Do Exes Come Back? How To Let Go

Updated August 22, 2023by Regain Editorial Team
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Are You Having Trouble Letting Go Of Your Ex?

It’s true – exes can come back into our lives. Research shows that roughly 15% of ex-partners return to one another and stay together. The same study found that those over 50 years of age were more likely to stay together once they got back together and that relationships that lasted two to five years before the breakup were the most likely to rekindle.

Whether your ex will come back is a question unique to you and your ex. For the 15% of ex-partners who get back together and stay committed, there are 85% who either don’t get back together at all or get back together and break up again shortly after. 

As much as you might miss your ex, it is possible to get to a headspace where you don’t miss them anymore, or at least, you don’t want to get back into a relationship with them. The possibility of getting back together is not something that you should put your life on hold for or depend on, and we’ll share strategies for moving on ahead.

What Should I Do If I Can’t Stop Thinking About My Ex?

How to get over your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend? First, know that your feelings are normal and that it's understandable if you ask yourself, "Do I still love my ex?". It takes some time to get over a person whom you once loved. So if you broke up with your partner of five or so years, letting them go would not be easy at all. The first step is to emote and grieve; feel your feelings. 

Call a friend, journal, and let yourself cry. Allow yourself to be sad, angry, or nostalgic. Any emotion that comes up for you is okay. Accept these feelings and acknowledge that they are legitimate.

Don’t worry if your thoughts and feelings feel scattered at first. This is a part of the process if you want to get over an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend. There will be ups and downs, and you may have to go through several stages of anger, sadness, grief, or resentment before you start to break through to acceptance. 

The important part is to ensure that you don’t remain stagnant or stuck in the thought "does my ex want me back?" Here are some ways to help yourself, let go and move on.

Feel Your Feelings

Again, a vital part of the breakup process is to emote. Let it all out. Don’t bypass this stage or try to avoid it; if you’ve historically tried to swallow your feelings, now is the time to let them out. Don’t pressure yourself to make the process go quickly; like anything, this takes time.

Make sure to work through any strong emotions you have pertaining to this relationship. If you are thinking about your ex, it doesn’t always mean that you want them to come back, sometimes you're simply curious and wondering, "What does my ex think?" 

Instead, you might have some unresolved hurt. Is there a specific fight or situation that continues to rehash in your mind repeatedly? Do you wish that they would change or that you could change the outcome of an argument that you had? Did you feel neglected in the relationship? Did you feel like they were the only ones that could ever meet your needs? Did you lose yourself in the relationship? Was it codependent

As a result, are you wondering who you are outside of the relationship? It’s important to work through anything that’s keeping you stuck both for the sake of your own ability to let go and for the impact it might have on your future love connections.

Stop Texting Them

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Some relationships are better off as friendships. If you want to be friends with your ex, there’s a possibility that you never took a break from talking after you broke it off. Alternatively, you may have stopped talking, but you’ve continued to think about them or look at their online profiles regularly. 

If that’s the case, stop what you’re doing; block that profile right now, or at least mute them and log off. You do not need to know what they’re up to. If you can’t mute their profile yourself and you’re looking at their social media regularly, have a trusted friend do it for you.

Don’t feel bad for blocking their number or social media profiles if you need to, as that may be what it takes to start getting past an ex. Sometimes, it’s the only way to disengage and start picturing a positive life without them in it. If the situation is that you tried to hop into a friendship right away and are now finding it difficult to disengage from feelings about your ex or their lives, you can still take some time away from them and make space for yourself. 

It doesn’t mean you hate them or even feel ill emotions towards them at all. You may feel entirely positive about this person but still need time apart from them to move forward. If you are co-parenting with this person and distancing yourself from them entirely is not an option, you can keep communication friendly and minimal. You don’t need to be rude; you can even communicate that you need some space, and hopefully, they will understand.

Spend Time With Yourself

Instead of wondering, "Should I get back with my ex?" try to spend some quality time with yourself. What do you want to do today? What about tonight? In your relationship, you likely had to compromise or work around another person’s schedule. 

Now, it’s all up to you. You get to choose the movie, you get to choose what’s for dinner, and you get to decide the time. Think about what you enjoy doing independently. If your relationship was long-term and highly interconnected, this might take some thought, and that’s okay; think back to what your interests were as a child or teen. 

Maybe you used to enjoy drawing or playing a specific sport. Now’s the time to get back into it! Perhaps, you like a TV show or musical artist that your ex didn’t like; again, now’s the time. It could be that your ex hated astrology, but you love it; dive deep into that interest! 

Spend some time getting to know yourself and what life looks like when you’re calling the shots. Focus on self-love, self-compassion, and self-confidence. Don’t try to win your ex back, try to get revenge on your ex, or make choices based on what your ex would’ve wanted you to do. Now is the time where you get to take the stage. You’ll grow as a person and bring what you learn into your next relationship.

Develop New Social Relationships

Sometimes, when you’re healing from an ex-relationship, you might benefit from a distraction or a shoulder on which you can lean. Even if you don’t, social relationships are essential for all of us; they’re an integral part of our mental and physical wellbeing. Now is an excellent time to focus outward on your friendships and familial relationships. Think about any connections you may have been neglecting during your relationship. 

Of course, it’s not always the case that a relationship will influence you to neglect the other connections in your life, but sometimes, they do take a backseat, so this is a great time to pay attention to those connections again.

Additionally, this is an excellent time to develop new connections. Now, you don’t need to jump into a new romantic relationship right away. What you might do instead is take the time to make new friends. You can look for an online class or one in your local area and meet new people there; you can start spending time with people you work with or start going to more social events. You might even try new friend-making apps or join online groups related to one of your interests. 

Mental Health And Breakups

People experiencing breakups or thoughts of their ex aren’t just going through a life transition; sometimes, what they’re going through is grief. When we think of grief, we often think of tragic events like losing a loved one, but a sense of grief or loss can come with a breakup, too. Go easy on yourself during this time. Grief isn’t easy; in fact, it can be exhausting.

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Are You Having Trouble Letting Go Of Your Ex?

Sometimes, time and social support from your friends and family are all you need to start healing. Other times, you may find that additional support is incredibly beneficial. This is especially true if you run into any obstacles or questions that you can’t find an answer to along the way. Additionally, if you find yourself slipping into a funk or using unhealthy coping mechanisms, it’s vital to reach out. 

Whether you see a therapist in person or online, a mental health professional can support you through this time and help you in letting an ex go. A licensed mental health professional will help you work through any roadblocks when it comes to letting go and will be there to support you as you move forward.

Online Counseling

Online counseling is an excellent place to discuss any concerns related to interpersonal relationships, breakups, and more. The licensed mental health providers at Regain are here to give you an open seat to talk about anything that’s on your mind. First, you search the network of counselors at Regain and find the perfect fit for your needs or goals. Then, you can schedule appointments at times that work with your schedule.

Online therapy can be especially advantageous for people going through the beginning stages of a difficult breakup, as there is no requirement to get dressed up and make the commute to an in-person therapist’s office. If you’re having a hard time at home, you can connect online with your therapist and not worry about being judged for your emotions or appearance.

Online therapy has helped many people resolve grief-related issues, including relationship break-ups. In one recent study, female participants ages 20-25 identified as having low self-esteem and ability to forgive following a romantic break-up went through an online therapy intervention based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – a form of talk therapy that helps reframe negative thought processes to empowered alternatives. Results showed the participants experienced improvements in self-esteem and ability to forgive, showing the promise of online therapy for relationship healing and moving on.

Takeaway

When you’re going through a challenging breakup, it is understandable if you feel consumed by negative thoughts or emotions. It can be very difficult to lose a close bond in your life, whether you chose to part ways or in situations where you felt blindsided. When you’re ready to achieve closure, assign a positive lesson to your relationship, and move forward with confidence, you can reach out to a Regain therapist who will be with you every step of the way.

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