If you're still haunted by the memory of the one who got away, then you know all too well how difficult it is to still be in love with your ex. Getting over a breakup can take time, particularly if your connection was strong, so it's natural for some feelings to linger. Even when you think you're totally over someone, there may still be a part of you that hasn't fully let go.
This can happen even without you fully realizing it, as Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women, tells Elite Daily. "You can definitely be into the ex unconsciously, thinking that you've moved on but you're still missing them deep down," she reveals.
If you feel like your past isn't as far in the rearview mirror as you thought (or hoped), there are signs that can help confirm you're still subconsciously keeping a low flame burning for your ex. Here’s how the experts say you'll know you haven’t fully moved on yet.
You Still Compare Everyone You Date To Your Ex.
If everyone you meet just seems to fall short of the memory of what you used to have, Chong says that’s a sign you’re not fully over your ex. “When you date, it seems like no one else has quite the same spark that your ex had. No one else can interest you like your ex could, and you find yourself often disappointed and dejected in your search for the right person,” she explains
You Still Follow Them On Social Media.
It can be hard to make a clean break with an ex on social media, particularly if you're still not over them, according to Stef Safran, matchmaker and founder of Stef And The City. If that sounds all too familiar, Safran tells Elite Daily, “you need to ask yourself why.” You're definitely still getting over them if, “you stalk their social media to see if they're dating anyone else. [Or if] the idea of them meeting someone else, no matter how soon, bothers you,” she adds.
You Hope To Bump Into Your Ex.
If you want to know if you're still holding onto feelings for your ex, imagine running into them. What emotions does that conjure up? If it’s hope, or if you realize you’re trying to run into them by hanging out in places you used to go together, Chong says to consider that a clear indication you haven’t moved on.
You Still Want To Share Things With Your Ex.
When something exciting happens in your life, it's natural to want to share that news with the people you care about. If the person who first pops into your head when you have news is your ex, that means at least a part of you is still not over them, explains Chong.
You Can’t Picture Yourself With Anyone Else.
When you’re still holding a flame for an ex, Safran says it's common to struggle with the idea of dating new people. “If the idea of being with someone else is something you can't think about, you might still have feelings,” she explains.
You’re Still Holding On To Things, Literally.
Holding on to physical mementos is a way of clinging to our pasts. Keeping things from your time with your former partner that hold sentimental value can be an indication you're still not fully over your relationship, explains Safran. “If you can't let go of pictures, or things in your home and you talk about them as though they aren't an ex, this might mean you can't let go of the life that you shared and the things that were a part of this life,” she says.
If this is striking a chord, Safran says to consider what it is that you actually want. “If you are still in love with them, determine if things are truly over or if you are just dealing with a fantasy of who they could be,” she says. It can also help to get some outside perspective from a close friend, Safran suggests. “If they tell you that your relationship wasn't the great love that you thought, then listen. On the flip side, if your friend tells you that they understand why things are left unfinished, then make a real effort to connect and meet up with your ex to see if there is still something there,” she suggests.
Chong adds that regardless of what this self-reflection leads to, the most important thing to focus on is your personal growth. “Even if you do get back together with your ex, you must go through a period of growth where you become a different person from the one you were when you broke up, or else it'll be the same problems again,” she explains. Alternatively, if you conclude that what you’re experiencing is less about lingering feelings for your ex and more about filling a need within yourself, Chong says this is the perfect opportunity to do some self-love and healing. “They probably made you feel really good about yourself because you didn't need to do the work to gain [that sort of] happiness anymore. So, resolve to fill that part, and you'll find that falling in love with yourself is a much better feeling than pining after your ex,” she concludes.
Whether you ultimately decide you're still in love with your ex or not, taking some time to fall in love with yourself is never a bad idea. You are, and you're always going to be, absolutely worth it.
Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women
Stef Safran, matchmaker and founder of Stef And The City