When people fall out of love with someone, the aftermath can be quite complicated.

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Perhaps you left because you realized they weren’t who they thought they were, or maybe you got tired of dealing with their crap. Maybe you were forced to leave or stay stuck in a relationship that brought you no joy or stability.

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Sometimes, looking back, people tend to remember the things they miss, rather than the person. This is confusing because when you reminisce about what used to be, sometimes the line between missing the ex and missing the idea of the ex can be pretty foggy. In turn, the decision of going back starts to haunt you and you may wonder if you made a terrible mistake.

So how do you know if it’s the person you miss or the idea of them that you can’t shake?

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They treated you bad, but all you can think about is the good.

Let me break this one down, because this one can get a little complex. When someone treats you badly, it’s consistent. I don’t mean you two get in a fight and they say something they regret because that’s what most people do when they’re angry. I am talking about when there is more bad than good; when they are selfish, inconsiderate and uncaring of your needs. Yet, in some special circumstances they make you feel loved and appreciated. The problem with this is that life doesn’t consist of special circumstances. Life can be stressful and chaotic, and you need someone who can be by your side in the mess and still make you feel special.

The cause of this unrealistic reminiscing is probably the fact that you’re lonely. Which is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone gets lonely. It’s human nature to want companionship and affection. What is not okay, is accepting someone who brings you pain without even caring. Don’t allow yourself to remember the good things when you were with someone who treated you poorly. This isn’t realistic. Try to see things for what they really were and realize that you deserve better. Don’t let your loneliness cloud your judgment.

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You only miss them when you feel alone.

This is actually a total obvious sign that you aren’t really in love. When things get hard and you are feeling lonely, you are going to want someone there to make it easier. That’s what humans do. We want to make things easier on ourselves, and nine times out of ten, having someone to lean on makes our struggles easier.

If you only miss that person when things are hard, you don’t really miss them. This is just loneliness tricking you into thinking you need someone when you really don’t miss them for who they are, but for the relief they bring when life is hard.

However, if you miss them when you are happy and wish they could experience your happiness with you, then you really do love them. When everything is ideal except for the fact that they can’t be there to share your joy, and that is a definite indication that you don’t miss them for how they ease your pain, but for who they really are.

You don’t miss the person you were with, but the person you were when you were with them.

Everyone changes when they enter a relationship to some degree. You have to. You change your priorities because now you are thinking of someone else’s needs and wants. When people enter a relationship, in the beginning it’s all puppy love and excitement. The point is, that when we remember this we are remembering the way the person affected us, the way they changed us, instead of the actual person.

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When people are happy, they are at the best version of themselves. When they are down, they become lesser versions of themselves.The thing is while you’re missing the person you used to be with your ex, you are forgetting that you were happy and that’s what made you the best you. With patience and persistence, you will eventually get back to being your best self. You will find happiness again and not compare yourself to who you were with your ex, but be satisfied with who you are without them.