Breakups can be hard. You go from spending a long time being in love with someone, directly to little to no contact and even feelings of hatred or regret.
Often, we spend time and effort trying to move on and get over relationships, but for many, their feelings are still strong even many months or years after these relationships. Feeling like you’ve failed at getting over an ex can add even more hurt to the pain you’re already feeling, so it can be helpful to look at why you might not be able to get over your past relationships.
Become a Harlem insider - Sign-Up for our Weekly Newsletter!
Here are six possible reasons.
1. You are still reminded of your ex constantly
One of the main ways that someone might have difficulties moving forward after a breakup is because they are constantly bombarded with news from their ex. Whether this comes in the form of social media updates, calls, texts, or reminders around your home or hometown, reminders of your ex can be painful and confusing.
One way to address this is to give yourself time away from your ex. Delete them on social media, block their phone number, move out of the apartment you shared, or anything else you might need.
Many people want to still have their ex in their lives, but you may need to take care of yourself by giving yourself a little distance first.
2. You feel like you’ll never be in another relationship
Another reason it can feel difficult to move on is when this ex felt like “the one.” This could be for a number of reasons. Maybe you were infatuated with them, it was a relationship where you checked off a lot of “firsts” (or first relationship ever), or they were the first person to treat you right.
In any of these cases, the emotions are valid; however, this doesn’t mean you won’t find someone even better who actually wants to stick it out with you. Maybe your ex was special, and it’s okay to believe that, but you will find someone special again.
3. You have suppressed the feelings before
Right after a breakup, your emotions are strong and can feel overpowering. For many, a coping mechanism might be to refuse to acknowledge these difficult emotions and to suppress them, therefore protecting yourself by not feeling them.
Even though this might feel better in the short term, those emotions will bubble back up later and still require confrontation. Take this time to confront and acknowledge any difficult emotions and allow yourself all the processing time you need.
4. You haven’t really processed the breakup
Like suppressing your emotions, you may also have neglected to process the breakup itself right after it happened. If you only think about the good memories during the relationship or still feel a strong connection to your ex, it may be time to acknowledge the reasons why you broke up.
Thinking logically about the things that could have been better or ways they were not able to meet your needs may help you to see why the breakup happened and move forward in the process.
5. You experience negative self-talk or low self-esteem
A common issue among countless individuals is low self-esteem, which can lead to negative self-talk. Negative self-talk is when the voice in your head resorts to insulting you or constantly bringing you down.
This can affect the way you process a breakup by making you feel like it was your fault or you deserve to feel sad.
Negative self-talk is never the reality, and attempting to challenge those thoughts in order to move on from your past relationship can really help. Talking to a therapist might aid you in identifying and challenging negative self-talk or low self-esteem.
6. You are recovering from trauma
Sometimes, past relationships involve complicated and traumatizing events. These events may be so severe as to change your brain chemistry in such a way that it becomes difficult to process a breakup or manage the aftermath of the relationship.
In this case, it could be important to talk to a therapist in order to learn the ways you can regain agency in your emotional processing and move forward in a healthy way.
In conclusion, it can be extremely difficult to get over a past relationship for a variety of different reasons. None of these reasons is likely to be your fault.
It is completely normal and valid to process difficult events in different ways, but these ways may not necessarily be healthy.
In any case, you can learn better, healthier ways to process the breakup moving forward. Try talking to a therapist, friend, or family member, and confront your emotions whether they are happy or sad. You have the power to move on from your past relationships and live a happier, healthier life.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.