emotional distress
- Promoting lifelong good mental health
- Enhancing self-esteem
- Lowering cardiovascular risks, such as lowering blood pressure
- Promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors
- Encouraging adherence to a treatment plan
So, what are you waiting for?
Build your support system, then thoroughly engage with it. It’s going to make you feel better. I promise. Or if you already have system like that, just jump in headfirst—you lucky, lucky bastard.
Two bonus tips:
- Get a pet: If you haven’t got a pet already, consider getting one. Like support systems, pet’s are proven to be therapeutic and can help you deal with your breakup effectively.
- Use medication: As a last resort, if you have a dopamine imbalance due to your breakup, medication can be an effective treatment form, according to Betterhelp.com.
2. Get rid of all the reminders of your ex
This one is self-explanatory. What is out of sight is (usually) out of mind.
So if you have any items that remind you of your ex, such as trinkets, old cups, clothing, or photographs, throw them away. Or at least hide the items from your presence.
Next, do a classic social media purge; unfriend and unfollow your ex on all social channels. Be that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or that toxic cringe-infested wasteland of 15-year-old fuckboys and hoes with daddy issues called Tik-Tok.
3. Manage your stress effectively
Stress is one of the most common side-effects of breakups. The more you stress, the more you’re probably going to think, obsess, and miss your ex.
Hence, finding ways to manage this stress is paramount for your mental health and sanity.
According to this Harvard study, three great ways to manage your stress are:
1. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, journaling, guided imagery, art therapy, yoga, deep breathing exercises, massage therapy, and a proper good night’s rest.
2. cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is, as the name implies, a form of therapy based on the idea that changing unhealthy thinking or replacing it with a different form can change your emotions.
3. Goal setting. “When people set goals for themselves, they have a positive sense of commitment, feel they’re in control, and are optimistic,” – by Dr. Webster.”
On a final note, the best technique to stop missing your ex is to get over them, which calls for getting through the vile post-breakup pain period.
That is a time when you find yourself trekking through a torrential downpour of turds with two angry-looking cinderblocks tied to your feet.
At least it feels that way…
Amid this period, you’re not only going to miss your ex, but you’re probably also going to think about them 24/7. And yes, the same finale will befall you, even if you’re the one who cut things of with them.
But hey, If I see you in the shit-storm, I’ll be sure to hand you an umbrella. I just hope you don’t mind that it’s the size of a baby head and ‘slightly’ torn on on the top.
Nevertheless, like everything in life, the painful shit-storm you’re going through will lessen and eventually turn into a light – yet equally fetid – drizzle. Then, somewhere in a distant stinking future, it will cease to exist. And finally, the kind sun will light your face, warm your skin, and fill you with content again.
Ultimately, everything will get back to normal in time. And life will go on.