Parting ways with someone you shared a romantic relationship with can be hard; so it’s normal to have lingering feelings for a former partner, even if you know that the breakup was for the best. You may feel that you still have a strong connection with your ex, in addition to fond memories of your time together and a variety of mementos that remind you of your partnership. With so many things potentially tying you to your former partner, it can be hard to distance yourself from them and properly grieve the relationship. If you’re having trouble getting over an ex, there are several useful strategies available to help you navigate your feelings and take the next step toward a happy, fulfilling life.
How To Get Over Your Ex
Getting over a former partner is possible when you take time to evaluate the relationship objectively, work through your feelings, and focus on yourself and your new life. While moving on from a meaningful relationship may still feel difficult, the following tips can help you navigate your emotions, take your mind off your ex, and find closure.
Avoid Over-Romanticizing The Relationship
When we think about or discuss past relationships, we sometimes emphasize the good times we experienced while minimizing conflicts or concerns. Romanticizing a former relationship can be counterproductive, potentially keeping you from moving forward from the breakup. You might find yourself focusing on happy moments, but not thinking about times of conflict or issues you experienced. When this happens, it can be easy to feel like you’ve made a mistake, or as though you’d be better off if you were still with your ex.
While it’s okay to remember the good times, acknowledging the challenges you experienced in your relationship—problems with communication, trust, compatibility, etc.—may provide you with closure and help you properly grieve the relationship. Try to be honest and balanced as you look back on your time with your ex, and you may find that your feelings for them begin to change.
Limit Reminders Of The Relationship
It can be hard to move on from an ex when you frequently encounter mementos of your relationship. Consider putting things that remind you of your former partner—such as photographs or gifts—out of sight, if only temporarily. In addition to stashing certain items away, you can return to your ex anything that belongs to them. If you’re sure you don’t want certain reminders of your ex anymore, you can donate or sell them; but you may want to avoid hastily giving away things that are special or valuable to you.
You may also want to mute or unfollow your ex on social media platforms. Keeping up with your former partner’s life can ensure they remain top of mind and make getting over them more difficult. It’s possible that you and your ex will be friends again at some point, but try to give yourself space as you work through your feelings.
It may also help to have a plan in place for what you will do should you get the urge to text your ex or reach out through social media. Is there a friend you can call instead? Can you get out of the house and do something to distract yourself? It can be much easier to move on when you aren’t tempted to contact your former partner as often.
Being alone might make it easier for you to ruminate on your relationship, and feelings of loneliness may cause you to miss spending time with your ex.
To avoid prolonged periods of solitude, try to ease yourself into social situations. Although you may feel uncomfortable socializing without your former partner at first, interacting with friends and family can help take your mind off your breakup and connect you with your support system. Plus, knowing that you have a satisfying social life outside of your romantic relationship may help you feel more confident as a newly single person. In addition to spending time with loved ones, consider joining a club based on your interests or volunteering with an organization you support. It may feel hard initially, but socializing after your breakup can be an enjoyable and healthy way of getting over your ex.
Avoid Starting Another Relationship Immediately
It may be tempting to try to find a new partner when you’re missing your ex; but entering into a new relationship soon after your last one ended can be problematic. If you haven’t fully worked through your emotions, you may not be able to form a healthy bond with a new romantic partner, and you could miss out on an opportunity to focus on yourself and heal. Taking some time to be single allows you to evaluate your past relationship and work through your emotions without putting your attention on a potential new partner. Once you’ve moved on from your last relationship, you’ll have the opportunity to apply what you learned to a new one.
After a breakup, you’ll often have some extra time to focus on yourself. Using this time to develop a daily self-care routine can help you take your mind off your ex and create normalcy in your new life. Practicing self-care can include eating a balanced diet, exercising, indulging in fun pastimes, and engaging in other activities that enrich your life and improve your emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
You can use the period of time after your breakup to explore hobbies you might not have been able to participate in when you were in a relationship. Maybe you can learn a new skill, start a side hustle you didn’t have time for before, or travel places your ex wasn’t interested in visiting.
Talk Through Your Emotions
It’s important to remember that you do not have to go through a breakup alone. Even though you may be wary of discussing your ex, working through your feelings with a friend, family member, or mental health professional can help you move on. They may have a perspective on the relationship you hadn’t considered or advice that helps you cope with your emotions. Or they can simply provide you with support as you grieve the loss of your relationship. Keeping your feelings inside may contribute to your inability to move on from your ex, so don’t be afraid to use others as an outlet when you need to express your emotions.
Processing A Breakup With Online Therapy
An increasingly large body of evidence points to online therapy as an effective form of treatment for people experiencing mental health-related concerns like those often associated with loneliness or sadness after a breakup. In one study, researchers found that online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was effective in improving loneliness. Additionally, the study notes that online CBT improved social anxiety symptoms and overall quality of life. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely used modality that helps individuals identify and replace negative thought patterns, such as those that might make it difficult to move on from a former partner.
If you have lingering feelings for an ex, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. An online therapy platform like BetterHelp can match you with a therapist based on your needs and preferences. BetterHelp has a team of mental health professionals with diverse specialties and areas of expertise, so you’ll have the opportunity to connect with a provider who can help you manage your specific concerns related to a breakup or a similar challenge. Read below for reviews of BetterHelp therapists from those who have experienced similar concerns.
“Alta has been amazing in providing me with the tools needed to help get past fear, guilt and anxiety. She has such a gentle and caring way of providing the support I need to make some pretty major life changes. I dont feel blocked by past problems and am truly enjoying finding joy again. Her guidance has been such a gift!”
“La Keica Boyd has truly helped through a tough time. She helped me move on from my past relationship and helped me understand that it’s ok to be selfish sometimes. She really pushes you to be a better you. I truly am very grateful for her help and would recommend her to anybody!”
Commonly Asked Questions
How do you get over someone you still love?
One article called “How to Get Over Someone You Love” offers strategies that may help you to begin moving forward:
- Accept the reality- It can be painful to acknowledge that a person you care deeply for may not feel the same way. However, once you come to terms with this, the healing process can begin.
- Lean on your support system- while it may be tempting to isolate yourself after a breakup, nourishing the healthy relationships you do have can be beneficial. Spending time with trusted friends and family can provide a sense of stability and a safe space for processing all the emotions you may be experiencing.
- Challenge negative beliefs about yourself: just because this one person isn’t right for you does not mean that there is anything wrong with you. Regardless of why the relationship didn’t work out, remind yourself that you are worthy of love and happiness.
- Focus on the future- it can be easy to get stuck ruminating on the past; however, try to direct your energy towards what you are looking forward to and your hopes for the future.
- Limit time on social media- trying to get over the person you are no longer with can be that much harder if you are constantly seeing them pop up on social media. Unfollow them, block them, or take a break from social media altogether to prioritize your mental wellness.
- Remove physical reminders- scan your home for pictures, gifts, or anything that reminds you of your ex and put these items out of sight. Doing this can symbolize moving on from the past and making space for what lies ahead.
How do you let go and move on?
After a relationship ends, it’s completely normal to experience a range of emotions, from grief to sadness to anger. Maybe you are feeling lost without this person in your life, and you are unsure of what to do or how to move forward.
While experiencing negative emotions is often uncomfortable, allowing them the space to move through you is essential to the healing process. As you acknowledge challenging emotions coming up, it can be beneficial to write in a journal or reach out to someone you trust.
Other strategies that can be helpful in healing after a breakup include prioritizing self-care, taking care of your physical health, maintaining daily structure, limiting time spent on social media and giving yourself time before entering a new relationship. Ultimately, try to avoid putting yourself on a time limit; healing does happen overnight, and is not always linear. However, by taking these steps, you may find that you are able to start moving forward and looking towards the future.
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