What to Do When You Are Missing Someone

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People enjoy and need the closeness and support of other people, so it can be difficult to be separated from those that you care about. Whether the separation is permanent or temporary, it is perfectly normal to start missing someone when you are apart.

Whether you're missing a friend who has moved away, moving on after a divorce, or grieving the loss of a loved one, it is natural to yearn for the people who are no longer a part of your daily life. Just remember that you can value those people and experiences while still moving forward.

This article covers what to do if you are missing someone. It also discusses how you can cope with these feelings and ways to get professional help.

Signs That You’re Missing Someone

When you miss someone, you may experience a range of different emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Some signs that you are missing someone in your life include:

  • Being consumed with thoughts about that person
  • Experiencing a sense of longing
  • Eating more or less than you normally do
  • Feeling lovesick
  • Feeling lonely or isolated
  • Feeling distracted
  • Having intrusive thoughts
  • Having physical symptoms such as stomach upset or headaches
  • Having difficulty staying or falling asleep
  • Losing interest in things you usually enjoy

These symptoms are often a normal part of loss, but they may represent a more serious problem such as depression depending on their duration and severity. You should talk to your healthcare provider if your symptoms are interfering with your ability to function normally in your daily life.

Reasons for Missing Someone

There are many different situations and events that can cause you to miss another person. Change is a normal part of life and these changes often take people on different paths. Sometimes this means that your journey together has come to its end; in other cases, it might mean that you only see that person sporadically.

How you deal with missing someone may depend a lot on the reasons why you are separated from them.

Missing Someone Far Away

When you are missing someone from who you are separated by geographic distance, finding ways to reach out and reconnect is important. Calling, texting, or messaging them online can let the other person know that you are thinking about them.

While you might not be able to go visit them in person as often as you’d like, there are ways to maintain the relationship and ease your feelings of loss. Regular communication in the form of texts and calls can help, but setting up regular virtual or in-person visits can give you a stronger sense of connection.

Missing Someone You Used to Know

When a relationship ends, whether it was a friendship or romantic relationship, it’s natural to experience a period of missing that person. Breaking up can lead to feelings of sadness or anger, which can be worsened when the end of the relationship is accompanied by other upheavals like moving, changes in finances, or co-parenting challenges.

These emotions are often more intense if the breakup wasn’t your idea. In addition to causing you to miss your ex, rejection can cause other difficult emotions including feelings of jealousy, hurt, shame, guilt, loneliness, social anxiety, and embarrassment.

Even if you were the one to initiate the separation, you might still miss the good parts of that relationship—even if you still don’t want that person back in your life. This may result in feelings of confusion where you find yourself missing someone you don’t want to have a relationship with.

Taking steps like focusing on yourself, journaling honestly about the relationship, and unfollowing your ex on social media are just a few steps that might help you move on. Spending time with friends or getting back into dating can also help combat some of the feelings you might be experiencing.

Missing Someone Who Has Died

When you are missing someone who has passed away, the longing you have for their presence is compounded by feelings of grief and bereavement. While there's no easy way to deal with these emotions, there are things that you can do to still feel connected to the loved one you have lost. For example, you might spend time writing about your memories of them or creating a remembrance book to honor them. 

Talking to another person about your loved one can also be helpful. You might seek support from a friend or another loved one, or you might consider joining a support group.

There are many reasons for missing someone. It might be caused by changes in life such as moving or the end of a relationship. Or it might be due to the loss of a loved one. How you deal with this loss may vary depending on the reasons why you are missing that person.

How to Cope With Missing Someone

No matter the cause, there are steps that you can take to care for yourself and ease the feelings of loss and loneliness caused by missing someone. Strategies like leaning on other friends, journaling, meditating, or talking to a therapist can help you process your feelings and move past the pain of missing another person. Other ways to cope include the following:

Accept Your Feelings

Instead of trying to push aside the feelings of missing someone, work on practicing emotional acceptance. This means allowing yourself to feel these things without judging your emotions or trying to deny or change them. Research suggests that this practice can be helpful for your mental well-being and make it easier to cope with difficult feelings.

Avoid Ruminating

While you don’t want to deny or bury your feelings, it is also important to avoid rumination. Rumination involves obsessing over repetitive thoughts in a negative way. It causes you to keep going over the same things again and again as you sink further into a negative mindset.

Research suggests that it can worsen or prolong symptoms of depression, so finding ways to minimize this type of negative thinking pattern is important.

Find Distractions

One way to avoid becoming mired down in negative thoughts is to find ways to keep yourself busy. You might turn to an old hobby or even consider picking up a new one. This can be a positive way to learn a new skill while managing feelings of pain and loss until they pass. 

Even things like reading a book, watching a movie, working out, or participating in a sport can help keep your mind off the person you are missing.

Reach Out

If the person you are missing is still part of your life, try reaching out to them and talking about how you are feeling. Reconnecting can be a great way to ease the painful feelings. You can still find ways to keep your relationship and connection close, even if you can't be together.

Writing letters, talking on the phone, interacting on social media, and virtual meetups can help ensure that you stay in touch with the person you miss, even if you can’t be together in person.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude involves expressing thankfulness and appreciation for something in your life. Research has shown that this practice can have a range of positive mental health effects including improving feelings of happiness and boosting overall well-being.

When you are dealing with missing someone, you might find it helpful to focus on feeling grateful for your relationship with that person. Spend a moment writing about how much you appreciated having them in your life, even if they are no longer present.

Care for Yourself

No matter why you are separated from someone you care about, it is important to take steps to take care of yourself. Whether you are tending a broken heart or feeling lonely while you wait for your loved one to return, quality self-care can go a long way toward helping you feel better during this difficult time.

Scheduling some alone time, meditating to ease stress, or doing yoga to help relax are just a few things you can try. Also, make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and getting regular physical exercise. It’s easier to manage difficult feelings if you make sure that your basic needs are met.

How to Get Help

If missing someone is causing distress or other symptoms that are making it difficult to function normally, you should talk to your healthcare provider or a therapist. Grief and loss are common, but they can also lead to feelings of depression or anxiety that require treatment. 

In some cases, missing someone who has passed away can lead to a condition known as complicated grief. It occurs in around 7% of bereaved people and leads to longer-lasting symptoms of excessive rumination, avoidance of reminders, and intense emotions related to the loss.

A Word From Verywell

Missing the people you cannot be with is perfectly normal, but that doesn’t mean that dealing with these feelings is easy. Whether the separation is temporary or more lasting, there are things you can do to find relief from your longing and sadness. Learning to accept your emotions, practicing self-care, and reaching out to other people for social support are all strategies that can help.

Give yourself time to heal, but be sure that you are finding new ways to direct your energy and staying distracted so that you don't get trapped in a cycle of rumination. If you're still struggling, don't be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional. They can help you process these emotions and develop new coping skills.

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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.
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By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."