How To Get Over Your Ex-Boyfriend And Move On

Medically reviewed by Brianne Rehac
Updated February 20, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

The end of a romantic relationship may be a distressing time for many. While the breakup could have been the healthiest choice for you and your former boyfriend, you might be left wondering how to get over someone fast.

Even if you were the one to initiate the split, you may have lingering feelings for your ex and seek support to move on from the relationship. Everyone deals with breakups differently. For instance, the length of the relationship, the intensity of your feelings, the healthiness of the relationship, how many breakups you’ve experienced, the level of agreement on the split, and other factors could influence how long it takes you to get over your ex. 

No matter the cause of the breakup, learning how to move on from a relationship healthily might be beneficial. Part of moving on often includes experiencing the grieving process and working on self-care. You may also experience a phase wherein questions such as "Does my ex think about me? Does my ex wants me back?" come to your mind from time to time, but it's all part of the process. You might also reach out for support from a professional to discuss the circumstances around your loss.  

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Do you find it hard to move on after a relationship?

Why are breakups so painful?

The end of a romantic relationship may not only include the loss of your partner. You might also lose the plans, hopes, and goals you held together. Studies have shown that breakups can lead to the same symptoms as bereavement, causing significant emotional and sometimes even physical pain. 

You may experience disappointment, loss, and a sense of failure. In some cases, you might experience some or all stages of grief, a system developed and studied by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. 

How to get over an ex

If you're looking for the best way to get over someone, Below are a few research-based techniques on how to get over a guy.

Give yourself time to heal

You may have invested yourself in your former relationship, and it can take time to heal from the emotional pain of loss. While there might not be a definitive answer to “How long does it take to get over an ex? You may not grieve the relationship forever. At some point, you might be ready for a new or stronger connection with yourself. 

Healing usually does not follow any one, set timeline. When you find yourself asking, "Why can't I get over my ex?", it can be helpful to remind yourself that it usually takes time. Everyone may deal with their emotions differently, and comparison could be counterproductive. This could mean a few weeks or a few months, so focus on your own emotions and keep your boyfriend’s life out of your field of vision for as long as possible. 

Set healthy boundaries for yourself

Researchers at the University of Colorado recommend setting healthy boundaries for yourself and the people in real life following a breakup to care for your mental and emotional well-being. If running into your ex is unavoidable, plan how you will react and the level of communication you want with them. Some people are comfortable being friends with an ex after setting physical and emotional boundaries. Others may want complete separation. Both can be healthy, depending on the circumstances. 

Consider setting the following boundaries: 

  • You are not obligated to discuss the details of your relationship with friends and family. You may politely but firmly say that you appreciate the concern but don’t want to talk about your ex. 
  • Getting over your ex-boyfriend may feel much more challenging if you talk and see each other frequently. Try establishing a no-contact rule for a period after the breakup. 
  • You may want to check your ex’s social profiles to see how they are doing. Try to set boundaries for yourself and avoid these urges when possible. 

Work through your emotions

The end of a romantic relationship might leave you with conflicting feelings about your former partner. You may feel guilty about considering a new partner or experience powerful feelings of sadness, anger, regret, confusion, resentment, jealousy, or grief. Suppressing or ignoring your feelings could prolong your healing process, and studies show that it may negatively impact your physical health.

Getting over an ex-boyfriend and moving on may involve identifying your emotions and giving yourself time and space to experience them. Dr. Kim Maertz of the University of Alberta published a paper suggesting that experiencing the spectrum of emotions after a breakup allows those feelings to decrease over time, facilitating faster recovery and grief processing. 

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Focus on self care

When dealing with the aftermath of a breakup, it can be a valuable time to catch up on self-care. Journaling can be a positive way to express your thoughts and emotions while giving you a record of your progress.

Research shows that writing about your feelings after a breakup can lead to positive emotions after a split.

Self-care may sometimes feel like a chore if you’re feeling down after a breakup. Try to ensure your basic needs are being met. For example, shower, grab a healthy meal, stay hydrated, and sleep at the same time each night. A walk around the block or lunch with a friend may help you get back to your routine. Taking minor steps can be normal. A great sign of healing is being able to enjoy time with yourself.

Look for personal development opportunities

Making positive changes in your life after a breakup can lead to personal growth and development, helping you move on without lingering issues from the relationship. 

Research shows that individuals who make personal growth after a breakup may exhibit higher rates of self-confidence, independence, and emotional stability. 

“Results confirmed the hypotheses that growth would be related to ending a relationship low in self-expansion and that the relationship between these variables would be mediated by experiencing more rediscovery of the self, less loss of self, and more positive emotions following dissolution,” said the authors of a study about growth after a breakup.

Build a healthy environment

Spending time with supportive friends and family after a breakup could make recovering from lingering feelings feel more manageable. However, try to cultivate a healthy, positive environment. You may heal faster when you surround yourself with people who allow you to express your emotions in a place that helps you relax. Finding and focusing on new friendships may also be very helpful for healing and transformation.

Examine what went wrong and learn from it

Part of getting over an ex and moving on may be examining why the relationship ended and learning from it. Breakups often hurt, but when relationships end they might bring positive changes to your life if you learn from past mistakes and grow. Examine how you reacted to conflict in the relationship and look for areas where you can improve to be a better partner. 

Start a new relationship with yourself

Before you move on to a new relationship, consider taking time to focus on yourself. Learn about what you like and what you expect a partner to do for you. Try not to rush to a dating app and consider dating yourself for a while. There is no rush to start dating again.

Anything you would expect or like a partner to do for you, do it for yourself. It can make you more comfortable doing things alone and may show you the standard of care you want in future relationships. Try the following activities: 

  • Take yourself to a fancy dinner at your favorite restaurant
  • Buy yourself a treat, like chocolates or flowers
  • Go to the movie theater on your own
  • Write yourself a love letter
  • Remind yourself you deserve a fresh start
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Do you find it hard to move on after a relationship?

Build a support network

A network of supportive people could help you get through a difficult breakup and move on with your life. From a trusted therapist to a relationship coach to your close friends and family, lean on the people you care about and let them help you. Connecting with other people could make you feel less alone, particularly if you and your ex made many mutual friends who aren’t around as much now. 

Therapy could help you move on after a breakup

Many people struggle to learn how to get over an ex and move on with their lives. It may help to speak to a licensed therapist, either online or in person, for help examining and working through your feelings. If virtual treatments sound like a fit for you, online therapy providers like BetterHelp often offer convenient, available appointments through phone or video calls and asynchronous online chats that give you the option to choose the best method for you. 

Many therapists have successfully used cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat various mental conditions. Recent studies have shown that CBT can be as effective online as it is for in-person treatments. The same study presented online therapy as more cost-effective and able to promote stronger client/therapist relationships.  

Takeaway

Learning how to get over an ex and move on can be challenging, but help is available. A qualified relationship expert can help you work through your feelings and identify areas for personal growth so you can heal and find the right person in future relationships.

Build healthy relationship habits with a professional

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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