He Left Me, So Why Can’t I Stop Thinking About Him

By Mary Elizabeth Dean

Updated March 17, 2020

Reviewer Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH

Breaking up with a partner is one of the most painful things a person can do. No matter how long you dated someone, regardless of whether you ended things amicably or not, whether the relationship was healthy or rocky, it hurts to lose someone who was such a presence in your life. For the next few weeks or even months, you might be regularly asking yourself: why can't I stop thinking about him? This is, of course, completely normal, and in some cases should even be encouraged as you process through your grief and loss. We can't expect ourselves to turn our feelings off and on like a lightbulb, so be patient with yourself.

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You probably have lots of questions. Why did he break up with me? Why can't I stop thinking about him? How will I cope? We'll go over these later in the article.

Why Did He Leave Me?

This is a question you may or may not have an answer to. If your boyfriend broke up with you, he likely told you why, even if it was vague. It's easy to start questioning what you could have done differently and dissect your every memory, the words you both shared, the way he acted toward you, etc. All the what-ifs running through your mind can torture you. Sometimes we don't get the kind of closure we hope for, which can lead us to fill in the blanks.

If you believe the relationship was going well, the factors which caused your ex-boyfriend to end the relationship are out of your control. If your boyfriend was not able to communicate the problems to you, giving you a chance to work on the issues together, then he's probably not ready to be in a relationship-and you deserve to be with someone who is. Communication is a fundamental need in any relationship. You also don't want to spend your relationship trying to change your boyfriend and the way he feels. We are only in control of our own thoughts and our actions. This is particularly true when it comes to relationships.

It's also important to remember that relationships are sometimes a process of trial and error. Every time we open ourselves up to someone emotionally, we run the risk of getting hurt. We are all trying to find someone who fits into our life like no other, and the only way to know is by dating and seeing how you feel about the person as you grow in the relationship. When things aren't working, as painful as it is, it's best to re-evaluate the relationship and decide whether you want to continue. While it doesn't feel good to have someone break up with you, remember that you want to be with someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with them. You deserve to have someone who is a good match and not someone who doesn't see your value.

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In most instances, it is rarely the wrongdoing of one partner that leads to the end of the relationship. Quite often, it is simply that one partner desires something more than what their current partner provides. In such cases, the heartbroken partner should not blame themselves. You shouldn't feel the need to change the fundamentals of who you are to fit into someone's life.

But Why Can't I Stop Thinking about Him?

In the internal narrative of your life, your ex-boyfriend has taken something from you. He has taken away your relationship, and in turn, a part of your happiness. You are coming to terms with the absence of both your ex-boyfriend and the relationship from your life. You are coping with the loss of the future you had envisioned. It's not dissimilar to grieving. In some ways, it can be more difficult because you know he's out there living his life without you. We also often assume that because he broke up with you, he doesn't care or maybe never cared.

Unfortunately, relationships require the input of two partners. One person cannot put in all the work and believe the other will inevitably change. If one of those partners isn't invested, the relationship will inevitably suffer. We tend to think that if a partner isn't invested it's because of something we did or didn't do, when the issue might not be about you but your partner's issues. Sometimes, one partner can be blissfully unaware of the other person's true feelings throughout the relationship, which can then lead to severe feelings of dejection when the relationship finally comes to an end.

As mentioned above, your imagination will concoct the worst-case scenario whenever your ex-boyfriend crosses your mind. You may believe he has ended the relationship to pursue a more fulfilling lifestyle while leaving you behind to suffer. This is false. The partner is also likely to be suffering. He, too, is dealing with the absence of something which added value to his life. Just because he decided to walk away does not mean he will not feel the repercussions too. If for whatever reason, he does not have any feelings about the breakup, he likely wasn't the right partner for you.

Breakups Can Be Extremely Painful - Be Patient With Yourself
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How Will I Cope?

Try your best not to judge yourself for having normal emotions. You are not weak, stupid, or unworthy of love. Grieving the loss of your relationship is perfectly healthy, providing you are aware of the reality that the relationship is over. You and your ex-partner will move on, and the moments you shared will live on in your memories. Right now, it's the fear of a life different from the one you're accustomed to that is causing you to constantly think of your ex-partner. We are creatures of habit, so going from being with someone regularly to not having them in your life at all is a big shock.

To stop thinking of him, immerse yourself in the things which enrich your life. Now is the best time to make sure you're taking care of your mind, body, and spirit. Focus on your hobbies, friends, and passions. This can be a positive, transformative time in your life. You get the opportunity to start anew and really become the best version of yourself, so you feel ready to enter another relationship in the future. In time, the hold your ex-boyfriend has over you will fade, and you'll resume your normal life. In certain circumstances, it can be worth seeking professional help to foster a healthy outlook.

Things You Can Do

Most often, breaking up with someone brings on a lot of anxiety. Depending on the circumstances of the breakup, depression could manifest too. There are a few things you can do to combat the symptoms.

You should start by getting a handle on what you are feeling. Journaling is a good way to express your feelings. It will also help you keep a record you can reflect on later.

Also try changing your internal dialogue. Understand that the way you are feeling is a manifestation of what has happened to you. It does not define you, though.

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Find positive distractions. Starting a new hobby can give you something to focus on while you heal.

How BetterHelp Can Help

Having a therapist in your corner is always a good idea. Reaching out for help is one of the best things you can do to invest in your future. The therapists at BetterHelp are qualified and ready to help. They are online and available at any time, day or night. You only need to sign up to start getting help. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Julia is a very open-minded, understanding and warm-hearted person. She listened with kindness and without judgement. Her advice helped me tremendously through a bad break up and ensuing personal problems. Her advice and understanding has been very helpful in guiding me to a healthier mind frame."

"Tonya is very easy to talk to; she makes you feel extremely comfortable to opening up about yourself and your problems without any pressure. She makes talking to her feel like talking to a close friend rather than feeling nervous or at ease about talking to a professional. She's gotten me to overcome my struggles, forgive myself, and forgive others. She has helped me to move on with my future rather than dwell on my past and I couldn't be thankful enough."


Breaking up with a partner can be the start of a wonderful new beginning. If you are struggling more than you are comfortable with, take action to feel better. A happier you is waiting. Take the first step today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When you're thinking about someone are they thinking about you?

It's natural to have thoughts of people that you care about from time to time. This works for them as well as you. When you can't stop thinking about one and it is taking over your life -- this is often a sign of something bigger.

How do I get him out of my head?

Getting over someone can be hard to do -- but it is possible. The first step is to acknowledge that you can't stop thinking about him. The next step is to talk to a professional and get to the bottom of the reasons why you can't stop thinking about him.

What does it mean when you can't stop thinking about someone?

If you find yourself asking yourself "Why can't I stop thinking about him" more often -- this can be an indicator of a bigger issue. When you can't stop thinking about someone, it's often due to unhealed issues and a lack of a sense of closure.

Can you ever stop loving someone?

While it is possible for love to fade, you may always feel an affinity for someone you once loved. This isn't to say that you'll always feel a sense of sadness when you think of them. Sadness will also fade over time. Once you've healed from the relationship, you may look back on it as a fond memory.

Why do I obsess over people?

If you find you can't stop thinking about someone and that you're obsessing over people, this is likely due to an underlying issue. Talk to a licensed therapist or counselor to learn coping strategies and to rule out underlying mental health issues like depression, stress, or anxiety disorders.

How do you know someone is your soulmate?

The term soulmate -- is relative. Many people have their own definition of what it means to have a soulmate. For most people, a soulmate is a person that helps you to be your best self and can love you unconditionally. Loving someone unconditionally doesn't always mean there is a "happily ever after" or fairy tale ending. This just means that the person you care about will always have a special place in your heart.

How do you know if someone is missing you?

When someone misses you, they may or may not reach out because we all respond to life in our own way. (Its' okay to honor your own feelings by allowing yourself to miss someone without knowing if they miss you back.)

Does missing someone mean you love them?

It can. Sometimes missing someone can indicate that you love them. Other times this can indicate that you simply enjoy their company or that you had a pleasant memory of a time you had together. While missing someone can mean you love them (and vice versa) this isn't always the case.

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