Why You Don’t Really Miss Your Ex

Still hung up on The One That Got Away? Replaying images over and over again? Fantasising about them turning up at your door and declaring their undying love and you riding off into the sunset? It happens to the best of us.

It could be weeks, months, even years later. Then one day, you’ll smell their cologne in the queue at the supermarket, or you’ll see someone ordering their favourite drink at a bar, or maybe you’ll realise it’s their birthday and feel a sudden pang of guilt that you didn’t send them a card.

But, if you stop and really think about it, what are you daydreaming about? My relationship-changing moment came when I realised that I wasn’t actually thinking about any memories. I wasn’t living in the past thinking about ‘that day that we did this and it was awesome’ etc. I wasn’t wishing I was back at dinner on my birthday that one time where he said that one thing that made me cry, or whatever. Everything that I was picturing was all actual daydream stuff – fantasying about the future, dreaming about what could have been, making up ideal situations and creating a story that would have a happier ending because he was in it. I didn’t have any long lost love over the relationship of past – I was hung up on the future that I now didn’t have.

Are you simply dreaming about what things would be like if he was still there?

Analyse what you’re missing – are you hung up on one particularly special day that changed your life? Are you pining over that one gift that he gave you that you’ll never beat? Or are you simply dreaming about what things would be like if he was still there? Are you making up scenarios that prove how much better your life would be if you hadn’t broken up?

Memories fade, too. Instead of recounting the exact day that sticks in your brain, you’ll be filling in the blanks. You’ll be creating your own story over the top of the bits that you can fix on, which will, inevitably, be far more favourable than how the exact story went.

And when you realise that, instead of being hung up on Mr Right, you’re just enjoying creating this fantasy. You think about it because you like the dream. You like coming up with these scenarios that would happen if he was there. It’s fun to daydream about good stuff, right? I do it all the time – about boys, about promotions, about long haired spandex wearing rockstars, you name it.

Yes, you do probably miss him to an extent as well. Maybe it’s his hugs, or the fact he’d always say the right thing, or maybe he was just incredibly good in bed. They’ll be certain aspects that you wish were happening in your life now. But equally, a lot of it is just fantasy. When you’re with someone, you create a future. Whether it’s just a gig later on in the year that you both wanted to go to, or a holiday, or whether it’s secretly planning a wedding and envisioning a house together. You get to make up this scenario that’s exactly how you want it. So when you go through a breakup, not only are you leaving behind the reality, but you’re leaving up on the future that you had planned for yourself. And that future would have been perfect – you wouldn’t have fantasised about any arguments or fall outs or bad days at work, only the good stuff. It would be the perfect fantasy.

So how do we fix it?

Once you realise that you actually don’t miss the past, just the future, you’re in the perfect position to take back control

It’s easy. Once you realise you’re getting caught up daydreaming, you just change the daydream. You can do this two ways. You can either think about something fun and lovely and wonderful, such as winning the lottery or going on a dream holiday or going on a date with your celebrity crush. Daydream getting the promotion, smashing an upcoming interview, or applying for your dream job. Daydream something wonderful and exciting.

Or, you change the daydream you’re having. Instead of dreaming about how wonderful he is, try to actively think about the bad stuff. Think realistically – instead of imagining how dreamy it would have been, think about actually how shit it would have been. Remember how sad you felt when he wouldn’t do X, or how it always niggled you when he did Y. Turn the fantasy into the reality and think about what seriously would have gone on.

I mean I could say just stop thinking about it all together – but if he’s in your subconscious that much, then turning it off all together isn’t going to be that easy, I understand. The only way to clear it from your subconscious is to actually want to stop doing it, and you’ll only want that when it’s not such a nice and happy thing.

Once you realise that you actually don’t miss the past, just the future, you’re in the perfect position to take back control and change it. We’re all dreaming about the future – and there’s way more exciting things to be dreaming about than your dickhead of an ex.

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