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Why Can’t I Get Over My Ex When I Want to Move On and Forget Them?

Moving on from a past relationship can be incredibly hard. If you’re asking yourself, “Why can’t I get over my ex?” it may be bigger than you realize.

Why Can’t I Get Over My Ex

Why can’t I get over my ex? Well, it’s never easy to move on. There is always an aftermath of pain and loneliness, but when you get through that, you feel complete within yourself.

If you are struggling to let go of your ex, it can really eat away at your happiness. Not only do you think about them and let worrying about them intercept your private thoughts, but it also impacts your dating life and your future. The longer it takes to get over your ex, the more they are on your mind and the deeper they live inside your thoughts. 

I would never rush anyone to move on from a relationship before they’re ready. But if not being able to get over your ex is impacting you longer than you feel it should, it is probably time to do something about it.

You should take account of your past in order to move forward in the future.

[Read: How to let go of someone you love by hating them]

Why is it so hard to get over an ex?

Getting over an ex is never easy. Even when it seems like it is for someone else, you never know how they’re handling it internally. Some people are just better at hiding or burying their feelings than others.

A breakup, whether drawn out or sudden, is always an adjustment. You need time to get reacquainted with single life. You are used to sharing your time with someone and talking to someone you are now distant from.

That initial shock needs to wear off before you emotionally get over them. That takes time on its own. 

[Read: How to be single again after being in a relationship]

Confronting your new life as a single person

Once you get into a new routine, you consider the relationship and how it ended and why it ended. You also have to adjust to bigger changes. You aren’t just getting familiar with your alone time but also making changes to your living situation, future plans, etc.

And you must adjust emotionally and practically. Even if you feel like you should be over your ex or thought you were, feelings aren’t scientific. You won’t just feel over them and that’s it. You can have good days and bad days and just seeing a photo of them can trigger feelings you thought were gone.

And, let me remind you, these feelings are totally normal. In fact, it is rare for this not to happen. Getting over an ex isn’t something you can do by following a step-by-step list and just accomplishing it.

You can be hung up on an ex for months, years, and even when dating someone else. I know that sounds like I’m not giving you hope, but I want to be realistic. 

[Read: How to mend a broken heart and find happiness in life again]

Your ex likely made an impact on you and your life. The only way you could get over that is if you erased them from your memory, unless you can control amnesia that isn’t likely, so it will take time. 

When you get close to someone, feel safe with them, and vulnerable with them, you opened up. Closing that openness and accepting that change is difficult. There are so many parts of you that have to let go of the security and comfort you felt in the relationship, so it will be hard.

[Read: How to get over your ex in a healthy way for your own future]

Why can’t I get over my ex?

It doesn’t help much to realize that getting over an ex is always hard and isn’t easy, even when it looks like it is. You want to know why you, personally, can’t get over your ex.

Again, I don’t know your specific circumstances. Were you together for years? Are you divorcing? Did you live together? Were you together for a couple months, or even weeks? 

All of this and more makes the reasoning why you can’t get over your ex complicated. But, I can offer you some specifics. 

If you feel like enough time has passed, but you just can’t seem to get over your ex, some of the most common reasons are as follows. 

#1 Your ego can’t let it go. Our egos play a much bigger role in breakups than we realize. When you’ve been rejected, your ego fights back. You can’t admit that someone just doesn’t want to be with you anymore. 

I know that was harsh, but hear me out. Are you really still hung up on your ex, or are you unwilling to accept that you were rejected or broken up with? When this happens, you think about the breakup nonstop.

You go through all the reasons it could have ended. You make excuses for yourself and try to figure it out. But, sometimes it isn’t that complicated. They just didn’t like you anymore and that is okay. [Read: How to get over a broken heart: Seriously, the only guide you’ll ever need]

#2 Your trust is broken. When you were betrayed, lied to, cheated on, etc. it is even more difficult to get over an ex. It isn’t just about your feelings for them, but about rebuilding your trust. You don’t have to trust your ex, but you have to trust yourself. 

You may not want to try dating but aren’t sure why you don’t feel ready. When you are fooled, you second-guess yourself. You lose the ability to rely on your instincts. This uncertainty brings you back to the last person you trusted, your ex. 

On the surface, you blame them. You get held back by your anger or bitterness. But, in reality, their actions made you question yourself which is why you can’t pull away from your ex. 

Even though you know you can’t trust them and don’t actually want to get back together, you can’t help but feel drawn to them. You know what to expect with them and it seems easier than opening up to someone new. [Read: 16 signs your ex wants you back and can’t stop thinking of you]

#3 You relied on your plans. When in a relationship, it is easy to believe in it. You made plans to get married and have kids or travel, and now all that is gone. Dwelling on the future that you no longer have can be really intense. 

This can also lead to you convincing yourself that is your only future. Because you relied so heavily on that outcome being your outcome, you aren’t even open to any other possibilities for happiness. You live on the happy memories you shared and skim over the bad memories. 

Imagining what your life would have been like, even after the breakup, because you got so used to that being your future, makes your life in that dream world rather than reality. It prevents you from moving forward. [Read: How to get over a long term relationship, move on and feel whole again]

#4 You’re still in touch. Whether you talk as friends or are simply in touch on social media through likes and stories, that can be more than enough to prevent you from getting over an ex. Seeing their photo, with someone new, or happy single can be triggering. Even seeing them like your photos can halt your chances to move forward.

This is why it is so hard to move on from an ex you work with or go to school with. Having them in your life regularly only reminds you of the good and the bad.

#5 You’re lonely. This is one of the most common reasons people can’t get over an ex. When you are alone, your mind drifts to the last time you weren’t. You relive those good memories of having company and feeling safe. 

Even if things ended horribly, you rely on those positive memories to feel less alone and go to that person because they were the source of those feelings. This is another reason empty rebounds aren’t helping you move forward. You are craving emotional connection. [Read: 25 blues chasing ways for how to not feel lonely]

How to get over my ex

Understanding the reason or reasons why you aren’t over your ex can open your eyes a bit. Knowing why you’re feeling how you’re feeling can help you accept the truth.

Once you face the truth, you can actually get over your ex. Taking stock of your past and accepting an unknown future is how you live in the present without being weighed down. 

When you can’t get over your ex, you can’t move forward. And being hung up on your ex doesn’t just go away because you’re in a new relationship. Replacing one person with another doesn’t make them go away, it only hides to be twice the trouble later.

To get over your ex, accept that the relationship is over. Keep yourself busy with other things when you find yourself reliving the breakup or looking at old photos. 

[Read: Can you ever stop loving someone else and find love in someone else?]

Venting about an ex is good. But if you find yourself repeating yourself when talking to friends, try to not let yourself go there. This isn’t denying your feelings. It is not letting them take over your future potential. 

Stop thinking about what a future with them could have been and start planning for a new one. Think about where your savings will go. Will you travel or buy a house? Will you invest? Can you move to another city or state for work? Reconsider your options. 

Also, take time for yourself. Learn to enjoy your time alone. Instead of just watching TV, which there is nothing wrong with, take time to do things you enjoy for you. Do a DIY project, reestablish an old hobby, or even get a pet if you can handle it. 

[Read: 15 real lessons you can learn from your own breakups and live better]

Having things to focus your breakup energy on can spark your creativity and happiness to be single. If you feel fulfilled with your life, minus your ex, you won’t feel the need to fill any holes with them.

Instead of an empty feeling where your ex used to be, you can fill that yourself. You can be alone without being lonely. It is okay that your ex doesn’t want to be with you anymore. You can learn to trust yourself again. You can stop yourself from checking their posts and let go of your ego to focus on your future.

[Read: How to be happy being single and explore the freedom of singledom]

Why can’t I get over my ex? Because you’re human, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever get over them.

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Samantha Ann
It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding a wonderful relationship, I have decided to...