If you're hot off of a breakup and still in communication with your Ex, you likely fall into one of these four categories:
You miss your Ex
You want to get your Ex back
You aren't sure how to deal with a breakup
You know your Ex misses you and you're stringing them along
I recently came across a really good article about the "No Contact Rule", "12 Reasons Why the No Contact Rule Always Works". In it, author Amelie Lee does a great job laying out the harsh truth about why you need to cut off all contact with your Ex after a break up.
I'm always surprised (or perhaps skeptical is a better word) when I hear people talk about staying in contact with their Ex. Outside of the four reasons I outlined above, I have a hard time seeing what the point of texting, emailing, hanging out with, or accidentally-on-purpose-bumping-into your Ex. Lots of times people will say that they're still in contact with their Ex because they don't want to come across as angry, bitter, or an a-hole. I'm not about to suggest that you should walk around with a bundle of hatred burning in your heart for your Ex. Quite the contrary. In fact, I believe that forgiveness is the path to healing and you should routinely tell yourself, "I am no longer giving [my Ex] the power to make me sad."
"One of the hardest things to do in life, is letting go of what you thought was real"
When you remain in contact with your Ex you are, in fact, doing one of two things:
Prohibiting yourself from moving on to a new relationship
Inhibiting your Ex from moving on to a new relationship
One or both of these might be exactly what you're wanting to do, but do not confuse it with "just wanting to be friends". If you miss your Ex and want to get them back, then be honest with yourself and do what you can to get them back. Getting back together with your Ex is a natural desired and there is a comfort level that exists between you two. However, there is a reason that you and your Ex have decided to part ways and if your efforts to get back together fail you eventually need to embrace that you aren't going to be together - no matter how much it hurts to hear/feel it.
Each time you reach out to your Ex to share a funny joke, or wish them a happy Groundhog Day, or on-purpose-bump-into-them at their favorite coffee shop you are rekindling your feelings for them when you actually should be focusing on healing. You're never going to fall in love with someone else if your mind and heart are still connected to your Ex.
So many people will embrace part of the no contact rule. For example, they might "unfriend" their Ex on Facebook and Instagram but they won't delete the photos of their Ex from their camera roll or personal cloud. As a result, those sadness-filled Facebook scrolling sessions are replaced with swiping through your hoard of photos you still have on your phone. Each time you do that your brain is rewarded/punished with both the pleasure and pain associated with your Ex and your breakup - ultimately leaving you with sadness and now regret over missing them so much.
If you're dealing with the lingering feelings for an Ex, take an honest look at how fully you adhere to the no contact rule. Are there holes that you need to fill? If so, take steps to fill those holes and I bet you'll heal that hole you feel in your heart.