I Still Love My Ex: What to Do If You Feel This Way

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Have you ever found yourself thinking, "I still love my ex?" It isn't uncommon to still love and have strong feelings for your ex-spouse or partner. Love is often a rollercoaster of emotions and instances that no one can either predict or control. The feelings you had can still linger, even after the relationship has ended.

If you still have feelings for an ex and/or still love an ex, don't feel shame. You are not alone, many people struggle to get over an ex and it may take a while because every relationship is different. Read along to get tips and encouragement on how to move forward during this difficult time.

Loving an Ex Is Normal

If you still carry affection for a former partner, you might find yourself wondering if it's okay to still love your ex. As great as it would be to erase an ex out of your memory once the relationship ends, unfortunately, that's not possible. The love you once shared for your ex just doesn't fade away overnight, and that's something you have to be patient with yourself about.

Reasons you might still feel like you love your ex include:

  • You have fond memories of your time together
  • You tend to remember the good times (and forget about the bad)
  • You're focused on your ex's good qualities, but you ignore their negative traits
  • You are still attracted to them
  • You're grieving the loss of what you could have had together
  • You're still in love with the fantasy of who you thought your ex was before the breakup

Studies show that, when relationships end, people may deal with depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health issues. So, it's understandable that you may have a tough time healing.

Despite the many issues that arise after a breakup, it's still important to make the effort to prioritize your own needs.

"If you still love an ex, that is normal and OK. It just means that you are processing the many emotions that come with being in a relationship," says Ernesto Lira de la Rosa, Psychologist, and Hope for Depression Research Foundation's Media Advisor.

Of course, it may feel as though your entire world is over. Those strong feelings that are omnipresent now won't last forever, and one day you'll look back and hopefully be grateful for the change that the breakup brought about for you.

How to Get Over an Ex

If you've recently gotten out of a relationship or you realized that you're not completely over a former flame, below are some tips that can help you move on.

What should you do if you still love your ex?

  • Look for distractions from your feelings
  • Remove any reminders that trigger feelings for your ex
  • Consider taking a social media break
  • Take care of yourself
  • Give yourself time
  • Talk to a professional

Distract Yourself

An idle mind is especially damaging to a broken heart. If you're sitting at home thinking of your ex and all of the memories you've shared, you are setting yourself up for failure. However, if you keep busy, the time will pass, the day will move quicker, and the emotions will go along as well.

Although keeping busy is important, Lira de la Rosa cautions that if you're constantly busy, you won't have the time to really process your emotions. And, not processing the emotions can affect how you cope with loss in the future. So, while staying busy is a good thing, remember to allow yourself to feel your emotions.

Delete Your Ex Entirely

Delete your ex from your life completely. That entails their phone number, address, all social media platforms, family, friends, mutual acquaintances, and anything that attaches you to your ex.

Hanging on to things that constantly remind you of your ex will only stifle your growth. If you truly want to get over your ex, you have to cut them completely out of your life. Fair warning, it will be hard, but mending your heart is the overall goal.

Stay Away From Social Media

If you still love your ex, social media is not going to be helpful. You will only torture yourself if you scroll through your platforms. Just imagine your ex popping up on your timeline and they've just posted something with a new friend. Instantly your day is ruined.

Because you're in a vulnerable state, it'll be easy for you to compare your life to friends and online friends you've never even met.

Moreover, frequent social media usage has been linked to depression. So, delete your ex and do your best to stay off of social platforms as you process your emotions and focus on your healing.

Prioritize Self-Care

Long gone are the judgmental days of frowning on solo dates and sitting alone for lunch. So, treat yourself to a day of pampering or take yourself out on a date.

Enjoy yourself and learn to get used to your own company. After all, if you can't love yourself, how do you expect to move on and allow someone new to love you?

Don't Rush the Process

Falling in love can sometimes be a task and other times it comes at you fast and unexpectedly. However, with breakups, the process of getting over someone can feel like the end of the world.

Don't rush the process by trying to jump into another relationship. In fact, bringing someone new into your mess of emotions is the worst possible thing to do. Feel those emotions and work through them before trying to date again.

Talk It Out

Therapy isn't taboo anymore. You can talk to a professional in person, on video chat, on the phone, and through text message. Technology has made it possible for convenience to accommodate every aspect of life.

If you're still not intrigued by telling a complete stranger all of your business, you should consider talking to family members or a close friend about how you're feeling. Talking it out will release those emotions and give you clarity and closure.

Don't bottle those emotions or try to be "strong." You are human and you have the right to express yourself.

Finding Closure

Ultimately closure is always the goal at the end of every relationship. Unfortunately, in most cases, we never receive closure; you either have to accept what is or find closure on your own.

Write a Letter

Therapists often recommend writing a letter as a way to deal with your emotions following a breakup or another painful event.

Counseling therapist Myriame Lyons, MA, RCC, CCC, recommends that her clients write a "Goodbye Letter." In this letter, Lyon asks patients to answer the following questions:

  1. What will you miss?
  2. What will you cherish?
  3. What do you take responsibility for?
  4. What do you wish for each other?

Lyon believes this exercise gives you an opportunity to share what has been left unsaid. Another perk to this form of closure is that you don’t need to share the letter with your ex to get the full benefits of writing all of this out. Figuring out these answers for yourself can be enough of a release to move forward.

During this time it's important to encourage yourself and realize that you matter. Don't get lost in grief and forget about your worth and significance in the world. Sure, it hurts to still love someone that is no longer a partner, but the world is still within your grasp. If you find that you're still having a hard time letting go, don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.

A Word From Verywell

In a perfect world, we'd all be able to erase the memory of an ex. Unfortunately, we aren't granted that luxury. Dealing with the emotions that come with a loss is imperative. The cure to getting over an ex that you love is living. It's OK to remember the memories (good and bad), crying is a part of that journey, and being sad is inevitable, but feeling that pain is what will eventually get you to the other side.

If you are still struggling with feelings of love, sadness, grief, or anger long after the relationship has ended, consider talking to a mental health professional. They can help you process your experience and find ways to move on with your life.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kansky J, Allen JP. Making sense and moving on: The potential for individual and interpersonal growth following emerging adult breakupsEmerg Adulthood. 2018;6(3):172-190. doi:10.1177/2167696817711766

  2. Shensa A, Sidani JE, Dew MA, Escobar-Viera CG, Primack BA. Social media use and depression and anxiety symptoms: A cluster analysisAm J Health Behav. 2018;42(2):116-128. doi:10.5993/AJHB.42.2.11

By Candis McDow
Candis has been a mental health advocate since 2014. She has written several articles about mental illness, and her memoir Half the Battle (available on Amazon and candisymcdow.com) encompasses her journey of living with bipolar disorder.