How To Tell Your Ex You Still Love Him After He’s Moved On
By: Corrina Horne
Updated December 21, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Carnell Colebrook-Claude , MA, NCC, BC-TMH, LPC (Clinical Track), LPCC, LCPC, LIMHP, LSOTP
When relationships go awry, moving on can seem like an impossible task. When you still love your ex, moving on feels downright unrealistic, and it might even feel as though you'll never be happy again. How can you tell your ex you still love him?
Getting in touch with your ex can be a difficult business. Many people delete their ex's phone numbers, block them on social media, and work to effectively erase them from their lives. Getting in touch with an ex can be problematic on numerous levels, aside from simple logistics; if your ex has already moved on, how do you broach the subject of still having feelings for him? What sorts of preparations should you make?
The first step to take before actually getting in touch is deciding what it is that you want to say - and why. Are you hoping your declaration of unconditional love will spark a similar renewal or feelings of attraction from him? Do you simply want to make your feelings known? Are you hoping your confession will put a roadblock in the way of his new relationship? Deciding what exactly your feelings are (i.e. love and confusion, love and passion, love and pain, etc.), and what you hope he will do with the news, will help you formulate a plan and create your own set of expectations before moving forward.
Are You Still Having Feelings for an Ex?
It's not unusual to have feelings for your ex, months, or even years after a breakup. Love is huge and hard, and no longer loving someone is not a simple matter of flipping a switch or simply deciding to fall out of love. If you are having feelings for your ex, don't worry: countless people have walked the same road before you and the vast majority of them make it out of the situation with their heads, hearts, and lives fully intact.
That being said, though, it can be better to let your ex know you still have feelings for him. Your ex might also be struggling with residual feelings following your breakup. They may feel some peace or closure in knowing that you still love him, and you might derive some closure in having expressed it yourself.
As you work on deciding what exactly to say and how to approach the subject with your ex, practice not only what you'll say but also how you'll handle your ex's reaction. Your ex may break down and confess his own romantic feelings for you, but he might also get angry, tell you he doesn't feel the same way, or even ignore you and refuse to respond. Tempering your expectations is an important part of reaching out to an ex, and guarding you both from an emotional blowout.
Telling Your Ex You Love Him
Once you've made the decision to tell your ex that you still love him, there are some additional steps you need to take in order to prepare. Remember: you cannot make someone feel something for you, nor can you guarantee any one outcome. Your responsibility in telling your ex that you still love him is purely yourself, your reactions, and your behavior.
- Determine how you are going to tell your ex. There are numerous ways to communicate, some of them easier than others. Before telling your ex, decide what format of communication is the best for both of you. To tell your ex, you can meet in person, and tell him face-to-face, but you can also send an email, text messages, write a letter, Skype or Facetime, or talk on the phone. Each of these options has its own benefits (and drawbacks), so finding the one that fits you is important.
- Write down what you want to say. Rather than "flying by the seat of your pants," plan out exactly what you are going to say. Even if you are not writing a letter or email, having a simple plan or layout for what you want to say can take some of the stress out of the situation, and can help you feel more grounded and sure of yourself.
- Go through any possible responses. There is a litany of ways your ex can respond, including ignoring you, getting angry, storming out, turning you down gently, and rekindling your relationship. The way your relationship ended is the best determiner of which route he'll take, so try to be realistic as you go through any possible responses.
- Have a support system on standby. You might not receive the response or reaction you'd like, so make sure you have a solid support system on standby, ready to hold you, console you, or even just celebrate with you, if your ex reciprocates your feelings. Having a support system or community online or in-person that is ready to catch you will help make sure you do not go to a dark place after you speak with your ex.
- Be prepared to let go. If your ex definitively closes the door on your relationship after you confess your feelings for him, understand that it is time to move on and let go. Holding onto a lost love might be healthy for a time, but as time goes on, this behavior can grow unhealthy and can keep you in a place of stunted growth. If your ex has truly moved on from your relationship, you can-and should-move on, too.
Other Options If You Cannot Speak
If you want to tell your ex you still love him, or you want to get back together but you do not think this is the best course of action for either of you, there are some other actions you can take. These might not include telling your ex that you still love him, but they can help you make peace with the fact that you do.
- Talk to your ex. Ask your ex for a simple post-mortem of your relationship to identify where it all went wrong and to truly understand the "why" of your breakup. Your ex might not be willing to do this, but if he is, it can be a wonderful way to gain some closure on why your relationship ended.
- Cut off contact entirely. Removing yourself from your ex's social media accounts, deleting him from your phone, avoiding places you used to go to together, and taking some time away from mutual friends can all be helpful in cutting off contact with your ex. These steps can help you get enough distance from your ex to fall out of love.
- Ground yourself in reality. In your head, you might have this idea of the two of you reuniting; you might think that, if only you divulged how you felt, your ex would fall to his knees, begging to reunite with you. While this could be the case it is unlikely to result from expressing your feelings. Most people break up for a reason. And while it may feel bad, instead of living in a fantasy, ground yourself in the here and now. When fantasy starts to creep up, notice the sights, sounds and smells around you. Feel textures under your palm and pay attention to any tastes. This can help yank you from fantasy back into reality.
- Accept your feelings without judgment. Having feelings for your ex does not mean you have to share them; it is common and reasonable to still love your ex after a breakup. Accept your feelings without beating yourself up about them and allow yourself to grieve your relationship.
- Practice self-care. Self-care can be one of the most important practices to engage in after you have broken up with your boyfriend. Self-care means taking steps to ensure you are at your healthiest, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This means eating well, sleeping enough, and following healthy thought patterns - it might mean removing yourself from your love for your ex.
When Self-Help Is Not Enough
Unrequited love can send you into a spiral, particularly if your relationship ended on rocky, uncomfortable, or unpleasant terms. If talking to your ex sends you into feelings of despair, or you can't seem to pull out of the pain of your breakup, a therapist might be able to help you work through your feelings and create a plan to improve your mental health. Therapy can help you identify any patterns in your thoughts or behaviors that wreak havoc in relationships, and can be a wonderful tool in healing, and preparing you for future relationships. Therapists such as those from BetterHelp are available from many different backgrounds, with a wide range of perspectives to offer, and online therapy is a very convenient way to get the help that you need.
Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people who have been helped with similar issues with online counseling and therapy.
"Pamela has helped me become the person who I wanted to be after my breakup. She helped me see the light in the dark, and showed me that who I am is enough."
"I've never been to therapy and so was really hesitant about opening up at first. But Whitney has just been so great! I signed up for BetterHelp because I was going through a breakup with problems I knew stemmed from problems with myself. I knew I felt unhappy in my relationship but could not for certain say why. Therapy with Whitney has been so great in helping me become more self aware and reflective. And, of course, the break up was hard at first. But every day, with Whitney, I was able to feel a little bit better than the day before."
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It A Good Idea To Tell Your Ex You Still Love Them?
It’s normal to still love your ex following a breakup since they were part of your life, and telling them that you still have feelings for them can provide some closure if your ex is open to hearing your thoughts or even confesses how he or she feels.
On the other hand, they may also become angry and frustrated and not want to hear from you as well, regardless if it’s done in person, over the phone, or through text messages.
Therefore, you should be aware of these other possibilities and have realistic expectations going forward if you choose to reach out to your ex.
How Do You Let Your Ex Know That You Still Care?
Letting your ex know that you still care and miss them can be a daunting task since there is always the possibility that he or she might not reciprocate.
The only way to let them know that you still have feelings is to be thoughtful with your words; be prepared not only with what you want to say but also with what they also might respond as well.
Is It Worth Telling My Ex How I Feel?
If you are considering reaching out to your ex, it’s a good time to weigh out the pros and cons of doing so to decide if it’s something worth doing.
Even if you don’t reunite, getting your feelings off your chest can be cathartic and provide some closure, but you must also accept that there may be negative consequences as well and your ex might not be receptive and that it may be time to move on.
By doing this, you can minimize any damage that could happen as a result of talking to your ex again.
Who Hurts More After A Breakup?
Males and females can be impacted equally following a breakup, and how they respond to one can vary from person to person.
This also applies to those who initiated the breakup and those who were “dumped”. While many people who willingly choose to break up with someone might hurt less, it’s not always the case.
For example, someone who was cheated on or was subjected to domestic violence and left their unfaithful or abusive partner would more than likely feel more pain and heartbreak than their now-ex.
Will My Ex Regret Leaving Me?
It’s common for people to have regrets about a breakup, and these feelings can happen very quickly, or they can happen months or years later. It’s normal to still love that individual, and people might dwell on these feelings for a long time.
There is no definitive way to know whether your ex will have feelings of regret later on, but if you have shared many good memories, you have many likable qualities, and your relationship ended amicably, it’s possible that he or she may regret breaking up with you at some point..
How Do You Tell If Your Ex Is Pretending To Be Over You?
Although your ex might say or try to seem that he has moved past the relationship, he or she might be pretending, and his or her actions might say otherwise.
For instance, if your ex becomes angry and upset with you, they might still feel hurt about the breakup. They may also try to do things that aim to make you jealous, or if you have to see them in person, they might pretend to seem indifferent towards you, but their body language can indicate the opposite, such as looking in your direction or even avoiding eye contact completely.
How Do You Get Over An Ex That You Still Love?
It’s perfectly normal to feel sad, angry, disappointed, and many other complex emotions following a breakup, and it takes time to sort them out.
Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with learning how to cope by yourself, you don’t have to do it alone, and a licensed counselor or therapist is available to help you overcome these feelings and make the process more bearable for you.
Mental health resources can provide you with valuable coping skills and other information to help you develop independence and self-confidence, so that you can get past your negative feelings.
Give yourself time - some people take months or even years to feel a strong feeling of self-worth, and by staying physically and mentally healthy through different coping strategies, you can find relief and move on, even if it takes a long time. However, by getting help, such as through online therapy services, you will make progress much faster than if you did all alone, and many people see positive changes rather quickly.
How Do You Make Your Ex Regret Losing You?
Breakups are hard, and if you’re experiencing pain, it’s common for people to want to make sure that their ex is also thinking about the broken relationship and what happened.
One of the topics that many people think about is regret and making their ex realize what they’ve lost, and unfortunately, there isn’t a way to force this to happen, nor should you try.
Your ex will process his or her feelings and emotions their own way, and if they happen to feel regret it, it’s possible they will let you know, but you should never attempt to manipulate them into feeling a certain way.
If they are trying to move on or seem to have already done so, such as falling in love with someone else, it’s best to try to accept that and cope with your own feelings so that you can move on too.
Being in love with an ex following a breakup can be a hard, isolating experience, but it’s normal to still love them. Whether you tell your ex, hold off on telling him, or engage the help of a therapist in working through your feelings, there is hope after the loss of a loved one - or after you rekindle your flame. With time, patience, and plenty of self-love you can have the life you've always dreamed of and find true love again. Take the first step today, and speak with a mental health specialist or relationship expert who can provide you with professional advice. Online counseling and therapy can help you start to feel good about yourself again and stay focused on the future
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