A woman who is typing, I miss my ex, into a text message to her friend in front of a rainy window.

After you break up with someone, it’s only natural to miss your ex. It can even be healthy to admit that you miss them, But if you find yourself constantly longing for your ex, how do you know when you’ve gone past healthy and into that other place where you’re maybe obsessing over them just a little too much? 

All that pining, remembering good times, and online stalking can take up a lot of time and energy you could be putting into other things. Even if months have passed since your breakup, it’s common to still feel melancholy and miss the other person. But it’s also important to remember that the relationship is truly over, and try to move forward. 

When you find yourself saying, “I miss my ex,” here are a few things you can do to refocus your energy on yourself and make sure you’re dealing with your breakup in a healthy, productive way. 

Let yourself miss them.
When you’re in a relationship with someone, that person becomes more than someone you’re interested in. They became an important part of your life. And when that part of your life is suddenly gone, there are a lot of different things that happen to you. Part of healing and moving on is letting yourself feel all the conflicted feelings that come at the end of a breakup. As author John Green said, “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” Ignoring how you feel, or trying to distract yourself from facing the pain of your breakup is fine for a time. But, eventually, you’ll need to let yourself miss your ex.

Remember, there’s no ‘winning’ in a breakup.
Sometimes, a breakup can degrade into a battle for power. Even if you aren’t in contact with your ex, there’s a weird feeling of needing to prove that you’re somehow better off or ‘winning’ at life now that you’re without them. In an attempt to prove you both moved on better and faster, you try to beat each other in the game of life. With each Facebook post or casual encounter, you try to show how happy and unaffected you are after the breakup.

This contest of coolness may boost your ego for a time, but ultimately, you’re still giving your ex the power to effect your mood and behaviors. By thinking about them this way, they’re still a part of your life. If you care about what they and other people think about you, you’re letting them dictate your life decisions. Instead, focus on yourself and what you want. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone but yourself. 

Don’t be afraid to start over
Shying away from dating or meeting someone new can mean that you’re not ready to move on. While it’s okay to miss your ex, getting stuck on the past is unhealthy. You’ll remain in self-pity mode instead of developing the confidence to start again. This step signals your ability to recognize you deserve a successful, loving relationship.

When you’re ready, there’s a whole store of people to take you out of your funk. Even if the first few dates are somewhat lousy, don’t see these pitfalls as a sign your ex is better. Take it as a sign that your next great love will catch you by surprise. And if the dating scene ever gets too overwhelming or confusing, simply take a break to focus on loving yourself.  Life is too short to put yourself second. The dating scene isn’t going anywhere.

Rachel Esco

Freelance Writer

Rachel is a lifestyle blogger, based in Toronto, who specializes in dating and relationships. Her articles have been featured in publications, including “Huffington Post”, “Life Hacker” and “Women’s Post”.