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Why Can’t I Move On From My Ex? (5 Reasons)

why can't I move on, moving on from my ex, why you can't move on from your ex

Love doesn’t just die the moment a relationship ends. If anything, love persists and it perseveres because that’s what love does. It nurtures and supports. But, when the recipient of that love is no longer in your life, it can cause a great deal of pain and turmoil. Trust me, I know. You may find yourself stuck and unable to accept reality. So, in this article, we’re going to discuss why you can’t move on from your ex.

You can’t move on from your ex because you still love them, it hasn’t been long since the breakup, you’re afraid of moving on, you haven’t come to terms with the breakup and/or you’re feeling regret for some reason pertaining to your ex. 

Depending on the reason why you can’t move on from your ex, the time it takes for you to detach from the past will vary significantly.

But, I also want to challenge you with something to illustrate an idea that may help you understand why trying to move on from your ex is causing you to remain stuck in the past.

For this activity, I want you to close your eyes and try not to picture a purple elephant. 

More often than not, you’re going to picture a purple elephant. 

By trying not to think about something, you give it more focus and power over you.

If you have been fixating on how you feel about your ex and moving on from him and her, it could be one of the significant reasons why you haven’t. 

When you resist something, it’s more likely to persist.

This is a lesson that I have learned during a bout of extreme OCD and anxiety that I endured a while back.

I found a book called Letting Go by David R. Hawkins, which illustrated how to let go of thoughts and emotions that plague you by simply surrendering to them.

In other words, by embracing uncomfortable emotions and situations, you are more likely to get through them.

Am I wrong when I say that the single most common feeling felt amongst people in this situation is hopelessness?

You feel hopeless about finding love and happiness again without your ex. 

At my lowest, this is exactly how I felt. 

But, something that helps me during moments of hopelessness is action. 

I need to feel like there’s something I can do that will amount to a change in my future.

And the best activity you can do during your lowest moments is to write down everything you would love to find in a partner and then become that person.

Something has got to change. 

From every failed relationship and from every breakup, you have to find something from it to help you grow and evolve.

The only way you avoid repeating the past is by actually learning from it.

And each time you go through a breakup, you’re going to realize with clarity what you truly need and desire in life.

It’s not when you’re lonely or bored that you realize what or who is best for you.

It’s when you’ve been through a heartbreak or loss.

So, there’s value in what you’re going through right now.

It’s hard to move on when you struggle to understand why certain things happen in life.

Either find a reason that helps you grow or make one up. But, you must give yourself something to work on and grow from to move on from your ex.

If you take away only one thing from this article, it should be this – surrender to what you’ve been through and going through. 

That’s how you grow because the alternative is to deny or resist reality and that will only cause you to experience ongoing and indefinite suffering without any growth.

Related post: How to stop loving someone but stay friends

Reasons Why You Can’t Move On From Your Ex

why can't I move on, moving on from my ex, why you can't move on from your ex

1. You still love your ex

In my opinion, you’re still in love with your ex if you miss them and think about them when you aren’t lonely or facing hardship. 

Most people mistake loneliness for love and fixate on an ex.

It’s when you can date others if you’d like and you’re living a fulfilling life but you still miss and think about your ex that there’s love that still lingers within you.

That love is yours. 

It doesn’t actually disappear from within you. 

Your ex triggered that love to awaken and the relationship you shared with him or her nurtured it.

Without your ex, that love resides but it’s struggling to find a destination because your ex is no longer in the picture.

That’s why you’re suffering and struggling to move on from your ex right now.

Related post: What to do when you’re still in love with your ex

2. It hasn’t been long since the breakup

Time heals wounds and makes things easier but there’s really no set amount of time for complete healing. It could take a couple of months to even a few years before you’re completely over your ex.

But, one thing is certain, you’re not getting over an ex who you loved and who was good to you in just a few weeks.

In fact, it’s speculated that it takes at least half the duration of the length of your relationship to get over someone.

Your thoughts, habits and behaviors are all going to influence the way you feel about your ex and how you deal with the breakup.

What’s important is that you remove the pressure of having a timeline for when you need to feel good.

That doesn’t help you nor does it speed things up.

Instead, it’s much more productive to accept what has happened and to embrace the fact that you will miss your ex at times and grieve the relationship, even if you ended it.

As Ed Mylett says in his book, just hold on for one more day. 

Related post: Why do I still think about my ex every day?

3. You’re afraid of moving on

Would you believe me if I told you that most of us are living life on autopilot? Our moods, behaviors and thoughts have been programmed from the past.

We wake up each day and allow those past programs to run like a script.

It reaches a point when our default state or base level of comfort is the pain that we have been experiencing in the past.

We’re so afraid of the unknown that we would surrender ourselves to the stories of the past, even if it’s slowly killing us.

Part of moving on requires us to wake up each morning, meditate and not leave that state of meditation until we take control of our minds.

It’s going to throw all these problems and painful thoughts at us until we start living a day that looks almost exactly like the previous day without any actual healing taking place.

You have to sit there and make a conscious decision to only move once you’ve allowed yourself to feel those emotions and transition to emotions of power, peace and hope. 

In other words, when your mind wants to keep you stuck in the past, you have to actively beat it into submission and then live a day in your own life that takes you one step closer to being the person you envision.

You have to accept that the version of you that was attached to your ex and that relationship is gone. 

You’re not getting that person back.

If you try to, you’ll remain stuck in this unhappy, painful and depressed state.

But, if you allow yourself to envision a future version of yourself that is happy, peaceful, loving and free to live a life of abundance and joy, then that gives you direction.

Once you have direction, you can control your mind and behavior in a manner that facilitates the enhancement and development of that future life and self.

This is an idea that I extrapolated from a podcast I recently heard by Dr. Joe Dispenza which you can watch on youtube in the video below.

4. You haven’t come to terms with the breakup

The end of a relationship doesn’t automatically sever attachment. Yes, the formal bond between you and your ex has ended but your heart doesn’t operate from rational thought.

It takes a long time for your heart to catch up with what the mind knows.

If the mind is in denial about events, can you imagine how long it will take for the heart to align with it?

This brings me back to the podcast I heard by Dr. Joe Dispenza. In it, he mentioned that the body can’t differentiate between the emotions of a past memory from what’s happening in the present moment.

In other words, when you are thinking about a past memory with your ex that makes you feel a certain way, the body reacts and feels those emotions as if it’s happening to you right now.

So, if you’re still stuck in the phase before the breakup or during the breakup, your body is repeatedly living in those memories.

To move past this and to give your mind, body and soul a chance to recover and heal, you have to acknowledge reality for what it is.

This doesn’t automatically mean that once you accept what has happened but it takes the first step towards acceptance and that is acknowledgment.

Once you realize that you have been through a breakup and the pain you are feeling right now is a result of that breakup, you can start coming to terms with it.

For as long as you remain in denial and assume that what has happened is only temporary or a misunderstanding, you’ll continue to suffer from moving on from your ex.

It will continue to feel like you’re literally experiencing that break-up every single day.

Related post: Can you force yourself to stop loving someone?

5. You’re feeling regret

I have to be honest with you, this is rough to write about.

I think about the times when I would lie in bed at night, think about my life and beat myself up over the regret I carried on my shoulders.

It was heavy. 

Regret sits on your chest, wraps itself around your heart like a chain and squeezes as tightly as it can.

You try to run from it. You try to hide from it. But, no matter where you go, no matter how beautiful things around you may be, that regret catches up to you and sucks the joy and color out of daily life.

The thing about regret is that it can be useless if it only amounts to self-torture and suffering.

From what I experienced and researched, the burning pain of regret can be extinguished via intentional growth.

In other words, if you can recognize the thoughts, patterns, behaviors and beliefs that influenced you to act in a manner that created this regret and you intentionally take steps to change those influential chinks in your armor, you can find peace.

You redeem yourself from regret by building trust, confidence and respect in yourself.

The only way to do it is by growing, changing and committing to your intentions of learning from mistakes and purging toxicity from your core.

It has to be an intrinsically motivated choice.

Sure, you can use your ex as motivation to change but the intention has to be grounded in your own desire to do better by yourself.

Let’s talk about infidelity.

When talking to people who have never cheated on their partners but had an opportunity to do so, the reason why they didn’t cheat may have been motivated by their desire to love their partner and to not hurt their partner.

However, more so than that, they didn’t cheat because they were aware that cheating would make them feel terrible about themselves. 

They would feel as if they betrayed themselves, not just their partner.

So, the relationship you have with yourself has to be one that nurtures high values and morals. 

You can build this relationship with yourself even if you have been a serial cheater your entire life.

There’s no expiration date, other than death, for when you can wake up and decide to commit to redeeming yourself in the eyes of your best self. 

Once you have this intention and commit to it one day at a time, regret will diminish one day at a time. 

It may never disappear but it may transform into something that changes you in a way that you’ll respect and love for the rest of your life.

In the end, you may get back with your ex or you may move on from your ex.

But, more importantly, you’ll move on from the old version of yourself who created this regret. 

There’s peace and respect in that. 

Related post: Do avoidants regret breaking up?

Final Thoughts

There isn’t a perfect science to moving on.

I wish that I could give you a timeline on how long it takes to move on from an ex but I can’t. I can only tell you that it takes time and you will be okay.

Truth be told, there are days when I find myself reliving the end of my relationship 10 months ago and it overwhelms me.

On those painful days, every moment feels like something is missing, something so very important is missing and I feel alone, angry, sad, confused, frustrated, afraid and in pain.

I’m sure that you understand exactly what I’m talking about.

But, in spite of that, I know that better times will come because we are so resilient.

You’re not crazy for struggling to move on from your ex nor are you being clingy. You’ve lost someone that you love. It’s okay to feel the effects of that love during this loss. It wouldn’t hurt if it weren’t some form of true love.

As long as you can be caring towards yourself and have an intention to work on this one day at a time, you’re going to be okay.

In saying that, I hope that you found some clarity and comfort in this article on why you can’t move on from your ex. If you would like to ask me any questions on share your thoughts on this topic, please do so by visiting the comment section below to let me know.

1 thought on “Why Can’t I Move On From My Ex? (5 Reasons)”

  1. It hurts like hell. Almost 2 months now and it still hurts. The worse thing is when your family and friends tell you to just move on. She wasn’t right for you, it wasn’t meant to be, you just need to date new people. Thankfully I did have one friend that understood. She said you’ll move on when you’re ready. You can’t just turn it off. And it’s not crazy for wanting your ex back, a lot of people feel that way.
    But I need to find a way to move on. Yes, I still hope my ex and I will get back together someday. She was good for me, and I tried to be good for her though I was clingy and needy in the relationship. It’s one reason I decided to go to therapy. I have issues I need to deal with before I even think about getting into another relationship (whether it’s with my ex or someone else).
    And even if I’m lucky enough to get another chance with my ex, it will be a new relationship. Obviously there will be some advantages in the sense that I know her, her likes/dislikes, that sort of thing. But you can’t just pick up where you left off, nor should you want to because that relationship failed. But whatever happens, I have to let go of that relationship.
    But please, if you have a friend going through a break up, don’t tell them just to move on, and date other people. It just makes them feel worse because they feel maybe there’s something wrong with them that they can’t move on. And I can tell you I am not ready to date other people right now, and it wouldn’t be fair to the other person.

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