Relationships: You’ll Never Believe How Many People Still Think About the ‘One that Got Away’ Years Later

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Do you ever think about the one that got away? If you do, you’re not alone. A survey conducted by Superdrug Online Doctor found a shockingly high number of people still think about their ex—even if they’re in a relationship with someone else. It’s not uncommon to wonder what an ex is up to or even whish you were back together. Here’s what the researchers found.

Key findings

Thinking about the one that got away can complicate things with your current love.

  • 3 in 4 people are still pining for someone from a past relationship.
  • 43% of respondents still communicate with the one that got away, and nearly two-thirds keep up with their ex on social media.
  • More than 65% of men would have sex with the one that got away if there were no consequences.

How long does it take to recover from a breakup?

One reason it takes so long to get over an ex is because some people tend to idealize a former partner. It’s easy to trick yourself into believing that person was right for you, even if there were serious problems. Many people think about someone from a past relationship, even to the point of believing an ex is their ideal match.

One thing you might wonder about is how long it will take to heal from a breakup. When it comes to a timeline for moving on, everyone is different. There’s no perfect way to get over someone. The researchers report some experts believe it takes 11 weeks to recover from breakup. However, a divorce requires more healing time. In this case, it usually takes about 18 months to get over a divorce. Many are held back by thoughts of what could have been. “Regardless of how long it’s been, we found 71% of people out there are wondering ‘what if?’ about someone they used to be with,” say the researchers.

Why did these relationships end?

If you’re thinking sex was the top reason, you’re wrong. Only 4% of the relationships ended because of sexual issues. The top reason was a breakdown in communication (29%). The second most popular reason was lost interest (25%).

How many people still think about an ex?

Nearly 70% of people still think about a past love years later. Among the survey respondents, 60% said they wanted to get back together with a former boyfriend or girlfriend. This is 10 times the number of people who want to rekindle a romance with a former spouse.

Tips for dealing with the pain of realizing a significant other got away

  • Focus on your current relationship. If things are going well, take time to nurture your relationship instead of living in the past.
  • Engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself, whether it’s exercising, reading a good book, or spending time with friends. One reason you might be thinking about your ex is you don’t think you can do better. Work on your self-esteem.
  • If you truly think you made a mistake and your ex was the one for you, make an effort to reach out. Unless you were in an abusive relationship, it might be a good move to give things another try and take a second chance on love.

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