Does My Ex Think About Me, Or Have They Moved On?

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Unless a person is officially diagnosed with amnesia, no one forgets about a meaningful relationship from the past. If the relationship significantly affected you, touched you, or changed the way you think about yourself, you will never forget it. This is especially true if you're a sensitive or nostalgic person. When a relationship means a lot to you, it can be distressing to think that your ex has forgotten about you. Know that you're not alone. It can be difficult to process a breakup. Many people wonder if an ex boyfriend, ex girlfriend, or former partner still thinks about them.

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If you’ve even broken up with someone, you know it can be pretty hard to stop thinking about an ex-lover. You don't have to navigate these feelings alone. Online therapy is a convenient and affordable option where you can discuss what happened and get the support you need to move on.

You might have one ex that seems to be on your mind more often than others. Whether it’s right after the breakup or you haven't had any contact with that person in a long time, you might wonder if your ex thinks about you. Is it possible they've moved on to the point where they've completely forgotten about you?

Is your ex thinking about you?

You may be happy to hear that thinking about an ex isn't unusual; most people do. It's normal to wonder what someone is up to or to think about old times fondly. Even though it's common, try to keep your thoughts from veering into negative territory. Some people have a harder time moving on than others, but pining for an old lover likely isn't the healthiest thing for you in the long run. It can keep you from moving on and enjoying your life. Ruminating about the heartbreak, loneliness, or overall longing from nostalgia doesn't help the pain or sadness in the long run. At the same time, it's okay to remember that you're human, and it's normal to miss someone if you cared about them in the past.

Some people experience anxiety or depression after a relationship ends and might have heightened levels of grief and sorrow. However, many people have found happiness again with specific tools, such as time, the support of friends or family, and counseling. If you're thinking about your ex and wondering whether they are thinking about you, too, try not to overthink things. 

Are you on your ex's mind? Things to consider at the end of a serious relationship

You might worry that if your ex genuinely doesn’t remember you, it would mean you weren't a significant part of their life. That's the fear inherent in the question, "Does my ex think about me?" It's natural to be afraid that someone who once loved you deeply has forgotten about you. It also makes sense that you might feel hurt or depressed when you think about this. You even hope that your ex thinks of you from time to time. However, you might feel better after looking at the situation objectively. Start by asking a few questions.

Was the relationship one-sided?

It can be easy to forget a one-sided relationship, especially for the pursued person. In this case, the "relationship" involved little to no effort or commitment on one side. However, if your relationship was mutual, you were a part of it. While you and your ex might want to forget the rough patches or the things that went wrong, the good times are probably pleasant memories for both of you. An article with information on minds and how women, men, and people get over breakups can be a helpful sign about your reality and story.

No relationship is all good or all bad. If you say your relationship was utterly awful, you are likely engaging in black-and-white thinking. This is an unhelpful thought pattern that you can learn about through cognitive behavioral therapy. For now, know that relationships have good times and bad times, and it can be fun to remember the good times. You might want to recall a phone call or message to channel your energy and attention into the positive version of the story.

How much time did you spend together?

People who spend much time together regularly don't forget those core moments. Even if they don't think of their ex daily, certain similar situations may call those times to mind. For example, maybe your ex walks down the street and passes an Italian restaurant where you two had a romantic date. They may remember you at that moment. The same thing might happen to you! Little things remind people of one another, especially if you've spent much time together. 

Memory is a complicated thing. If you don't store a memory when it happens, that may mean it didn’t matter to you. However, just because your ex doesn't remember something that you considered important doesn't mean that you weren’t significant to them. It simply means they might have valued other parts of the relationship more.

Sometimes memories require a different trigger before we think about someone we no longer see. For example, they might remember you if prompted by something a friend says or if they see an old picture of you two on social media.

Did you interact in other ways when you couldn't be together?

If someone is an essential part of your life, it's normal to want to connect with them when you're apart for a long period. You might have called or texted each other, written letters or emails, or met in a chat room or on Skype. They might stumble across an old email and think fondly of you.

Ilona Titova/EyeEm

Did you work together to accomplish any mutual goals?

Even though you broke up, your ex may remember when you worked together to accomplish something. That success became a part of them, even though you've decided to break things off. Any time they build on that success, they'll remember how you achieved those first steps together - it can even be something as simple as a piece of furniture you assembled together.

Did you face any life challenges together?

A life challenge can bring a serious relationship together or tear it apart. In either case, it is significant to both people involved. We often have strong memories about the most trying times in our lives, and if you went through something like this together, it's bound to have created a strong bond.

You remember it, and likely so does your ex. This should help you accept that your time together was significant and impactful and that you were a big part of each other’s lives. Human beings can change one another's lives for the better. If you supported each other through a challenge, you know exactly how that feels.

What to do when you're still unsure about an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend

Maybe these questions have helped you realize that it's normal to think about an ex from time to time, and perhaps you're ready to move on. On the other hand, you might still wonder if you are still on your ex's mind or if they have forgotten about you. The truth is, you may never know the answer or what your ex is thinking, and you can’t make your ex stop thinking about you. But overthinking your ex's thoughts can keep you stuck in the past. In addition to keeping you from finding a new relationship, it can prevent you from meeting your current needs and fulfilling your greatest ambitions. If you can't stop thinking about your ex or don’t feel like the best version of yourself, it might be time to talk to an online therapist.

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo
Looking to work through difficult emotions?

Many people seek the help of a therapist for commonly experienced life challenges, such as transitioning careers, navigating breakups, or mourning the loss of a loved one -- you do not necessarily need to be diagnosed with a mental illness to experience the benefits of therapy. With online therapy, you can schedule videoconferences with your online counselor at convenient times so that you don't miss out on other important priorities. Alternatively, you can speak by phone or send text messages at the moment.

Online therapy has shown effectiveness in supporting people as they strive to overcome difficult situations and emotional challenges. In a recent online intervention, researchers determined that an internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy approach was successful in helping young adults improve their self-esteem and ability to forgive after a breakup from a romantic relationship. It is worth noting that a group therapy component of this eight-week study likely had an impact on facilitating positive emotions and attitudes regarding moving on from a breakup.

Counselor reviews

"Julia is a very open-minded, understanding, and warm-hearted person. She listened with kindness and without judgment. Her advice helped me tremendously through a bad breakup and personal problems. Her advice and understanding have been constructive in guiding me to a healthier mind frame."

"I've already mentioned to a couple of friends/family that I love the ease and autonomy of not sitting in someone's office. George seemed intuitive and gave me insight into my Ex's behavior and why things may be for the best."


Of course, you may never know if your ex is thinking about you anymore, but life isn't about your ex. It's about what you want to accomplish: your goals, your strengths, and what you see yourself achieving. An online therapist can help you focus on yourself so that you can enjoy life more in the future. When you're ready to take the first steps to move on from what happened in your relationship and toward the things in life you're most excited about, reach out to an online therapist at BetterHelp for support.

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