What to Do When You Miss Your Ex (33 Ways + Expert Insights)

Your favorite song on the radio? Skipped. That park you both loved? Avoided. It’s like your world has become a no-go zone of ‘us’ memories. Suddenly, you’re searching for an ‘off’ switch for your feelings—because missing your ex is draining your batteries.

I know how hard it can be. You might feel like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back, but I promise you, it does get better. I want you to know that you’re not alone.

Now, I’m not here with a magic wand, but with something better: real talk and real tips to get you moving forward. No complicated plans; just you and me, figuring this out with some simple shifts in the day-to-day grind.

Allow Yourself to Experience Your Emotions

It’s perfectly normal to miss someone you’ve shared part of your life with. When you find yourself flipping through those old mental snapshots of you and your ex, don’t push those feelings away. Embrace them.

It’s like when you stub your toe – you don’t just ignore the pain, do you? Same here. Cry if you need to, laugh at the good times, and let yourself feel that full spectrum of emotions. These feelings are a part of who you are, and they reflect the depth of what you once shared.

Ignoring them won’t make them disappear. Experiencing these emotions is part of the process. It’s necessary for healing. So snuggle up in your favorite comforter, play some feel-good tunes, and let your heart do its thing.

"It's psychology tested that crying over something helps to let go of any emotion... So, don't be ashamed to cry over your ex—especially the first few weeks after the breakup."

— Justin Gottlieb | Founder, Tantra Love Coach

Write a Letter to Your Ex Without Sending It

Here’s a thought – why not write them a letter? Yep, the old-fashioned way. Get a pen and paper, and pour out everything you’ve been holding inside. It’s like a mental detox. Don’t worry about spelling or how messy your handwriting gets; just let it all out.

The twist? You’re not going to send it. Nope. This letter is just for you. It’s your chance to voice everything, unedited and raw. Once you’re done, you might feel lighter, like you’ve shed some emotional weight.

And then, you do something a little symbolic – you can keep it in a ‘letting go’ box or even shred it. It’s a powerful act that says, “I acknowledge these thoughts, but they don’t control me.” It’s your feelings, your rules, after all.

Focus on Self-Care and Your Well-Being

I think we often underestimate the power of a good self-care routine, especially during times of emotional turmoil. Focusing on your well-being is not being selfish; it’s necessary.

Think about what makes you feel good, whether it’s a long bath, a brisk walk, or curling up with a good book. Make a list of self-care activities you enjoy and commit to incorporating them into your daily routine.

My top picks for self-care are:

  • Taking a daily walk to clear my mind and boost my mood.
  • Setting aside some time each day for meditation or yoga.
  • Trying out new healthy recipes that not only nourish my body but also keep me busy.

Self-care is all about nurturing yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s a reminder that you’re worth taking care of.

Reach Out to Friends and Family for Support

It’s easy to feel like you’re all alone when you’re going through a tough time, especially after a breakup. But remember, your friends and family are your personal cheer squad.

Share what you’re going through, and let the people who care about you offer their ears and shoulders. They can give you a different view on things or just be there to listen. Sometimes, they might even distract you with a silly joke or take you out for some ice cream (who doesn’t love that?).

It’s these little moments that add up and help mend the cracks in your heart.

It’s a gentle reminder that even though one relationship has ended, there are many more that are still thriving. Seeking support isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a step towards healing.

Explore a New Hobby or Interest

Have you ever thought about learning how to paint? Or maybe picking up that guitar that’s been gathering dust in the corner? Now is the perfect time!

Exploring a new hobby not only distracts you from the pain of missing your ex but also gives you something exciting and fulfilling to focus on. It’s about channeling your energy into something positive and productive.

I’ve found that trying new things has a way of opening up your world in ways you might not expect. It can boost your confidence, spark creativity, and maybe even introduce you to new friends with similar interests.

Engage in Regular Exercise to Boost Your Mood

Exercise isn’t just about keeping fit physically; it’s a powerful tool for mental health, too. When you’re feeling down, the last thing you might want to do is hit the gym or go for a run, but trust me, the mood-lifting benefits of a good workout are worth it.

Exercise releases endorphins, those feel-good hormones that can help reduce stress and anxiety. It doesn’t have to be anything intense. A brisk walk, a gentle yoga session, or even dancing around in your living room can make a huge difference.

  • Aim for activities you enjoy so it feels less like a chore and more like a treat.
  • Set small, achievable goals to give you a sense of accomplishment.

Give Yourself Permission to Grieve the Relationship

It’s perfectly normal to grieve the loss of a relationship. Think of it as closing a significant chapter in your life. Giving yourself the space to mourn doesn’t mean you’re stuck in the past; it means you’re honoring what you had and allowing yourself to move forward.

I think it’s crucial to understand that grief can come in waves; some days will be easier than others. And during those tough times, remember it’s okay not to be okay. Take it one day at a time.

Give yourself the green light to go through these emotions because on the other side of that big ol’ storm of feels is a clearer sky and a stronger you.

"Grieving the end of a relationship is unlikely to be a linear process, and there is no rule about how long it will take, what it should look like, or what you should feel."

— Sarah Lee | Psychotherapist, Explore Your Mind

Take Off the Rose-Colored Glasses

Sometimes, we remember the good times so vividly, and the not-so-great times seem to fade into the background. You might find yourself thinking of only the good parts of your past relationship, making it seem like it was all sunshine and roses. It’s totally normal, but hey, it might be time to take off those rose-colored glasses and have a look at the full picture.

Was everything really perfect? Chances are, it wasn’t. Remind yourself of the reasons why things ended, and recognize that both the good times and the tough times were part of your story.

This isn’t about dwelling on the negatives – it’s about being real with yourself, and that dose of reality can be incredibly freeing.

Limit Checking Your Ex’s Social Media Profiles

It’s tempting, super tempting, to keep tabs on what your ex is up to. But let’s call it what it is – a digital rabbit hole that you really don’t want to fall into. You see a new picture or a status update, and suddenly you’re 47 weeks deep in their feed, feeling all sorts of things you don’t need to be feeling.

So make it a goal to cut back on checking their profiles. It’s not about never looking; it’s more like limiting it to maybe once a week, then once every other week, until suddenly you’re like, “Huh, haven’t checked in a while“, and you realize you’re doing just fine.

Treat it as a detox for your heart. Less time on their page means more time focusing on you – and that’s the goal here.

Practice Mindfulness and Staying Present

In the whirlwind of emotions that come with missing your ex, it’s easy to get lost in the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘if-onlys’. To counter this, mindfulness can be a powerful tool. Practicing mindfulness means bringing your attention to the present moment without judgment.

It’s about appreciating where you are right now, even if it’s a bit tough.

My personal favorite mindfulness exercise is simple breathing techniques. Just focusing on your breath can help bring you back to the here and now, making those overwhelming emotions feel a bit more manageable.

  • Try starting your day with a short meditation or mindfulness exercise.
  • Throughout the day, remind yourself to take a moment, breathe, and focus on the present.

Engaging in mindfulness helps you stay grounded and calm the storm of emotions you might be feeling.

Challenge Negative Thoughts About Yourself

Post-breakup, it’s a common trap to start doubting your worth or blaming yourself for what happened. This is where challenging those negative thoughts comes in. It’s crucial to remind yourself that a breakup does not define your value.

Each time a negative thought about yourself pops up, counter it with a positive affirmation or evidence from your past that disproves it.

  • List qualities about yourself that you’re proud of.
  • Remember achievements and moments when you overcame challenges.

This exercise isn’t about ignoring your shortcomings; it’s about maintaining a balanced view of yourself. Acknowledging that, like anyone else, you’re a mix of strengths and areas for growth.

This step is particularly important, as it builds the foundation for self-love and respect, paving the way for healthier relationships in the future. Remember, healing from a breakup isn’t just about moving on from your ex; it’s also about building a stronger, more compassionate relationship with yourself.

Refresh Your Living Space for a New Chapter

Your living space can be like a mirror reflecting your inner world. So if your place feels a bit gloomy or stuck in the ‘we-land’ with memories of your ex, it might be time for a makeover.

This doesn’t mean you have to repaint the whole house or toss out every cushion. Start small. Maybe move the furniture around, add some new plants, or change up your bedding.

These changes in your living space can really pep up your spirits. It’s about crafting an environment that feels good for you and represents who you are now, not who you were when you were part of a ‘we.’

Plus, it’s pretty fun to see your space transform, and who doesn’t like a little fun, right?

Establish Clear Boundaries With Your Ex

Establishing clear boundaries with your ex is crucial for healing and moving on. This might mean different things to different people. For some, it might involve no contact; for others, it might just mean limiting interactions to logistics if you need to co-parent or work together.

The important thing is to define what those boundaries need to be for you to feel safe and to start healing.

Setting these boundaries can be challenging, especially if you’re used to being in constant communication with your ex. But it’s about focusing on what’s best for you right now. It’s a step towards reclaiming your independence and ensuring that your path to recovery isn’t hindered by unnecessary emotional turmoil.

Focus on Personal Growth and Self-Improvement

Focusing on personal growth is like planting seeds for your future self to enjoy. Think about the kind of person you want to be and the life you want to live.

Want to be more confident? Start speaking up in meetings. Hoping to be kinder? Volunteer some of your time to help others. It’s about taking small, daily actions toward being that better version of yourself.

Remember, personal growth isn’t a race; it’s a stroll through the garden of ‘you.’ Pick up new skills, read books, or take that online course you’ve been curious about. And while you’re at it, celebrate every tiny victory.

Each step, no matter how small, is progress. Watching yourself grow and improve can be incredibly rewarding – it’s proof that even without your ex, your life can be full of learning and achievements.

Be Kind and Patient With Yourself

Healing doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey with its own set of ebbs and flows. Being kind and patient with yourself throughout this process is vital.

Remember, it’s okay to have good days and bad days. Give yourself the same compassion and understanding you would offer a friend in a similar situation.

My personal mantra during tough times is, “This too shall pass“. It serves as a gentle reminder that healing is a process, and being patient with myself is a crucial part of it.

  • Acknowledge your progress, no matter how small it may seem.
  • Treat yourself with small pleasures that bring you joy.

Consider Seeking Professional Therapy

Sometimes, the support from friends and family might not be enough, and that’s perfectly okay. Seeking professional therapy can provide you with additional tools and perspectives to navigate through your feelings.

A therapist can offer a space that’s entirely about you and your healing without any judgments. It’s like having a guide in this journey, someone who’s trained to help you unpack your emotions and build resilience.

Finding a therapist is easier than you might think. There are even services online these days where you can chat with someone over video call. Remember, there’s no shame in asking for help – it shows you’re taking your well-being seriously.

It’s about giving yourself the best chance to move forward and feeling as strong and healthy as possible.

"When your grief starts interfering with your day-to-day responsibilities and activities—going to work, maintaining hygiene, or isolating, then it is probably a good idea to seek out some therapy—no harm in that."

— Nancy Kalina Gomez | Clinical Psychologist, CouchIssues

Use Journaling to Process Your Thoughts and Feelings

Journaling is a simple yet profoundly effective way to process your thoughts and feelings. It’s a form of self-expression that offers you the privacy to be completely honest with yourself.

Writing down your experiences and emotions can help untangle them, making them easier to understand and deal with. Think of your journal as a safe space where you can vent, reflect, and dream without fear of judgment.

  • Begin by writing for a few minutes each day, focusing on what you’re feeling at that moment.
  • Use prompts if you’re unsure where to start, such as “Today, I feel…” or “Something I learned about myself today is…

Journaling helps you confront and embrace your emotions. It can be incredibly validating to look back on previous entries and see how far you’ve come.

Keep Busy While Allowing Time for Rest

Staying busy can be a super helpful way to keep your mind off missing your ex. Dive into work, tidy up your home, join a book club – really, anything that gets you moving and shaking.

It’s like keeping your brain in a lively neighborhood where there’s always something going on. But hey, don’t forget that everyone needs a break now and then. It’s not about running away from your thoughts; it’s about finding a balance between doing and chilling.

This downtime is when your mind and body recharge, which is super important. It’s the quiet moments where you can just be with yourself that often bring the most peace.

"Distraction techniques are therefore of utmost importance. Tell yourself that you will 'park' that feeling, and if it is still bothering you after you have gone for a walk, then you will give it attention."

— Janine S. White | Former Emotional Health Worker | Research Writer

Spend Time in Nature to Find Peace

Heading outside and spending time in nature can be an incredible way to clear your head. It’s like nature is the wise old friend who reminds you that the world is big, beautiful, and full of possibilities.

A walk in the park, a trip to the beach, or just sitting under a tree can make those rough edges in your heart feel a bit smoother.

Being in nature helps you zoom out and see the bigger picture. It’s not about forgetting what you’re going through but about remembering there’s more to your world than that. Whether it’s watching birds flutter about or listening to leaves rustle – nature’s got this calming vibe that’s hard to beat.

And who knows, a bit of fresh air might just be what you need to spark new thoughts and fresh starts.

Plan a Trip or Getaway for a Fresh Perspective

Planning a trip or a short getaway gives you something to look forward to and can provide a fresh perspective on life. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or far-flung; even a weekend trip to a nearby town or a day spent exploring a new area can make a big difference.

This break from your routine allows you to step away from reminders of your past relationship, giving your mind a rest and possibly even sparking new interests or friendships.

Planning a trip is about doing something solely for your enjoyment and healing. It’s a testament to the fact that there’s a big, wide world out there, filled with possibilities and new experiences waiting for you. 

Find Solace in Your Faith or Spirituality

For many, faith or spirituality is a source of comfort and strength during tough times. If you have spiritual beliefs, leaning into them can provide solace and a sense of peace when you miss your ex.

Whether it’s through prayer, meditation, attending services, or reading spiritual texts, these practices can offer a feeling of connection to something greater than oneself. It’s a space where you can find hope, forgiveness, and a deeper sense of purpose amid heartache.

Spirituality, like spending time in nature, can help ground you, offering a sense of stability and peace. It reminds you of your strengths and the support systems, both seen and unseen, available to you.

Read Self-Help Books for Guidance and Support

Self-help books are like roadmaps that others left behind on their own journeys. They can offer guidance and support when you’re not quite sure which way to go.

Authors of these books have been where you are, and they’ve come out the other side with advice and insights to share. Think of it as sitting down for a chat with a wise friend who just gets it.

It’s all about finding the right book for you. Look for one that speaks to your situation or simply grabs your attention. And the best part? You can take what works for you and leave the rest. Every bit of wisdom you pick up is another tool in your kit, helping you build a bridge to a brighter, self-empowered future.

Join a Support Group or Online Community

Sometimes, sharing your story and hearing others’ can be just what you need. Support groups and online communities are full of people who know exactly what you’re going through. It’s comforting to be reminded that you’re not alone in this boat.

And who knows, you might just make a new friend who can laugh and nod as you both say, “Yep, been there!

These groups are great because you can find them anytime, anywhere. All you need is an internet connection, and voilà, you’ve got a whole group to chat with. You can share a little or a lot, whatever feels right.

And the best part is you’ll find heaps of encouragement and support coming your way from all corners of the globe.

Accept That Healing Is a Process With Ups and Downs

It’s important to recognize that healing is not linear. There will be days when you feel like you’ve taken a step back rather than forward. This is perfectly normal.

Accepting that the journey will have its ups and downs removes the pressure to “be okay” by a certain point. Be gentle with yourself during the harder days and celebrate the small victories during the better ones. It’s all part of the process.

The important thing is to keep moving, even if some days it’s just getting out of bed, and to remind yourself that this won’t last forever.

Reflect on Lessons Learned From the Relationship

Every relationship, no matter how it ends, comes with valuable lessons. Taking the time to reflect on what you’ve learned from the experience can provide closure and help you grow as an individual.

Ask yourself what the relationship taught you about love, compatibility, communication, and even your own needs and boundaries. This isn’t about placing blame but rather about gaining insights that can guide you in future relationships.

  • Write down the lessons learned and how they’ve made you wiser or stronger.
  • Consider how these insights can shape your approach to relationships moving forward.

Carry these lessons forward; they’re invaluable, and they’re all yours.

Avoid Making Major Life Changes Impulsively

You know that urge to dye your hair blue or move to a farm in the countryside the second you start feeling those post-breakup blues? Hold your horses for a second—or your hair dye.

After ending things with your ex, it’s natural to want to shake up your life. But these big decisions are best made when you’re in a calm state, not in the middle of an emotional storm.

Take a breather before making any big changes. Jot down your ideas and look at them again after some time has passed. Are you still excited about them? Great, give it a go. If not, you might just have dodged a bullet. It’s like saving yourself from a “What was I thinking?” moment down the road.

Be Open to New Experiences and Connections

Now, being open to new things doesn’t mean you need to jump out of a plane (unless that’s on your bucket list). It’s about saying yes to opportunities that come knocking and not hiding under the covers.

You might try out a cooking class, join a local theater group, or just start chatting with folks in a café. It’s all about stretching those social muscles a bit.

As you open up to these new experiences, you might just stumble upon some really cool people. These new connections can brighten up your days and help you see that life has plenty to offer post-breakup.

And who knows? One of these new pals might just become your partner-in-crime for future escapades.

Acknowledge and Celebrate Your Progress

Recognizing how far you’ve come since the initial heartache is a big deal. It’s like reaching a checkpoint in a video game and giving yourself a high-five for the achievement.

Every step forward, no matter how tiny it feels, is part of this amazing growth curve you’re on. Celebrating these moments keeps your spirits up and encourages you to keep going. It’s a reminder that you’re moving in the right direction—towards a happier, healthier you.

Avoid Using Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism

Breaking up can leave you reaching for a bottle to drown those sorrows, but let’s pour that idea down the drain. Alcohol might seem like a quick fix, but it’s like putting a small bandage on a big wound; it covers it up but doesn’t actually help it heal. Plus, the next day, you might have more than just heartache to deal with.

Instead of toasting to forget, find other ways to soothe yourself. Maybe it’s a workout session that leaves you too tired to be sad, a movie marathon with loads of popcorn, or even a long, calming bubble bath. There are plenty of ways to unwind without the wine, and your head (and heart) will thank you in the morning.

Remember the Reasons Why the Relationship Ended

In moments of loneliness, it’s easy to idealize the past and forget the reasons why the relationship wasn’t working. Keeping a realistic view of why things ended is crucial for moving on.

This doesn’t mean dwelling on the negative but rather maintaining a balanced perspective that can prevent you from idealizing what was and hindering your healing process.

  • Write down the reasons the relationship ended and refer back to them when you’re feeling nostalgic.
  • Reflect on how these reasons have opened doors to personal growth and future possibilities.
"Sometimes we forget why we are not together. It is always about values. What were the values issues that didn't work in your relationship? How can you define your values clearly to avoid a mismatch next time?"

Leslie Gunterson | Master-Certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming | NLP Coach

Plan Ahead for How to Handle Moments of Missing Your Ex

Missing your ex is natural, and it will happen. Planning ahead for how to manage these moments can make them less daunting. Having this plan in place makes it easier when the waves of nostalgia hit.

You won’t be caught off guard; instead, you’ll be ready to channel those feelings into something that helps you grow stronger. And each time you successfully navigate these moments, you’ll feel more in control of your journey.

  • Keep a list of friends you can call for a chat.
  • Have a self-care toolkit ready with activities like journaling, going for a walk, or watching your favorite uplifting movie.

Channel Your Energy Into Creative Pursuits

Instead of letting memories of your ex tie you down, why not tie-dye a shirt? Or get hands-on with clay, paints, or even cooking—unleash that inner artist or chef! Creativity isn’t just about making stuff; it’s a way to express what’s inside you without having to find the perfect words.

Plus, it keeps your hands and mind occupied, which is a total bonus.

It doesn’t matter if your cake doesn’t win a baking show or if your painting looks nothing like a Picasso. What matters is that you’re pouring all that energy into something that’s all yours. And who knows? You might just discover a new passion in the process, something that adds a fresh layer of happiness to your life cake.

List the Positive Aspects of Being Single

Think of being single as having a VIP pass to your own life. You’re the star, the director, and the audience all rolled into one. You get to make choices just for you without checking if someone else is on board.

Love sleeping diagonally across your bed? Go for it. Want to binge-watch that reality show without anyone judging? It’s all yours.

Here are some solo superpowers you’ve got:

  • More time for friends and family.
  • Freedom to set your own schedule.
  • Opportunities to explore and find new interests.
  • Learning to be independent.
  • The excitement of future love possibilities.

Relish these perks; they’re like your single-life goodie bag. Each one is something to celebrate and enjoy, so dive into this buffet of freedoms and have a taste of everything!

More Expert Insights

“Some questions to ask include: Why did I attract my ex into my life? What worked well in the relationship and what didn’t? What was it I wanted most from my partner that I didn’t receive or get enough of? Was it something I could have provided myself? What would I do differently next time?”

Randy Siegel | Author, “In Search of The One: How to Attract the Relationship You’ve Longed For

“Breakups are hard, and it’s normal to struggle or feel despondent when things don’t work out. You can consider your role in a relationship breakdown without attacking yourself (which makes people feel worse).”

Sarah Lee | Psychotherapist, Explore Your Mind

“Even if the relationship ended badly, it is normal to experience feelings of loss. The reason is that we were, at some point in time, attached to this person. We are all biologically programmed to attach to others and have difficulty separating from them (which is why it can be hard to leave an unhealthy relationship at times).”

— Kimberly Panganiban, LMFT | Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Choosing Therapy | Certified Gottman Couples Therapist, Trainer & Consultant

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I stop dreaming about my ex?

Dreams about an ex-partner are common and usually reflect your subconscious processing the relationship and breakup. While you can’t directly control your dreams, focusing on self-care, staying busy with activities, and practicing mindfulness before bedtime can help reduce the frequency of these dreams over time.

Should I delete photos and texts from my ex?

Deciding whether to delete photos and texts from your ex is a personal choice. For some, keeping these memories can hinder moving on, constantly reminding them of what was.

For others, these memories serve as a meaningful part of their life story. If you’re unsure, you might start by moving them to a less accessible storage space until you’re more certain about your feelings.

How do I deal with mutual friends after a breakup?

Navigating mutual friendships post-breakup can be tricky. Transparent communication is key. It’s okay to express any need for space or boundaries regarding discussions about your ex.

True friends will understand and support your healing process. Try to maintain these friendships based on their own merits, separate from the past relationship.

What if I’m afraid I won’t find love again?

Fear of not finding love again is common after a breakup, but remember, each relationship teaches us valuable lessons about ourselves and what we want in a partner.

Focus on personal growth and building a fulfilling life for yourself. When you’re ready, approach new relationships with an open heart and mind, knowing that you’re worthy of love.

How do I handle returning items to my ex after the breakup?

When it comes to returning items after a breakup, aim for a method that minimizes emotional stress.

This might involve arranging a specific time to exchange belongings without a lengthy interaction, or using a mutual friend to facilitate the exchange if direct contact is too painful.

Keep the process straightforward and respectful, focusing on practicality rather than using it as an opportunity to rehash the relationship.

Final Thoughts

Finally, I want to remind you that your past does not define you. No matter how much you may miss your ex, know that you are so much more than your relationships. You are a unique, valuable individual with your own dreams, passions, and purpose.

So, keep holding on, even on the tough days. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and trust that better days are coming. You’re stronger than you know, and you will get through this.

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Jahrine is a seeker of knowledge and personal growth. When not exploring the worlds of self-help books and spirituality, she enjoys reading dark fiction and spending time with her beloved dogs. With diverse interests, including career development, travel, and poetry, Jahrine is constantly expanding her horizons and seeking new experiences.