A few days ago, I was reading a story about someone describing their experience with a college admission process. It reminded me how my ex from years ago and I worked together to draft her SOP and then sent it excitedly to the college she was applying to.

I haven’t thought about that ex for years. At least, not for more than a minute or two. But with this reminder, I started missing my ex. For some reason, the memory of her laughing and smiling at a silly inside joke came to my mind. It was a vivid memory. I could see her face clearly, I could see that she was wearing a green tank top and I could hear her laugh in my mind clearly. It made me feel the way I felt when I was with her at that very moment. Happy.

The memory made me smile. But it also made me miss her more. I haven’t checked her social in years. But this time, I got the urge to check up on her. I think because I really wanted to see a picture of my ex. I wanted to see how she looked after so many years.

So I opened up her Instagram.

I am talking about an ex from over nine years ago over here.

Care to imagine what I would have felt like immediately after a breakup?

Actually, let me describe how it felt like.

Everything I saw or heard reminded me of my ex. I missed her terribly. I had an intense desire to reach out to her, to hear her voice, to see her face, to feel her touch.

Life felt incomplete, hopeless, and sad. Life felt lifeless without her.

When I went to bed, I craved having my ex next to me. I missed holding her hand in bed, which was a sleeping ritual that always helped me sleep.

When I woke up, it took me a few moments to realize that my ex wasn’t with me anymore. And when the realization hit, it also came with regret, sadness and an intense desire to …. you guessed it, to reach out to her.

Every time my phone rang, I hoped it was my ex calling or texting me. Every time the doorbell rang, I hoped it would be her on the other side of the door.

Missing an ex

The intensity of missing her became less with time. Slowly, I learned to accept the breakup. And I created new rituals to help me sleep. When I woke up, I already knew she wasn’t there but I still thought of her every morning.

Fast forward a few years later, I stopped missing my ex and thinking about her completely, save for the occasional relapse for a few minutes.

This incident I spoke of earlier, of me missing my ex, lasted no more than 10 minutes. After checking her up on her socials, I went back to living my new life that is in no way associated with my ex.

I Miss My Ex – The Bottom Line

If you miss your ex, the most important thing to do is to accept that it’s normal, that it will take time to stop and allow yourself to heal. Spend time caring for yourself as you would care for a dear friend going through a tough time. Treat yourself with kindness and let yourself feel the pain and process the grief.

As you spend time caring yourself, as you grieve the breakup, and process what happened, the intensity and duration of missing your ex will decrease. Slowly, everything around you will not remind you of them. The amount of time you spend thinking about your ex will decrease.

One day, you will wake up realizing you no longer love your ex. And eventually, you will have moved on from them and stop missing them completely.

Or, you may realize that what you and your ex had is worth fighting for and decide to reconnect and give it another shot.

In this article, we are going to explore all of this. We are going to explore why you miss your ex, why it’s normal, what you need to do process the breakup, how to cope, how to heal and what to do if you want to get back with your ex.

Thinking About Getting Them Back? – Take This Quiz to Find Out Your Chances of Reconciliation

Why Do You Miss Your Ex?

If you are missing your ex boyfriend or your ex girlfriend after a breakup, it’s because you are a human being. Human beings miss their loved ones when they are away from them.

Missing an ex is part of the breakup grief that everyone goes through. The more you were in love with your ex, the more badly you are likely to miss them.

You may not want to miss your ex because it hurts thinking about them. But your mind and your body don’t really care what you want. They work the way they have been programmed by millions of years of evolution. And we’ve been programmed to miss our exes after a breakup. We’ve been programmed to miss someone we care about and love when they are not with us.

We’ve been programmed to follow the same daily rituals and resist change. We’ve been programmed to crave familiarity, comfort and security. And when all that is taken away from us, we miss it.

Your ex provided you familiarity. Your ex provided you comfort. The relationships made you feel secure knowing that you have someone to be by your side. You felt like you and your ex belonged together. The relationship became a part of your identity. It became a part of who you are.

You had your own inside jokes, your own rituals, and things only the two of you knew about each other. And when the breakup happened, it all just went away in an instant.

It’s no wonder you miss your ex. Here is a list of reasons why you miss your ex and how your brain starts missing them:

1. You miss the way you feel when you were in a relationship: The relationship may have made you feel secure. You knew your ex cared for you and you cared for them. You knew they will be there for you at the end of the day even if the entire world was against you. You had someone to watch those Netflix specials with. It felt good knowing someone loved you. It felt good waking up next to the person you love. When the breakup happened, everything that made you feel secure vanished in an instant. It’s only normal to miss that feeling.

2. You miss the memories with your ex: There’s a good chance you and your ex made some amazing memories together. The day when you met. Your first kiss. The first time you had sex. Maybe the day you got married. Your first fight. When you made up after the first fight. There are so many special moments when you are with the person you love that you want to remember and cherish forever. But when a breakup happens, those memories may hurt a lot because they are a reminder of what you lost.

3. You miss the future that you had hoped for with your ex: If you are like the thousands of people who come to this website for advice after a breakup, then there’s a good chance you had hoped for a future with your ex. Even if you were the one who broke up, you may have, at one time, thought about being with your ex for a long time. If you were just dating, you may have hoped for a future where you both got married, had children, build a home together and grow old together. If you and your ex were married or if you already had children, you may have hoped to stay in that marriage for a long time, support your children as a married couple, grow old together and support each other through every phase of life.

But then the breakup (or the divorce) happened. and the hope you had for your future with your love was crushed.

We all have a vision of our future and the person we are going to share that future with. We kind of rely on that vision to motivate us, inspire us and make us feel secure in times of uncertainty. When the breakup happened, that hope for the future was taken away from you in an instant. And when you miss your ex, you may be also missing that hopeful future that you envisioned with your ex girlfriend or ex boyfriend.

4. You miss your ex because you are just lonely: If you were in a relationship with your ex for a long time, you probably got used to having a romantic partner and a sexual partner. You got used to having sex regularly. You got used to having someone say to you that they love you. And now that your ex is gone, you miss all those benefits of being in a relationship. It is one of our basic need to have a romantic partner. Being in a healthy romantic relationship has been proven to not only be healthy for your mind, but also for your body.

5. Everything Will Remind You of Your Ex: When the breakup happens, everything around you can remind you of your ex. You see a their toothbrush in your bathroom, you start missing the smell of your ex in the morning. You see their favorite pillow, it reminds you of your ex hugging that pillow You see the sweater that your ex wore, it reminds you of the time they wore it and went on a date with you. You see a show on Netflix, it reminds you of the time they got angry at you for not watching the show together. Oh what you would give for them to be angry at such a small thing now.

The point is, when the breakup is fresh, everything around you is bound to remind you of them. And it’s okay. This happens because your brain wants to miss your ex. Remember, it’s the way your brain is programmed by evolution. It doesn’t want change. And it’s reminding you of your ex because the default programming of your brain is to make you try to bring back the security and familiarity that your ex provided. It wants you to try and get them back.

Missing Your Ex And The Desire To Get Them Back

Wanting to get back with an ex is the most natural response for our instincts when we miss an ex. It doesn’t matter who broke up with whom, it doesn’t matter how bad the relationship was, it doesn’t matter if you both swore to never speak to each other ever again.

When you miss your ex, you are going to have a desire to get back with them. Maybe the desire will only last a few seconds. Maybe you will quickly remind yourself of the reasons you both broke up. But the thought, the feeling, the craving to be back with them will arise at one point or another.

Luckily, for most people, that desire isn’t strong enough to matter. They know that the breakup happened for a reason and they can quickly convince themselves to ignore that feeling and focus on moving on.

But for some people, that desire to get your ex back is too strong. It’s often accompanied by a lot of anxiety and a strong fear of losing your ex. A lot of people, who miss their ex terribly also feel a compulsion to reach out to them. They end up texting or calling their ex incessantly in an attempt to convince their ex to come back.

But in most cases, that incessant calling and texting doesn’t work. In fact, it pushes them further away.

If you have a strong desire to try to get your ex back, then you should know that it’s okay to feel that way. It’s normal to want an ex back if you really thought the relationship was special. In fact, there’s a good chance you will get them back if you focus on rebuilding the relationship with strong foundations rather than trying to get them back out of fear.

But before you can do that, you need to stop panicking, stop letting the anxiety or the fear of losing your ex control you, and take a few weeks to heal and think things through.

You are still going to miss your ex. It’s not going to stop anytime soon. But you need to consciously not let your desire to get them back quickly control you. Remind yourself, that if you get them back, you want it to be a healthy and long lasting relationship. Not a quick fix for the pain you are feeling right now.

You shouldn’t want your ex back just because the breakup is painful. You should want them back because the new relationship could be amazing.

To give you some context, couples who constantly breakup and get back together are not very happy in the relationship. Such types of on/off relationships have been studied by researchers who found that they are very stressful for both parties. According to this study, such unstable relationships get more stressful the more times you breakup and get back together.

So, if you miss your ex and want to try to get them back, you should strive to make sure it’s a healthy relationship. In other words, don’t get back with your ex unless you know you can keep them…permanently.

How To Get Your Ex Back and Keep Them?

To put it within the theme of this article, the first step to get your ex back, in a healthy relationship (#repeatwhatsimportant), is to stop missing them desperately and then eventually reconnect and see if a new, better relationship is possible.

The idea is to not let your desperation, neediness, insecurity or fear control your actions and decisions when it comes to getting them back.

Because if you act out of fear and try to control this breakup, you are just going to push your ex away.

And more importantly, even if you get back them back out of desperation, you may ignore the red flags that you shouldn’t ignore at any cost. Red flags that mean that this relationship isn’t right for you, isn’t right for your ex, and isn’t right for humanity (let’s face it, our society needs more healthy relationships now than it has ever needed in the history of human beings).

If you don’t heal from the breakup, or at least, stop being extremely anxious about losing your ex, then you won’t have the mindset to build a new, healthy, and awesome relationship with your ex. And you will, most likely, breakup again. Most probably for the same reasons you broke up in the first place.

To give you a number, we conducted a study on more than 3.5k participants and found that only 30% of people get their ex back. And out of those 30%, half of them breakup again.

The other half, who get back with their ex and stayed together, say that time apart from their ex, minimizing contact and self-improvement was the reason they got back together and their new relationship worked.

So you can get your ex back and keep them if you let this breakup happen, focus on healing, self-improvement, self-care, and self-growth. We have some amazing resources on getting your ex back in a healthy, fulfilling relationship. Check them out below.

Recommended Reading: How To Get Your Ex Back Permanently – 5 Step Plan

Recommended Reading – How To Talk About Getting Back Together With Your Ex

Recommended Quiz – Find Out Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Back [Very Accurate]

Missing Your Ex And The Desire To Heal From The Breakup – How To Stop Missing Your Ex

For my first real breakup, it took me more than a year to really stop missing my ex.

After the breakup, every day felt the same. For the first month, I couldn’t tell I was healing. Every day I would get up feeling exactly the same I was before. It felt like I was making no progress.

But I was.

I was healing.

It was slow, but it was happening. Perhaps at a cellular level.

And when enough time had passed, I felt like I didn’t miss my ex all the time anymore. And even when I did miss her, it didn’t hurt.

Missing her wasn’t accompanied by anxiety, fear, dread and a feeling of emptiness.

When something reminded me of her, I was quickly able to process the memory and bounce back to doing whatever it was I was doing.

At that time, it was hard for me to understand what helped the most in coping and healing from the breakup because I was forcing myself to do everything possible to heal. But since then, I have become a breakup coach and have helped thousands of people with their breakup.

I have read countless stories of my readers going through similar pain as I did, I have read hundreds of scientific studies on breakups and what helps in healing, and I have spoken to thousands of my clients that have went through a bad breakup and who missed their ex terribly.

All this experience has given me a pretty comprehensive insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to healing from a breakup and stop missing an ex. As you implement these tips, you will find some of these tips help you feel instantly better while others seem to do nothing (and maybe even make you miss your ex more).

But remember, the progress could be slow. The best way to heal from this breakup and stop missing your ex is to apply as much of these tips in your daily life as possible.

1. Stop Any Direct or Indirect Contact With Your Ex

One of the core principles of healing from a breakup, moving on from a breakup or getting your ex back in a new and healthy relationship is to do something called the no contact rule. The rule simply states that you should stop contacting your ex directly (through phone calls, texts or IMs) or indirectly (by checking up on them on social media or keeping tabs on them through common friends). Doing no contact will not only help you stop missing your ex, it will also help you heal from the breakup and grow as a person.

The idea is to detox yourself from any information about your ex. Because the more you speak to your ex or hear about them, the more you are going to miss them. But when you stop contacting them, you are slowly going to heal from the breakup, process everything that happened and eventually stop missing them so badly and frequently.

As time goes by, you will focus less on your ex and more on yourself. You will focus less on what your ex is doing or what your ex is thinking and you will focus more on your needs, your desires, your dreams and your aspirations.

2. Remove Reminders of Your Ex and Avoid Anything That May Remind You Of Them

An obvious thing to do to stop missing your ex is to remove reminders of your ex from your home and your vicinity. Remove things like your ex’s toothbrush, any pictures of them, their favorite pillow or their favorite blanket. In addition, you should wash anything that may still smell like your ex. When you go out, it’s best to avoid going to places you used to visit frequently with your ex.

If you don’t see, hear or smell things that remind you of your ex, you are less likely to miss them. Keep in mind that just removing the things won’t necessarily stop you missing your ex altogether. But it will certainly help.

3. Prioritize Self-Care

You should prioritize taking care of your physical and mental health while you are grieving from the breakup. Get a massage, go for a Mani/Pedi, get a new haircut, take a long bath or go have a meal at your favorite restaurant. Instead of indulging in alcohol or drugs that may numb the feelings; indulge in things that make you feel better and helps relieve stress from your body and mind.

While we are talking about self-care, it’s important to treat yourself with kindness and patience while you are going through this. If you have a tendency to criticize yourself, then it’s time to stop and start being kind to yourself. Remember, the best way forward after this breakup is to treat yourself the same way you would treat a dear friend going through a tough time.

You need to be show self-love to your mind, to your body and to your soul. Practicing gratitude, eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep and meditating are some of the best way to do that.

4. Use Social Support As Much As Possible

One of the most important aspects of letting yourself heal after the breakup is to spend as much time with your friends and family as possible. If needed, reconnect with old friends that you may have lost touch with.

Humans, have a strong need to connect with other people. And if you isolate yourself after the breakup, you will just miss your ex even more.

Spending time with your friends, talking about the breakup, or talking about the things that are important to you; can be very therapeutic.

I love the way Katie Bogen from Vox shared her experience of how she reconnected with her old friends, talked about the breakup with them and how it helped her heal.

“After the breakup, I was able to reconnect. I spent weekend after weekend taking long drives to binge Netflix and wine, snuggle, cry, and process my heartbreak out loud with people who loved me. I made the women in my life my priorities. I spent hours on the phone, catching up with the people I had lost touch with. Nothing feels like home quite like being barefoot on your best friend’s couch with a glass of red wine and a handy box of tissues.

These women reminded me that there were pieces of my past unburdened, or possibly even strengthened, by the breakup. Marie took me on long walks with her puppy, and the two of us sipped mimosas over brunch. She rooted me to my most loving self. She reminded me that I was still (and always had been) lovable. Olivia pulled me out of my comfort zone. She brought me rock climbing and to Walden Pond. She helped me celebrate my independence. She talked me through asking my ex for my things back. Marie and Olivia helped me rebuild a foundation of my strongest, happiest, and most present self. They reminded me that all was not lost.”

But not everyone has such good friends and family. Moreover, you may be at a stage in life where your friends or family don’t have enough time for you.

If so, fret not. You can still heal from the breakup. Keep reading.

5. Process the breakup by asking the right questions

If you are anything like me, you may be overthinking everything that happened during the relationship that may have lead to the breakup. You may even be beating yourself over the way you acted during the breakup or after the breakup.

“Why didn’t I give her more attention when we were together?”

“Why did I cry during the breakup? I should have been stronger.”

“Why did I call him so many times? He must think I am desperate to get him back.”

Sometimes, these thoughts can be overwhelming. They usually involve thinking about what your ex is doing, what your ex is thinking, what your ex is feeling, what happened during the breakup and what could happen in the future. They certainly don’t help if they last all day long.

But if you think about the breakup in a constructive way, it can help you process what happened, accept and learn from it.

The key is to focus your thoughts on accepting what happened, and learning from it.

Recommended Reading: I Can’t Stop Thinking About My Ex – Strategies To Stop

6. Get Some Structure and Routine in Your Life

One of the main reason we miss our ex is because they were a huge part of our daily routine. For me, eating breakfast with my ex and watching TV before bed was like a ritual that always comforted me. And those were the times I missed her most after the breakup.

For one of my client, Hailey, she would always listen to a specific playlist with her ex whenever they went on long drives. Those songs became the soundtrack of their relationship. The melodies and lyrics intertwined with their memories, encapsulating moments of laughter, love, and even the occasional argument. After they parted ways, every time one of those songs played, a wave of nostalgia would hit Hailey, sometimes so powerfully that she’d have to pull her car over just to collect herself.

Similarly, another client, Mark, had a tradition of spending the evenings with his ex on their laptop and phones. They would watch YouTube videos, TikTok videos, share memes and maybe play some games together. They would laugh sharing the funny videos with each other, tease each other and eventually cuddle.

After the breakup, sitting alone on the laptop in the evenings felt depressing. The TikTok videos were still funny and they would make him chuckle. But he didn’t have someone to share them with. Every time he would find something funny, Mark would miss his ex because he wanted to share it with her. What used to be a fun ritual between him and his ex turned into something Mark would avoid in the evenings.

But new routines, new rituals and structure can be used to replace the old rituals and routines of your life. You may have to force yourself at the starting. But it will eventually become a part of your daily life and you won’t miss your ex badly anymore.

For me, I started intermittent fasting and just skipped breakfast. I know it may feel like a cheap shortcut. But in hindsight, it was genius move. Instead of eating breakfast alone and missing my ex, I fasted and then later went on a run. I would directly eat lunch at home or with a friend at a close by restaurant. I avoided unnecessary reminders and built a healthy habit.

For Hailey, she just stopped listening to songs for a while. Instead, she made it a ritual to listen to podcasts on her commute. Instead of dreading the memories of her ex coming back, she started looking forward to the podcasts that gave her unique insights into self-development and self-growth. She learned new skills every day, became a ninja at professional communication and even got promoted at her job.

My other client Mark, decided to force himself to do a little side business in the evenings. He created a list of goals he needed to achieve. And then broke down those goals into smaller tasks. Every morning, before work, he would write down the tasks he needed to finish each day. And in the evening, when he returned home from work, he would directly get to those tasks instead of doom scrolling the internet. Slowly, he enjoyed working on those tasks and even looked forward to them.

He avoided Youtube and Tiktok for almost a month. When he got back on it, it didn’t make him miss his ex like it used to. He had healed.

7. Rediscover Yourself, Your Identity and Redefine What’s Important to You

Even if you miss your ex terribly and you feel you want them back desperately, you should still use this time to do some soul searching and figure out what’s most important to you.

A part of your brain may shout, “My ex is the most important thing in the world to me”. But you gotta tell that part of your brain to kindly shut up and appeal to the part of that brain that may have been dormant for a while.

Ask yourself questions like,

  • What is it that you always wanted to do but never got the chance to do?
  • Is there something you loved, but gave up, because you got too busy in the relationship?
  • What is the activity/hobby/passion/industry that brings you joy/excitement/fulfillment?

Breakups are an excellent opportunity to rediscover yourself and set new goals for your life. Once you have figured out what’s important for you, you should set goals for that and try to focus on that. Connect with people who share the same values as you and also feel the same about those things.

For people who love their job, dedicating yourself to your passion can be cathartic. The idea is to replace the love you feel for your ex by dedicating your time and energy to the love you feel for your craft, for your passion.

Working on things that are important to you and connecting with a community who shares the same values can bring a new meaning to your life and increase your self-confidence and self-worth by tenfold.

8. Consider Dating Again When You Feel You are Ready

A good way to stop missing your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend is to replace the romantic memories with new ones. Of course, it’s much easier said than done. It’s hard to find someone you truly connect with and who wants the same things in a relationship as you. And if you go out on bad dates, you may just start missing your ex even more when you realize how hard it is to replace them.

This is why it’s important that you only start dating when you have healed from the breakup. If you are still missing your ex badly, you should not go out on dates. There is a good chance you won’t enjoy the date and would end up missing your ex even more. But if you have healed from the breakup and are only missing your ex occasionally (maybe after a month or two of the breakup), then you should consider stepping back in the dating market. You should only start dating again when the possibility of finding someone new excites you and not depresses you.

9. Get Help From a Mental Health Professional, a Coach or a Support Group

Almost everyone can benefit from speaking to a therapist, a coach or joining a support group. Your friends and family can help you process the breakup, but they are not professionally trained to do so. They can give you advice but their advice is not coming from years of experience. But speaking to a mental health professional, specializing in breakups, can give you great insights and guidance to help you move forward after a breakup.

In addition, a breakup coach can also be a great source of comfort and guidance. This is especially true if you feel any sort of confusion after the breakup (such as “Should I try to get back together”, “Why did this breakup happen?”). If you are looking for a breakup coach, check out our coaching services over here.

What To Expect When You Try To Heal and Stop Missing Your Ex?

Okay, so you’ve decided to embark on this journey to heal from this breakup. Maybe you want to get back together or maybe you want to move on. But you know that the path forward involves self-care and self-improvement.

Knowing what you can expect moving forward will help you avoid the surprises along the way. Here’s what you should expect as you move forward.

1. Expect the progress to be a roller coaster: Breakup grief can have lots of ups and downs as you go through it.

One day, I would wake up and suddenly miss my ex a little bit less. Think about her a little bit less. Feel more motivated to go to the gym, meet my friends, eat healthy.

But then a few days later, it would all go back as if the breakup just happened. I wouldn’t be able to muster up enough energy to get out of bed. Somehow, I would drag myself to the kitchen to cook something only to realize I don’t feel like eating anything.

The thought of my ex kept lingering in the back of my brain. Why do I miss her so much today? I was making such good progress.

Somehow, I would get through the day ordering takeaway and watching the TV show House. (Something about that show felt comforting. Perhaps the misery of House and the way he would still somehow get through his day achieving great things.)

But then the next day, I would feel better again.

Those off days kept coming in for almost a year. Sometimes, they would last 2-3 days. Sometimes, they would last only a few hours.

But the frequency and duration kept declining steadily until those days just stopped altogether.

2. Expect your ex to make things harder for you: When you start on your healing journey and stop contacting your ex, the dynamics between you and your ex is going to change suddenly.

Remember, your ex is probably missing you too. They are also going through the same breakup pain and same breakup grief. But if they were the one who broke up with you, they have the comfort of knowing that they can have you back.

But once you start on your healing journey, that comfort will be taken away from them. And they will also start feeling the anxiety or fear of losing you completely.

And they may start doing things that will make it harder for you to move on and heal from the breakup. These things may include things like,

  • Posting cryptic posts or stories on social media.
  • Calling or texting you every day.
  • Showing up at places they know you frequently visit.
  • Do things to try to make you jealous.
  • Say or do things to make you feel guilty.
  • Trying to get a reaction from you by doing things they know will bother you.

If you pull away from your ex and try to heal, you can expect them to try to push.

So expect your ex to try to make this harder for you. And learn to set clear boundaries and enforce them. It’s natural for exes to try to hold on to you when they feel you are moving on from the breakup. But you need to set healthy boundaries, focus on healing and work on your self-improvement.

Even if you want them back, you should learn to set healthy boundaries and prioritize your healing over the idea of getting them back. Here’s a story from one of my client, Evan, who wanted his ex back, tried to heal but his ex girlfriend would just keep messaging him.

Reader Experience: Evan Tried To Cut Contact and Heal, But His Ex Just Kept Contacting Him

Source: Client Emails

I tried to cut contact to better myself. I told her “I hope our hearts find a way back to each other in the future but we need to take some time apart for now”. She agreed and said she hopes we find a way back to each other too.

But every day since that day, she kept messaging. Every morning I get up thinking I am not going to get distracted. I am going to try to accept the breakup.

Every day, I prepare myself for the grief to hit. To really hit. The way they show in the movies. The way it feels when there is no hope.

But then, she would message me. And we would talk. And I just couldn’t help but start thinking about getting back together.

Every time she would message me, I would get hope.

But she wouldn’t talk about getting back together. She would say she misses me. She would talk about her day as if were still a couple. But at the end of the day, we were still broken up.

It was eating me alive. Every waking moment I would worry she is using me and she will just stop talking to me when she finds a new boyfriend. I felt like a placeholder for her.

One week later and after a lot of back and forth with my breakup coach, I asked her if we should meet up and talk. She asked me, “Why?”.

“Because I think we both still love each other and we should talk about getting back together.”

“I think we both need more time before we could do that.” She said.

“Okay, I respect your decision. I agree. We both need to spend time away from each other.”

“Yes, we do.”

I guessed she wanted more time. And perhaps now, she will now let me heal. I was ready to miss her. I was ready to feel the pain of missing her. I was ready to better myself and become the man she would be proud to be with.

But the next day, she texted again. “Hey, I miss you. How are you doing?”

This time, it made me angry.

What does she want?

What part of “We need space and time” doesn’t she understand?

A part of me wanted to shout at her and tell her to leave me alone. But I decided to just ignore her.

It was the first time since the breakup I didn’t reply to her.

She didn’t message again. I guess she finally understood what I needed when I stopped replying to her message.

We didn’t talk for two weeks. And then, we ran into each other at a friends party. We both knew we were going to be there. When we met, she looked different.

She had cut her hair short. She looked confident. She wore a simple black dress. It was the same dress she told me she wanted to buy a few months before the breakup. I guessed she bought it for herself.

Or did someone else buy it for her?

I was sure she was dating someone else. I looked around to find out if she was her new boyfriend. She was talking to a guy but it didn’t feel like they were together. She was friendly to him. And it made my heart beat faster. Is she flirting with him? Are they gonna end up going back to her place tonight?

The thought of her being with this guy almost consumed me. But I used a breathing technique I recently learned to bring myself back to the present. I had been working on not letting obsessive thoughts overwhelm me. I reminded myself that we are broken up. That I can’t control what she does or who she is with. I can only control what I do. And I chose to get a drink and try to enjoy the party.

While I was getting a drink, she came and stood next to me. I had lost quite a bit of weight in those two weeks. And she noticed.

“You’ve been working out.”; she said.

“Yeah. You’ve got a new haircut.”; I said.

It was awkward. I wasn’t ready to talk to her. But she didn’t care. She asked me how I was and what I have been doing. I was honest. It wasn’t easy. But I had been trying my best to heal and grow from this breakup. She said she was too.

As the night wore on, we found ourselves alone on the balcony. The night was cold but I could feel her warm body next to me. I took a deep breath, “I’ve missed you.”

She nodded, “I’ve missed you too.”

There was a big pause. Then she said, “I am sorry I kept messaging you when you asked for space. I wasn’t ready to stop talking.”

“It’s okay. I understand.”

I wanted to reach out and kiss her. If I did, I knew she would kiss me back. But we were not together. I made a pledge to myself that I will try to accept the breakup. And I didn’t want us to get in a situation where I am not sure if we are back together.

We went back inside and had a good time with our friends. I found out she wasn’t dating anyone and didn’t go home with the guy she was flirting with.

The next day, I got a text from her. “Hey, I want you to know that if you want more space, I won’t text you anymore. But do you want to meet up for coffee and talk?”

I guess she was ready to talk about getting back together.

Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries for yourself. Even if you want your ex back, your priority should always be your mental and emotional health.

3. Expect your friends and family to interrupt (but with your best interest at heart): Your friends and family may bring up your ex or the topic of your dating life when you don’t want to talk about it. They may inform your ex about how you are hurt when you don’t want your ex to get any information about you. They may start talking to you about how your ex is hanging out with someone else when you don’t want to hear anything about them.

They may also occasionally give some bad advice. They may try to force you to start dating again. They may give you false hope saying that all exes come back. (Reality Check: No They Don’t.) Or they may try to kill your hopes of getting back together saying things like, “You Should Never Go Back To an Ex.” (Reality Check 2: Sometimes it makes sense to reconcile.)

So even if their advice seems annoying or unhelpful; take comfort in knowing that they have your best interest at heart. They want you to heal and they want you to be happy again. They may not be an expert in the field of breakups, but they probably have experienced breakups before and they are sharing their perspective. While their experience may not be relevant to your particular situation, try to appreciate the effort.

Is it normal to miss my ex even though it has been a long time (a year or more) since the breakup?

It’s okay to miss your ex or think about your ex even after years of the breakup only if it’s on occasion. If you are constantly missing your ex (or obsessing over them) even though it’s been a long time since the breakup, then it means you have not healed from the breakup.

Sometimes, we need to make a conscious effort to heal from the breakup. And that may involve forcing yourself to do self-improvement, self-care and self-growth activities. Getting therapy or speaking to a coach can help a lot.

Recommended Reading: I Still Love My Ex – How To Cope and Heal

Recommended Reading: How To Get Your Ex Back After a Year

Why Do I Miss My Narcissist or Toxic Ex?

It is normal to miss a narcissist ex or a toxic ex even though you feel relieved that the toxic relationship is over. The truth is, there are many things in a toxic relationship that keeps people hooked to it. Things like love bombing, gaslighting, and codependency. When you end a toxic relationship, there is a good chance you will miss the good parts of the relationship. But it’s important to remind yourself that the relationship was unhealthy for you and you are much better off without one. If you were in a toxic relationship, look into these resources.

Should I Get Back With My Ex – 6 Steps To Find Out

Strategies To Help You Heal When You Are Grieving After a Breakup – Cleveland Clinic

Why does it hurt when I miss my ex?

Breakups are extremely painful for a lot of people. Researcher, Helen Fisher and her colleagues, used MRI scans to find out that romantic rejection or a breakup has similar effects on the brain as that of a drug addict suffering from a withdrawal. In other words, the pain you feel when you miss your ex is quite real and common.

While missing your ex, some people may even feel chest pain or shortness of breath when they are extremely stressed and in severe emotional pain. This condition is called “The Broken Heart Syndrome”  according to Mayo Clinic. If the physical pain or stress you are experiencing while missing your ex persists for a long time, it’s important to take it seriously and  get help immediately.

How long does it take to stop missing an ex?

Different people heal and accept the breakup at different pace. Some people may miss their ex badly for a couple weeks while others may miss their ex badly for six months. It’s okay if your progress is slow but it’s important that there is progress. If the amount of time and intensity you spend missing your ex is the same as it was a month ago, then you need to do things differently to help you heal from the breakup and stop missing your ex all the time.

For me personally, it took more than two months before I stopped missing my ex all the time. And more than a year until I stopped missing her completely. For most of my clients, things start getting better after 10-12 weeks of the breakup and get significantly better after 9 months of the breakup.

A study conducted at the Carnegie Mellon University aimed to find out how accurate the participants were in predicting how long their distress will last after the breakup. They followed up with the participants every 2 weeks to correlate the prediction. And the study found that people generally heal a lot faster than they predicted. So you may actually start feeling better and stop missing your ex sooner than you expect.

In addition, the study found that most participants started feeling better after about 10 weeks of the breakup. Which correlates to my findings with my client.

Another interesting statistics comes from a study we conducted on around 2.1k people who moved on from the breakup. We found that the longer they were in a relationship, the longer it took them to move on from their ex and stop missing them.

Note that the above table only measures what the participants reported about completely moving on from their ex. While it may have taken some of them almost a year to move on, most of them start feeling better after about 3 months.

While it’s acceptable to think that you will not miss your ex so much after the 3 months mark, it’s also very important to remind yourself that everyone heals at their own pace. It may take longer for you to heal from the breakup for various psychological, social, or situational reasons. And it’s completely okay.

Don’t Set Expectations for a Timeline to Stop Missing Your Ex

Whenever we want to achieve something, we are wired to ask ourselves “How much time it will take?” And while it makes sense to ask that question for most situations, it’s not really a healthy approach when it comes to healing from a breakup.

I don’t recommend you set a deadline or expect a timeline to stop missing your ex. This is something emotional and it’s very unique to every individual. Scientific studies have tried to quantify it but they also acknowledge that these results do not apply to every individual and every situation.

Instead, set other smaller, more tangible goals that you can actually measure. For example, instead of asking how long it will take you to stop missing your ex, create a goal to meditate at least 10 minutes a day. Or maybe start doing yoga and start wondering how long it will take you to learn to do a head stand.

If you like running, ask yourself how long it will take you to run 5k in under 30 minutes. Or how long it will take you to do a 230 pound squat.

Focus your attention on things that you can actually measure. And before you know it, you will stop missing your ex.

Does My Ex Also Miss Me?

Yes, your ex also probably misses you. As we discussed before, it’s normal and quite common for human beings to miss their ex after a breakup. This applies to your ex also. Your ex girlfriend or ex boyfriend probably misses you even if they were the dumper. You can also look out for some signs that your ex misses you. These signs include your ex stalking you on social media, reaching out to you often, reaching out to your friends or family and the way they reply when you reach out to them.

Recommended Reading – Does My Ex Miss Me? Signs and What To Do If They Miss You

How To Make My Ex Miss Me

You can’t really make someone miss you if you are constantly reminding them of you. The only way to make an ex miss you is to remove your presence from their lives. And that involves doing the same things that I mentioned in the article above.

Recommended Reading: How To Make Your Ex Miss You

Should I Tell My Ex I Miss Them?

If you are telling them that you miss them out of desperation or as an attempt to get something from them (like sympathy, love, affection, or to make them get back with you), then you should not tell your ex that you miss them.

If you want to tell your ex that you miss them because you just want them to know how you feel and you don’t expect anything in return, then it is okay to tell your ex that you miss him/her.

In other words, you should only tell your ex you miss them when you are not needy or desperate.

Recommended Reading: How To Tell Your Ex You Miss Them With Confidence

About Kevin Thompson

Kevin Thompson is a breakup expert and coach with more than 11 years of experience of helping people recover from a breakup and get back in a healthy relationship.

Read Full Profile.

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3 comments ...add one
  • Arianna

    I need to talk to my ex

    • Kevin Thompson

      Hey Arianna,

      Then you should. Don't overthink it. Just do it if you need to do it.

  • Ana

    This website has been so helpful for me and I wanted to say thank you. I've been receiving the emails and they really help with my focus. I've worked really hard on my own progress and I'm trying to heal after relationship broke down. We were together 5 years and its HARD. Basically my insecurities really caused a toxic vibe throughout the relationship and I've done a lot of self esteem work to try and sort this for myself. I sent the elephant in the room text explaining my personal growth, basically saying I know I'm strong enough to deal with anything life throws at me and explaining the therapy and self esteem work I'm doing. Made no mention of getting back together, kept it very much that I was apologising for my actions and how I was working on myself and focusing on improving myself for me. Said that I hoped things were good for him, asked about the dog and left it at that.
    His response was
    "you have nothing to be sorry for I'm glad you're working on your confidence. Hope everything goes well for you because you deserve it. Dog is still crazy and I'm ok"

    I responded few hours later with lighthearted
    "I'm glad dog is still crazy because he wouldn't be him otherwise lol. Thanks I do deserve to do well I know. Hope things are going well for you "

    Now what ? Does his message sound hopeful? I was going to wait 7 days and then send memory text ?

    Any advice would be very much appreciated we were together a long time and I feel as though I have the right mindset to achieve a good relationship with him, but also that I'd be absolutely fine if it didnt work out.

    Thank you !!

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