Help – I miss my ex
so much it hurts!
German relationship coach Emanuel Albert, known as Date Doctor Emanuel, gives you practical solutions to the problems that can arise when you miss your ex girlfriend more than you can bear.
Even weeks after a breakup it is totally natural to miss your ex. In my work as a relationship coach I talk to people every day about why they miss their ex boyfriend or girlfriend. Missing your ex usually causes new issues when you want them back and you end up jeopardizing your attempts to recover the relationship.
Here are six problems – and their solutions – that typically arise when you miss your ex. Understanding why you miss your ex is the first step in gaining control over your emotions and eventually winning her back.
Missing your ex is completely natural. A whole cocktail of reasons explains why we feel so bad after a relationship ends. In my experience (yes, I have had my fair share of heartbreak) every breakup feels different. And what you miss about your ex girlfriend is also unique to the two of you and the relationship you had. We are notoriously bad at predicting how awful a breakup will make us feel. So in order to understand why you miss your ex girlfriend so much, it can help to consider time. Don’t worry; I don’t mean to bore you by claiming: “time heals all wounds”. Instead let us take a look at the past, present and future of your relationship:
No matter how long you and your ex were together – memories are your worst enemy right now. All the good times, all the challenges you overcame, all the new experiences shared keep on looping through your brain and are causing you to hold on to the past. The past, however, will not help you move forward. Getting your ex back and starting a new, improved relationship should not be based on what used to connect you. Instead concentrate on what type of relationship you want in the future.
Beware: many other programs advise using positive memories to win back your ex. And this can work – but only for a very short period of time. Cheap and easy tricks can only go so far. Your ex should never get the impression that you are stuck in the past. So you should only use past positive memories sparingly, ideally offsetting one memory with 3 or 4 other actions, which we discuss in coaching sessions.
Right now everything has changed for you. Your everyday life has an “ex-shaped” hole in it. Suddenly you lose all the routines, date nights and conversations you and your ex would have in a regular week. Time moves so slowly now, meaning that you are trapped in this horrible state for what feels like ages. Even though you won’t be able to replace your former partner, try to fill all this new found time with friends, activities, hobbies and as much fun as you can manage! It is okay to feel sad and miss your ex, but dealing with these feelings gets a whole lot easier if you don’t have 24/7 to dwell on them.
And of course: Don’t be too hard on yourself! Expect this process to take some time. The key to success is sticking with it and being kind to yourself, while you work on filling this hole.
Part of the most painful things about a breakup is that you do not only lose what you had but also what you think you were going to have together in the future. You have an advantage if you are someone who is good at living in the moment. All of you who make plans for the future and daydream of what is to come, will be hit especially hard by a breakup. This is where it is important to generate new plans. It can also help to focus on aspects that you and your ex disagreed on; you see yourself buying a forever home and she wanted to travel without ever getting too attached to a home – bingo – you have your first plan for the future that you can focus on.
Good news: Your original plans with your ex may still come true, once you get back together. During our coaching sessions, it is not unusual for me to generate two different future visions with you – one future vision in which you act independently (and therefore are extremely attractively), and one future vision in which all your shared plans come true.
The body and the mind work as one and cannot be viewed separately. When you feel like you are actually feeling bodily pain over a breakup you are not overreacting and you are not imagining things. Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI for short) have provided us with images that let us see which areas of the brain are active when we feel lovesick after a breakup. The truly fascinating findings show us that the same brain areas “light up” when we view the picture of the ex-partner that has caused emotional pain, as when we experience physical pain, such as heat on our lower arm.
This means that it is 100 percent normal that your body is interpreting missing your ex like crazy as actual pain, which you can feel in your gut, your heart, your entire body.
Solution: The pain you feel may seem like too much to bear right now. But reconsider: your body and mind are connected. This means that your negative thoughts and feelings of sadness, anger and rejection can be tackled by gaining control over your body first. This is the moment that sticking to a regular running plan helps you generate endorphins and other hormones that will positively affect your psyche. Alternatively you may enjoy cycling or swimming more, that is fine, as long as you try a form of aerobic exercise (what you may know as “cardio”). Fully exerting yourself during weight lifting training or directly targeting your anger and helplessness during boxing sessions, will give you more of a sense of calm, eventually helping you to miss your girlfriend less painfully. During coaching, my team and I also work on improving your posture and body language, which always improve when you become physically active and vastly improve the vibe you radiate.
Every day one of my coachees switches from pain and sadness to anger. Congratulations! This isn’t always bad, this can help you. Of course something needs to change when you are in a constant state of seeing red. Often, however, anger can motivate us, drive us to action and help us out of our depressive state. In my ebook on love sickness and heartbreak I discuss the stages necessary for working through the pain in detail. (For now, the German version is available and I am working on an English book!)
Solution: Don’t deny yourself your feelings of anger and hate. On the contrary: Congratulations for being angry! This is all part of your process of letting go of the relationship. Instead lean into the feeling and explore it. Start a boxing class. No joke! The combination of exercise and allowing yourself to express all the pent up frustration will help you feel more at ease over the course of the next weeks.
A breakup is hard on absolutely everyone but we all react to the intense wave of emotions differently. Whilst women tend to get stuck in feelings of sadness and guilt, men on the whole more often react with aggression or the desire to want to take revenge on their ex girlfriends. You are hurting, so you want her to feel equally bad. That is totally normal. The issue arises when your thoughts, or even actions, of revenge cause you to stay stuck in a bad place. By plotting revenge your mind stays focused on your ex, which prevents you from moving forward.
Solution: Your ex broke up with you or treated you badly and now your ego is hurt – that is normal! Some people are able to be mindful of their feelings and can work on letting go of this negative spiral of revenge and anger. This is an impressive skill to have and many have learned to further themselves by letting go, be it by meditation, writing or breathing exercises.
For the sake of this article I will assume that you are finding it impossible to let go of the desire to take revenge on your ex
The following four escalating options describe how, in my opinion, revenge makes sense and should be acted on:
An ex that has lost respect for you or treated you badly will be hit the hardest when:
1. she sees you doing well despite the breakup
2. you are having fun with other women/men
3. you are in a happy relationship
And finally the sweetest revenge that will have your ex pacing and agonizing looks like this:
4. your new relationship is with someone, who is cooler, more interesting, funnier and better suited to you than your ex ever was!
So either you showed little respect towards your ex in the relationship, forcing her to protect herself, push you away and end the relationship, or you did not give her the space that she needed (and maybe even requested) following the breakup, pushing her over the edge and now she hates you.
Solution: Depending on which of the two cases describes you more accurately I recommend two different strategies.
a.) If your ex broke up with you to protect herself, you need to sincerely apologize without groveling or making a song and dance out of it. Be sincere and brief – and then leave her alone! You have now planted a seed that hating you is not necessary, but you will bulldozer all over that small sapling if you crowd her now. Designing a perfect apology takes skill and during our first coaching session we will dedicate some time in order to tailor the suitable approach for you, drawing from our expertise in communication and rhetoric.
b.) Let me point you in the direction of the no contact rule. It is crucial that you stop contacting your ex now. In some cases we advise briefly commenting on how annoying you have been and asking her to delete your texts and voice messages. This can be a powerful strategy but you should avoid “announcing” that you will not contact her. Should you be unsure about what path is right for you, do not hesitate to contact us.
So many of my coachees are afraid to say “yes” to being friends with an ex. With so much information out there on how the friendzone is a dead-end, which will never result in you recovering your past relationship, I get it. But – hear me out! When an ex wants to be friends, they are clearly stating that they want you in their life. In my experience it is far easier to rekindle a relationship when you have maintained a friendship than when you have completely shut yourself off to the idea of staying friends. So view friendship as a step along the way to a new and improved relationship.
Solution: So you are giving being friends a shot but you don’t want to completely mess up your chances of getting back together again? Now you will have to learn to hold back every now and then. Be a friend… but don’t be a best friend. She calls you asking you to pick up some shopping for her – “I am out and about and won’t be able to fit that in to my day.”. She pours her heart out to you about some guy she is dating – “Sounds tricky, maybe your girlfriends have an idea… I gotta run”. Do not devote all your time and attention to her. Keep on dating other women. And make sure you have a friendship that is fun for both of you, not just comfortable for her and painful for you.
How is this a problem? – Well, the problem arises when you jump at the first sign that your ex wants to get back together. This is such a sticky issue that I dedicate an entire chapter to this situation in my “Ex-back” book. Your ex might just miss having a partner or she feels you slipping away and subconsciously wants to prove to herself that she could have you back at any time.
Solution: If she is serious about getting back together again – and you want to give your relationship a second chance as well – your ex will be okay with you two not rushing into things. Very few things are as sad as seeing two people, who fit together well, get back together just to break up for the same reasons again. Keep on spending time with friends that stood by you through all your heart break. Make a serious effort to work on the issues you had in the past. Perhaps this is the point where going into couples counseling is a good idea for you and your partner. My team and I are also here to help you, if you want to make this second chance last.
Even though missing your ex sucks, your body is also giving you all the signs that something needs to be done! The more you wallow in your pain the less likely it is that you will become an attractive partner in the eyes of your ex. My team and I have years of experience helping men and women win back their ex partners. Those who truly work on themselves are always the ones that greatly up their chances!
You miss your partner, but also actively work on the idea that you as a person are not “missing” something. Using this opportunity to invest time and effort in yourself, not just in winning back your ex, is the most successful path to a happy relationship. Should you be considering winning back your ex, we are here to help. Contact us for an assessment of your case and a personal coaching session.
Best of luck,
your Date Doctor Emanuel
DeLecce, T., & Weisfeld, G. (2016). An evolutionary explanation for sex differences in nonmarital breakup experiences. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 2(3), 234-251. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-015-0039-z)
Eastwick, P. W., Finkel, E. J., Krishnamurti, T., & Loewenstein, G. (2008). Mispredicting distress following romantic breakup: Revealing the time course of the affective forecasting error. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(3), 800-807.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2007.07.001
Flaskerud, J. H. (2011). Heartbreak and Physical Pain Linked in Brain, Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 32(12), 789-791, DOI: 10.3109/01612840.2011.583714
I have been working as a dating and relationship coach for more than 20 years. Every day my team and I help clients reach more happiness in their relationships. Our vision is to turn relationship problems back into love! To achieve this goal I developed the successful Emanuel Albert Method.