I Still Love My Ex, Should We Get Back Together?

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated March 25, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Have you been experiencing feelings for your ex and wondering whether you should try to get back together? If so, you’re not alone.

Many people experience conflicting feelings after a breakup, and the feelings can be challenging both emotionally and physically. Research suggests that the heartache associated with a breakup activates some of the same mechanisms in the brain that occur when we experience physical pain.

This pain can be compounded by feelings of missing your ex and wondering whether you should get back together. 

Below, we’ll look at possible explanations for the feelings you have for your ex and discuss ways to move forward with confidence.

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What should I do if I still love my ex?

If you’ve recently gone through a breakup, you may be experiencing conflicting feelings that lead you to second-guess the breakup. To find some clarity about this, it may help to think about why the relationship ended in the first place. Maybe you both wanted different things, and so you were just not compatible. Perhaps your partner was mistreating* you or not building you up as a person. In those cases, breaking it off may have been the best decision for you both. However, if you still feel that you love your ex, it’s okay to accept these feelings and explore them in depth.

Should I talk to my ex?

If you still have feelings for your ex, you may be wondering if you should make contact. Before doing so, it may help to pause and reflect for a day or two to think about your relationship. If you still feel like you can make the relationship work, you might consider reaching out to your ex to talk about your feelings. If you discuss the differences or disagreements that led to the breakup, maybe you can negotiate compromises that will allow you to get back together. 

What are your relationship ingredients?

People tend to get into and stay in relationships for various reasons. You might think of these as “relationship ingredients.” It might help to identify what your relationship ingredients are and then determine whether you are willing to reconcile and further compromise with your ex even if certain ingredients are missing.

Relationship ingredients tend to be the elements that make a relationship feel safe, healthy, and fulfilling. Different people may have different ingredients that they look for or need in a relationship. Examples of relationship ingredients may include happiness, respect, attraction, safeness, open communication, and freedom to have friends and a social life with people other than your partner. For a relationship to work, both partners typically need to feel that the elements they want and need from that relationship are present and respected.

You might consider whether your relationship with your ex had most of the ingredients you wanted. You might also want to think back to whether your ex mentioned that certain ingredients they wanted were missing. If enough ingredients were missing for each of you, you might want to consider whether those would somehow be present if you tried again or whether they would still be absent. If those missing ingredients are unlikely to show up, starting over with your ex might not be the best decision for you.

Are you still in love with your ex or are you lonely?

After a relationship ends, it can be natural to feel an emotional void in your life. Your normal daily routine may even feel as if it has turned upside down at times. You might focus on accepting this feeling as natural because until you broke up, your ex was integrated into your life.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether what you’re feeling is loneliness or some other emotion. You can feel loneliness even in the presence of others because being lonely is a state of mind. Often couples who experience a recent breakup attempt to prematurely get back together because they mistake the feelings of loneliness for continuing feelings of love for their former partner. If you think this might be happening to you, below are a few reflections to consider as you work through these feelings.

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  • It is okay to miss your ex. However, it may help to remember why you broke up because there might have been good reasons for ending the relationship. There may also be good reasons for continuing to stay apart. It’s important not to romanticize the relationship by only looking at the positive. You should allow yourself to look at the positive and negative to make an informed decision about whether is best to try to get back together with your ex.
  • Feeling lonely is normal after a breakup. It is common to feel lonely for a while after a breakup because your life is experiencing a change. It may help to acknowledge the feeling of loneliness rather than fighting it by perceiving it as a negative emotion or by masking it through a new relationship or by returning to your ex.
  • Accepting your emotions may help. Sometimes people may encourage you to “stay strong” after a breakup. This might be intended as encouragement, but it may not be healthy if it leads you to suppress your emotions. It is common to feel various emotions after a breakup. The expectation that we should be happy or be strong all the time can be unrealistic. It is normal to feel various emotions, especially when you have experienced something difficult like a breakup. Accepting your emotions may aid in the healing process.
  • Try to understand that being alone isn’t always to be lonely. After leaving a long-term relationship, the idea of being alone may sound a bit scary. However, being okay with being alone can be an important element of your happiness. Learning to be alone may allow you to develop a happiness of your own, one that isn’t dependent upon being in a relationship with another person.
  • Explore new interests and engage in hobbies. Getting back into past hobbies or other leisure activities that you used to enjoy prior to being in a relationship may help you to build a new life for yourself and move forward with confidence. Engaging in new interests may help create healthy distractions from negative thoughts and offer you the opportunity to meet new people.
  • Try to journal. Research shows that journaling may help you cope with challenging emotions after a breakup. You may feel a sense of relief after completing this activity. Also, reviewing what you’ve written about your relationship in your journal may provide you with deeper insight that might help you gain clarity and move forward in your life.

Find someone to talk to

There are many ways to navigate challenging emotions following a breakup, and help is available to get you on a path to sorting out your feelings about your ex.

It may help to talk to friends to hear what they think about your feelings after a breakup. Maybe your friends can see the situation more clearly than you do because they’re outside of it. They may also give you the support that you need to move forward, regardless of what you decide to do.

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If you loved someone and now they are now gone from your life, it can take time for you to move on from that relationship. If months go by and you are still thinking about your ex, it may help to speak with a licensed therapist about your feelings. If you don’t feel comfortable visiting a therapist’s office to discuss your feelings about your ex, you may benefit from online therapy, which numerous peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated to be just as effective as in-office therapy. 

With online therapy, you can meet with a licensed therapist at a time via audio, video, or live chat. You can also contact your therapist at any time through in-app messaging, and they’ll respond as soon as they can. This may be useful if you experience challenging thoughts or emotions about your ex in between therapy sessions. 

Takeaway

If you feel like you still love your ex and don’t know whether to get back together, know that you’re not alone. Many people experience these emotions after a breakup. It may help to speak with a therapist about what you’re feeling about your ex. A therapist may be able to help you explore whether you do still love your ex and help you process any feelings of loneliness that you may be experiencing. With online therapy, you can be matched with a licensed therapist who has experience helping people navigate their feelings after a breakup. Take the first step toward getting support and reach out to BetterHelp.
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