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Why Do I Keep Thinking about My Ex?

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From a young woman in the U.S.: My current boyfriend “mark” is my high school sweetheart, we met at 14 and dated until 16. He then broke up with me and immediately started dating someone else. I was head over heels for him, he was my first love, so I kept trying to keep him in my life even if it was just as friends.

We went through this ugly cycle where he left her and cane back to me and left me and went to her, it happened at least 3 times. Then I met “rick” who I later started dating and dated for 2 years. We were happy and I definitely loved him but ultimately I still had feelings for mark and there were things that just made mine and ricks relationship not work. I gave the relationship my all and rick was head over heels for me but I just don’t think we were meant to be, he tried very very hard for us though. I definitely had more of a connection with mark.

So now, two years after leaving rick and eventually ending up with mark, i’m confused. I’m still very insecure because mark had betrayed me multiple times before but we were young teens and now we are 21, not too experienced but know what we want now. But I just find myself thinking about rick, even dreaming of him. I do not think of him in a sexual way, but sometimes when I think of him I do imagine some romantic times we had together just being ourselves.

With my insecurity and thoughts about my ex i’m just lost as to why i’m still thinking about rick and how I can stop. My mom also loved rick and hangs out with him which is very weird and she hates my boyfriend a lot so it just adds tension and is very annoying. I’m just not sure how to stop and finally get over rick 100%.

I feel like I miss the attention rick gave me but mark is for sure the person I want to be with and I love him very much it just feels like since there’s insecurity it’s hard to be 100% sure this will work out even though I don’t see why not, he’s my soulmate. Any advice would help, thanks!

Why Do I Keep Thinking about My Ex?

Answered by on -


I think you already know why you are still insecure about “mark”. At 21 years old, the experiences you went through with both men is still recent and unresolved. Mark left you a number of times for someone else. Even though your rational self reminds you that you were both teens at the time, your not-so-rational and emotional self is still not able to trust him 100%. Rick was trustworthy but didn’t make your heart sing enough. Mark made your heart sing but you still don’t entirely trust him. Of course you are confused.

To add to the mix: Your mother has taken the side of Rick. You say she “hates” Mark. Mothers are generally protective. It’s possible she sees things in Mark that concern her but that you aren’t able to see. Or not. Maybe she just likes Rick more. I can’t tell on the basis of such a short report. But it might help you if you asked your mother (calmly, not defensively) what it is that bothers her about Mark as a potential son-in-law.

One way out of your spin is to ask yourself what you think needs to happen for you to forgive Mark enough that you can totally trust him. Do understand that there is probably nothing he can do at this point that he hasn’t already done. Trust is a gift we give someone when we think they deserve it. It’s up to you to decide. Be honest with yourself. Is your insecurity about him at all justified? Is it all in your own head? Or are there things you still need to talk about with him for you to be with him 100%?

This is important work for you to do if you and Mark are to last. Love is not enough. A relationship that lasts is one where there is total commitment and trust.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Why Do I Keep Thinking about My Ex?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). Why Do I Keep Thinking about My Ex?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 11 Apr 2020 (Originally: 12 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 11 Apr 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.