How To Move On From Your Ex When You're Still In Love

One of the most painful things you may ever experience is breaking up with an ex when you're still in love with them. While people break up for many reasons, it doesn't always mean it's because they've fallen out of love. Sometimes life just takes you both in different directions and the relationship you have simply can't keep up, and it's time to say adieu (via Psychology Today).


But the problem with still being in love with an ex is that for long after they're gone, we carry them with us. They were, after all, a central part of our lives. "We are creatures of habit, and not only do we have practical habits (e.g. the route you take to go to your office) and physical habits (e.g. the way you tap your foot or play with your hair), but we also have emotional habits," licensed relationship and family therapist Shadeen Francis tells Women's Health. "There are ways in which we routinely feel, expect to feel, or hope to feel, and our habits or routines are the patterns of response we consciously or unconsciously create to navigate our world more easily."

Although it's far from easy, if you're still in love with your ex, you can move on from them. In fact, it's the most important thing you can and should do for yourself, not only because it's healthy but also because it gives you the opportunity to open your heart and love again.


Be realistic

When people break up, there's always a reason for it. Whether you've simply outgrown each other, the chemistry is no longer there, or someone cheated, there was a reason. But sometimes, when trying to move on, the reasons don't matter, and you can find yourself clinging to hope that you'll be able to get back together again. This is one of the worst things you can do to yourself.


"Hope can be harmful," relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter tells Elite Daily. "Holding onto a desperate, longing type of love is unhealthy. When our desire to reconnect with our ex means we're no longer living in the present, we must recalibrate. Far too many individuals get lost in a loop of hoping, waiting, and yearning. ... Having gratitude for a positive past love affair is fine. That's healthy. Feeling warmly toward your ex is also fine." But anything more than that can be damaging.

Adhere to the No Contact Rule

Even if you think you and your ex can be friends, if you're still in love, then you certainly can't be friends right after the breakup. It's only after enough time has passed that you might be able to do that. So, in the meantime, cutting off all contact — yes, this includes social media — is the best thing you can do for your mental health (via Psychology Today). It's hard to move on when you have a constant reminder of the person you love, and contact is a constant reminder — one you don't need.


"The no contact rule is where you don't call, text, or message an ex in any way after the breakup," dating and breakup coach Lee Wilson tells Cosmopolitan. "It includes not talking to their friends or family about them or the breakup itself." It doesn't matter how much you adore the people you got to know through your ex. For now, you need to let them go.

Stop romanticizing the past

One of the major issues with breaking up with someone, especially when we're still in love with them, is that we tend to romanticize the relationship. We put on blinders so we can't accurately see how things really were and, instead, only allow ourselves to see the great parts. Even if the partnership was toxic, seeing the truth after a breakup is near-impossible when feelings of love still exist (via USA Today).


While this isn't to suggest that you should do your best to only remember the bad stuff in the hopes of moving on, it just means you need to see the relationship clearly; you need to realize it wasn't perfect, your ex wasn't some sort of prince or princess, and where you are now, without them, is where you're supposed to be (via Bolde). Granted, this will be a difficult one to harness immediately after breaking up, but you'll get there.

Allow yourself to grieve

Every loss deserves a mourning period. While we tend to think of grief as something we only do when someone dies, the end of a relationship is a death in some ways. You have to give yourself time to grieve this death — this loss — if you want to come out on the other side in one piece.


As you go through the grieving process, also remind yourself that there's no right or wrong way to grieve (via WebMD). Everyone grieves differently, and everyone has their own grief timeline. If you need to cry and get angry, then lean into that. If you need to throw out the things your ex gave you, then do that, too. Whatever it takes to process the feelings of grief that feels right for you is what you should embrace. But whatever you do, don't try to rush through it. You need to properly grieve — deeply grieve for however long it takes — before you're able to come up for air and feel relatively at peace again.

Be kind to yourself

One of the most important steps in moving on from your ex when you're still in love with them is being kind to yourself and practicing self-care. Statistically, getting over an ex can take anywhere from six months to — wait for it — four years (via Bustle). Of course, the amount of time varies from person to person, and other factors come into play like the seriousness and length of the relationship. Because it takes some time, you need to make sure you take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. Whatever you regard as self-care, do that. You need to be easy on yourself and not push yourself into experiencing feelings you're not ready for yet.


It's also essential to realize the difference between moving on and getting over someone. We'll never fully get over some loves, but that doesn't mean we can't move on from them, learn from them, and eventually thrive because we were fortunate to love that person and then lose them.

"Some loves might always scratch at your heart," marriage and family therapist Kim Engel tells Healthline. "Some relationships, especially those that were an integral part of growth at pivotal times in our lives, thread through the inner makings of who we become." That's the good stuff right there. You don't need to completely delete the love for your ex from your life. But, because the relationship is over, you do need to make steps to move on, if only to give yourself the chance to love again.