5 Signs You Only Think You’re Still In Love With Your Ex (But Actually Aren’t)

New Girl: Season 3
New Girl: Season 3

People always say that when you are in love you just know. And yet, no one can really explain what it’s like to be in love. Whenever you ask someone what it feels like to be in love, they always struggle to come up with a good answer. It is for this reason that love is also the most complicated of all the emotions. And as easy as it is to know that you are in love, it is also easy to mistake certain feelings for love, especially after a breakup.

After a break up (especially if you are the one who got dumped) your thoughts and emotions are all over the place. It can be difficult to sort out any feelings you have, but especially the feelings toward your ex.

So when you’re in your room alone on a Friday night, thinking about your ex with a bottle of Jack Daniels listening to ‘that song’ over and over again, maybe it’s time to take a breath and evaluate the kinds of thoughts you’ve been having. Sometimes realizing that the feelings you’ve been having aren’t love is a huge step in getting over your ex.

So if you’re feeling confused here are a few signs that you aren’t still in love with your ex, even if you think that you are.

1. You Want Their Current Relationship To Fail

I know what you’re thinking, “Of course I want (insert ex’s name here)’s relationship to fail, because I love him/her and I want them to be with me!” Now while you might want nothing more than for your ex to leave the person they are with and come back to you, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you still love them.

If you still loved your ex, you be understandably depressed if they were with someone else, but you still wouldn’t want their current relationship to fail. When you love someone, you want the best for them. You want them to be as happy as possible. Even if them being happy means that they need to be with someone who isn’t you.

2. You Want Nothing More Than For Them To Contact You, But You Don’t Want To Contact Them

We’ve all been there. We sleep with our phones within arms reach, and we look for texts from them the moment we wake up. Whenever we see the little green dot on gchat/facebook messenger that says they’re online, we stare at it like we’re Jay Gatsby staring at the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s dock.

We constantly check and stare at our various communication devices, praying that they will call. But we never call them. Why is that? What stops us from contacting them ourselves? Is it pride? Or fear? Or both? Ultimately it doesn’t matter.

If you want them to come to you, but are unwilling to go to them, then you don’t love them. You just want them to come back so you can feel better about yourself. You want that self-satisfying knowledge that they came running back to you. You want their pride to break first.

But love isn’t a power struggle. It isn’t a contest to see who can hold out the longest. If you love someone; then you’re willing to put forget your pride, and face whatever fears you have, and go to them yourself.

*Note: This should go without saying, but the opposite is also true. If you are constantly calling and texting your ex, and not getting the hint, that isn’t love either. That is obsession, and that is the opposite of healthy behavior.

3. You Want To Win The Breakup

Once the initial depression stage of the breakup is over, however long it takes, it’s very common for people to want to become the best versions of themselves. People get new haircuts, they update their wardrobe, they get in shape, they go after a promotion at their jobs, etc.

This is a perfectly natural thing to do. It’s often a very beneficial process for people to go through. I would even go so far as to say that it’s ok to want to improve yourself to spite your ex. Nothing lights a fire under our asses like the desire to prove something to someone, especially when that person has hurt or wronged us in some way. So go ahead, think about your ex while you’re going for that run. It will only make you run further and faster.

But again, this isn’t love. As I said earlier, love shouldn’t be a competition. There’s a difference between trying to be the best person you can be for another person, and being the best you can be to prove something to someone. And honestly, that fire you get from being mad at your ex will eventually burn out. But by the time it does, you’ll want to keep making these improvements simply because you like this version of yourself.

4. In Your Dreams, They Take On A Generic Boyfriend/Girlfriend Role, Instead Of Being Themselves.

Psychologists have been saying for decades that dreams are our wish fulfillment. In our dreams we see what we truly want. But what we actually see is usually very open to interpretation.

People often dream about their exes for years after they break up. A lot of people (myself included) think this means that they are still in love with them. But this isn’t necessarily so. Sometimes if you see your ex in a dream, it means that you just want to have what you had with them. You want to have those feelings for someone again.

But how do you know the difference? You have to really examine your dream. You need to look at the context in which you are seeing your ex.

When you dream about your ex, what are you doing with them? Are you doing generic couple-y things? Like going on dinner dates, watching a sunset, or making love? Or are you dreaming about specific memories of them, or in such a way that their personality really comes through? If your dreams are more like the latter then that might be a sign that you are still in love with them. But if your dreams are more like the former, then you might not specifically want them in your life. You just want to have those feelings for someone again, but you associate those feelings with them.

5. You Get A Stronger Reaction From A Facebook Pic Than You Do When You See Them In Real Life

When your ex posts a photo on any social media, you’re probably going to feel all kinds of emotions. And most of them will probably not be pleasant. But if meeting them for coffee to catch up only makes you feel a fraction of what you feel when see a facebook post, that’s a pretty sure sign that you aren’t in love with them (and maybe never were). What it means is that you are in love with the idea of them.

In today’s social media obsessed world, this is very easy to do; especially when said social media allows you to see what your ex is doing almost 24/7. The problem with this is that if your only interaction with someone is on social media, then you are inevitably going to see the person through rose-colored glasses.

That’s because we only show the most interesting things about ourselves on social media. We only instagram pictures from the best events we attend and meals we have, and then we add a filter to make it look even better. We spend an hour thinking about how to word a tweet in such a way to make it as funny as possible without seeming like we are making an effort to be funny. We take the same selfie at least five times to get the angle just right.

But I guarantee you that everyone is exaggerating on social media to some extent. And on facebook you never see a person’s flaws, or imperfections. I.e. we never see what makes them truly unique. And when we spend hours stalking our exes’ perfectly curated social media presence, it’s very easy for our perceptions of them to become a little warped.

Love has confused both men and women since the beginning of time, and will continue to do so until the end of time. So my friends, if you are feeling confused about someone from your past, don’t be afraid to take a step back and really look at your feelings. It might be scary at times, and it probably won’t be easy. But you will be thankful that you did. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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