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Listen, Here’s The Difference Between Missing A Man And Craving Him

An ex got you feeling some type of way? Girl, I get it.

Love & Relationships

I've shared before that I don't do social media. No regrets either. Adding to that, I can't tell you the last time that I Googled myself and I rarely read comments posted under anything that I've written. See, I remember the days before the world wide web (amazing). I imagine that life was so much more peaceful for professional writers back then because you basically said what you wanted to say and was done with it. There were no distractions from trollers or haters or folks who just like to trigger you for a living (when they actually could and should be focused on their own life's work). Limiting how much I engage online offers up a similar kind of tranquility.


And what in the world does this possibly have to do with what I'm gonna touch on today? Well, since I don't have social media accounts, another bonus is I'm not as tempted to do what a lot of people in my world tend to do — check up on exes. Lawd. Folks post so many details of their daily lives online that it can be really easy to get caught up in the past, in your present, if you're not careful. That's why I wish that I had totally ignored a friend who decided to give me an update on an ex, one that was from many years ago, a couple of months. Because while I'm not gonna lie and act like I don't think about him from time to time, I honestly hadn't interacted with him since I went on my heart pieces tour (check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour").

I hadn't looked him up in a few years either. Yet when I heard what I heard, I went a lookin' and boy…what I saw. I won't lie, it sent me back down memory's lane for a hot minute. And it definitely had me wondering if I was simply missing what once was or if I was low-key craving him a bit. The conclusion that I came to, I'm hoping can set some of y'all free, if you are currently in a similar emotional predicament…cause whew, chile.

What Does It Mean to Crave Someone?

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OK, although the title has "miss" before "crave", consider that to be a little bit of clickbait because honestly, I think it makes more sense to break down what it means to crave someone first. And yes, I'll use my semi-recent incident as the example. The interesting thing about a craving is, from a dietary standpoint, it oftentimes means that we are either lacking a nutrient or that our hormones are imbalanced in some way (which explains why many of us have cravings when we're on our cycle or pregnant). However, there can also be psychological reasons for cravings too. A memory, an emotion, a longing can cause us to want to eat something that will bring some sense of comfort to us.

Let's expand this to a craving for a person. Definitions for the word include "to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly", "to require; need" and "to ask earnestly for (something); beg for". As you process these definitions, think about what I said about your body and swap it out for your heart. Then exchange food for "him".

When you feel like something is lacking within you, you may crave someone. When you're emotionally all over the place on some level, you may crave someone. Feeding into a memory, the way a person made you feel or a desire that you possibly have been suppressing, that too can cause you to crave someone. And if you don't really take the time to ponder all of this, the craving could manifest into a longing, possibly begging (asking earnestly) or even gassing yourself up to think that you need or even require them to be (back) in your life.

My ex? The chemistry was strong. The sex was good. The battle of wits was bar none. Not just when we were together but many years later when we caught back up. I won't lie —I literally had to convince myself to not get off ofmy abstinence wheel and take another spin with him (if you know what I mean). Yet in 2015, when we reconnected by phone, while I was still sexually attracted to him, I realized that I missed him — or rather, missed what we had — more than anything else (more on that in a second). And still earlier this year? Chile, that was a craving. See, I have been so focused on fulfilling my purpose and counseling other people that, although I'm a place of wholeness when it comes to my relational status (perhaps more than I've ever been before), seeing him married, a parent and thriving got to me a bit.

It was a mixture of being happy for him, wondering if we would've been like that had we made more responsible choices in the past and also admitting to myself that sometimes I desire companionship. Then I had to remind myself that wanting that and yet refusing to settle — those two things can co-exist. Not only that, but it's OK to feel that way. All of this brought me to the conclusion that the craving I was experiencing really wasn't about him. The craving was seeing what had manifested in his life and desiring it. A bit.

Another example of a craving. There is someone in my world who had an emotional affair with an ex because 1) her marriage was getting on her last nerve in that season and 2) she was missing the sexual connection she had with this particular person (a person who she found online so, again, be careful on there). That is a brutal combo yet between his looks, his charm and taking a walk down sexual memory lane, she was definitely craving him. And while she eventually realized that he was someone that she really just needed to leave alone for the rest of her days, after coming clean with her man and going through some couple's therapy, she also saw that the craving existed because there was a disconnect with her husband. While the sex with her ex was bomb, she was also satisfied with her man. It's just that because something was lacking between them, she "blew up" the experiences that she shared with her ex in her mind.

Cravings will do that to you. They'll have you out here thinking that you'll damn near die if you don't have a pint of Rocky Road or one more round with a blast from the past. It'll do that until you get to the root of what's triggering the craving in the first place. Once you do, usually you end up realizing that you're just fine without it or him…that you might miss him but that's about it.

Which brings me to the next point.

What Does It Mean to Miss Someone?

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Miss. Miss is an interesting word. It means "to fail to reach, hit, meet, find, or attain (some specified or implied aim, goal, target, etc.)", "to fail to attend or be present for", "to fail to see, hear, understand, or perceive" and "to lose, overlook, or fail to take advantage of".

When you take all of this in, it's easy to see how "I miss him" can include all of these definitions. You may miss that you aren't present for a season in "his" life. You may miss that you are unable to see or understand what's currently going on in his world. You may miss that you didn't take advantage of the opportunity that you had to build with him once upon a time. You may miss that you've lost him. Perhaps for a season. Maybe for good.

For me, "my miss" was knowing that being present in his life would be totally inappropriate (considering our history). I also "miss" him in the sense he has to be chalked up to a missed opportunity. That's why it's so important that when we're making decisions that we factor in the fact that decisions now have a ripple effect in our future — not "every once in a while", at least 85 percent of the time. Back when he and I were involved, our passion was reckless, our privacy was sneaky and our thought process was only in present tense. We had a lot of the characteristics to be an awesome match while making totally irresponsible decisions. And so, when I saw what his life looked like I now, I realized that I missed taking better advantage of the potential of what we could've been more than I craved anything about him, if that makes sense.

Another example. Last year, another ex hit me up to tell me that he missed me. What he missed, more than anything, was our friendship. So much damage had been done and so much time had now passed that it's pretty close to impossible to become anything more than two people who are at peace with one another while living separate lives — yet, he missed discussing politics, watching movies and listening to music together. He missed our inside jokes. He missed our way of just…knowing each other — when we knew each other. Nothing is lacking in his world now. In fact, in many ways, he's thriving. So no, I'm not a craving. He just misses parts of me. And us. I totally get that because, again, a craving tends to reveal to us something that we're lacking in some way while missing something (or one) can happen, even if we are fine and whole.

Why Is All of This So Relevant? And Beneficial?

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The reason why it's so important to know the difference between the two is because craving and missing warrant different responses. If you're craving someone, I recommend that you do some real soul-searching to see where you feel like there are places of lack — not so much as it relates to him but as it relates to your mind, body and spirit. What kind of voids would distracting yourself with him fill? On the other hand, if you're missing someone, well, that happens. When we share our worlds, intimately, with someone else — it's kind of like what I heard someone in a movie once say. They asked, "If you love someone and it all comes to an end, where does the love go?" Indeed.

If you just miss them, miss them. It's not an automatic sign to make it any more than that. Honor your heart and the journey by being still in feeling what you feel…knowing that the feeling will pass.

Back to food. You know, sometimes I miss McDonald's French fries. However, I don't really crave them. My overall health and diet are at a place where I don't feel like that kind of food will fill any voids for me. That doesn't mean that I don't remember how good they used to be at a certain time in my life. I think about all of this sometimes when I drive by a pair of golden arches. Then I come home and make myself something better.

Processing men can be the same way. If you long for someone, what's that about? Is it really about him or is it loneliness, horniness, regret, fear or something even far more complex speaking up? On the flip, if you just find yourself reflecting and nothing more, do that and move on.

I'm telling you, knowing the difference between these two things can change your life and save you a lot of time. Clearly, I'm speaking from very personal experience. Craving vs. missing is all about clarity. The clearer you are, the easier it is to do what you need to do. For yourself. Irrespective of him.

Feel me? Somehow, I believe that you do.

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