It goes without saying that breakups are extremely diffecult to get over. They are emotionally straining and that's pretty much to be expected. I think what you're feeling is absolutely normal for this stage of the grieving process.
When we loose someone, we often pass through a grieving process. Grieving isn't just for a death, it's for any deep emotional loss.
Stages of Grief
- Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
- Anger (why is this happening to me?)
- Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
- Depression (I don't care anymore)
- Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)
People experience these stages in different ways, at different times and for different lengths of time. I'd say you are probably still in the denial stage mixed with some depression due to the holiday.
I'm not saying he isn't thinking of you, but he may not be and that's ok too. Sometimes we just need time to let go.
A good gauge of how long grieving a loss such as this is about half the time the relationship lasted. So if you were together for 20 months then it may take easily 10 months to move on. It may even take longer if you don't take positive steps to move on.
Some people get stuck in the depression area of grief and that can really drag things out.
The best thing you can do for yourself is stay single until you are ready. Don't rebound into anther relationship, because you'll only wind up hurting yourself and others. Rebounds rarely work out and are built on shakey emotional ground.
In the information age it's rather diffecult to ignore the temptation to view an ex's pictures online, read a myspace page or a send an email. Those things are just so easily accessable and thus are hard to avoid when you get an urge.
You often feel rewarded for doing those things, but then feel horrible afterwards.
One great thing you can do for yourself during this time is find hobbies, exercise, make new friends, join clubs, go to events, and build confidence. Confidence is knowing who you are and what you want. It is not what you are and what you can get, that's self-defeating. Confidence attracts confidence and will help you find someone new who's a better match for you.
You may discover during your search to discover who you are and what you want, that your ex wasn't as good a match as you once thought. That can really help the recovery process.
When you are each others first, the breakup can be even more diffecult to get over. In your case you were in a long-term relationship with your first. I was in a similar situation. My relationship with my first lasted over 5 and a half years and just destroyed me inside when it ended. I thought I'd never be able to move on. I did the sending greeting card things and was pretty much where you are now emotionally. It felt like a nightmere I couldn't wake u from. I would even get anxiety attacks and begin crying in public. It was pretty bad.
Time helped though. It's cliche to say that time heals all wounds, but it's true. You slowly, but surely get through it.
You are lucky to have had as good a relationship as you did with your first. Most people don't even have that. They feel cheated because it was supposed to be special and they got dumped soon after. At least for us lucky few we have good memories of it.
It's often those good memories that are hardest to let go. We may hold on tighter to those memories, then we do the person. Life is about creating new memories though. You'll create a lot of good memories in your lifetime.
Best of luck in life and love. :-)