Getting over a breakup is difficult, and the experience of healing is the inspiration for literally entire genres of movies, music, novels, and art. Though it’s one of the most isolating human experiences, it’s also one of the most common, and one that numerous people can heal from, including you. If you’re not over your last breakup, there’s no shame in it. But how do you know what’s normal, healthy still-getting-over-someone behavior, and what’s an indicator that you’re not dealing with your breakup in a productive way?
Counselor Kali Rodgers, M.S., who is also the CEO & Founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, shares some of the signs that you aren’t over your ex along with ways that you can take control of your healing.
Sign #1: You talk about them all the time.
“The first and most obvious indicator [that someone isn’t over their ex] is that they continue to talk about their ex,” says Rodgers. “Even if they insist they’re over it, the more airtime the ex gets, the less someone is over the breakup.”
If you talk about your ex a lot but write it off as just venting or being relevant to the conversation, it could be time to examine how you feel about them. It’s okay to not be over your ex and it’s also okay to talk about them. But if you’re think that you’ve healed and moved on, and are still constantly talking about someone you used to date, it could be a sign that there’s more emotional work to be done.
Sign #2: You date erratically.
“Another indicator is erratic dating and feeling the need to jump from date to date,” says Rodgers. “Typically those who aren’t over the last breakup need distraction after distraction, so they jump into dating patterns that aren’t totally in character for them.”
We’ve all heard about rebounding. But rebounding isn’t only about forgetting an ex, it’s often an attempt to try to replace an ex and replace the way the ex made you feel. This can end up landing you in dating situations that may hurt you more than you expected. It’s important to make sure that you’re not using a rebound as a bandaid.
“When you aren’t honest with yourself about whether or not you’re over an ex, you tend to suppress feelings and distract yourself with anything that will hold your attention,” says Rodgers.
The tactics that help you avoid the pain of a breakup or loss can help at first when the pain is unbearable, but those things need to be acknowledged and worked through over time. It’s important to not party, work, or date away the pain of a breakup when you need to face those feelings head on.
Sign #3: You try to see them.
Another sign that you may not be over an ex is if you purposefully go places where you’re likely to run into them. It may not be intentional, but when you’re healing from a breakup, it’s a good practice to stay clear of the places you think your ex may be.
Sign #4: You hold onto their stuff.
“And the final sign I commonly see is holding onto an ex’s valuables,” says Rodgers. “Typically when someone is over an ex, they want to get rid of their junk in the house. But when a breakup is still fresh and feelings are lingering, people hold onto those possessions as safety blankets.”
It’s important that you don’t rush the process of moving on, but instead recognize that you’re healing from a relationship and that it will take time. There’s no one correct way to get over a breakup, but seeing your hurt for what it is can be an important step in the process.
“You will get over it. We are built for rejection,” explains Rodgers. “It’s a natural human emotion and it is hardly ever a permanent state of mind. And, if all else fails, time alone will heal it.”