Why Can’t I Stop Thinking About My Ex?!

You wake up and think about how much you miss them.  You hear something you think they’d find funny or interesting, and you wish you could text them.  You watch a familiar show or hear a song on the radio, and your mind instantly goes to them.  You have a hard day, and it’s so difficult to go home alone.  It feels like you think about them constantly and you have no idea how to stop.


Whether or not it was your decision to end the relationship and whether or not you ended the relationship on good terms, break-ups are hard! 


When we’re in a romantic relationship with someone, we have a unique and special bond with them.  Partners provide a type of comfort that is unique only to them, and break-ups provide a common but unique anguish – of course we would desire that special type of comfort an ex previously provided, even if we know logically that they can’t provide that anymore.


When going through a break-up, it’s so important that we take extra measures to care for ourselves.  Consider the following tips: 


1. Limit Triggers

If we’re seeing constant reminders of our ex, we’re going to think about them constantly.  Consider limiting contact with them, not looking at their social media feed/photos, and even taking a break from social media to limit the temptation to look at it.  It’s hard, it takes time, and sometimes we need to find a replacement like playing a game on your phone.


2. Check-In With Yourself On How You’re Feeling & What You’re Needing

Have you ever had the experience where you’re not quite sure what you’re feeling or needing?  Our emotions might feel persistent, or they might change quickly.  Spend some time checking in with yourself to see how you’re doing and what you’re needing.  Do this often.  Consider if urges for “me-time” are truly that, or if you’re isolating and really need support.  Also consider if sad music and movies will feel cathartic (sometimes we need to cry!) or if it might keep you stuck.  


3. Practice Self-Compassion

We’re always harder on ourselves than we are on other people.  It’s so easy to extend understanding and compassion to other people in pain, but we judge ourselves for experiencing pain.  Instead of asking “Why do I feel this way?! Why is this so hard?!,” try extending some self-compassion: There’s a reason so many song are about break-ups.


4. Engage in Activities that Bring You Pleasure 

Sometimes it helps to stay busy.  We all have coping skills but it can be so hard to identify them when we’re in pain.  Make a list of things you enjoy – if you can’t think of anything you enjoy or things just don’t feel as enjoyable now, make a list of things you liked doing in the past.  Try a few of them.  If you do anything that brings you an ounce of comfort, write it down and make a point to do it regularly. 


5. Talk With Someone You Trust 

When we’re hard on ourselves, it’s especially important that we receive support from someone we trust to not judge us.  Talk with a friend or trusted family member, and know that therapy can be a helpful place to talk too.

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