Is it Normal to Still Love My Ex? + Tips on How to Move Forward

A girl wondering is it normal to still love my ex

Is it Normal to Still Love My Ex?

Oftentimes, new relationships feel like a fresh start. Wonderful ideas like soulmates and true love become a reality, and we’ve never been happier.


So when heartbreak comes along, our bodies go through a kind of romantic withdrawal. We become cynical yet find ourselves still in love long after the breakup.


When we’re happily in love, our brains produce dopamine and other chemicals that make us feel good, and a biological connection is formed. The longer this relationship goes on, and the more dopamine is produced, the more “addicted” our brains become.


In short, it’s perfectly natural to miss (or even love) your first love or old flame for a while.


However, if strong feelings persist and you’re having a hard time moving on from an ex-partner, you may still be grieving


Breakups are a type of loss and may follow the five stages of grief. You may experience each stage or only some, in no particular order.


As with any form of loss, you can lean on professional help to learn how to healthily process a breakup and reconcile your feelings.


To help you better understand your grief in the lens of a breakup, we’ve listed the five stages below:



1. Shock or denial

Even after the relationship ends, you and your ex-partner may slip into old habits, exchanging texts and making plans.


This isn’t unusual; breakups can be traumatic, and denial is a powerful coping mechanism. It helps soften the blow until we can process our emotions.


2. Anger

When we have strong feelings for another person, our love and affection may morph into anger and resentment following a breakup.


You may blame yourself or your partner for the relationship’s end. You may lash out, pointing out the other person’s flaws, or resent loved ones for their successful relationships.


Bad relationships and breakups can also affect your self-esteem. Depending on the nature of your previous relationship, these intense emotions may linger and prevent you from connecting with a new partner. 


3. Bargaining

Restoring a past relationship can feel like the solution to newfound instability and insecurity, whether you truly want to try again or not.


You may promise to be a better person or suggest their current partner isn’t right for them. You may also find yourself caught up in nostalgia, sending “I miss you” texts in the middle of the night or calling up an old flame. 


Alternatively, you may shift your focus to work, school, or exercise, using increased or over-productivity to regain a sense of control.


4. Depression

During this stage, you may spend a lot of time alone, scrolling through your ex’s social media and rereading text messages.


While you may not necessarily cry, you might be low on energy and lack motivation for your usual interests.


Though it’s important to lean on friends during this stage, they are not relationship experts and all forms of grief can be hard to cope with, especially if you have a mental illness. If you feel depressed for more than two weeks, it may be time to speak to a mental health professional.


5. Acceptance

Loving someone and learning how to let go are fundamental life lessons.


If the relationship was unhealthy or unhappy, then parting ways was the right decision, and you’ll eventually go on to find someone better. Likewise, if you two were happy together, then it’s very likely you’ll be happy again with someone else.


Knowing this, you may still have lingering feelings for your ex.


This is perfectly normal. What matters is that you’ve learned how to reconcile your emotions and have begun to reconnect with friends, families, and new partners.


Tips on How to Move Forward

Moving on from a breakup takes time. As you navigate your emotions, stay mindful of the pull of fond memories and practice self-care to get through the hard days.


To help you move forward, here are a few tips to keep in mind:


Stay off of social media

A lot of people fall into self-destructive patterns following a breakup. If you’re comparing yourself to the couples you see online or checking up on your ex a lot, take time away from social media. Reinvest your energy into work and hobbies, and learn how to see yourself outside of a relationship.


Listen to music with themes of self-empowerment and independence

Researchers have found that listening to your favorite music releases dopamine, one of the “happy brain chemicals.”


Blast your favorite playlist on your way to work and host concerts in your shower. Rediscover some high school favorites, dance alone in your room, and lean into the self-empowering messages that you loved as a teenager.


Remember why you broke up

Not only is journaling a great way to process your emotions, but it can serve as a physical record of what went wrong with your relationship.


Alternatively, you can reach out to a close friend and get their perspective. If they were present for the duration of the relationship, they likely can lend some insight into why you two broke up.


Throw away or get rid of mementos and keepsakes

It’s a lot easier to cling onto memories if we still have physical reminders lying around.


If you feel like it might give you closure, return the gifts your ex gave you. Throw away or donate anything else you might’ve held on to that reminds you of them. Though it may be bittersweet, it’ll help you think of them less as you go about your day.


Write a parting letter, but don’t send it

To help you process your emotions, try writing a parting letter.


Write down everything you wanted to say, from the angry to the good. Let it all out and once you’re done, throw it away. You can think of this as a physical release from the relationship and the power it once held over you.


Delete their number and block communication

In addition to staying off social media, avoid stalking your ex’s posts.


To stave off temptation, block them on all your accounts and delete their number. If you’re still hurting, do not engage with them if they try to reach out or happen to ask a close friend about you.


Get support from friends and family

If you’re having a tough time coping with a breakup, reach out to your loved ones. 


Friends and family members can be a crucial source of support during this difficult period, so try to make plans and reinvest energy into non-romantic relationships.


Seek professional support

There is nothing wrong with asking for help.


By speaking with a mental health professional such as a therapist or counselor, you can get the support you need to move on from past relationships and reconcile lingering hurt or heartache.


Work Through Your Feelings with Emote Online Therapy

Whether they were your first love or your first serious relationship, it’s not unusual to still love your ex. After all, they were a major part of your life, and letting go is never easy.


Through therapy, it’s possible to healthily address unresolved feelings and recover from a broken heart.


At Emote, we offer a safe space for anyone struggling with their emotions.


By matching with one of our highly qualified therapists, you can gain the tools you need to cope with a breakup. Through therapy, you can even discover a new side to yourself and learn how to connect with a new partner


Arrange video chat therapy sessions every week or text your therapist throughout your day for immediate support.


Sign up today and begin therapy with Emote for only $35 during your first week. Check out other helpful posts or read our FAQ to learn more about the benefits of therapy. 


How to Talk to a Therapist: Tips and Helpful Talking Points

A man wondering how to talk to a therapist

How to Talk to a Therapist and Get the Most Out of Your Therapy

Maybe you’re interested in therapy but feel like your worries are too trivial for a therapist. Or perhaps you’ve already attended a few sessions, yet you’re struggling to express yourself.


Either way, you’re not alone. Therapy is a step in the right direction, but it can be nerve-wracking to open up to a stranger.


According to research, 40.2 million American adults sought out and received mental health services such as therapy and counseling in 2019.


With a growing interest in psychotherapy, new patients may be surprised to find that “talk therapy” (like cognitive behavioral therapy, aka CBT) doesn’t magically transform you into an open book.


It takes time and patience to establish a therapeutic relationship, and it’s normal to encounter roadblocks along the way. 


For patients who are shy or suffer from anxiety, in-person therapy sessions can be overwhelming and stressful, even with a good therapist. Likewise, many people believe therapy is only for “serious” or “bad” stuff and has no place for everyday life. Others simply don’t know where to start.


The great thing about psychotherapists is that they’re human, too. 


As you learn how to open up about your mental health, they can learn how to best make you feel comfortable and secure.


Using the strategies we’ve listed below, you can start the conversation today and get the most out of therapy with Emote.



1. Ask your therapist to explain the process and what might be expected 

It’ll take time to find a therapist you like, but once you do, use your first session to learn more about how therapy works and what to expect from your sessions.


Even if this is not your first time trying therapy, your therapist can offer insight into the kind of progress you’d like to make and help you establish goals. These goals don’t need to be ironclad, but they can help you lean into the process. 


2. Write down what’s been bugging you throughout the week and bring it with you to your session

Studies suggest writing may be a potentially beneficial therapeutic tool. By writing down your fears and anxieties, you’ll have a ready-made list of talking points to bring up in therapy.


You can also start a journal. You can use your journal to record your progress, review what you’ve learned in therapy, and express yourself in ways you may not yet be able to with your therapist. 


3. Remember that there is no “right” or “wrong”

Your therapist’s office is a safe place; nothing is off-limits, much less mundane subjects.


Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders benefit from therapy, but no one’s life revolves around mental illness (though it may feel like it). It’s okay to talk about whatever you want. 


Likewise, you don’t need to be in therapy for something “serious.” 


Therapy is a versatile tool developed to help people to cope with life’s challenges, whatever they may be.


4. Talk about your past

We get so caught up in what’s in front of us, we sometimes forget to look back.


Though it certainly sounds cliché, exploring your past can offer insight into your current struggles. You can use this opportunity to address unresolved heartache, past trauma, or merely reminisce about something—or someone—important to you. 


Whatever the subject is, remember your therapist can provide you with tools to cope with even the most painful parts of your past.


5. Bring up the important relationships in your life

During therapy, sensitive topics like your private life can be discussed without fear of judgment or embarrassment. 


These discussions don’t have to be limited to your love life, but you can use therapy to explore intimacy issues and marital conflict.


Suppose you feel that your relationships may benefit from professional help. In that case, your therapist may be able to introduce you to other types of therapy, such as couples therapy and group therapy. 


6. Dissect and discuss your dreams

There are several theories out there about the psychology of dreams. For some, the idea that dreams are windows into the psyche may be worth exploring. 


Sleep is also a critical aspect of your health. Whether you believe in the science of dreams or not, therapy can help address how your waking life affects your sleep and vice versa. 


7. Practice in the mirror

If you find that therapy gives you performance anxiety, rehearse what you want to say in the mirror before a session. 


Your therapist won’t judge you if you’re nervous or happen to stutter, but until you feel comfortable opening up, focus on the power of your words and how to best get them across. 


8. Discuss any physical ailments you’ve been experiencing

Your physical health can affect your mental health and vice versa. If you’re struggling to cope with a physical change, injury, or illness, bring it up with your therapist.


Discussing health problems can give you a sense of control and a way to healthily process negative emotions about your body. 


Your therapist may also be able to provide you with resources that focus on physical wellness and how to cope with pain, sickness, or loss of sensation. 


9. If you’re not completely comfortable with your therapist, request an icebreaker activity

The goal of therapy is to discover a healthy mindset, not crash land into it.


 If you’re not comfortable with your therapist yet, ask for an icebreaker.


This could mean going over your previous session, the past week, or how your mood is. You don’t have to start the conversation on your own. Your therapist can gradually guide you until you feel comfortable discussing what’s been weighing on your mind. 


10. Request online and text therapy for help whenever you need it

Online therapy has been vital in addressing mental health needs across the country. 


If in-person therapy sessions are not an option for you, ask your therapist for remote support. They may be able to arrange digital appointments and/or text therapy for moments of crisis.


You can also explore exclusive online therapy services like Emote. With online therapy, you’re free to communicate and arrange sessions at your convenience. 


Talk to a Therapist with Emote Online Therapy

Quality healthcare service is an important part of feeling comfortable with your therapist. Trusting not only the professional’s expertise but that you’re in a safe environment can help you overcome life’s challenges. 


By working with one of Emote’s online therapists, you can get the care you need from the comfort of your own home.


By being in a space you know, you and your remote therapist can lean into therapy together. Learn at your own pace and discover coping strategies, mental health tools, and pivotal talking points. 


Find what works best for you: Schedule face-to-face sessions over video chat or bring therapy wherever you go with our text services


With Emote, you’re not alone.

Find the right therapist today and start therapy for only $35 during your first week. Check out our FAQ or contact us to learn more about your personalized therapy experience.