If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by people you love, you probably also know the pain of missing someone.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all guide to stop missing someone. It depends on where they’ve gone and how you feel about it.
How to Stop Missing Someone Who…
Has gone away for a while but is coming back
Left you (or you left)
Sometimes, missing someone is temporary. For example if your child goes to camp, or your partner travels overseas for business, you’ll miss them, but you also know they’ll be home soon.
That’s not always the case, though. Sometimes, you choose to push a partner or a toxic friend out of your life. Even if it’s the healthiest decision for you, you’ll probably still miss them for a while.
Even worse, sometimes someone you love is taken away from you. If someone leaves you or dies, you may not get the closure you need. That makes it even harder to stop missing them.
It’s really important to acknowledge your feelings. Missing someone isn’t just “in your head”. Our emotions are a complicated mix of experience, physiological and biochemical reactions, and behavioral responses.
Before you try to stop missing someone, you need to understand why you miss them. More importantly, you need to treat yourself with compassion. Your emotions are legitimate, and missing someone important to you is ok.
That said, a time will come when you feel like you’re ready to stop missing them. My suggestions below will help you when you feel like you’re ready to move forward.
How to Stop Missing Someone Who Is Coming Back
It can be really hard when someone you love goes away for a little while. My partner regularly travels for work, and I know how miserable I get when they’re away – even though I know they’ll be back soon.
Unless something out of the ordinary like a family emergency happens, you’ll usually have time to plan. That means that even when you’re apart, you can keep working on your relationship.
I’m lucky: my partner only takes short trips for work. If you’re part of a military family, your parent, partner, or sibling could be gone for months at a time. It’s really important to have a strategy in place so you can cope with how much you miss them.
These are my favorite ways to stop missing someone who I know is coming back to me:
- Keep a countdown. If you know when they’re coming back, mark the date on your calendar and check off every day that brings you closer to their return.
- Make care packages for each other. This is my favorite way to miss someone less. You can write letters or shop for little gifts, and either pack them (with the date they’re intended for written on the envelope or wrapping) or mail them while your person’s away. Shopping for the person you love helps you keep them at the front of your mind, and writing letters is a wonderful way to remember all the things you love about them.
- Keep busy. Loneliness and boredom can be dangerous, so it’s really important to keep yourself busy. Schedule coffee dates with friends, arrange projects to fill your free time, and concentrate on your relationships with the people around you.
- Work on your relationship. This is very individual, but I find the time we’re apart to be a unique opportunity to focus on my relationship. I write down something I miss about my partner every day. I also find it helpful to speak to a love psychic, for extra guidance on strengthening my relationship. I’m also careful to set aside time to speak to them while they’re gone, as that helps to keep our connection strong.
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How to Stop Missing Someone Who Left You (Or You Left)
Learning to stop missing someone who used to be a big part of your life can be incredibly difficult. Whether you said goodbye to a toxic friend, fell out of touch with someone, or ended a relationship, saying goodbye is never easy. Being dumped can be even worse.
Some people choose to cut off all contact with the person they’re trying to heal from. Sometimes, this isn’t possible (for example, if you’re a divorced parent with shared custody, you cannot fully cut your ex out of your life).
Truthfully, the most important thing you can do is focus on your emotions. Be kind to yourself, and validate how you feel. Moving on isn’t easy, and you shouldn’t expect it to be.
It’s ok if you need time to cry, if you feel angry, or if you’re confused. You might not cry much, but may feel relief when you write, run, or channel your feelings into a passion project. Remember that the pain you’re feeling is unique, and that expressing it is normal and healthy.
Grieving isn’t reserved for death. Other forms of loss – like a breakup or ending a once-treasured friendship – also cause grief. Your grief is a valid emotion, and resolving it will help you stop missing the person sooner.
There are a few things you can do to help yourself stop missing someone after you break up, are dumped, or choose to end a different kind of toxic relationship:
- Change your routine. Establishing new routines and traditions that are your own is empowering. If you always went to the same coffee shop together on Sunday mornings or jogged the same route through the same park, switching out your routine could help you move on.
- Do something purely for yourself. This is especially helpful if there’s something you want to do for yourself that your ex hated or refused to try. It doesn’t have to be the classic post-breakup haircut either: take up a new sport, learn to cook a new cuisine, or build some “me time” into your week. It will help you reclaim your time and hobbies as your own, helping you stop missing them.
- Focus on your future. Now is the perfect time to take stock of where you’re up to in life, and decide the shape of your future for yourself. Take a long and holistic look at what you want for yourself. Is now the time to throw yourself into work? Are you ready to look for a new relationship? Is it finally time to start the side hustle you’ve been dreaming of? Choose a goal, make a plan, and make your future everything you want it to be. You could even try talking to a fortune teller for guidance if you’re not sure where you should be heading.
- Stay busy… but know when to stop. Fill your calendar with little things that will help you keep your mind off the person you miss. After my last serious breakup, I started volunteering at an animal shelter, and made sure to see my family at least once a week. I also started working out more, ordered some new books to read, and cooking much more of my own food. Eventually, I was so busy that I realized I just wasn’t thinking about my ex anymore. I was finally in a good place where I could relax without missing them.
- Stop checking their socials. No explanation needed. It’s not healthy, and you know it. You won’t gain anything by stalking their Facebook or Instagram, so just don’t do it.
- Keep it real. It’s really important not to romanticize your relationship by focusing on the positives – but you shouldn’t only remember the negatives, either. Keeping a balanced perspective on your relationship will help you move on and stop missing them.
- Cleanse your space of reminders. Looking around your home and seeing your ex everywhere can make you miss them all over again. When you’re ready, remove anything that brings up painful memories. You can return or donate their clothes and personal items, delete their texts (or even their number) from your phone, and box up any photos or other personal items. Reclaim your home as your own, and you’ll soon miss them far less.
Cleanse your space of reminders. Looking around your home and seeing your ex everywhere can make you miss them all over again. When you’re ready, remove anything that brings up painful memories. You can return or donate their clothes and personal items, delete their texts (or even their number) from your phone, and box up any photos or other personal items. Reclaim your home as your own, and you’ll soon miss them far less.
How to Stop Missing Someone Who Passed Away
The death of someone you love is never easy to deal with. Before you start trying to stop missing the deceased, it’s important that you fully embrace the grieving process. Fully experiencing grief will help you find closure so you can start moving forward.
There are five stages of grief: denial, bargaining, depression, anger, and acceptance. Everyone experiences these stages differently, so allow yourself to work through your feelings. They are valid, and you shouldn’t try to move on until you feel emotionally and energetically balanced enough.
Beware of loneliness while you’re grieving. It’s fine if you need time to yourself, but spending too much time alone could make you feel worse. Call on family or friends for support if you need them – they will want to be there for you.
When trying to stop missing a loved one, remember that it’s ok to be sad. You should never forget them; you just want to be able to get through the day without missing them too much.
After someone dies, you may feel guilty if you laugh or enjoy yourself. You shouldn’t feel bad at all. It’s really important that you learn to enjoy your life, even without them. It’s what they would want for you, too.
Coping with death is very individual, so not all the ideas on the list below will work for you. However, these tips helped me cope with the loss of someone close and stop missing them every day. I hope they will help you, too.
- Honor their legacy. Find something that was important to your loved one, and bring it into your life as a way to remember them. For example, you can volunteer for a charity they donated to, raise funds to build a bench in their favorite park, or set aside time to read their favorite books.
- Create a memory corner. Create a beautiful space in your home that honors your loved one. You can frame a favorite photo, and keep a vase of their favorite flowers or a special plant or fragrance next to it. You could also display special tokens from your time together, like shells from a beach trip, framed ticket stubs, or a shirt that still carries their scent. Keep this area dedicated to the memory of the person you love. That way, when you’re missing them, you have somewhere special to go and think about them.
- Talk to their friends and family. You’re probably not the only person who misses your loved one. Talking to other people who loved them like their friends and family will help you remember them. It will also strengthen your connections with the people around you, so you won’t be lonely.
- Talk to them. When you love someone, sometimes it feels like something hasn’t really happened until you’ve told them about it. You don’t have to stop communicating with someone you love just because they’ve passed on. You can talk to them, write a journal of the conversations you wish you could have with them, or even contact a medium for a more spiritual connection to your loved one.
- Learn to fulfil yourself. When someone we love passes on, part of the emptiness we experience comes from how they made us feel. We need love and fulfilment from other people – but you can also learn to partly satisfy this need for yourself. I found that practicing affirmations and learning to appreciate different parts of myself really helped me move forward.
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Missing people is normal, but it’s healthy to reach a point where you can get through your day without missing them so much it hurts.
Before you try to move on, make sure you’re taking time to work through your emotions. Your grief and sadness are valid, and it’s important to process your legitimate feelings before you try to stop missing someone.
Fill your days with activities you love, new challenges, and people who will support and care for you. Remember that it’s ok to laugh and have fun, even while you’re hurting.
Take care of yourself, and one day you’ll realize that you don’t miss your loved one as much anymore.