There are many times in life when we miss the people we used to be with. They may not be there anymore for a variety of reasons. Maybe you moved your separate ways, maybe there was a bust-up that you couldn’t get past, maybe something way more tragic happened. Either way, there is a certainty in life that you will move apart from people you might have thought you would never have to leave.

Sometimes you will miss them. But what about them will you miss? Will you miss the person, or the memories you had with them? It’s an important question to ask yourself and one that doesn’t strike us every time we find ourselves in the midst of those moments of a miserable pang for our past.

The two are similar but quite different. Think of yourself as a part of a glass cup that was broken by accident. You are now separate from the whole that was the cup before and the other part is now away from you. What do you miss about the other half of the cup? Do you miss its presence around you, or do you miss the feeling of being whole together?

If it is the former, the solution is pretty simple. You can hope that someone will make the effort of getting some glue and stick the two broken parts back together. You will not have to miss the other part anymore. It will be there but what will be different is that there will always be a small sliver of the joint between the two parts. It won’t be a perfect attachment no matters how much you try. You will never be whole again.

Quite often in life, when we miss someone, we make the easy step to go back to them and hope that things will be as they were but that is not how things work. A human relationship is a dyad of two individuals and their collective psyches working together to create memorable experiences. When the dyad is broken as a result of a situation or by choice, it is similar to the breaking of a glass cup into two parts. The two may be joined back together by some effort, but they will never have the wholeness that they once enjoyed.

People go back to their exes all the time because we miss the wholeness we had in our life when we were with them. We make the mistake of thinking that the person will restore that wholeness in our life when the truth is that the said oneness is a remnant of the past living only in our memory. It no longer exists, it cannot.

It is tough to accept this reality, which is why we run from it but the sooner we come to terms with the pain our memories put us through, the sooner we can move towards being whole in some other form.

A broken cup can still host life as a small plant pot. It doesn’t need its other half to be whole.