Breaking up is hard to do, but getting over someone is even harder. Even if you've fully accepted that the relationship has come to a close, actually letting the person go isn't something that you can snap your fingers and have magically happen. For some people, it takes a long time to move on.
One thing that can help is to focus on what you've learned from the relationship. "Every disappointment is a learning moment," Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, tells Bustle. "After the initial upset, review the dynamics of the relationship and analyze what went wrong, what you could have done better and what you learned. There's no need to give yourself a hard time about it. Just process the information, so you don't repeat mistakes." You broke up for a reason — and remember that reason is a good way to remind yourself why you shouldn't be with that person.
But even if you think you're over it, it can be difficult to know for sure. It's something we like to kid ourselves about. Most of us have had that friend who won't stop talking about how over someone they are — all while obsessively talking about that person. Some of us have been that person (*raises hand*). So how do you know you've really moved on? Here's what you need to ask yourself.
How Does The Idea Of Them With Someone Else Feel?
Think you're over them? Think about how would you feel if you knew they were with someone else — think of how you would feeling meeting that person. Sure, it's always going to be awkward — that's normal. But if it makes you feel extremely upset, emotional, jealous, or just generally like you're spiraling into another dimension, then you may not really be over them.
How's Your Stalking?
I mean, this should really be a no-brainer, but if you're stalking is off the charts then you're not over them. Sure, lots of us check up on our exes on social media from time to time — MY FIRST BOYFRIEND HAS A RATTAIL NOW FOR CHRIST'S SAKE — but the cyberstalking needs to be in control. Those late night stalks the end up 32 weeks into their Instagram should tell you something. They should tell you that you're not over them.
Are You Still Angry?
They say that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. Being angry, hating the person, is too strong of an emotion to be over them. "Anger is a form of connection, but disinterest is a form of release. If they don’t pique your interest, you’re over them," April Masini, New York based relationship expert and author, tells Bustle
How Do You Feel About Dating?
If dating makes you feel neutral — like something you might be interested, but aren't desperate to do — that's a good sign. If you're feeling like you couldn't possibly face it or like you just need to meet someone as fast as you can, then you may still be hurt from your last relationship. Cool down a bit.
Are You Cool With Your Mutual Friends?
Having mutual friends with an ex can be one of the hardest parts of a breakup. Until you're over the person, you're probably desperate to find every little detail out. But when you're over it, you're no longer obsessed. "When you’re not curious, you’re not interested, and when you’re not interested, you’ve moved on," Masini says.
Are You Admitting Your Role In The Breakup?
If you're still blaming your ex for everything that went wrong — and they weren't a toxic partner — something could be up. "When asked about why the relationship failed," Stef Safran, a matchmaking and dating expert and owner of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. "You take responsibility for your part and don't focus on the other person's issues."
It's not easy to get over an ex — and it's not always easy to know when you've really moved on. It's important to be honest with yourself. If you're not over them, that's OK, you just need more time. You'll get there.