10 Best Things You Must Do When Thinking “I Miss My Ex”

Steffo Shambo

Updated on Aug 11, 2023
i miss my ex

“I miss my ex.”

It’s a statement that many people will express at some stage in their life. And it sucks.

Breakups are a painful process that can make people desperately alone, uncertain, and even depressed. A relationship that once seemed so solid somehow no longer even exists.

And while there’s a part of you that longs to devour ice cream and watch sad movies — there’s also a better way to shift the breakup energy and even use it to transform your life for the better and even find love again.

Is it normal if I miss my ex?

Yes, it is normal to miss your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. After all, going through a breakup is one of life’s most emotionally painful experiences. This person was a big part of your life. They celebrated your wins with you and were there to hold you when life got tough or overwhelming.

sad woman sitting on a sofa with her dogs

You’ll often read in articles about getting over a breakup that “time is a great healer.” And while that’s true, it’s far more useful to read how to ease the hurt or loneliness during the breakup.

Feelings of love don’t vanish overnight, so let the healing process begin.

What to do when you really miss your ex?

As an expert relationship coach, I am giving you this informed professional advice to regain emotional independence from your ex-partner and begin moving forward.

In the final steps, I’ll be offering ways you can enter back into the dating scene to discover happiness with a new partner. And no, there will be no “stay positive” fluff — this is an effective system to start finding yourself again post-breakup.

1. Grieve

black man sleeping on the bed while touching the extra pillow

Unless the person meant nothing to you, it will not be a walk in the park to get on with your life.

You snuggled with them at night and made breakfast with them in the morning. There isn’t a magic wand to wave so that you suddenly stop missing them.

If you feel you don’t really miss your ex, you could be blocking your emotions to skirt around the pain.

You may also want to get straight into thinking positive thoughts and immediately manifesting a new life, maybe even a new partner. The issue here is that you’re bringing your old, unhealed processes with you. You’re blocking the path to healing by suffocating your emotions.

So missing your ex is the first step towards creating a new wonderful life.

2. Let go of reminders

You can do this in stages. You can do it all at once. It’s a great idea to take those photo frames down from the walls. Not that it will make you stop missing them instantly, but the fewer reminders you have, the better. Like a healing cut, you don’t want to pick at it, and those images of your ex are like salt in a wound.

3. Go on a solo trip

Heading on vacation post breakup may sound like you’re celebrating your newfound freedom. But the truth is, getting away by yourself is a powerful way to gain perspective, reflect and get back in touch with yourself.

man with his dog looking at a great scenery

Pulling yourself out of your routine makes sense to many people coming to terms with the end of a relationship. It’s a time to step out of autopilot and tap into your most whole, authentic self.

Go on adventures, get out in nature as much as possible, and see life’s beauty and wonder.

Breakups wouldn’t be half as painful if we didn’t live in a society encouraging us to place our happiness into one person.

Happiness, joy, and fulfillment exist everywhere. And perhaps you can use the ending of this chapter in your life to gain wisdom and step into your purpose and power.

You may come up with valid reasons why this isn’t the time. But it’s never a bad idea to take a break, recalibrate, and renew yourself back to wholeness.

Note: this isn’t about escaping. After a breakup, you might be tempted to make rash decisions. A solo trip is the opposite of this — it’s a pause to reflect on your life. If you want to make grounded changes to your life after the trip, go for it!

4. Use your support system

3 men and a dog near the lake

You might think that being around other people will make you feel worse — but it’s one of the most powerful things you can do when you’re missing someone. A big reason our minds can become so low during a break up is the social connection void created by their departure.

Call in the troops, friends, or family members you have a loving relationship with, and think of spending time with them as an act of self-care.

Often, sharing your personal experience with others is an amazing way of making sense of this new chapter in your life.

5. Organize self-care during your free time

The shock of going cold turkey at the end of a relationship can make free time a daunting experience. Perhaps your instinct is to stay busy, so you don’t have time to start missing them. However, this exact part lets you heal from the emotional upheaval.

So instead of having unending free time on that Friday evening which was once your date night together – schedule self-care.

It can be yoga, a book club, a gym class, or a massage. Try to make it an event you have to book into rather than a scheduled activity or something easy to cancel.

6. Find ways to boost your self-esteem

couple sitting on a kitchen floor talking happily

Learn how to raise low self-esteem. When a relationship ends, it can be too easy to let negative emotions influence how you perceive yourself.

Positive affirmations are an excellent way to maintain pristine mental health during a breakup. Spend at least a few weeks after the end of the relationship to express and acknowledge your own feelings.

Then it’s time to start winning back your life and make new positive memories despite your change in relationship status.

Being single for a while after a break up can give you newfound confidence in yourself if you let it. Why not take yourself out on a date?!

Climb mountains, dive into oceans, and do what you’ve always wanted. On your own. And experience the liberation of living life fully. That is the road back to self-confidence.

7. Reflect on who you want to be in a relationship

i miss my ex

Eventually, there will come a time when you long for your past relationship less and less. And although it may be hard to believe, many will stop missing their old relationship altogether.

Wherever you are on that journey, you can always start choosing your own happiness.

And when it comes to reentering the dating scene, it’s crucial to be conscious of your deep desires. We’re not talking about eye or hair color or height. Instead, focus on what you want a partner to bring out of you.

A true life partner will pull you up into your highest self. Their inspirational being will call you into your success, your sexual self, your kindness, your compassion, and your loyalty.

So spend time getting to know who the highest version of YOU is. And then begin to piece together how a new relationship will serve that. 

8. Discover the type of person you want to date

man teasing woman on the bed with mugs beside them

The reasons we fall in love may seem like a mystery — and yet there are qualities in a person that make us FEEL LOVED, SEEN, AND ACCEPTED. When we feel such intimacy from another person, it creates an amazingly strong emotional connection — one that can weather storms, tiffs, and time.

These have nothing to do with how similar a person looks to “Hollywood beautiful.”

According to PsychAlive, an ideal partner is:

  1. Grown-up
  2. Open and non-defensive
  3. Honest and lives with integrity
  4. Respectful and sensitive toward their partner
  5. Holds empathy and understanding for their lover
  6. Physically affectionate and sexually responsive
  7. Has a sense of humor

After reading this list, you’ll likely feel a shift in priorities. I would save this in your phone notes and begin to build clarity on what makes a relationship succeed and thrive. Learn more about the seven qualities of an ideal partner.

9. Master your sexual energy

Think about it — many people feel least connected to their sexuality after a breakup. It’s too easy to let the house become unkempt, throw on a pair of joggers, and dissociate through the medium of Netflix, lost in a mountain of blankets.

Mastering your sexual energy is a bit of a buzz term. For men, it’s not about being well-endowed. For women, it’s not how loud you can moan and orgasm on command!

Instead, it’s closely tied to a person’s energy. And during a split, investing time to harness all that the marriage of sexuality and spirituality can offer gives you a powerful force to explore. Tantra, specifically, is a practice that will boost your libido, confidence, and connection to your most sensual self.

And hey presto, Netflix loosens its hold on you, and you attain more presence in your life than ever before.

10. Don’t compare your last relationship to a new person

man and woman sitting on a stair case

Believing in love after being hard in a past relationship can be bittersweet. Relationship and life transition expert Elisa Robyn says that when we fall in love, we’re often reminded of all the people we’ve loved in the past. “It is natural for an emotion to bring up other experiences with similar emotions,” she said. “The feelings might match, and in fact, we might realize that our first relationship led to this relationship.”

Although this is natural, you need to be vigilant about one aspect of missing your ex.

And that’s romanticizing your ex.

It’s easy to remember all their positive qualities and forget the negative ones. Unfortunately, missing your ex this way risks turning down new, meaningful, and even incredible relationships.

Essentially, you can cause new partners to battle with the ghosts of exes in your head. Love is a universal force that doesn’t exist in one person. So, remember when you’re back dating to believe that new love is in store for you.

Refocus your energy with 21 questions to ask in a new relationship.

How do you tell if your ex misses you?

Here are the five most common signs to tell if your ex isn’t over you:

broken cookie heart on a red background

1. Making unexpected contact

Say you’re working your way through the split. You’ve started getting your life back in order — or not — then out of the blue, your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend rings, texts, or knocks on your door from out of nowhere.

Despite what they may say to play down the fact that they’re getting in touch, the truth is that you were on their mind enough that they felt they had to reach out.

Before swooning at the phone calls or text messages, please take a moment to evaluate how entangling your life with theirs will affect you. Then, work out whether you want to get back together or if moving on is best for you early on in the split.

2. Hearing about it from mutual friends

Going through a break up and missing your ex makes people lean on their community. So don’t be surprised if your former partner feels lonely and leans on people to get through it.

Those mutual friends of yours might want you to get back together or hint that you’re not the only one struggling since the break up occured. They might imply that since the split, your former lover has uttered, “I miss my ex.”

Take it as a sign that they’re not over you.

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3. Needing assistance from you

We’ve all heard the trope of the ex ringing because their car’s broken down, and they need help.

The reason this actually works is that humans feel more connected and responsible for the people they help. So, asking for help or using their feelings to your advantage is in poor taste. Even though this was your person who was there for you no matter what, that was when you were in a long term relationship.

Now that the relationship is over, it’s essential to set boundaries. This person is finding a way to express “I miss my ex” without actually saying it.

4. Attempts to make you jealous

woman feeling envious of the sweet couple in a bar

There’s a right and wrong way to make someone miss you. Trying to make someone jealous is a petty way to win someone back. It mightn’t necessarily make them a bad person — love can make idiots out of us all — but it also hints heavily towards emotional dependence and immaturity on their behalf.

Of course, do your best to stay in your lane. Look after your wellbeing. And stay away from the jealousy card yourself. If your ex sees you trying to make them jealous through social media — the breakup turns into a weird game — one they think they’re winning.

5. Apologizing and showing regret

You’re learning how to stop missing your ex, and then they give you the most earnest apology and express just how sorry they are for hurting you.

Apologies can be tricky to decipher.

sorry in scrabble

It could be that they got back on Tinder, tried to date again, and realized how much they missed you.

It could be that they’re trying to grow as a person and didn’t like how they ended or left the relationship.

Another reason is that they are genuinely sorry and remorseful and desperately want you back.

The truth is you won’t figure them out unless you have a conversation. However, you might not need to know. Maybe moving on is your priority, and you want to start making happy memories that don’t involve this person.

How long does it take to get over a breakup?

Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle graphic

For an accurate and helpful timeline, we’re framing this around the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle created by Swiss-American psychiatrist and pioneer Kübler-Ross. This model is widely used by many a qualified mental health professional.

Did you know that the process of a break up is similar to grief?

Let’s explore the different stages and what to expect. It would be naive of me to give you concrete timelines, as each person will need their own time to complete the cycle.

Also, before we begin, know that it may not be linear for you. You may bounce back and forth between different stages. Not only is this completely normal, but it’s to be expected. On the whole though, this is an accurate predictor of where you are in your post-breakup healing journey.

1. Denial

Denial is your brain’s automatic response to unwanted news. It’s a clever and natural response as it gives your heart time to adjust to the new situation. In the denial phase, it’s common to think that your ex is coming back. You might tell yourself they just need time and space to cool off or realize that you’re meant to be together.

Again, understand that there is no set length of time to spend in each phase — what’s important is that you acknowledge what’s happening.

Notice and accept these feelings of denial and turn to your friends and family for support.

2. Anger

angry black man in a yellow shirt

During a breakup, anger can be directed in many ways.

You might be angry at yourself, angry at your former significant other. It could be the in-law that never accepted you were together. You might even be angry at the world or the stars for not aligning for you both.

The best advice I can give you is DON’T MAKE ANY RASH DECISIONS.

As an expert relationship coach, I’ve seen people burn their whole lives down during this breakup phase. They’ll quit their job, relocate, or dive into a new relationship — but they’re running away from their anger.

Being angry is healthy — you can’t move forward without this magnificently transformative emotion.

Find healthy ways to let it out. Try boxing or exercise. And recognize the hurt that’s bubbling away beneath the hot coals of your anger.

Journal during this time, and you’ll notice that you might really feel sad and perhaps overwhelmed by this change in your life.

3. Bargaining

For many, the idea that their partner is no longer there for them will break their heart into a million pieces. It can be a scary concept, and in the bargaining phase, people will often try to restore the relationship or maybe resculpt the romantic connection into one of friendship.

These options are often disastrous. Romantic relationships cannot be translated into platonic ones. It’s often that level of closeness — both sexual and intimate — that make you miss your ex.

“Staying friends” is tricky because you are forced to interact with them differently. Lusty gazes, inside jokes, that deep closeness, and endless caresses are no longer yours to enjoy.

Simply put, many will opt out of the friendship because it’s just too painful.

Long story short, trying to befriend an ex will only keep the pain of heartbreak fresh. However, you can make new strides in your life by starting anew without your ex.

4. Depression

man in a hooded jacket feeling depressed on the rooftop

It’s normal to be feeling sad at this time. However, your heart is coming to terms with the fact that life is taking you in a new direction.

Riding this low requires you to reflect and commit to your well-being in equal measure. The term wallow might sound harsh, but you don’t want to let your life fall to pieces during the turmoil. It makes moving out of heartbreak that much harder.

As I’ve mentioned, rely on your support system and let them distract you from your grief. And let your habits be healthy ones. Eat well, sleep well and exercise.

5. Acceptance

It may seem beyond your imagination right now, but a time will come you will piece together what happened and process the breakup.

Fully accepting a breakup means growing as an individual IF you decide to take learnings from the relationship.

Loving relationships form us.

They are an integral part of what shapes us as a person. Knowing this allows us to see the meaning in the time spent together, not just “a waste of time.”

The pain may not have fully cleared yet, but the wounds are well on their way to healing.

How do I look after my mental health during a break up?

man in a knitted sweatshirt having coffee

“Thriving” might be too ambitious a goal when going through the end of a relationship or divorce. And so, caring for your mental health at this time is paramount.

Gayle Weill, a licensed clinical social worker, states in PsychCentral “If you change the way that you think, then that [can] change the way that you feel, and then your behaviors [may] also change.”

Here are the best steps to soothe and mend your mental health after a breakup occurred:

  1. Feel your feelings
  2. Keep a movement and meditation routine going
  3. Meet up with loved ones regularly
  4. Delete reminders on the phone of your ex — including text messages
  5. Find fun activities to partake in — especially on weekends
  6. Write in a daily journal and a nightly gratitude journal
  7. Evaluate whether a therapist would be helpful

Conclusion

Getting over the “I miss my ex” phase takes patience and a mix of self-care and discipline. With this blend, life moves on to new and exciting places. AND you process the split, finally no longer missing your ex.

The tips in this article will help you begin healing — but what if you’re looking for something more?

What if you want your next romance to be IT? You want the woman of your dreams, and you want it to be a life-long, intimate, caring, and sexy match?

Then you need to become a conscious man. And that’s what we’ll uncover in this free training for men looking to attract incredible and lasting love.

FAQ

How does the dumper feel during no contact?

The dumper tends to fall into two categories: either they feel liberated and free because the relationship work felt stifling or unfulfilling for them. Or else, they feel remorse or sadness, often because the relationship was good, but the couple’s paths diverged or values did not align.

Is it a good idea to get back together with my ex?

For most couples, break ups don’t just happen overnight. It takes many days of a niggling doubt that the relationship might not be serving the individual. So if getting back together was on the cards, there would need to be honest communication on how to realign the connection.

Why do I miss my ex all of a sudden?

This is a natural part of a breakup — feelings are not logical or linear. Often, it’s a way of the mind slowly coming to terms with the breakup in stages. It would likely be far too overwhelming if you were to feel all the emotions at once.

Why do I miss my ex even though I’m in a relationship?

Getting into a new relationship can bring up memories of your ex. Sometimes, it’s simply because you miss them. Other times it can be a defense mechanism to keep people at arm’s length — especially if you were heartbroken by the breakup.

How long does it take for an ex to miss you?

It takes as long as it needs to — but by looking after yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually the healing process tends to be a far smoother experience.

How best to spend time post-breakup

Now is the time to prioritize self-care and even self-development. My advice is to schedule your day with well-being as a focus. Move, eat well, and surround yourself with loved ones. Also, be sure to leave small, manageable amounts of time for reflection, journaling, and meditating.

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Steffo Shambo

Steffo Shambo

Men's Tantric Relationship Coach

Steffo Shambo is the founder of The Tantric Man Experience. The #1 masculine mentorship program in the world, where he’s helping men master confidence, sexuality, & purpose to reignite the passion in their relationship or attract a meaningful relationship. He’s on a mission to spread a conscious sexual revolution for men worldwide so that they can show up as integrated partners, fathers, and leaders.

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