Signs You Can’t Let Go Of Your Ex After A Breakup

It’s normal to feel sad as part of letting go of someone you love. Sometimes it’s hard to admit it’s over when you keep reliving old times you shared together.  But if you don’t accept the relationship is over it shows signs you can’t let go of your ex after a breakup.

Sometimes it takes a long time to make the heartbreaking decision to leave. Other times, it may be difficult to accept the fact that the person you loved has ended the relationship.

Here’s how to recognize the signs you can’t let go of your ex 

The reason why you can’t let go of someone you loved

Sometimes relationships end abruptly, or you haven’t made the decision to end it, so you haven’t had closure.

It’s normal to talk about the relationship to make sense of what happened to understand why.

But complicated grief is when you can’t stop talking about your ex and cannot stop thinking about them, as a defensive way of holding onto them, so you don’t feel the pain of letting go and accepting that the relationship is over. Otherwise, it can also be when you deny how you feel to avoid the pain.

If the relationship turned sour, you can hold onto the person you thought them to be, as a way of holding on to the fantasy.

Here are the tell tale signs you can’t let of an ex and still holding on to them

You’re still obsessing over them

You might be still looking at their social media to see what they’re up to, or finding ways to bump into them by accident. You can go through old love messages or find yourself talking to mutual friends about the relationship, over and over again.

Obsessing over your ex will only keep you holding onto  them and prevents you from letting go of them.

You hold onto false hope

It can be tempting to not accept the truth that it’s over and find motives to take them back, ignoring why the relationship ended.

Thinking of all the good times you shared prevents you remembering why it’s over, so you keep wondering “what if” to hold onto hope that things could get better if you take them back.

We can keep looking for hope because we don’t want to let go of feeling loved.

Denying the relationship is over

Denial is a normal part of the shock process when you’re not ready to let go. You can easily stay stuck in the denial stage of letting go by constantly talking about your ex, as if they’re still in your life. In the short term it can alleviate your anxiety, but in the long run it prevents you from moving on from an ex.

To overcome denial, you must accept the truth that the relationship is over.

Letting go of the fantasy

Staying attached to them in your head means you hold onto the fantasy that keeps the love alive and keeps you stuck from moving on. It’s recognizing the relationship is not what you want it to be anymore.

Letting go of false expectations or the fantasy of unmet love means you accept that the relationship could not make up for what you did not get, and look at healing your wounds.

Avoiding the stage of letting go

If you skip the stage of letting go of your relationship, that requires feeling sadness and grief, you can keep thinking about your ex, as a way of keeping the relationship alive when it’s hard to get over someone who matters to you.

Avoiding your feelings

The reason it can be difficult letting go of someone is when it brings up our deepest fears of abandonment or rejection, unmet longing, or needs that were not met, causing us to hold onto false hope.

In order to avoid these feelings we keep focusing on them, or distract ourselves from dealing with the feelings, to pretend that everything is fine, blocking the pain and not accepting how we feel.

Venting to dump your emotions

Dumping your emotions is not necessarily feeling your emotions, but venting them as a way to try to get rid of them rather than processing how you feel.

You can easily stay attached to holding onto your ex in order to avoid facing the feelings of rejection or not being good enough. In this case, therapy can help process underlying feelings that may be holding you back from moving on from your ex.

If you recognize these signs of not getting over someone, you cannot heal if you do not process the pain and deal with the underlying feelings so you can move on from an ex and break patterns in your relationships.

Nancy Carbone has a M.Soc.Sc (Couns) who is an author and relationship therapist who helps to release relationship blocks.


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