How to Not Miss Someone

Four Methods:Dealing with Short-term SeparationsMoving on After a Break-upManaging the Death of a Loved OneDealing With a Relocation

It is never easy to cope with missing someone. Whether the person in your life is gone for a short duration, has chosen to end your relationship, is no longer alive, or has moved to a new town, the pain and longing you feel is a normal reaction to loss.You must learn coping strategies to lessen the struggle associated with missing the person. They will help move you toward peace, acceptance and the wisdom of knowing they may be lost, but will never be forgotten.

Method 1
Dealing with Short-term Separations

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    Keep a count-down. Mark off each day on the calendar and congratulate yourself on getting through the day. Focus on living one day at a time. A loved one’s absence shifts life into a different gear. For the person left to manage life when the other person is gone, it is essential to focus on successfully getting through each day!
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    Focus on other relationships. Time is a precious commodity. You now have the time to reach out to those people you care about, but don't share quality time together as often as you would like. This includes your partner or spouse and friends and family living outside your home.
    • If you’ve been tied up with raising your children and they are away at college, you now have the time to do the things you have been postponing. [1]
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    Prepare care packages. Prepare care packages and send them to the person. Each item you shop for will allow you the opportunity to focus on the person, do something for her, and then send all that love to her. If you have children, set aside a night of the week that you and your children can make arts and crafts that can be included in the care package.
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    Occupy your time with projects. Staying busy around the house provides a healthy distraction and will improve your living environment. Focusing on tasks and completing them will make time pass quickly. Some days might be tougher than others, but there's always something you can do around the house.
    • Improve your living arrangements when a roommate is on vacation. Make your living environment something your roommate will be excited about when she returns. Even if it is simply cleaning and organizing, it will be an improvement. This will give you something to do, and the pay-off will be positive.
    • Add plants to bring in a living energy into your living space.
    • Clean the windows and screens. Everyone enjoys a clean fresh view outside.
    • Paint a fence that has gotten rusty.
    • Fix squeaky doors, leaking faucets, or take broken items to be fixed.
    • Improve the curb appeal of your house. Planting a few colorful plants in your walkway or placing a beautiful potted plant on your porch will brighten the situation.
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    Organize a longer-term project. There are projects that take more time and effort to complete. If you've got a lot of time to fill, consider a project that will purposely not end until after the person returns. This will give you and the person something to look forward to and will give you accountability to live up to your promise.
    • If your spouse is deployed, tell her that you plan to complete a project like building a wood deck in the backyard.
    • If you have children, join together on a project that will help all of you get through the time of absence.
    • Start the garden you have always wanted.
    • Raise funds for a cause that benefits the military or a cause that is important to your spouse. Reporting your progress to your spouse will help her feel like she is missed, but also that she is still loved and needed at home.
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    Make plans to correspond during the separation. Communicate via skype, email, or letters and cards. This is beneficial because you look forward to communicating. When you are writing to her you feel closer to her, and receiving a reply is exciting too. The positive feelings are spaced out over time, which helps manage the time you spend away from her.

Method 2
Moving on After a Break-up

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    Take time to deal with your emotions. If you are dealing with someone after a break-up, especially if the relationship was serious, one of the hardest things you may ever have to do is move on. Let yourself cry, be angry, be confused, and express the emotions you have bottled up inside.
    • Each person experiences emotions differently.[2] You may not cry a lot, but you might like to write about your feelings. Everyone is different.
    • Excuse yourself from the social scene for a while, or confide in close friends or family members. Some people are more private with their feelings, and that’s perfectly acceptable.
    • Writing down your thoughts can help pinpoint the feelings that are causing you pain.
    • Don’t be embarrassed about being upset, even if other people think your relationship was not serious. No one can truly know the pain you’re going through because it is your experience.
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    Grieve the loss of the relationship. Most people are taught how to acquire things, but very few people are taught how to lose something. This leaves most people ill-equipped to deal with the various forms of loss that life hands out. Whether the loss is a relationship, a loved one, a job, a physical ability, or trust in someone, the damage created must be understood and managed. Grief is a complex emotion that manifests in different ways for everyone.
    • Feeling stuck in the state of missing a person is worsened by unresolved grief.
    • There are stages to the grieving process that can be used as a guide to understand your own unique experience with grief: denial, numbness and shock; bargaining; depression; anger; acceptance.[3]
    • Grief is an individual journey. Everyone experiences it differently.[4]
    • You may spend more time in one stage versus another.
    • Don’t rush yourself and don’t allow others to rush you through your grief. There is a time to grieve and it is essential to a healthy healing process.
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    Remove reminders when you are ready. It may be too emotionally difficult to see items that remind you of the person. Place the personal items that were left behind in a box and give them back to the person, throw them away or store them out of reach. Do the same with the items you have accumulated. It will make missing the person much easier when you don’t see the items on a daily basis.
    • If you find that something is so special to you that you absolutely can’t part with it, then put it in storage for a while.
    • If you feel too much pain doing this alone, ask a friend to help you. You will feel more confident about moving on without your ex.
    • Think about it: how are you ever supposed to stop missing your ex if there’s a big photo of him or her right by your bedside?
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    Disconnect yourself from contact with the person. If you are certain your relationship is over yet you still talk to your ex or see him on occasion, this will make it much harder to stop missing him. If you can completely avoid seeing your ex, then you should do so. Staying in contact puts you through an emotional tug-of-war that will not help you.
    • Do not call or text your ex just to see how things are going. It will only make you feel worse.
    • If you are forced to see him at school, work or elsewhere simply acknowledge him by saying, “Hello,” and spend as little time as possible in his presence. Your emotions will likely heighten after seeing him, which may cause you to miss him. This is temporary so stay strong and work through it.
    • Disconnect from him on all social media channels. If you continue to look up pictures of him, your mind will wander toward remembering and missing how things were between you.
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    Say goodbye to the person and the relationship. There is a purpose to the ceremonies we follow when something ends. Graduations, funerals, closing ceremonies – they all provide an end point. They allow us to reach a sense of closure. Creating a good-bye ceremony will help complete your relationship with the pain and allow you to lessen the feelings of missing the person.
    • Write a letter to the person, but do not send it. Include all the significant emotional experiences you shared. Thank him for the good times, and the bad. Express the anger. Tell him, "I no longer need the pain that I am feeling about missing you so I am giving it back to you. Good-bye."[5]
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    Explore your options in dating. When you feel ready you can consider dating new people. You may think that immediately dating someone new will ease your pain; but it will likely make you feel worse about losing the person. The chances are minimal that you will find “the one” a week after the break-up of a serious relationship.
    • Being with a new person may remind you of all the qualities you loved about your ex, and it will make you miss him even more.
    • Dating a new person when you’re not ready will not fill the void you are feeling.
    • Spend time with friends who can help you feel good about yourself.
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    Change your routine. Stop doing some of the things you did together, or the things that remind you of your ex. Avoid the restaurant where you went on your first date or your favorite spot in your local park. Get your coffee or bagels from a different bakery for a few weeks and see if it makes you feel better in the mornings. Don’t stop doing what you used to do completely, but do new things so you’re less likely to miss your ex.
    • It can be empowering to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but your ex never liked such as, hiking or learning to make pasta from scratch. Find ways to define yourself without your ex, and you’ll find that you’ll be missing him less in no time.
    • If your ex is in your social circle, you can avoid the parties he is likely to attend for a while. Find a way to make your own fun.
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    Lean on your friends.[6] Being with your friends can be one of the best things you can do for yourself. If you spend time with close friends, then you will appreciate all of the love and support you receive. You always have someone to turn to who will anchor you during a struggle.
    • If you feel up to it, see at least a few friends per week so you’re more likely to keep your mind off of your ex.
    • Your friends won’t say anything that will magically make your pain go away, but having them by your side can make a big difference.
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    Work on improving yourself. When you were with your ex, you might not have had time to work on improving as a person. Take advantage of the time to work on being healthy, happy, and accomplished. Set a goal to train for a marathon, complete a novel, be less obsessive, or do what you’ve always wanted to do to improve yourself.
    • Address those qualities you would like to improve. Perhaps there are things that stand in your way from being happy. Perhaps you worry too much, or could benefit from being more assertive.
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    Focus on improving your career. Throw yourself into doing positive and meaningful work. You’ll be much less likely to miss him if you have a career that makes you excited to get up in the morning. Getting feedback from the people you work with will improve the quality of your career self-evaluation.[7]
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    Stay busy and active. Don’t mope around the house or stay in bed. Spend time outside, with friends, and keep your schedule comfortably busy and exciting to have something to look forward to in the future.
    • This could be a great time to pick up a new hobby, such as yoga, volleyball, playing the guitar, or cooking.[8]
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    Focus on the positive. The severing of a relationship may cause you to focus on everything that was wrong with the relationship. Identify the positive aspects of the relationship, what you learned and how those lessons will help you in the future. Appreciate the experience.[9]
    • Being grateful for the experience and what it brings to your life will improve your overall mental and physical health.[10] When you are healthy, you are better-equipped to manage the feelings associated with missing someone.

Method 3
Managing the Death of a Loved One

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    Allow yourself to grieve. If you’re dealing with the loss of someone you love, then you should give yourself the time you need to grieve and come to terms with your feelings. You won’t be able to stop missing the person if you don’t give yourself the time to slow down, express your emotions, and grieve the loss of the person who is gone.[11]
    • Every person’s grieving process is different as noted in the above section. If you need to be alone for a while, make sure your friends and family members understand by telling them, “I am grieving and it is a struggle, but I am working through it. I hope you understand that it is going to take some time, and I’m not sure how long. I guess I am the only one who can figure that out.”
    • If you spend too much time by yourself and are feeling lonely as a result, make sure to spend some time with others.
    • Write in a journal,[12] talk about your feelings aloud, go through old photos of the person you lost, or just cry. If you don’t cry, don’t feel guilty about it. Everyone has a different way of expressing sadness.
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    Honor the person’s memory. This is a healthy way to move forward and to remember the person who is gone, and continues their legacy. This can mean talking about the person with your friends or family members, sticking to some of the traditions the person used to love, whether it was volunteering in your community or reading to your children, or even listening to the music the person liked.
    • If doing the things the person used to love increases your sadness and longing, then change your routine. However, once you feel yourself beginning to move forward, return to doing some of the things the person loved. The experience might bring you closer to the positive memories of the person without missing them too much.
    • Remember that you’re not trying to forget the person or never think of him again. You want to work on remembering the person in a positive light, feel the feelings and then put everything in perspective.
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    Talk to other people who miss him. It would be unhealthy to never mention the person again or get rid of anything that reminds you of him. However, you can do this temporarily if it hurts too much, but in the long run you will be more comfortable talking about the person. You may find that laughing about the funny things the person said or did makes you feel less sadness and improves healing.[13]
    • Recreating fond memories of the person can make you feel more at peace with the fact that the person is gone. Though you can’t bring the person back, talking about the memories can help the healing process.
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    Know that your relationship has not ended, but it has changed. Relationships are comprised of two components: the physical and the emotional. While your physical relationship with the person has ended, the emotional relationship continues. You will never have to stop thinking about that person completely.
    • You are not betraying the person by trying not to miss him. If the person loved you, then he would be happy you are trying to move forward.
    • It will be impossible to not miss the person completely, especially on anniversaries, holidays, or other important moments that you shared together. Rather than ignore the feelings of loss say to yourself or to others, “Today, I miss ____. He would have loved this event. Let’s raise our glasses and toast to ____. We love you.” This will acknowledge your loved one’s impact and also allow a moment of honor that will help the healing continue.
    • It is healthy to miss the person sometimes, but it’s also healthy to want to enjoy the present instead of longing for the past.
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    Spend more time with your friends and family. Your friends and family will be there to support you and lift you up during this difficult time. They may be grieving, too, and you can lean on each other and spend more time feeling loved, cared for, and simply occupied. You need love and affection during this time and spending it with the people you love will help you miss the person less.[14]
    • New friends or other family members can never replace the person in your heart and make you forget the person.
    • If you find that some of your friends or family members seem to be “getting over” the loss more quickly, don’t be frustrated. Everyone grieves on their own time table. You may not know how the person is really feeling.
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    Consider therapy. If you want help with moving forward, then seek professional help. If you’re not sure if therapy is for you, give it a try before you decide. Talking to a trained professional about your situation can give you new insight. It takes courage and strength to seek help and work through life’s struggles. [15]
    • Be proud of yourself for seeking the help you need to be healthy. You shouldn’t feel ashamed or weak about wanting to engage in therapy. 7
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    Write down your thoughts. Instead of having it weigh on you during all parts of the day, it can help to process feelings on the pages of a journal. Write in it every morning or evening to check in with yourself and to decompress. Also, you can write in it when a thought enters your mind. Find what works for you.
    • Write a letter to the person, but do not send it. Include all the significant emotional experiences you shared. Thank him for the good times and the bad. Express the anger. Tell him, "I no longer need the pain that I am feeling so I am giving it back to you. Good-bye."[16]
    • Read the letter out loud to yourself or to a trusted friend or family member, then burn the letter in a safe place. Fire is a form of cleansing and can allow the energy of your turmoil to change.
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    Find a soothing routine. When you’ve lost someone, you may be so focused on the loss and on the person who is gone you forget to take care of yourself. In order to miss the person less, make sure that you’re in a daily routine that helps you feel better. This means getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night,[17] eating three meals a day even if you don’t feel hungry, and making time for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
    • You may not think that eating and sleeping regularly can make a difference when you’re in the throes of grief, but it definitely can. A healthier you is stronger and can manage a struggle more effectively.
    • Avoid things that tend to increase your stress levels. That could mean traffic jams, loud concerts, extra responsibilities at work, or spending time with a dramatic friend. Although you can’t get rid of all the stress you’re feeling, you can make an effort to minimize it.
    • Participate in 15 minutes of meditation or yoga each day.[18] This can make you feel more in touch with your mind and body and more calm for the rest of the day.
    • Focus on your health. Up to one-third of people directly affected by the loss of a significant relationship will physically and emotionally suffer.[19] While you may feel anxious, depressed and too exhausted to take action, you cannot ignore your needs.

Method 4
Dealing With a Relocation

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    Stay in touch. If you have a friend who has moved away or is gone for the summer, make sure to stay in touch. If you know you’ll have a weekly phone call or Skype date, then you will feel more connected and less lonely. Setting up a routine for communication with the person can allow you to look forward to talking with him.
    • If the person is on the other side of the world, you can communicate via email, and international texting programs. You may think that talking will make you miss the person more, but it will actually help you realize that the person is not completely gone.
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    Don’t talk too often. Don’t get into the habit of talking every day or texting all the time. You won’t enjoy your life in the present and you will be less likely to step out of your comfort zone to try new things or meet new people.
    • If the person who is away is the one who wants to talk more, explain that, while it’s important that you keep in touch, you don’t want to become too codependent.[20]
    • Call the person if you’re making a big decision or something major happens, but work on finding a person who is closer to home who can be there for you as well.
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    Make plans to visit if you can. Having a plan to see the person will give you something to look forward to and will help decrease the feeling that you will never see the person again. If you know you’ll be hanging out with him in a few weeks, then you’ll be less inclined to want to talk to him every second of the day and will actually miss him less.
    • You both are living your lives and if you are visiting too often, you will likely be precluding yourself from social activities with others. Strike a balance. You don’t want people to exclude you from social events because they think you’re always going to be with the person you miss.
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    Write letters to the person. If you do this once every few weeks or so, it will give you a chance to access your feelings and thoughts and will make you feel less compelled to call or text the person all the time. This can be a fun way of communicating and it will make you feel less likely to miss the person.
    • Writing the letter will feel like an intimate conversation and allow you to feel closer even though they are miles away.
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    Find new ways to fill your time. You may just want to sit around missing the person. Instead, find new things to do to keep yourself occupied such as, bowling with new friends or learning to play guitar. If your schedule has huge gaps to fill that were previously occupied by time spent with the person, you will likely keep missing him. Fill those gaps with doing new things and meeting new, interesting people.
    • Pick up a new sport, such as running or basketball.
    • Try a new hobby, such as photography, painting, or cooking.
    • Sign up for interesting classes in your community or school, such as writing workshops or wine pairing courses.
    • Discover a new love of literature. Read all the books you’ve been meaning to read, but haven’t.
    • Find a new form of exercise. Biking, hiking, and yoga can all fill your time while making you feel great.
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    Work on opening up your heart to new people.[21] Make an effort to be friendlier to new people. Extend invitations to get together with your acquaintances. Though you may be shy, work on getting to know people little by little. Smile, be friendly and outgoing toward the people you meet.
    • Start by asking a few casual questions. Tell a fun fact or two about yourself, or make some funny observations. If you make more of an effort, you’ll be on your way to having more friends and missing the person less.
    • You won’t ever be able to replace the person who is gone. He was very important to you and always will be. Instead, just focus on finding new and interesting people to make your life more dynamic.
    • Give people a chance. You may have more in common than you think with people you were skeptical about in the past. Once you spend time with them, you’ll see that you might enjoy their company after all.


  • Laughter is the best medicine. While it's healthy to mourn the loss of someone, you need to make sure you keep your spirits high and keep yourself in good company.
  • Try to have a little fun to distract yourself.
  • Don't be afraid to cry. Crying is good and healthy and allows your emotions to be expressed.
  • Look at pictures and letters or notes the person sent to you, but set a time limit to avoid being completely preoccupied.
  • Don't think about the arguments you had, or the bad times. Stay positive.
  • If you need to stop thinking about the person tell yourself, “Stop. I’m not going to think about you right now. I have a lot to do so I’m going to think about that now.” Try to get your mind off that person.
  • Remember the funny things you both did together and look forward to seeing them again.
  • You cannot go back to the way things were in the past. Instead, focus on a bright fulfilling future.


  • Unresolved grief can manifest in various physical and psychological ways. Learn to process grief by accessing information from trusted sources. Do not deny yourself the opportunity to grieve and complete your relationship with the pain of loss.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Managing Sadness and Nostalgia