How To Get Over Someone After A Breakup

Updated January 10, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

It can be challenging to realize that you may be in a relationship that no longer meets your needs or isn’t progressing where you wanted. While ending the relationship may be the healthiest choice, you might have lingering feelings. Learning to get over someone after a breakup may help you move forward without hang-ups about your previous relationship.  

Practicing self-care after a breakup can be beneficial regardless of how the relationship ended. When you give yourself time to find closure and let go of your ex, you might find self-growth and a strengthened ability to connect with others healthily. 

Why Are Breakups So Painful? 

A breakup may involve the loss of a relationship itself and the goals that you and your partner held. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire claim breakups often leave many people with lingering feelings of disappointment, grief, and a sense of failure.  

Combined with what may be a significant change in your daily routine, it can be common to feel overwhelmed after a breakup, which may leave you struggling to find equilibrium. Research has shown that ending romantic relationships can lead to bereavement symptoms, such as insomnia, intrusive thoughts, and reduced immune response.  

When To Move On From A Relationship 

If you haven’t ended a complicated relationship, you may be seeking information about signs that it could be time to move on from a relationship. While every relationship can be different, pay attention to your partner for indications that they are unwilling or unable to repair the issues between you. If your partner is abusive, you may put yourself in emotional or physical danger by continuing the relationship.*

*If you are facing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 for support. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text “START” to 88788. You can also use the online chat.  

Signs It May Be Time To Move On From A Relationship 

If you’re unsure whether you should move on from a relationship or someone you still hope to connect with after a breakup, consider whether the following unhealthy aspects are present in your relationship with them: 

  • Communication feels difficult, unhealthy, or impossible 

  • You break up and get back together repeatedly 

  • It feels like you make all the sacrifices

  • You have trouble trusting your partner 

  • Your core values aren’t aligned

  • You don’t like how you act when you’re around them 

  • One or both of you have stopped making an effort

  • You argue often 

  • Your emotional needs are not met 

  • You are not caring for yourself in your relationship 

  • You feel bored or no longer love your partner 

How To Move On From A Relationship 

You may have invested in your former relationship and might find it challenging to move forward. While it can take time to get over a broken relationship, there are several methods you can try to deal with your lingering emotions and move forward. 

Love Regulation 

recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology involves using cognitive or behavioral strategies to reduce the intensity of lingering romantic feelings. The study evaluated the efficiency of three love regulation methods, including: 

  • Negatively reappraising an ex 

  • Reevaluating the feelings of love 

  • Distraction 

The study found that focusing on negative aspects of a former partner’s behavior or personality reduced love feelings and left partners feeling worse. Reevaluating the feelings of love, called love reappraisal, encouraged participants to accept the lingering feelings. These study participants didn’t experience a change in love feelings or mood but showed a reduced response to emotional stimuli. 

Distraction involved talking to participants about unrelated activities they enjoyed, which improved participants’ mood but did not affect their feelings of love for their former partner. 

Recognizing The Futility Of The Relationship 

It may be beneficial to remember the reasons you broke up. While dwelling on negative emotions could build resentment toward your former partner, remembering that there was a valid or healthy reason for leaving could stop you from wanting to return. 

Address Your Emotions 

Take time to mourn your relationship if you need to. Even if you were the one who decided to end things, you might experience grief and other powerful feelings, such as confusion, anger, sadness, resentment, fear, jealousy, and regret. Ignoring or suppressing your feelings may prolong your healing or stop your progress altogether. Additionally, studies show that suppressing emotions can negatively impact your physical health.

Knowing how to get over someone after a breakup may mean identifying your emotions and allowing yourself to experience any feelings that arise. You may find yourself in situations that could intensify your negative feelings as you process the separation, like running into your ex in public, seeing their social media posts, or learning your ex is dating someone else. These situations may be part of moving on. Accept any emotions that arise and try not to act on them in unhealthy ways. 

Dr. Kim Maertz of the University of Alberta states: “Experiencing these feelings will allow them to decrease over time and will speed up the grieving process. The stages of grief frequently include shock or denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and, eventually, acceptance. Extreme grief feels like it will last forever, but it does not if we cope in healthy ways.”  

Consider Going “No Contact”  

At first, staying in touch with your ex could cause difficulty as you attempt to move on. Research shows that cutting ties with a former romantic partner can be a positive or negative experience, depending on the relationship. 

Your ex may have been a regular part of your daily life. Re-formatting your routine by living without them may help you move on. Try to avoid calling, texting, or reaching out to your ex on social media. If you cut ties completely, you might also consider blocking them or removing them on social media. 

Start A New Hobby Or Learn A New Skill 

Finding ways to enrich yourself could be a rewarding method of staying distracted as you get over your ex. If you start a creative hobby, it may allow you to channel your emotions as you grieve. For example, studies indicate that expressive writing through journaling can improve mental health and help you express emotions.

Try To Learn From The Breakup

While breakups may hurt, they could also bring positive changes in your life. Use the opportunity to examine the patterns you have in relationships. Identify areas where you have room for growth and try not to carry past mistakes into your next relationship

Visualize The Possibility Of New Relationships 

It may feel challenging to imagine starting over with someone new after a breakup. You might feel that no one else will understand you as your former partner did. Try to imagine the possibility of new relationships and the potential happiness they could bring. According to recent research, positive emotions can occur after a breakup, particularly when you progress in your personal development.

A few methods of encouraging personal development might include: 

  • Expressive writing or journaling 

  • Examining the positive aspects of the breakup 

  • Performing a closure ritual like removing photos of your ex

  • Doing a nurturing self-care activity each day, such as mindfulness

  • Building a new routine and embracing the change

  • Exercising when possible 

Reach Out For Support 

A network of supportive individuals may help you through a rough breakup. Connecting with others could make you feel less alone and encourage you to pursue other interests or activities. Try not to isolate yourself, as social connection has been proven to affect mental health positively. 

Therapy After A Breakup 

If you struggle to get over your ex and move on with your life, it may help to speak to a licensed therapist. Whether in-person or online, therapy can help you examine your feelings and work through them healthily. If you choose the virtual option, online therapy providers like BetterHelp offer accessible, convenient appointments through phone, video call, or online chat so you can choose what works best for you. 

Studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective method for helping individuals overcome emotional obstacles and can be as effective as in-person treatments for various mental health conditions. The same study showed that online therapy is often more cost-effective and promotes stronger relationships between clients and their therapists. 

Takeaway  

Knowing how to get over someone after a breakup can be difficult, but speaking to a qualified therapist could make it feel easier to examine and work through your lingering feelings. If you’re ready to form healthier habits after your breakup, consider reaching out to a counselor for further insight.  

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