Most of us think about our exes often. And sometimes, the thoughts linger for months, and at times, years after the relationship has ended.
We think about exes or miss them for many different reasons.
But beyond just losing yourself in thoughts, it’s important to know why your ex haunts your mind in order to understand what you have to do next.
Lingering thoughts of an ex can be a harmless walk down memory lane.
But at the same time, thinking about your ex can also lead to sleepless nights, unnecessary late night texts, or futile phone calls proclaiming your unfailing love.
So if you truly want to do something about this, it’s best to know why exactly you’re thinking about your ex, and then understand what direction you should head.
The story of my ex and I
I dated my ex for over three years, and for a while I truly thought he was THE ONE.
We met through mutual friends, and after a rather unconventional beginning *which involved broken by-laws and car impounds* we headed down our rocky relationship journey.
Every relationship has it’s up and downs. At least that’s what I told myself when I was constantly feeling unsatisfied, and unhappy. The majority of the time I was completely physically and emotionally neglected by my ex. [Read: 16 signs you’re settling in an unhappy relationship]
I discovered much later that my ex was not emotionally available, and therefore we were at a massive standstill in our relationship. I was ready to move forward, together, and he could not even admit to himself what he wanted and needed, let alone another person.
We lived together in a cute apartment in an up and coming neighborhood, had an amazing group of friends, and we were both following our personal career paths. Our lives looked good, but our relationship was anything but healthy.
We were far from happy. After one break up, a reunion, some time, and a lot of reflection I finally admitted to myself that he didn’t truly love me the way I loved him, and ended it. [Read: 16 clear signs it’s time to end your relationship and move on]
The break-up was far from smooth and happened over two months of extremely confusing meet-ups, booty (like) calls, personal confessions and extremely honest conversations. For the first time, my ex was finally opening up and communicating. It was what I had wanted our entire relationship, but I also knew it was too late.
I knew that we weren’t meant to be together, and that I could never force him to love me the way I had loved him. So when I started thinking about my ex again years after being apart, I was confused. Why was I suddenly thinking about him again after everything we had been through? [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]
Why are you thinking of your ex? – 6 Reasons
These are a few reasons that seem to be the most probable as to why you’re thinking about your ex again.
And if you’re tossing and turning in bed, wondering why you’re losing sleep over someone who’s now history, these 6 reasons should probably sum it up for you even if you can’t point your finger on it.
#1 The lifestyle. Perhaps you miss the lifestyle that you shared while you were both together. Dinners out at new and exciting restaurants, nights dancing and laughing with good friends, trips to new cities or just hanging out with someone that was into the same things as you *good coffee, music, and being outdoors*.
#2 Friendships. Perhaps, you miss the friendships that you had while you were in the relationship. Sometimes ending a relationship unfortunately also means ending awesome friendships. If you are on the short end of that stick, it could mean losing an awesome group of people. Missing your old crew is more than enough of a reason to start thinking about your ex again.
#3 The tough stuff. Most often in relationships, you go through a lot of stuff together. Not just relationship stuff, but life stuff. Family and friends change, people and things are lost, depression, anxiety, etc. Life definitely throws a lot at you and when you are in a relationship, and your partner is the person who most often helps you through it. [Read: 25 memorable life lessons to perfect your life]
#4 The good times. You’ve obviously had good times together. While you weren’t dealing with life’s tough stuff, you were hopefully busy making some happy memories with your ex. And while you reminiscence on your vacation to Spain or your road trip to New York City you are likely to remember whom you were with. And often, that is going to be an ex.
#5 You have unfinished business. Some of us are unlucky enough to have those exes that leave us with unfinished business, unanswered questions, and generally a lot of baggage. Perhaps, you’re thinking of your ex again because you want to get it over with, and move on with your life for good.
#6 You’re wondering… What if? Another big reason why you might be thinking of your ex is because you are wondering what if. What if you could get back together? What if things would work out this time around? What if you are meant for each other? What if your ex is thinking about you too? [Read: 16 signs your ex still wants you back in their life]
“What ifs” can be dangerous territory, so it’s best to consider a few things before making your next late-night confession message or phone call to an ex.
5 things to consider when you start thinking about your ex
Ignoring your ex’s thoughts isn’t really the easiest thing to do. But the next time your ex comes to mind, don’t shut them away.
Instead, give these five things to think about a consideration, so you can truly understand just why you’re thinking of your ex, and what you need to do about it.
#1 Thinking about your ex does not necessarily mean it’s a sign
For whatever reason you are thinking about your ex again, it does not mean the universe is sending you a sign to hook up with your ex one more time. You can think about an ex, muse over old memories, friendships and the massive life changes they pulled you through. But, that does not mean you should try to rekindle what has already been extinguished.
#2 *Most* exes are better left in the past
There is a reason, or sometimes several, why you broke up with your ex in the first place. It is crucial to mull those over if you are debating whether you should try to get back again with your ex.
Whether it was lack of communication or emotional availability, unaligned life goals or abuse, the chances that your ex has truly changed is often slim to none. After all, people are stubborn. But you know that already, don’t you? [Read: 16 scenarios when you should and shouldn’t be friends with an ex!]
#3 If you think your ex is the exception to #2
If you think that your ex has truly changed, and that without a doubt, you should try again because things will be different this time, fine. You can try and reconnect with your ex, but you should be very clear, very early on about what you truly want, need, and expect to be different this time around.
#4 Are they truly worth fighting for, or are you relying on the familiar?
This is something to consider when you are debating whether your ex is worth another chance. Are you truly in love with the person, all of their traits, ambitions and disgusting habits, or are you just falling back on what you know because it’s all so familiar?
The familiar is safe, and often we run to it because we have enough to deal with on a day-to-day basis. But, if you want that true love, it probably isn’t always going to be the familiar, and you are going to have to take risks. [Read: Are you still madly in love with your ex?]
#5 Take what you can from the experience and leave the rest behind
The best piece of advice I can give you when you’re thinking about an ex is to remember the good and the bad, and take what you can from the experience.
We can all learn a lot from our past relationships, like what made us happy, and what was missing. If we take these lessons on to our next relationships and leave the past where it belongs, we can often find true love and happiness in a relationship.
So why was I thinking of my ex?
After much personal deliberation, I discovered that I was thinking about my ex again, after almost two years, because I indeed missed some of the lifestyle we shared together, and our really amazing group of friends. I missed the dinners at new restaurants, the live shows, the flea markets, and the weekends away at the family cottage. And I missed hanging out with a lot of warm and nice people.
But I also decided that this longing for the lifestyle wasn’t a longing to be with him in the lifestyle. I was simply remembering some of the fun things we did together, and who we did them with, and that was all. I didn’t take it as a sign from the universe, or start asking myself a bunch of “what if’s”. [Read: 20 ways to stop thinking about someone you still like]
I learned a great deal of what I need and want in a partner from that relationship. I have carried the lessons I learned from those three years with my ex into my present relationship and feel completely loved, and am physically and emotionally content.
It is very common to think about your ex again, even if your relationship ended months, or years ago. But if you find yourself thinking about your ex, firstly, try to understand why, and be sure to consider what you should do next to deal with it in a positive manner. [Read: 14 things to keep in mind when you bump into your ex]
Avoid taking any rash measures to win back your ex, and instead, think about what you learned from your past relationship, which you can then carry into your new ones.
Thinking about an ex isn’t all bad, but the next time your ex flits into your thoughts, use these 6 reasons and 5 thoughts and try to analyze your thoughts, instead of feeling miserable for yourself. Do that, and you’ll learn from the old and have better new relationships too!