Do you still feel like, even though you have been separating with your ex, that you somehow are deeply connected to each other?
Do you feel as if the two of you have never been parting ways but are energetically still close?
This isn’t such a weird idea and a very common thing that happened with people who are just separating.
Especially when the love with the two of you together has been really deep, the lingering afterwards can be more felt than you would wish to.
In fact, everyone that ever went through separation phase after a long serious relationship have asked themselves: “Why do I still feel connected to my ex?”
If they didn’t, either…
- they were not in love with their ex partner.
- or they really got abused in the relationship that they are happy that they are out of this mess now.
In this article we will explore the psychological and emotional reasons behind still feeling connected to an ex even though you have been separated.
9 Reasons Why You Still Feel Connected to Your Ex:
1. Your Break up wasn’t that long ago
If the break up has recently happened, it’s completely normal to still feel connected to your ex. After all, you’ve been spending time together, whether that was short or long.
You have to give yourself and your body time to feel the loss and the grief.
Being together with someone with whom you share parts of yourself with, with whom you deeply share your energy with, isn’t always an easy nor fast process of “disconnecting.”
This takes time.
In this research done by Healthline about break ups they suggest that: “it takes an average of about 3.5 months to heal, while recovering after divorce might take closer to 1.5 years, if not longer.”
Now you know that it’s completely common to grief, feel and take time to get over your experience with someone else.
2. Role of Attachment
Below we will go briefly into the different attachment styles and how they influence romantic relationships dynamics.
- Anxious (also referred to as Preoccupied)
According to WEMBD “People with anxious attachment are usually needy. They are anxious and have low self-esteem. They want to be close with others but are afraid that people don’t want to be with them.”
- Avoidant (also referred to as Dismissive)
Besides, WEMBD describes people with anxious-avoidant attachments are the opposite of needy.
Instead of wanting to be emotionally close, they avoid connecting with others. They might rely on themselves, crave freedom, and find emotions to be difficult.
- Disorganized (also referred to as Fearful-Avoidant)
A fearful avoidant attachment style describes a person who craves closeness and support.
However, they also fear it and feel the need to distance themselves from others at the same time, as the third description given by WEMB.
Last but not least, you have a secure attachment. WEMB describes them as “People with a secure attachment style have empathy but can set boundaries. They are satisfied in their close relationships and feel safe and stable.”
If you look closely at the attachment styles, you can see when you’re being secure you’re easier to let go of an ex than for example someone who is anxious.Your attachment style is influencing the way you deal with the relationship dynamic when you’re inside and outside the relationship.
Therefore it’s completely understandable that for someone with attachment styles it takes longer than for others to get over someone and you may still feel connected with your ex.
3. Unresolved Emotional Attachment
Another reason why you can still feel connected to your ex is because you still have unresolved conflicts or unresolved closure with them.
It might happen that you had a fight the last time you spoke to each other and now you can’t let it go.
I’m a firm believer that we can still let go and don’t need someone else to give us permission in this, but I also have noticed in my own experience, that it can be really helpful to resolve it with the other person IF your ex is open for this.
Besides, you can also have strong feelings of nostalgia for the positive aspect of the relationship together.
You’re so focused on all the positive aspect, the good times and all the beauty that the both of you had together, that you’re still emotionally connected to them.
Clearing this energy from a place of love and refocusing your mind can assist you in disconnecting from your ex.
4. Familiarity and Comfort
The fourth reason that you can still feel connected to your ex, is because you have a lot of known routines, shared experiences and inside jokes together.
Many things in life remind you of them. For example seeing a funny meme or sharing a beautiful quote, that was such a part of your routine to share it with them.
This has become habitual. This has become your new “normal”.
Besides, doing this and having someone be such a deep part of your life, also enhances your feelings of security and emotional support.
5. Idealization and Selective Memory
According to LovePivot, “Idealization is a psychological and biochemical process that happens when we create positive illusions about another person, exaggerating their virtues and ignoring their flaws.”
I remember my ex romantic partner that I dated around 4 years ago. In my mind everything seems perfect. She seems perfect and I completely idealized the beauty of our relationship.
While in reality, if I took a moment to reflect I could see the following things happen:
- They made me feel like my voice wasn’t important
- She never asked me how I was
- She did me harm and was abusive in our relationship
Our relationship even let me move further away from my family and the things that were important to me in life.
If you let go of the idealization and truly look at the facts on how someone truly is and was with you, you might conclude that it is quite good for your health that you both have been separated.
If you keep on idolising the selected positive memories you still stay feel connected to your ex and not be be able to heal.
6. Shared Social Circles and Memories
When you both have the same shared social circles and memories, it’s much harder to not feel connected to your ex anymore.
Your life is literally built together and your friends are completely intertwined. You don’t have to drop just all of your friends if you don’t want that.
What you can do is broaden your social circle. You never know how many amazing friends are awaiting you that aren’t connecting you to your ex.
Besides, you also are an individual on yourself without your ex.
Even though it might feel like you always have been a couple, now it’s an opportunity for you to work on who you are without them.
7. Incomplete Self-Integration
When couples start to together in love, what often happens is that these individuals start creating an identity together.
As Max Jancar mentions in his article that our identities (beliefs, goals, values, etc.) over an extended period of time begin to merge and how we even can start to create new shared beliefs, goals, values and meaningful experiences together.
This is why it can be really hard to come back to your own self after a break up and it can feel like you have to build yourself up from the ground.
However, this is an opportunity for you to rebuild a stronger sense of self, a sense of self that doesn’t lose one’s self in the next relationship.
Even though you can have a shared union with someone, I do believe that keeping your own self is a very important part of the journey into love.
This starts with not abandoning yourself in your next relationship.
Start to discover what you like, what you dislike, your passions, your interests, the way you want your relationship to be, and stick to it. It will help you shift away from these strong feelings of feeling connected to your ex and not being able to move on.
8. Comparison and Fear of Loneliness
Why you still feel connected to your ex, might be because you have a deep longing for companionship and even feelings of loneliness which make you desire their company.
While in reality, you’re just more lonely and have this desire, than that you really desire them “individually.”
What also happens is that we can tend to compare our new relationship with old relationships in terms of connection. Even this isn’t a really weird thing that can happen in relationships.
Especially when you have had a long serious relationship with someone and then you enter into a new relationship with someone you still learn about, unravel and be vulnerable with.
Sometimes it can be easier to “go back” to what is known, while in reality you’re just again, figuring someone out. You’re just stepping outside your comfort zone again.
This doesn’t mean this person is wrong or right for you, if you simply miss being around your ex.
It’s absolutely fine, to keep exploring new connections and your individuality outside the bonding you have with your ex without the part of comparing.
This opens the doors to what is truly there instead of what might be there in your “head”.
9. Twin Flame Connection
There is a lot to read about the twin flame connection and about how this connection can be so intense, triggering and passionate at the same.
However, what I do believe is that, no matter if it’s a twin spiritual connection or what story you’re telling yourself about the connection, you have to move on.
It’s absolutely normal to meet people in your life, karmic people, soulmates, twinflame connections and still feel connected to them.
Don’t let a “label” keep you stuck to a person that is moving on or that was just a chapter or your life.
How to deal with the situation?
I do believe it’s perfectly normal to feel connected to your ex especially if you have recently broken up. What I also believe is that feeling the strong connection, feeling that someone has a space in your heart, doesn’t mean that your life has to come to a stop.
I also don’t believe that feeling a strong connection to your ex, whether that is truly in your heart or in your head, means that you should go back to them.
I always recommend my clients to do their best to accept it and keep redirecting their attention to themselves. To marinate the energy of love for themselves.
I ask them to not look back, to not wonder back to all the “could have been” and “would have been” but keep themselves grounded in the here and now.
Especially not looking back on social media or keeping themselves connected there. This is a great destroyer and decreased well-being after a break up, according to this study.
For me in my experience it has delayed my recovery and healing a lot to see my ex moving on on social media.
That’s why I always recommend to delete their ex-partners from a place of love so that my clients can slowly but surely start to become free from the chains of the past.
Is It Worth Reconnecting With an Ex?
I don’t believe that it’s always a bad idea to reconnect with your ex, especially not if your past relationship was largely a positive one. Where the both of you have served each other, loved each other well, but for example a different life path (one moving to another country) was standing in the way.
If there has been love and you still think positively about your ex and your ex about you, I don’t see any red lights.
However, if you have been in a toxic relationship, where your ex have been abusing you, emotionally hurted you, crossed your boundaries over and over, fighted with you,
I would recommend staying away from your previous relationship.
People that truly love you, wouldn’t destroy you. They might trigger you, but they will never consciously hurt you like that.
Navigating Further (Summary)
Feeling connection to your ex or heavily thinking about them, might be influencing your day to day life a lot. Accepting that it’s there but that you don’t have to entertain these thoughts or feelings, can be a big relief.
Mindfulness and learning the role of the observer can help you go through this process with more emotional stability.
If you’re able to re-focus on yourself and truly fall in love with your life, feeling full with the activities, the friends, the small moments of celebration with family, this turns your attention away from these feelings to missing your ex.
You can’t think two thoughts at the same time, so fill your head with new thoughts. Immerse yourself in activities you love. Start to explore new places.
Do the things that make you feel good and be more outside of your house. Change and shift your energy and live your life.
This is within your control. This is within your reach to choose deeply for yourself.
“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” A quote by Ann Landers.
There is strength in being able to let go.