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Sex with Dr. Jess


June 11, 2018

Signs You’re Not Over Your Ex — And How to Move On

No breakup is easy — no matter how consciously you uncouple. And getting over an ex can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Here are a few signs that you’re still hung up a past relationship as well as a few tips to help you move on:

You check their social media accounts daily. Not only is this a sign that you haven’t moved on, but it may also be keeping you from moving on.

What to do: Cut it out. You don’t have to quit cold turkey, but you may want to set limits. Limit yourself to once every other day and slowly reduce the frequency until you’ve weaned yourself off entirely. It’s natural to be curious and you may still take a peek once in a while, but you’re more likely to move on if you’re not creeping their account daily.

You go places hoping to bump into them. You may tell yourself that you really just like the coffee at one of your shared old haunts or you may lie and say that you want to run into them so they can see how well you’re doing, but the truth is that you haven’t moved on.

What to do: They may die hard, but it’s important to break these bad habits. Create a new ritual that you enjoy instead of hanging on to old routines and hoping for the impossible. Find a new coffee shop and befriend the barista or pick a new bar and get to know the bartender. Strengthening your social networks (even arms-length relationships) is good for your health and your future dating prospects.

You drunk dial them. In wine there is truth. Whatever your poison, if you find yourself texting or calling your ex after a few drinks, it’s likely that you have some unresolved feelings worth addressing.

What to do: It might be time to delete their number from your phone or at least change their name in your address book to include a warning (e.g. Mike G — DON’T CALL/TEXT WHEN DRINKING. YOU’LL REGRET IT!). If you’re struggling with unresolved feelings or still focused on a specific issue from the relationship or breakup, dig a little deeper and talk about it with a friend or counselor.

Oftentimes, behavioural signs that you’re not over your ex make it more difficult to get over your ex! Behavioural changes (e.g. not visiting the same coffee shop as mentioned above) are instrumental to the process of moving on.

It’s possible that you’re genuinely over your ex, but you haven’t gotten over a significant element of the relationship. For example, you can move on from the person and have no desire to be with them, but you may still struggle with the way the relationship played out in the end. These experiences are not necessarily one and the same. I have a client whose ex (from 15 years ago) cheated on her; she got over him many years ago, but only recently addressed the issues of trust and commitment. She used to conflate the two — she believed she wasn’t over him, when in fact she was really struggling with the pain of being betrayed.