Exes: We miss them, we block them, we have weird dreams about them, and sometimes, we consider meeting up with them for coffee. (Always a terrible idea.)
Relationships are complicated even when they are long over. And while time heals all wounds, how do you know that you are actually "over" somebody?
Does being "over it" mean that you don't ever think about them anymore? We all know that's virtually impossible. Does it mean you never creep on their new girlfriend's Instagram AKA the official bad habit of 2017? Or, does it mean you are blissed out in a new relationship, grateful for that painful break up a year ago? Talk about #dreams.
The amount of times I've told friends "I'm over him" and was blatantly lying is... a lot. They always nod in response to my proclamations of being an independent lady, and those nods translate directly to "yeah right, girl."
The thing about exes is that you can't just tell yourself to be over them, as it has to happen organically. So how do you know if you have really moved on? Elite Daily consulted a few experts to find out the best questions to ask yourself to make sure you are over your ex.
1. When Was The Last Time I Thought About My Ex?
Unless you have amnesia, you're going to think about anyone you've been intimate with at some point in your life. Whether a five-year relationship or six-month sex buddy, it's inevitable.
The litmus test isn't whether you ever think about them, but how often you think about them.
Relationship expert April Masini explains that "the best question you can ask yourself to test your recovery from the breakup is, 'When was the last time you thought about your ex?' As you get over an ex, it will be longer and longer between thinking of that person."
So, when was the last time you thought about him? If you keep accidentally inserting his name into conversation - boom, not over it. Did you accidentally bring him up on a date with a new guy? You definitely haven't moved on.
But don't stress, it will happen. "It's okay to let thoughts of him or her to drift by in your mind," says clinical psychotherapist Dr. LeslieBeth Wish. "'Drifts' are okay -- 'dwells' are not."
If you fall into the "dwell" category, there might be more behind that that has less to do with him, and more to do with you.
Dr. Wish added,
Dwelling can be a sign that you are doing any or all of the following: Beating yourself up emotionally that the relationship didn't work, using blame or self-blame as a way to prevent you from putting your heart out there again, focusing on that relationship to prevent yourself from honest self-examination.
The next time he comes up, notice what made you think of him. Was it a movie or song you both liked? That makes sense, as he was a part of your life. Were you having a pity party about a job you didn't get and then bam, piled on sadness by reminding yourself how he rejected you too? Not so great.
You might be using the breakup as a way to keep yourself down.
2. Can I See My Ex With A New Partner Without Losing It?
This is the Holy Grail of being over someone. No matter how long ago the relationship was, it's hard not to have a tantrum when you see pictures of your ex with his new boo.
"If you can see your ex with a new partner, and be happy for them, or at least be okay with them, then you're on your way," says Masini.
From comparisons and momentary rage, to being reminded of how cute his squinty smile in pictures was, it's hard to know that you've been replaced. Instead of dwelling on the new person in his life, remind yourself why you broke up.
Dr. Wish recommends you ask yourself questions like: "What are the "deal breaker" aspects of his/her character that assure me that we are not a good match?" or "What was going on in my life that made me choose this person? For example, was I going through hard times, making me so desperate for love that I missed some key warning signs in his behavior?"
It's not that you weren't meant to be, it's just that his new person might just better equipped for dealing with his mood swings and dirty dishes.
It's a slow process, but you cared about your ex. Eventually, you are going to want him to be happy, and if that means it's with another person, you'll find a way to accept that.
3. Is My Ex Holding Me Back From Dating Again?
"I'm not ready!" The lady doth protest.
It's hard to get back in the game after a long-term relationship. From simple logistics like figuring out how to use dating apps, to the bigger stuff like opening a bruised heart back up, it's just not easy.
Often, we tell ourselves that it's too soon. We aren't ready to meet someone new because we're scared of dating again.
Maybe you were the one who broke up with him, but you're still using the "it's only been two months" line as a way to keep yourself protected... and alone.
But single doesn't have to mean solo Netflix and chill dates in your bed. Single is something you can embrace. It's new, it's scary, but dating as a single person can be really fun.
"Get out there and be single," says Masini. "Avoiding being single is what keeps you from being in a new relationship." In other words, you might be holding on to your ex simply because it feels easier than downloading Tinder.
Of course, you should take your time to mourn the relationship, but it's really important to jump in the pool and get your toes wet once again.
"Remember, it is not how long you wait before you move on and look for love again -- it is how effectively you used that time to get brave enough to examine yourself psychologically," says Dr. Wish.
Breakups are incredible ways to learn about yourself.
The more you can start to see your ex and your breakup as a learning experience, the easier it will be to let him go. He was a part of your life, but now, he's a part of why you are the person you are today.
Let that be a beautiful thing you can reflect on.
You've got this.