How To Get Over Your Ex-Boyfriend And Rediscover Yourself

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated March 25, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Moving forward with your life after a breakup can be hard. You likely developed a strong emotional connection with your ex-partner, along with meaningful memories and mutual affection, all of which can stick around long after you’ve parted ways. Lingering feelings are normal when a relationship ends, but they can keep you from processing your emotions surrounding the breakup and living the full life you deserve. If you’re having a hard time getting over an ex-boyfriend, the following strategies can help you work through your feelings and reconnect with yourself during this new phase in your life. 

Experiencing lingering feelings for an ex?

How to get over an ex-boyfriend

Successfully moving forward after a breakup can involve giving yourself time to grieve and heal, being kind to yourself, and exploring life beyond your former relationship.

The following tips can help you get over an ex-boyfriend and learn more about yourself in the process. 

Process your emotions

To avoid holding on to feelings that stick around longer than they need to, it can be important to work through your emotions surrounding the breakup. It may be tempting to try to move on immediately and avoid addressing sadness, hurt, or loneliness that might be associated with the end of your relationship. But repressing your emotions can make them worse, and it may prevent you from moving on in the long run. 

How you process your emotions regarding a breakup will likely depend on the specifics of your relationship. If you were in a serious long-term partnership, you may need to take a while to grieve. In other cases, you might simply need to return his things and talk to a friend about the breakup. Some people journal to express themselves, while others seek the support of family or a mental health professional. No matter what you’re feeling after a breakup, it can be important to recognize your emotions and express them in a healthy way.


Get him off your mind

Once you've taken some time to allow the pain of your breakup to subside, it may be time to get your ex-boyfriend off your mind so you can start to get over him. One of the best ways of doing this is to avoid contact with him. You may be tempted to reach out to him through various channels or keep up with him on social media. This can make it harder to move on, though, and may lead to uncomfortable emotions. 

There are several steps you can take that may help you avoid thinking about your ex. To start, you can return his things to him so that you don’t have as many reminders of the relationship. You may want to put photos, gifts, and other mementos away somewhere. Reminders of your ex can make it hard for you to move on. 

Also, consider setting firm boundaries with your ex-boyfriend to ensure you’re giving yourself the space you need. For example, you can ask that he not call or text you for a while. Additionally, try to avoid situations in which you may dwell on the end of your relationship. It can be hard to get over an ex-boyfriend when you’re alone and able to ruminate on your breakup. Keep busy by planning activities you enjoy, trying a new hobby, or going out with friends. A significant milestone after a breakup is when your life without your ex takes shape, and you start to thrive on your own. 

Lean on your support system

When you're going through a difficult time, reaching out to others is often important. Your loved ones likely know about your former relationship and may be able to provide emotional support and useful insights. More tangible forms of support from your network could include giving you a place to stay, easing financial hardship, and helping you remain active.

Friends, family members, co-workers, and a mental health professional can all be a part of your support network. And you can further develop your support system by catching up with people you've been out of touch with, strengthening relationships with casual acquaintances, and making an effort to meet new people. 

Experiencing lingering feelings for an ex?

Rediscover yourself

While relationships can be great, they often involve a fair amount of compromise. If you're newly single, you have the opportunity to embrace interests and hobbies you may not have been able to nurture while in a relationship. Maybe you love going to the movies, but your ex didn’t, or you’ve wanted to learn how to surf, but didn’t have time before. Lean into this opportunity—it’s your chance to focus on yourself and do the things that you want to do. It can be empowering to realize that you can make yourself happy without a boyfriend. 

Give yourself love

After coming out of a long-term relationship, the idea of doing things solo may sound a bit daunting. However, comfort with being alone can be an important element of one's happiness, and showing yourself love can be a major component of that acceptance. 

To practice self-compassion, avoid being hard on yourself. Forgive yourself for any mistakes you may have made during the relationship and be sure to value what you bring to the table. Another way you can focus on self-love is by developing a self-care routine. This can include practicing yoga, journaling, taking a bath, listening to your favorite album, or cooking a delicious meal. Doing things that nourish your body and soul can help you provide empathy and support to yourself. 

Put yourself back out there

Although you may not want to get into a new relationship soon after a breakup, dating can be a great way of moving on from an ex-boyfriend. It gives you the chance to meet new people, try different things, and take your mind off your prior relationship. If you’re not ready for one-on-one dates yet, you can go on group dates with friends. 

Processing a breakup with online therapy

Research shows that online therapy can help individuals manage the emotions that may arise out of a breakup. For example, the results of one study show that online cognitive behavioral therapy can improve feelings of loneliness. After an eight-week program, study participants reported reduced loneliness, enhanced quality of life, and decreased symptoms of social anxiety. 

If you’d like support and a different point of view as you process a breakup, working with a mental health professional online can help you address your emotions and provide you with new perspectives you may not have considered. By participating in online therapy through BetterHelp, you’ll be able to talk through lingering feelings for an ex with a licensed therapist remotely, through video call, voice call, or in-app messaging. Online therapy is also an affordable option—BetterHelp subscriptions start at $65 to $100 per week (based on factors such as your location, referral source, preferences, therapist availability and any applicable discounts or promotions that might apply), and you can cancel anytime. Read below for reviews of BetterHelp therapists from those who have sought help in the past.

Therapist reviews

“I’ve tried other counselors that I liked but didn’t seem right for me but Margaret has been amazing! I love her honesty, compassion, and realness! It was really easy to open up to her and she’s helped me get through a very tough breakup that nobody else could seem to get me through. I would recommend her to anyone! She makes it so comfortable to talk to her as if you’ve known her for forever!”

“When I signed up for BetterHelp I was in the midst of a major life crisis. I was seeking a compassionate, experienced counselor like Jillian to help me cope with the initial pain, anger, and anxiety. Also, I chose Jillian because in her self-description she states, "I'm a big believer in seeing life challenges, especially the most painful ones, as a catalyst for self-discovery, personal growth, and positive change." This really resonated with me. I knew that I wanted my experience to be an opportunity for personal growth. I am incredibly grateful that Jillian indeed helped me grieve and work through the challenges of divorce and early motherhood. She helped me learn about myself and transform my life in a positive way. She offered practical, specific tools to incorporate into my daily routine. She helped me to reconnect with myself and clarify and move towards my life goals. She offered constructive advice for interacting with my ex-husband and maintaining boundaries. Through working with her I was able to care for myself so that I could be a mindful, present mama and really soak in the precious moments with my newborn daughter. My sessions with Jillian made a huge difference as I navigated this time in my life. I could not recommend her more highly.”


Getting over a former partner can be complicated, but it is possible when you take the right steps. If you’d like help implementing the above strategies and moving on from a breakup, consider working with a licensed mental health professional. With the right support, you can work through your feelings, reconnect with yourself, and live the full, happy life you deserve.
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