Everyone takes a different amount of time to get over a relationship that ended. Some people manage to bounce back in a matter of weeks. Others may spend years mourning what could have been. It varies from person to person. How long it takes for someone to move on from their ex also depends a great deal on how serious the relationship was and how badly the breakup was handled by one or both parties. The end of a summer fling is far less cause for extensive sadness than the breakdown of a relationship that lasted four years, three jobs and two cities. A mature breakup also tends to take less time to get over than one that was cruelly uncaring or handled through cowardly means such as texts or social media messages.
No matter how long the relationship or how bad the breakup, everyone reaches a point where they are over their ex. They may or may not be ready to throw their hat back in the dating ring, but the thought of their ex no longer creates deep sadness or boiling rage. Plenty of people, however, think they have reached this point before they actually do. It is not always easy to recognize when you are still clinging to the old relationship, but here are six signs that you haven’t moved on yet even if you think you have gotten over your ex.
You are over your ex and ready to get back to hunting for “the one.” You meet half a dozen people, but none of them measure up to what you used to have with your ex. Your ex understood your dry humor much better than this blonde chick. Your ex had a much easier time reading your moods than this surfer dude. Your ex was smarter, funnier, more aware, more understanding, more attractive and simply meshed with you better than anyone else. Did you lose your soulmate? Are you doomed to simply settle? Will you be alone forever?
No, no and no. You are simply not ready to return to the dating world yet. If you are comparing everyone you meet to your ex and no one is measuring up, it is because you are still subconsciously convinced that your ex is the one for you. As the relationship is over, they clearly were not the one, but it sometimes takes the heart a while to accept that reality. Give yourself time to really get over your ex. Then, come back to the dating world.
Social Media Stalking
People post absolutely everything to social media anymore. Got a new car? Instagram it. Broke your arm? Better tell Tumblr. Had an awesome sandwich? Make sure Facebook knows. Embarrassed yourself in front of your boss? Post that to Twitter. “If there’s no selfie, it didn’t happen” is a phrase too many people take far too seriously. As a result, finding information about your ex’s life is usually pretty easy. All you have to do is open the laptop and scroll through their social media.
Most people check in on their friend’s social media accounts at least once a day. Note that they are looking at friend’s feeds. Unless you had the amiable breakup of the century, your ex is your ex, not your friend, at least not until the sting has faded. As such, you have no business being on their social media accounts. You have even less reason to be snooping around the social media of the person who may or may not be their new flame. If you cannot keep yourself from keeping tabs on your ex, especially if you are hunting for either proof they miss you or that they have found a new beau, you are not over your ex yet.
First to Call With News
When you are involved with someone, they are often the first person you talk to when you have news. Whether you are calling because you need a shoulder to cry on, a friendly ear to brag to or simply someone to listen to you freak out about the cockroach you found in the bathroom, your significant other is usually the first person you think of contacting. When you are really over your ex, they are no longer the first person with whom you plan to share your news with first. When you have truly moved on, you look to share news first and foremost with platonic friends or family members. Until that point, you might still automatically go to text or call your ex only to remember that you two no longer have the emotional intimacy required for that sort of thing. So, if your ex is the first person you wanted to talk to after you had a fight with your coworkers or received a promotion, you have not moved on quite yet.
Worrying About Seeing Them
When you are truly over your ex, you react to them just like any other acquaintance when you run into them on the street. You do not ignore their greetings and walk faster to get away from them. You do not hide behind the grocery store display of hot sauce so that they do not see you dressed in ratty sweats and ancient sneakers. You do not avoid “their” spots or refuse to attend any event where there is even the slightest possibility of your ex attending. You also do not make it a point to show up at their favorite bar on Friday night looking drop dead gorgeous and with the charm turned all the way up. You do not make sure that you look incredible whenever you leave the house just in case you run into your ex. When you are truly over your ex, you do not care any more about seeing them than you do anyone else. They are simply another acquaintance that you may or may not run into from time to time instead of some sort of mythical unicorn or angry dragon that must be either impressed or avoided at all costs.
Trying to Punish Them
You do not try and get back at someone you are over. This should be obvious, but there are a surprising number of people who will insist that they are over their ex but still seek to “punish” their ex for leaving them. They make it a point to flirt with their ex’s friends or to pointedly ignore their ex whenever they cross paths. They go out with someone who is more successful, attractive or intelligent than their ex and see to it that their ex knows about the fling.
Even if you avoid these classic behaviors, you might still subconsciously be trying to punish your ex or make them jealous. If you make it a point to publicize every success you have on social media or see to it that you look stunning in every photo, you are probably still hung up on your ex. The same is true if you suddenly become everything your ex ever wanted. They always wanted to date a martial artist? You start taking aikido lessons. They think the surfer aesthetic is super hot? You get blonde highlights and beach waves. You could also be looking to punish your ex if you are doing the exact opposite of what they liked. If they loved your long hair, you chop it off. If they liked body types that were long and lean, you bulk up on the muscle. If you are still basing how you look and act on your ex’s preferences, you are not over them yet.
Constantly Mentioning Them
When you were still in a relationship with your ex, no one was probably surprised that your ex featured heavily in just about every story you had to tell. Most of your friends probably would not be surprised if you continue to mention your ex often immediately after the breakup. After all, it takes a bit of time to adjust to the fact that you are no longer the most important person in your ex’s life.
Once you get over your ex, they should no longer be the person you mention absolutely all the time. You should have anecdotes and stories that involve other people. Yes, your ex might feature in stories about when you two were together, but if you have moved on, you should have plenty to talk about that does not involve your ex.
Moving on from your ex also requires that you do not ask about them “casually” every time you run into mutual friends. Asking every week “how are our mutual friends, like my ex? I haven’t seen them in a while!” is not as subtle as you think and is a clear sign that you have not moved on yet.
Getting over a relationship takes time and patience, and unfortunately, there is no rushing the process. You will finish grieving what could have been when you finish and not an hour before that moment. When you think you have reached that point, however, check yourself and make sure that you are not exhibiting one of these signs. If you are doing one of these things, you are not over your ex, and you are certainly not ready to throw your hat and heart back into the dating ring. Take a deep breath and focus on healing instead. Then, when you really have moved on, put on your best shirt and get back out there.