Last Updated on August 29, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester
It has been a while since you broke up, so why do you still feel connected to your ex?
Relationships end all the time, but breakups are never easy, especially not when you have a strong emotional connection to the person you were dating.
If you decide to end the relationship, the breakup is often a lot easier to deal with than if you’re the dumpee.
It can take weeks, or even months, to get over some you had a spiritual connection with, and, even then, you may find it difficult to stop thinking about your ex.
It’s normal to grieve at the end of a relationship, and the more serious the connection, the longer it takes to recover. However, you shared a significant part of your life with that person, so you can’t just forget them overnight.
There’s always a grieving period at the end of a relationship, but there comes a point when you need to move on. That can be almost impossible when you still feel connected to your ex.
We’ll explore why that connection can be so difficult to break and what you can do to make it easier.
7 Reasons You Still Feel Connected to Your Ex
#1 You’re Grieving for Your Ex
Grief is a natural response to loss, and as such, it’s something we not only experience when someone dies but when we lose the connection to someone we were close to.
After the end of a serious relationship, most people experience a grieving period that lasts “an average of about 3.5 months.”
During this period, you’ll go through a series of emotions similar to those you experience after the death of a loved one.
The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
In the denial phase, your connection to your ex-partner remains strong, and you tend to hold onto the belief that the breakup was a mistake. During this phase, you’ll convince yourself that your partner will change their mind and come back to you.
Feeling a connection to your ex at this stage is normal and helps to comfort you as you navigate through these uncomfortable feelings.
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During the bargaining phase, you may seek to reestablish a connection with your ex, even if that means settling for friendship.
Although this can offer some temporary comfort, in the long term, it simply exacerbates the pain of heartbreak, making it harder for you to come to terms with the reality of the situation.
How to Navigate Grief After a Breakup
Severing all contact with your ex when you still feel connected to them may seem counterproductive, but in the long term, it will help you move forward and enter the final phase of grieving.
You will still feel connected to your ex when you enter the acceptance phase of your grieving period. The difference is that you’ll be able to “accept the breakup and acknowledge the part you played in it.”
The pain of the breakup will still be there, and some sense of connection usually lingers as well.
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Still, instead of seeing this as the end, you’ll be able to focus on the future and acknowledge that the connections you make in the future could be even better than the one you’re currently grieving.
#2 You’re Grieving for Yourself
At the end of a relationship, it’s not only your ex that you’re grieving for but the person you were in that relationship.
When we’re in a relationship, it forms a part of our identities. We identify ourselves to the person we’re emotionally involved with, which shapes how we exist in the world.
When you lose that connection, you lose a part of yourself. The resulting lack of self-clarity often results in feelings of depression and post-traumatic stress.
Not only does the connection to our ex give us comfort, but it also gives us a clearer sense of identity. This is known as “relational identity,” and when we lose it, we also lose a sense of who we are.
By holding onto the connection to your ex, you’re also holding onto a sense of self. By nature, humans dislike and resist change which is precisely what you’re doing by holding onto your connection to your ex.
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Although this reaction is normal, it is difficult to get over that relationship and move forward with your life.
Reestablishing a Sense of Self
Fortunately, the things that happened to us in the past don’t have to be abandoned for us to move on. The past can be reformulated as part of our futures, shaping who we are and how we approach future relationships.
The person you lost and the person you were within that relationship will still be a part of you as you move forward, so you don’t need to sever the connection altogether.
As with any type of grieving, you’ll move through various phases before you reach the point that you can accept that your past self no longer exists in its entirety but has become a part of your new identity.
“A continued connection to loved ones, as well as a continued connection to the person we used to be, can be a very healthy part of moving forward.”
Still, it can be challenging to shift your mindset to a place where you can accept the benefits as well as the losses.
The quickest and healthiest way to move forward after a breakup is to embrace new experiences and new relationships.
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In doing so, you will create a new sense of identity that is no longer intrinsically connected to who you were to your ex.
#3 It’s Too Soon
Time heals all wounds eventually, and there’s no point in trying to rush the process. Just as the body needs time to heal after an injury, so does the heart, and rushing the process only makes it harder for that healing to take place.
While you don’t want to be moping around obsessing about your ex for months after a breakup, if you were in a good relationship, the pain and heartbreak you experience when that relationship ends are only natural.
According to an online consumer poll, “it takes an average of about 3.5 months to heal” after the breakdown of a romantic relationship.
However, more serious relationships involving a deeper connection can take much longer. Recovering after a divorce takes at least 18 months, if not more.
Several factors influence the amount of time it takes to recover after a breakup. First, the more personally invested you were in the relationship, the more distress you’ll feel when it ends, making the recovery time longer.
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There’s a big difference between giving yourself time and indulging in self-pity. While giving yourself time to grieve is important, gazing fixedly back on the relationship with rose-tinted glasses will only prolong your suffering.
Try to keep a balanced view of your past relationship, taking both the positives and negatives into consideration rather than focusing solely on the good parts.
#4 You’re Spending too Much Time Brooding
While it’s natural to feel connected to your ex, brooding about your emotions makes moving forward virtually impossible. When we brood, we endlessly analyze our feelings, obsessing over the hurt the breakup caused.
According to the award-winning psychologist Susan David, Ph.D.,
“Brooding has some very good intentions—one of which is to try to deal with emotions effectively.”
On the other hand, it can also prevent you from having the emotional agility you need to make new connections and engage with the future.
Social media only makes this process more difficult. A study performed by researchers at the University of Miami revealed that ruminating on social media platforms only makes you feel worse.
Rumination is the process of “repetitively and passively focusing on symptoms of distress and the possible causes and consequences of these symptoms.”
According to the study, “rumination on Facebook was related to decreased well-being following a breakup.”
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Not only does social media magnify “a mythic social narrative of the perfect life,” but it also gives you a place where you can repeatedly air your pain and meticulously pick apart your emotions.
Unfortunately, as Susan David notes, this has some positive results but also keeps us from moving forward with our lives.
How to move on and stop brooding
Rather than detailing every aspect of your past relationship, the breakup, and how you felt when the relationship ended, try focusing on something positive that’s happening in the future.
Whether it’s a birthday celebration, a sporting challenge, a holiday, or simply a night out with friends, concentrate your social media activity on a future event rather than wallowing in the past.
This simple mind shift will help you get a clearer perspective on the past without letting your emotions overwhelm you and your social media activity.
#5 You Had a Karmic Relationship
Karmic relationships are almost addictive, and letting go of the connection you felt in a relationship of this kind can be very difficult.
Neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, defines a karmic relationship as “one that’s filled with all-consuming passion but is extremely difficult to maintain.”
You feel magnetically drawn to the other person to such an extent that it feels like you couldn’t live without them.
Yet, despite these overwhelming emotions, a karmic relationship can be extremely damaging and is often characterized by a “pattern of breakups and reunions.”
You feel as though fate has drawn you together and, as a result, struggle to understand why it’s not working out.
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In your eyes, your ex-partner seems like a perfect match but this is often because you find it impossible to see their flaws.
Blinded by the instant attraction, you feel connected to and completely dependent upon the other person.
In your eyes, it may seem easier to deal with an unhealthy relationship than face what may happen once it’s over.
However, the end of such a relationship can be terrifying because it signals the end of the person you were while involved with that karmic partner.
The purpose of a karmic relationship
Karmic relationships aren’t designed to last, although they do have a purpose. They are designed “to break the cycles of bad behavior from past lifetimes and to learn how to heal.”
This can be a difficult process, especially as karmic relationships often involve some level of co-dependency.
Getting over a relationship like this, where you feel such a strong connection to your ex, can be extremely challenging, especially as “people often confuse karmic partners with soulmates.”
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Seeking the advice of a relationship coach can help you deal with the deep sense of hurt you’ll experience when such a relationship ends, and help you to learn the lesson the relationship was karmically designed to deliver.
They can also help you let go of the connection you feel so you can move forward in a healthy way.
#6 You Are Soulmates
If you still feel connected to your ex, it could be because you found your soulmate. However, your relationship with a soulmate differs from anything else you’ll ever experience.
When you meet your soulmate, you’ll share a deep connection that enables you to “finish each other’s sentences, sense what the other is thinking, and feel as if you’re hanging out with a best friend.”
You feel completely comfortable in their presence, share an amazing sex life, laugh at the same things, and generally feel amazing in their company.
Romantic relationships with a soulmate are the hardest to get over, and you may continue to feel connected to your ex for the rest of your life.
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While it’s common to pine for someone you shared a deep connection with, there’s a big difference between “looking back with nostalgia and looking back and feeling like you let go of someone great.”
If your ex was your soulmate, it’s worth reaching out to them, and seeing if they’re not willing to give things another chance.
If that option isn’t available, you may need to seek the advice of a certified relationship coach to get your life back on track.
The good news is that “there is no “one perfect soulmate” for everyone.” With time, expert relationship advice, and an open mind, you will be able to create a similar connection with someone new.
#7 You Shared a Twin Flame Connection
Soulmates and twin flames are terms that are often confused and used interchangeably, but relationship experts maintain that there’s a notable difference between the two.
Psychologist and behavior analyst, Reena Patel, says:
“a twin flame is someone that you have ‘a deep soul connection’ with, who essentially functions as ‘your other half’.”
Therapist Bonnie Scott agrees, saying that twin flames essentially share the same soul but that it’s been split between two bodies.
While you may meet several soulmates during your lifetime, you’ll only ever have one twin flame connection. When you meet your twin flame, you’ll recognize them instantly and experience a coming together of souls.
According to relationship expert Tom Savvas, the reason for this deep connection is that “When a soul is created, it is split into two parts, mirrors of each other, constantly yearning to reconnect.”
When you do finally reconnect with your twin flame, you never want it to end. It feels as though you’ve finally come home and can be at peace.
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Unfortunately, not all twin flame relationships last, and the consequences can be devastating when they end. You may even feel as though your soul has been broken into pieces, leaving you completely adrift.
Despite the powerful connection between twin flames, not all twin flame relationships are positive.
Psychotherapist Babita Spinelli says such relationships “can quickly become toxic when one or both parties aren’t ready.”
“The very fact that a person believes you are ‘meant to be’ can cloud their judgment about issues in the relationship,” she says.
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Many twin flames make their way back together, even though this can take months or even years.
For example, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are twin flames and yet spent 18 years apart, only finding their way back together after long, committed relationships with other partners.
If you still feel connected to your ex, it could be because they’re your twin flame, but even if that’s the case, the relationship ended for a reason.
Even if you believe you will eventually end up together, it’s still vital that you go through the grieving process and continue to move on with your own life.
It may be that the breakup is necessary to teach you a specific lesson that will enable you to reignite the twin flame connection in the future.
Why do I Still Think about my Ex Every Day?
A breakup may signal the end of a relationship, but it doesn’t always mean you have a sense of closure.
There may be unresolved issues that caused the romance to end and until you work through those issues, thoughts of your ex will continue to dominate.
Highly trained relationship coaches can help you work through such issues and advise you on interrupting those repetitive thought patterns by focusing on other things that enable you to move forward.
In some situations, memories of a previous relationship offer comfort, especially if you’re finding it difficult to establish a new relationship that provides the same level of emotional fulfillment.
A relationship coach can help you identify your unresolved feelings about the relationship and explore the possible steps that you can take to release yourself emotionally and make constructive decisions about your romantic future.
How do You Know if an Ex is Thinking About You?
Maybe you still feel connected to your ex because they still have feelings for you and keep reigniting that connection.
Signs that your ex is still thinking about you include consistent efforts to get in touch by phoning or texting you.
Similarly, an ex who mentions you frequently on social media is probably having a hard time forgetting you.
Some exes refuse to return your belongings because they want to maintain a connection with you.
It can be challenging to break a strong connection when the other person is determined to keep it alive.
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In turn, this makes it difficult for you to move forwards, keeping you stuck in a place where you’re neither completed separated from your ex nor back in a relationship with them.
You may need relationship advice to get past this type of roadblock and start living a positive life again. Online coaches “can help you focus on yourself, so you can enjoy life more in the future.”
How do You Know if You and Your Ex are Soulmates?
Maybe you still feel connected to your ex because they are your soulmate and the connection is so deep it simply can’t be severed.
If you had a strong bond with your ex-partner, a deep sense of empathy, and shared the same life goals, you might have found your soulmate, in which case, trying to rekindle the relationship isn’t a bad idea.
A soulmate is someone you’ve been through difficult times with and come out the other side with even stronger feelings for one another.
If even after the breakup, you struggle to feel anything other than love and admiration for your ex, they possibly were your soulmate.
Before you try restoring the connection with an ex you believe to be your soulmate, it’s well worth looking for signs that your ex will never return.
Trying to get back together with someone who’s not interested will only cause you more heartache and further extend the painful recovery process.
It’s never easy to let a good relationship fall by the wayside, especially not if you felt a strong connection to your partner.
Unfortunately, some relationships end for silly reasons that have little impact on the emotional connection you shared with your ex.
Although feeling connected to your ex is normal, it can stop you from moving on and enjoying your life.
You may find yourself stuck in one of the phases of the grieving process or fixating on the positives of the relationship to such an extent that you’re unable to see the negatives.
It may be that you shared a spiritual connection with your ex that is unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced.
But, on the other hand, it could be that you really did meet your twin flame or soul mate and that no one else will ever live up to that standard.
On the other hand, you may need more time to heal and process your emotions, so allowing your brain to focus solely on ex’s thoughts is counterproductive.
Depending on how strong a connection you had, recovering after a breakup can take months or even years.
While this is normal, it can be a painful experience that prevents you from opening up to new romantic possibilities and connections.
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If you feel that you’re stuck and unable to move on after the end of a good relationship, you may find speaking to a relationship coach will help you structure your thoughts more positively.
This will help you come to terms with the breakup and take a more realistic view of your past relationship.
While some connections, like those between twin flames, aren’t meant to dissolve, others are temporary and designed to teach us something that will help us in our future relationships.
Knowing the difference between the two can be challenging, especially when experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions that often follow a breakup.
This is where highly trained relationship coaches play a crucial role, offering expert advice to help you get your life back on track and bring your grieving period to an end.