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I Miss My Ex: Why You Miss Them & 41 Ways to Forget Them for Good

Your ex was a big part of your life… or just great in the sack! Either way, you might find yourself wondering, “Why do I miss my ex?” But there are some legit reasons.

missing your ex

You may feel like a total loser for still missing your ex, but trust us, you are not alone. It’s a common question people ask themselves: “Why do I miss my ex?” Even if it’s been years since the two of you snowballed from lover-ville to splitz-ville, there are completely legit reasons you could be missing that bastard. It’s a natural part of the post-breakup experience, and understanding these reasons can help you make sense of your feelings.

For one, he was sweet. He always grabbed coffee for you in the morning, he knew your innermost thoughts, he made you laugh, he gave you tickle fights, he had amazing taste in music, and he also had that insatiable ability to make anything fun – even waiting to get blood drawn.

On the flip side, your ex may have been a total a-hole, but there were still definite perks to having him around. For starters? He fixed things, his shirts were inhumanly comfortable to sleep in, he cooked, he owned an X-box, paid for meals, and he had that sleek car you pretended not to care about *but it secretly made you feel like a badass*.

The Psychology of Missing Someone

Before we dive further, let’s talk about that nagging feeling of emptiness. You know, the one where you think your ex could fill it despite knowing better. Why do you miss your ex so much? It’s not just about nostalgia or loneliness; there’s a whole psychological play behind it.

First up, let’s chat about Attachment Theory, courtesy of John Bowlby. This theory helps us understand why your reactions post-breakup can feel so intense.

Depending on whether your attachment style is secure, anxious, or avoidant, your emotional responses can vary widely. If you’re anxiously attached, for example, the end of a relationship might hit you harder, making you wonder, “Why do I miss my ex this much?” [Read: Avoidant attachment style: The types, 32 symptoms & how to love one]

Then, there’s the tricky business of memory and idealization. It’s like your brain selectively remembers all the good times and conveniently forgets the not-so-great moments.

This rose-tinted view of your past relationship can leave you longing for what was, making you think that nobody else can measure up. It’s one of the reasons you miss your ex – you’re missing a version of the relationship that might not have been entirely real.

And, oh, let’s not forget about those sneaky neurochemical factors. When you’re in love, your brain is buzzing with dopamine and oxytocin, creating those warm, fuzzy feelings.

After a breakup, your brain’s like a party venue after the guests have left – the feel-good chemicals drop, and you’re left with a longing for that emotional high. This withdrawal can have you yearning for your ex, thinking they were the only source of such happiness.

Legit Reasons For Missing Your Ex

So is it normal to be missing your ex way after the fact? Yep, and we’ve got 8 reasons to prove it.

1. You Haven’t Found Somebody New

Move over ex-boyfriend, it’s time to make room for the rebound! Or… maybe not? If you haven’t yet rebounded from your ex with a new, fun, and shiny boy to look at, then you may be stuck missing him for a while.

If you’re not occupying your time with somebody new, or just playing around with a rebound, then you’ve found a pretty legit reason for missing your ex: boredom.

2. A Little *Good Morning Notes*

As humans, we love attention shown in ways big and small. One small gesture of affection that is definitely something that keeps you missing your ex is the way he would send you a little *good morning note* and an accompanying *goodnight note* every single day just letting you know that you are on his mind. [Read: Are you still in love with your ex?]

3. Inside Jokes With Your Ex

That moment when you find yourself smiling at something you know he would find hilarious, but you can’t even tell him about it. Ouch.

Inside jokes are one of the basic things that separate you and your mate from anyone else *and obviously all that sex*. In the same way you can’t pass old hangout spots without missing your ex, random hilarity that reminds you of an inside joke with your ex is going to hurt like a mother. Never underestimate the crippling emotional power of an inside joke between you and your now ex.

4. He Thought About You

This is a great reason for missing your ex. There’s something to be said for being thought of throughout the day. This is undoubtedly one of the things that sucks the most after you break up with someone. Suddenly, there’s no one else in the world who seems to care about all the little things you do throughout the day – like how you slightly changed up your Starbucks order, or the weird couple arguing behind you in line at checkout. [Read: Should you date your ex again?]

5. His Family Rocked Your Socks Off

In this case you may not be missing your ex, you might actually be missing his badass mom who openly talked about sex and always kept it real, or his hilarious dad who taught you to be a Ms. Fix-It in just the span of a few months. If your ex-boyfriend had an awesome family, it may feel more like you’re breaking up with them all than just the douchebag you were actually dating. Especially in cases where you’re not emotionally or physically close to your own family, breaking up with your ex can contain a whole new level of disappointment and heartache.

6. He Was Great in Bed

What’s sex got to do with it? A lot, actually. If your boyfriend was a selfish ass in the sack, you’re going to have a much, much easier time getting over that jackass. That being said, if he was the king of clitoral stimulation and wouldn’t stop until you came… yikes. You’re in for a hard road ahead.

In the era of random hookups, a good lover who cares about both your emotional and physical needs between the sheets is pretty hard to find. If he knows what he’s doing with that clit, he’s a keeper. So obviously, if you end up losing that “keeper” you’re probably going to go through a mourning period, even if only for the sex! [Read: Jealous of your ex?]

7. Shared Dreams and Goals

You two had built a world of dreams together. Whether it was traveling the globe or opening a cafe, these shared aspirations can linger in your heart, making you miss your ex. It’s not just about losing a person, but also the future you had envisioned together.

Each plan you made and every dream you shared added another layer to your bond. Now, when you think about those unfulfilled plans, it brings a sense of loss, a yearning for what could have been. It’s these abandoned dreams and shared goals that keep the thought of your ex lingering in your mind.

8. They Were Your Go-To Support System

Whenever life threw lemons, your ex was there to make lemonade. Now, when challenges arise, you might find yourself instinctively wanting to reach out to them, reminiscing about the support they offered. They were your sounding board, your comfort zone, and your crisis manager all rolled into one.

The loss of this support system can leave a significant void. It’s not just their presence you miss but the reassurance and stability they brought into your life. The role they played as your support system is a key reason you might find yourself missing your ex. [Read: Signs of a supportive partner who encourages you & your goals]

9. You Miss Being Understood

There’s comfort in being with someone who just gets you. If your ex was someone who understood your quirks and moods without much explanation, their absence might feel like a part of you is missing. It’s like losing a part of your communication puzzle.

Being understood like this is rare, and not having it anymore can feel disorienting. It’s the ease of being yourself without the need for explanations that you miss. This deep understanding and acceptance are often why you find yourself longing for your ex.

10. Their Quirks Grew on You

Remember how you used to find their obsession with weird documentaries annoying? Now, you catch yourself smiling at the thought. Sometimes, it’s the little idiosyncrasies of your ex that leave a lasting impression.

What once seemed irritating has now become endearing in their absence. It’s these unique traits that made your relationship special, and now they’re the things you miss. [Read: Unique traits that make a person trustworthy]

The quirks of your ex, which you once took for granted, have become treasured memories that you find yourself cherishing.

11. The Way They Made You Laugh

They had the magic recipe to make you laugh until your sides hurt. Why do you miss your ex? Maybe it’s those spontaneous bouts of laughter and the joy that came with them. The way they could turn a bad day into a good one with just a joke or a funny face is something you deeply miss.

Laughter is a powerful connector, and the absence of that shared joy can leave a noticeable gap in your life. It’s the laughter and lightness they brought into your daily routine that you find yourself longing for.

12. Your Mutual Friends

Hanging out with mutual friends can stir up memories. When friends mention your ex or you visit familiar hangouts, it can trigger feelings of nostalgia, making you miss what once was. These friends are living reminders of the times you shared, making it hard to move on.

It’s not just the person you miss but the social life and the shared experiences you had with them. Every gathering or mention of their name can reopen old wounds, reminding you of the connection you once had.

13. They Challenged You to Grow

If your ex played a role in your personal growth, you might miss how they pushed you to be better. It’s not just the person but the evolution they sparked in you that you’re longing for. They were like a catalyst for your personal development, constantly encouraging you to reach new heights.

In their absence, you miss that driving force, the challenge that spurred you on. The growth you experienced with them becomes a poignant reminder of their significance in your life. It’s this aspect of personal development and encouragement that can be a major reason for missing your ex. [Read: 27 secrets to focus on yourself, grow as a person & create your own sunshine]

14. The Comfort of Routine

Humans are creatures of habit. The daily routines you had with your ex, no matter how mundane, can create a sense of loss when they’re gone. From your morning coffee ritual to your weekend walks, these routines became ingrained in your life.

Breaking these habits can feel like losing a part of yourself. It’s the comfort and predictability of these shared routines that you miss. The disruption of this daily rhythm is a significant factor in why you find yourself longing for your ex.

15. Music and Movies You Shared

That band you both loved or the movie quotes you’d repeat to each other – these shared interests can evoke strong emotions and memories, making you miss your ex. Every song or film now carries a weight of nostalgia. It’s like each note or scene is a direct line to the memories you shared. [Read: 49 proven secrets to stop thinking about your ex & forget them for good]

You miss the shared excitement of discovering a new band or the comfort of watching a favorite movie together. These shared cultural experiences were a key part of your relationship, and now they’re reminders of what you’ve lost.

16. You Miss Being Someone’s “Person”

Being the first one they’d call with news or the one they’d turn to in a crisis – this special status is something you might find yourself missing deeply. You were their confidante, their partner, their go-to person in good times and bad.

Losing this role can feel like losing a part of your identity. It’s not just their presence you miss, but the sense of purpose and belonging that came with being their “person.” This loss of a special role in someone’s life is a profound reason for the emptiness you feel.

17. They Saw the Best in You

If your ex was your biggest cheerleader, their absence might leave a void. It’s natural to miss someone who believed in you, even when you didn’t believe in yourself. They helped you see strengths you didn’t know you had.

This kind of support is hard to come by, and its absence is keenly felt. You miss not just the person, but the way they made you view yourself. Their belief in you was a powerful force, and now that it’s gone, you feel its absence deeply.

18. The Little Acts of Kindness

Those morning coffees they made just the way you like or the way they’d always text to check if you got home safe – it’s often these small acts of love that linger the longest. These gestures were the everyday expressions of their love and care for you.

Now, in their absence, you find yourself missing these small but significant tokens of affection. It’s not just the grand gestures but these minute, everyday acts that you find yourself longing for.

19. The Feeling of Belonging

Being part of a couple can give a sense of belonging. After a breakup, this loss of identity as a ‘we’ can be a big reason you find yourself missing your ex. You were part of a team, a unit, and now you’re navigating the world solo.

You miss the sense of partnership, the feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself. It’s this loss of shared identity and belonging that makes the absence of your ex so pronounced.

20. Their Passion and Ambitions

If you admired their drive and passion, whether for their career or hobbies, this admiration can turn into a form of longing after the relationship ends. You were inspired by their ambition, and their zest for life.

Now, you miss being part of that energetic pursuit of goals. Their passion was contagious, and without it, your life might feel a bit duller. The admiration you had for their ambitions forms a significant part of why you miss your ex.

21. The Safety and Security They Provided

If your ex made you feel safe and secure, whether emotionally or physically, adapting to their absence can be challenging. This sense of security is often a significant factor in why you miss your ex. They were like a safe haven, a place where you felt protected and cared for. [Read: Key differences: Protective boyfriend or a controlling boyfriend?]

Now, without that sense of security, you might feel more vulnerable or exposed. You miss the comfort and assurance that came with having someone who made you feel safe. It’s the loss of this emotional and physical security that contributes significantly to why you miss your ex.

“I Miss My Ex!” How to Stop Missing Your Ex For Good

If you’ve been in love, you’ve been in this situation before. If you’re trying to figure out what to do to stop missing your ex, then we have you covered.

1. Get Rid of the Negativity

If you miss your ex, push past the negative feelings. Are you good enough? Did they even love you?

You need to stop it! These are all common questions to ask yourself at times like these, but the feelings tagging along with them can really do damage to how you feel. You cannot control all situations, and whatever happens, happens. [Read: Feeling unlovable? 12 life-changing truths you need to know]

2. Realize Your Feelings

You need to realize why you’re missing them. Is it because you really love your ex or is it simply because your ego is bruised? I used to call my exes and try to get their attention, not because I actually missed them, but because I wanted them to pay attention to me.

Okay, sure, maybe I sound like a jerk, but honestly, who likes it when no one is paying attention to them? It’s all about the ego in this case and that isn’t good for them or you. [Read: 15 reasons why your ex still calls you and stays in touch]

3. Get Back Together

This is only if, and we mean if, you really want to be with them. Don’t get back together with them and realize you were actually wrong.

If you’re missing them after months, or even years, of not being with them, maybe you should think about reconsidering your relationship. [Read: 11 rules for getting back together with an ex & protect your heart]

If you’re missing them that much, maybe you actually did make a mistake. You can win them back. It’s possible. To get them back, though, you need to work on yourself and see the flaws you had within your relationship.

Try working on yourself and through that, show them you’re ready to try out the relationship again.

However, do not place all your eggs in one basket. Sometimes, things just run their course and trying to bring them back just prolongs the agony even further. [Read: 16 signs your ex wants you back and can’t stop thinking about you]

4. Write Them Letters

But don’t send them! We repeat, don’t send them! Okay, send them one. If they reply, send them another. However, don’t become a stalker sending their ex weekly letters, with teardrops stained on perfumed letterhead.

This applies to emails as well. And texts. And any other method of communication.

This is more of a tool for you to express your feelings in a healthy way.

Write down every emotion, every thought you have so you don’t bottle everything up. Because eventually, you’ll snap, and nobody needs to feel that way.

5. Keep Yourself Busy

If “I miss my ex” is on repeat in your head, you need to keep yourself busy. What happens when you have time? You think. About what? Them. Yeah, exactly. Not the healthiest thing to do all day. [Read: How to stop thinking about your ex before it ruins your future]

Now, keeping yourself busy doesn’t mean staring at their Instagram or checking when they were last on WhatsApp.

Speaking from experience, it’s a bad way to spend the day. Stay focused on yourself. Go to the gym, join a club, go out with friends. You won’t be able to not think about them, but by keeping your days busy, you’ll reduce the opportunity to stroll down memory lane.

6. Think About You

Stop the sulking. If you’re missing your ex, either way, you need to establish yourself at number one. Why? Because if you’re not your number one, you’ll struggle to maintain a relationship and you’ll suffer in getting over your ex.

Do you want to get your ex back? If you don’t focus on yourself and make necessary changes in your behavior, your relationship will be the same as before.

Do you want to get over them? Then make a conscious effort to drive in the thought that it’s okay to miss them, and you will get over them. But what matters from now on is you, not someone you left behind for good.

If you miss your ex and sit at home pouting all day, they’ll see this as a dependency issue and that’s a red flag. Me, myself, and I. Say that out loud again. Me, myself, and I. [Read: How to stop loving someone else… and love yourself more]

7. Give Them Space

No one wants to get back with someone who’s constantly checking on them. It’s like slowly being suffocated with a plastic bag. People like space.

You like your space when you’re on the bus or sitting on the toilet—so let your ex have theirs. However, we’ve said this before – don’t focus your entire healing journey on the possibility of getting them back. Go about your business, focus on yourself, and you know the line – what will be, will be.

8. Give Yourself Time

If you’re missing your ex, you need to give yourself time to heal. The quote, “time heals all wounds”, is really cliché, but it’s true. It may feel like forever, but you WILL get over this person sooner than you realize.

The truth is, clichés are clichés for a reason. [Read: All the best quotes you need while going through a breakup]

9. Keep Goals in Mind

If you find yourself missing your ex, use long-term goals to keep your mind off of them and to move forward with your life. These goals could be educational goals or simply a goal to see your family more often. Find a goal that gives you purpose or joy. [Read: When you miss him – 20 mind tricks to stop missing the wrong guy]

10. Remove Reminders

If you find yourself really missing your ex, taking down the photo of you two from your fridge is a great start. And that teddy bear they gave you? And the necklace… oh, yeah, and handmade birthday card… just… yeah… How about we tuck those away for now?

Move anything visual around your house that reminds you of them. You don’t have to do some chanting and burn those things in a fire, just put them in a box and store them away. Or do the fire and chant. Whichever makes you feel better. [Read: Why you ex still crosses your mind from time to time]

11. Meet New People

You don’t have to join Tinder or have some sort of horrible string of one-night stands. If you do that, chances are, the grieving process will take even longer—except the swiping may be fun!

Hang out with friends and meet people when you go out, it doesn’t have to be a romantic connection, maybe someone you could catch a movie or grab an ice cream with. You know – a friend. [Read: Self-discovery after a breakup: How to happily move on]

12. Go to Therapy

There isn’t anything wrong with talking to someone. Actually, if you have talked about missing your ex to your friends, they’re probably exhausted with this topic. I’m sorry, but We’ve been that friend and you’ve been that friend — it’s not fun.

Speaking to a third party is a great way to receive unbiased advice and an outside opinion on the situation. Friends are fine and good, but they’re not therapists. Sometimes, the advice a friend gives you can be really far off the realistic mark!

13. Ask Your Friends Not to Talk About Them

If you have mutual friends with your ex, then bringing up their name in conversation will not make the grieving process any easier.

Let your friends know you don’t want to talk about your ex. If they’re your real friends, they’ll respect your request and wait for you to get over this hurdle. [Read: What are the signs your ex has moved on? 15 clues to know for sure]

14. Sweat It Out

Everyone says physical activity is a great way to get over someone, because it’s true. If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, the best thing you can do is to sweat.

This not only slowly puts you into tip-top shape, but it helps release your hormones and reduce your stress and anxiety levels. So, get that playlist ready and get that butt outside. [Read: How to get over a broken heart – The real guide you need]

15. Go Somewhere – Anywhere!

If your ex lives down the street from you, go on a holiday to get away from the constant reminder. Or move. But a holiday sounds nicer. It will also give you a break from reality and show you just how big the world really is. You might return from your trip with a whole new outlook on life and love.

16. Get a New Haircut

You know what they say, when you change your hair, you really mean business! This doesn’t mean you should go too drastic and shave your head just because that’s what the celebrities are doing.

Change your style to something you’ve always wanted to try but never really had the guts to go for. It will be a real confidence booster and you’ll turn heads for the right reasons! [Read: 12 steps to change your life and find your happiness]

17. Flirt a Little

You might not feel like doing this at all. When you’re constantly thinking “I miss my ex”, the last thing you want to do is talk to someone else.

However, a little harmless flirting never hurt anyone and it can really build up your self-esteem after it’s taken a knock. Don’t mislead anyone or tell lies, just simply engage in a little friendly, harmless flirting and see how it makes you feel. [Read: 15 lessons you can learn from your own breakups]

18. Learn Something New

Distracting your mind can be done in so many different ways, but learning a new skill is a great way to go about it. You’ll expand your skill set, keep your mind busy, and you might even meet lots of new friends at your evening class.

19. Focus on a Mantra

You know that you miss your ex but you also know it’s over. The only way through this is with a steel focus to your mind.

A mantra can help you stay on the positive side, when all you want to do is cry. “I am strong and fine on my own”. “I miss my ex but those feelings are valid. It’s in the past”.

These are just a couple of examples, but choose something that suits you and get repeating it whenever you feel your resolve wobbling. [Read: Mantras to live by: 14 easy mantras that will transform your life]

20. Spend Time With People Who Build You Up

It’s fine to spend time with people outside of your regular circle. At times like this, you need to be around people who build you up and make you feel strong. Think about who you regularly spend your time with, and ask yourself whether they make you feel good or drag you down.

You Are Not Crazy For Missing Your Ex

Alright, so you and your ex are no longer a thing, and he was a total dick-head… but he was also kind of awesome when he wasn’t being such a jerk. Long story short? You are not so crazy for missing your ex. In fact, you’re totally normal.

If you find yourself asking, “Why do I miss my ex?” know that it’s a question that pops up for many. It’s like your brain is on a nostalgia trip, often highlighting the good times and glossing over the not-so-great moments. Remember, missing your ex doesn’t mean you want them back; it’s just a reflection of the complex human emotions you’re navigating. It’s part of the process of untangling your life and emotions from someone who was once a significant part of your world.

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Natasha_Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer, and the creator and author of her short stories on TheLonelySerb. She completed her first degr...
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