Even if you’re no longer in touch
If they’re still in touch: Look, they obviously still think about you. Unless you were friends for years beforehand and only dated briefly (and, tbh, even then) part of them still wonders “what if?” Always.
If they’re not still in touch: They may say they’ve moved on, but their shadow presence in your life determines that’s a lie.
They didn’t tell you about their new SO until they moved in together
And then they go “no contact” shortly thereafter.
I didn’t know about my ex’s now-wife until they got a place. Even though he and I had had lunch a few months before and texted periodically.
They were definitely dating at the time, but instead, he alluded to the fact that his dating scene was dry. I think he even said something like “nobody really strikes my interest.” (Oh, wait. Except that girl you married.)
They’ll keep that shit a secret until the very last possible moment, in the event that you come back.
They still log in to your streaming accounts sometimes
Pandora notifies me when someone else is logged in. My ex is the only other person with my password.
I’m not sure what he’s doing, because he never adds any stations — so, is he just checking in to see what I’m listening to these days? Gaging my current headspace and mood? Listening to my music — even though we had very different tastes — rather than his own? Maybe he’s looking for music recommendations, I don’t know.
But if that’s the case: Whilk and Misky, bruh.
They still read your blog or follow you on social media
I can see that my ex opens my new post emails 2, 3, 4 times — either deliberating whether or not to read each new blog post, or actually reading it that many times.
They don’t ask about you when they run into your mom
Or a mutual friend.
It’s odd that my ex does this when he runs into my mother, especially given that the two of them talked about me regularly for two years after we broke up.
Is it because he’s afraid of it coming out laced with emotion? Afraid of what his new wife, standing right there, will think? Is it because he’s already up to speed on my life, having read my blog? I’m not sure. But it’s bizarre that he and my mother now put on airs of finding shit to talk about that isn’t me.
They DO ask you about when they run into your mom or mutual friend
Look, they’re going to think about you when they run into someone. And they’ll either avoid the topic or be desperate to know what you’re doing.
It’s a very unlikely circumstance that they’d feel neutral on it and stand there thinking, “oh yeah, that girl/guy… welp, cya!”
They will be triggered by everything that reminds them of you
They will think of you every time they see your favorite brand of chips at the grocery store. They will think of you when ordering an iced coffee, because you always did, even in the dead of winter. They’ll think about you when teaching someone to use chopsticks, or overhearing someone use that word you hated, or boarding a plane, because you both used to always text each other before your frequent business flights.
They will be triggered when thinking about their life
They’ll be at the office one day, or driving along the coast with their new significant other at their side, or walking the dog, and there will be a moment where they think about you and wonder how it would have been.
They are human
And we all — all of us — think about our exes.
I still occasionally think about dudes I barely dated — hung out with 2 or 3 times and never even hooked up. I still sometimes think about the worst guy I ever dated — not in a way that I’d want to get back together, but in a way that we all think about our lives.
So if those are true, then you can imagine that I certainly still think about the more serious, multi-year relationships.
The difference, of course, and the thing we’re all wondering is whether there are still feelings. That, I can’t answer. It depends on the person. It depends on the relationship. It depends on how it ended.
You still think about them
There are partners I dated for months — nearly a year — but never loved to begin, and set down easily in the end. But there are also partners I’ll probably always love, and perhaps they think they feel the same about me, I don’t know.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. You can feed yourself whichever version you most prefer, since we all create our own reality anyway, and live a totally satisfying life by compartmentalizing your past into your present accordingly.