Why Is My Ex Suddenly On My Mind? (9 Reasons Why)

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Isabelle O'Gallagher

Isabelle O'Gallagher is a personal development and relationship expert who has consulted for some of the biggest companies in America.

It’s normal to reminisce about past relationships, especially if they were a huge part of your life. Even after break-ups, there are times when thinking of our exes slips into our minds.

So, if you’ve asked yourself the question, why is my ex suddenly on my mind? you’re not alone! Let me share some possible reasons why.

Why Is My Ex Suddenly On My Mind?

1. Unfinished Business

Most of the time, the reason why your ex is on your mind is because of unfinished business. Did you have a bad breakup? Are you regretting the breakup? Do you have unanswered questions in the relationship?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are you have unfinished business with your ex. Sometimes, breakups are due to unforeseen circumstances. One of you could’ve needed to move miles away. Religious or familial values could also be reasons for a sudden breakup.

Whatever the reason may be, you may have a lot of what-ifs. What if you could’ve tried pursuing a long-distance relationship? What if you could’ve kept an open mind?

These questions have a way of making our exes creep back into our heads.

2. Triggering Memories

Say you’ve been decluttering, and you suddenly find yourself holding an old photo of you and your ex; memories will definitely flood back in your mind.

Triggers can be photos, smells, places, and virtually anything that you’ve shared with an ex. Before you know it, these stimuli have triggered your emotional memories.

You can’t exactly block these memories, however painful they may be. They’ve become an important part of who you are today.

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One thing you can do to alter your reaction to these stimuli is to create new memories.

For example, you can bring friends to specific locations that remind you of your ex. This way, you can have memories of that place without your ex.

3. Missing Their Absence

Missing someone’s absence in our lives can make us think of them suddenly. This is more common in dependent relationships.

Your ex’s presence may have made you feel good and safe. You may miss the connection you’ve built with them.

If your ex-partner used to take care of you every time you’re sick, you may miss them the next time you’re sick.

Missing them doesn’t equate to needing them, though. Make sure to understand that missing someone is a natural reaction to someone’s absence.

4. Reflecting On The Past

Admit it or not, we all daydream. Sometimes, it’s about the future. Sometimes, it’s about the past.
When we daydream, we may also start reflecting. There’s a tendency for us to wonder about other things even if we wanted to reflect on one thing only.

Some questions tend to linger in our minds more than others. When one question leads to an answer related to your ex, this triggers old memories.

Through this reflection, you may reflect on your relationship with an ex. Was it a beautiful relationship? Did it make you happy? What could you have done differently?

5. Comparing Ex With New Beau

Comparing Ex With New Beau

When you think you’ve finally moved on by dating someone new, you find yourself suddenly thinking about your ex.

Comparing your ex with your new beau isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a natural human tendency.

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When you compare, you try to see how your new partner measures up against your ex. Are they kinder? Do they understand you better? Do they make you feel safer?

These questions may pass by once in a while. As a result, your ex suddenly enters your mind.

6. Having the Same Friendship Circle

Couples who started as friends often share the same friendship circle. Of course, when you break up, it can introduce awkwardness into the group.

Even so, if both of you have moved on, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Sharing the same circle of friends means hearing about them regularly. If this happens, your ex can likely cross your mind even if you don’t intend it.

It’s normal to think about people when you regularly socialize with them, including past partners.

7. Seeing Ex On Social Media

If you keep connected with your ex through social media, then you can see their life updates. You can also see them on someone else’s account if you’ve got mutual friends.

Seeing them in photos or posts can make you start thinking about them.

For some, seeing someone’s life on social media after having no contact can be relieving. For others, this triggers bad memories.

Either way, you shouldn’t harbor any intense feelings if you see them online.

Always seeing an ex somewhere makes it difficult to keep them off our minds. So, if you don’t like thinking about your ex, you can disengage with them on social media.

8. Mentioning Ex’s Name

Hanging out with friends means giving life updates about each other.

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Friends often ask about past and present relationships to keep up-to-date with your life. When this happens, you can’t avoid mentioning your ex’s name.

Names have a powerful way of bringing back memories. So, once you or your friend mentions your ex’s name, you’ll want to think back on your relationship.

You may even want to share your memories.

9. Living In The Same Neighborhood

If your ex lives in the same neighborhood, chances are you’ll run into each other at one point.

Knowing that your ex is also within your vicinity, you can’t help but think of them. You may be curious about what they’re up to or who they’re hanging out with.

This set-up may be okay if you’ve had an amicable breakup. However, if you’ve got negative feelings about this arrangement, thinking about them may stress you out.

To learn more, you can also read our post on why guys sleep with their ex, why your ex blocked you, and why you can’t get over him.


Thinking about your ex doesn’t necessarily mean you want to get back together. Remember that there’s a difference between reminiscing and grieving over past relationships.

Ask yourself: why is my ex suddenly on my mind? Answers to this question could be simply because you saw them recently or you’ve got unfinished business with them.


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