“Breaking up is hard to do.” We have all heard the phrase, and most people believe it is true. Unless we marry our middle school or high school sweethearts, we have likely all been through a painful breakup. Further, the worst parts of those breakups are usually not the breakups themselves. It is the aftermath that hurts the most. To that end, we are going to help you out, and give you the ultimate guide on how to stop thinking about your ex.
1. Reclaim Your Life
Generally, when people get into new relationships, their lives change immediately. This is especially true during the so-called “honeymoon phase.” This is the very beginning when everything is blissful, and the two halves of the happy couple believe that all is right with the world and their newfound mate is perfect. This period of bliss is known as New Relationship Energy.
New Relationship Energy is powerful, and it is an actual chemical reaction in the brain that causes that feeling of intense connection to a new partner. However, the downside is that one might neglect other people and interest in one’s life. This can often soften as the relationship wears on, but usually, relationships take up a huge amount of time and effort. To that end, when the relationship is over, and a person is in that painful post-break-up period, this is the perfect time to get back to business. Here are just a few ways to do that:
- Take on new projects at work. Hey, the boss will notice, and you might even get a raise or promotion!
- Spend more time with friends and family that you may have neglected during the relationship. They have probably missed you.
- Take a look at some old hobbies and passions that may have fallen by the wayside. Chances are, the relationship could have sidelined some of those things.
- Enjoy the single life! Go out with friends, and, when you’re ready, maybe even a date!
2. Learn From the Mistakes of the Relationship
Breakups are never fun, but they can be educational. As you work on how to stop thinking about your ex, it is also important to assess where you went wrong, and think about how to grow and not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Now, the idea of examining a relationship you are trying to get over might seem antithetical to the task of trying to figure out how to stop thinking about your ex. However, it is not. It is important to realize that, somewhere along the way, mistakes were made. Big mistakes were made.
It is important to process not only the pain of the breakup but to figure out how to move forward in life armed with the tools you need to avoid similar actions in future unions. All relationships – especially the endings – should encourage growth. That is the proverbial silver lining to an otherwise extremely painful situation.
3. Talk to Friends About the Break-Up
Sometimes, friends can be the best balm for painful emotional wounds. Again, this goes back to the fact that there is a definite need to process the pain before trying to move on. When people are in the midst of the aftermath of a breakup, often the anger, pain, depression, and other emotions can cloud judgment. Someone outside of the immediate situation can offer a new perspective, and perhaps even advice on how to stop thinking about your ex.
Another bonus to telling a friend about the situation could be the eventual strengthening of the friendships. Often, friends hold their tongues for months, years, or even longer when it comes to a friend’s partner to keep the peace. After all, there’s no faster way to end a friendship than telling a friend his or her mate is bad news.
While talking about things in the aftermath of a break up may not be easy, it might give the friend a chance to say what (s)he thinks about your ex. Perhaps this opinion has always existed. The only difference is that now that the relationship is over, your friend feels safe speaking the truth.
This will also help you, because perhaps that aforementioned New Relationship Energy, and even the love that developed over time stopped you from seeing your ex’s shortcomings before it was too late.
4. Start Dating Again
Now, this one might be controversial to some. After all, no one should dive headlong into a new relationship while the old one is still on fire. We all know the dangers of rebound dating. However, you have to learn how to stop thinking about your ex and move on at some point. Therefore, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going on a few dates. They don’t have to be anything serious; after all, you’re still feeling things out.
Don’t take this step until you feel ready. The timeline is different for everyone. For instance, some people can instinctively sense when a relationship is not working, and they can detach emotionally before the actual break up occurs. For others, they are completely blindsided. So, the process is different for everyone.
The key to this step is to realize that there is life after your ex. It is up to you to move on and to pursue that life, which ideally includes dating someone who is a much better match for your ex. There is life after a bad break up. The key is creating it for yourself.
5. Be Your Best Self
When suffering from the aftereffects of a breakup, a person might be tempted to wallow. You might want to draw your blackout curtains and lie in bed with all your favorite junk foods for days or even weeks on end. But this is not the way to go. If you wallow in your pain, gain ten pounds, and neglect yourself and the rest of your life, you will only feel worse. Rather than learning how to stop thinking about your ex, the wallowing routine will only make you dwell more.
Instead of following this instinct, why not take the time to do some self-improvement work? Go to the gym, cook some delicious new and healthy meals, and perhaps take up a new fitness activity. Enjoy your alone time, redecorate your house or apartment, and reacquaint yourself with, well, you.
In the end, we all know that breakups are not easy. They can be some of the most painful parts of our lives. They make us look at our happily single or happily married friends with the utmost envy.
6. Do Not Blame Yourself
Perhaps the most important piece of advice of all is to not blame yourself. You got into the relationship in the first place because your now-former partner had qualities you admired and enjoyed, and likely grew to love at some point. However, that does not mean you were meant to spend the rest of your life with this person. You cannot be faulted for falling in love with the good qualities of a person who just happened not to be “the one.”
7. Remember Your Standards
Take this time to reevaluate your dating standards. You are allowed to have whatever deal breakers you want. Stick to them steadfastly. Breaking your own rules will only eventually lead to heartbreak in the end. We are all inherently who we are, and there is nothing wrong with any of us.
Lastly, but certainly not least – remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the single life. Some people operate much better single than they do as a couple. In short, process your break up, get over it, enjoy being single, and then get back out there when you’re ready. If you know yourself and what you want out of a relationship, you will eventually find “the one.” He or she is out there – just be patient, and, in the meantime, enjoy life!