Even the most civil breakups can lead to rough times when it comes to getting over an ex. One of the people you felt closest to is no longer part of your life, or at least not in the same way, and that can hurt. Sometimes being broken up with can lead to heartbreak, self-doubt, and long nights on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Even if you are the one who initiated the split and feel like you ultimately made the right decision, the aftermath can still be difficult; there can be guilt over hurting someone you loved, missing aspects of your ex or the relationship even if you don’t necessarily want them back, and long nights on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. (It works for both sides of the equation.)
It can be tough to discern whether you’re simply trying to convince yourself that you aren’t hurt any more or whether you’re actually over a past significant other. According to experts, here are five subtle signs that you’re genuinely over your ex.
1. They don’t occupy your thoughts.
When you’re dating someone, that person presumably takes up a significant amount of your time and energy, and therefore you think about them quite a bit. Once you break up, those thoughts don’t just stop coming. You still find yourself thinking about your ex–maybe even more so if the split was a particularly bad one and you can’t seem to get it off your mind.
Brooklyn-based dating and relationships expert Demetrius Figueroa has suggested that a major sign that you’ve gotten over your ex is when they don’t occupy your thoughts as much. “You might not even realize it at first,” he explains “but at some point when you’ve moved on, your ex will stop and become an afterthought.” It’s normal for your ex to cross your mind every now and then, but once you stop fixating on old memories and checking up on their social media five times a day to see who’s “won” the breakup, you’ve finally moved on.
2. When you do hear about them, it’s no big deal.
Shortly following a breakup, you’re going to care about what your ex is doing, and that’s completely normal because, for a long time, that’s what you were supposed to do. You’re going to wonder whether they’re seeing anyone, whether they got that new promotion, and how their grandma is doing. It happens.
One of the surest signs that you’re over your ex is when you hear something about them… And simply don’t care all that much. If you run into the ex on your trip to the grocery store without it being a significant event that you text your closest friends about for an hour afterward, you’re on the right track. If someone tells you about your ex’s new girlfriend and your happiness for the new couple outweighs your jealousy by a long shot, then you are probably over it.
3. You’re back to your daily routine.
When you go through a breakup, you may try to avoid certain people, places, and situations because you associate them with your ex, even if these people/places/situations were part of your daily routine before the relationship even took place. Or maybe there were certain activities you loved to do before meeting your ex but didn’t have time for anymore once the relationship got serious.
According to Dr. Gary Brown, a relationship expert in Los Angeles, “You’ll also know you’ve moved on when you are resuming your normal day-to-day activities that existed before you met your ex.” If you find yourself doing what you want to do regardless of your ex’s schedule or picking up old hobbies from the time before your ex, it can be a sign you’ve moved on from them.
4. Someone new is occupying your thoughts.
This is a tricky one because it’s common to find a rebound guy or gal right after a relationship to take your mind off of your ex. Rebound sex in itself is not a sign of moving on, nor is swiping furiously on your dating app of choice. Dating coach and online dating profile writer Eric Resnick points out that this behavior is often “just you looking for a distraction while you are healing.”
However, he goes on to say that if you find yourself thinking about someone else–not as a rebound to numb the pain, but truly interested in getting to know this person better–that’s a good sign. If you’re genuinely attracted to their personality and their physical attributes and not just trying to fill the void left by your ex, then congrats, you’ve moved on.
5. You can see the relationship for what it was.
Shortly after a break-up, it’s easy to fall into all-or-nothing thinking: you either idealize the relationship and miss it terribly, or you think it’s the worst thing that ever happened to you. In reality, though, relationships are more complicated than that. Every relationship has both positive and negative characteristics.
If you are truly over your ex, you are past the point of saying that your old relationship was the “best/worst” one ever. You have taken the time to really think about your time together and see it for what it was. You have come to the realization that it takes two to break a relationship and you’ve reflected on how you can be a better partner next time around, as well as the aspects of your former S.O. that you want to seek out (or avoid) while pursuing future partners.
Once you’re viewing your old relationship as a lesson rather than a burden, you are genuinely over your ex–and it feels amazing.