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How to get over an ex: 14 no bullsh*t tips

So you find yourself with your heart in your hand and you don’t know where to turn.

Bad break-ups can leave people reeling for months and even years if something isn’t done to intervene and set you back on the right track.

If you find yourself struggling to get back on the straight and narrow after the loss of a relationship, remember that you weren’t born with this person on your hip and you will be able to move on eventually.

Sometimes, it just takes a little time.

Here are some strategies you can implement today to start getting over your ex once and for all.

1) Disconnect from Social Media and Reconnect with Yourself

When breakups happen, it’s easy to take to social media to see what your ex is up to. This is a bad idea.

First, you don’t want any reminders of them in your life.

Second, you don’t want to see them with someone new or having fun without you. Unless you know you can take it, which, most people can’t, just avoid their accounts or even delete them.

This is particularly the case if they are a narcissist. Narcissists tend to move on very quickly as they tend to approach most relationships superficially.

It’s not out of the ordinary that will they will be charming manipulating someone else in a week or two and posting romantic photos.

If not that, then they’ll probably be posting “selfies” where they look beautiful and happy.

“Their superficial approach to relationships means that it is very easy for them to replace people (including their partners) and find someone new rather quickly.” – Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D. 

Instead, focus on getting to know yourself again.

If you’ve been with this person for any length of time, it’s likely that you’d adopted a lot of their thinking and ways and now you need to sort through all the noise and find the person you were.

Even better, find out who you want to be now that you have a fresh start.

2) Don’t Go Looking for Trouble

If you are out and about, don’t go to your old stomping grounds. There is a high probability that your ex will make their way there too, so just avoid it at all costs.

Even if your friends want to go, remind them that you are still hurting and you would rather not do it.

If they persist, find some new friends or go it alone for a while until you feel like you can be in the same room as your ex.

Depending on how you ended things, you might be feeling guilty or shame or nothing at all and you don’t want to see how they are feeling.

As Shannon Thomas, a licensed therapist and author points out in Insider, it’s common when you experience a breakup to mull over your regrets with what the relationship could have been if you had changed your behavior in some way.

If you find yourself running into them, then it those thoughts of regret may become more intense, particularly if they’re looking happy and having fun.

Stick it out at home if you must but don’t put yourself in a situation that could result in you feeling worse about yourself.

3) Create a New Vision for Your Future That Doesn’t Include Them

One of the best ways to move forward is to actually think about moving forward…without them.

Journal about what you feel right now and what you want in the future. You might find that there are a lot of options for your future now that you’re no longer tied to someone else.

You might find that you missed your independence and that you don’t want to be in a relationship again for a while.

Writing helps your mind slow down so you can structure the information in your head. It’s also a great way to release and understand your emotions.

In the Harvard Health Blog, Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH says that when people write about what’s in their hearts and minds, they better make sense of the world and themselves:

“Writing provides a rewarding means of exploring and expressing feelings. It allows you to make sense of yourself and the world you are experiencing. Having a deeper understanding of how you think and feel — that self-knowledge — provides you with a stronger connection to yourself.”

This is a great time for you to get to know yourself and what you are all about, and so set some goals, test the limits, meet new people – whatever it is you imagine for yourself in the future, write it down and get excited about it.

If you’re wondering how you can begin journaling, try asking these three questions:

How am I feeling? 
What am I doing? 
What am I trying to change about my life?

These questions will give you insight into your emotions and prompt you to think about the future.

4) Rally Your Support Team

It can be hard to try to get over an ex when you are hold up in your bedroom without any contact from the outside world.

Sometimes, it’s easier to get on with life by simply getting on with it. Call up some friends and go out for dinner.

Cry if you must, feel sad if you must, but do things that will make you feel better.

If you don’t feel like being out, ask someone to come over – not your ex! – and keep you company.

A trusted friend or close family member will appreciate the position you are in and will be able to just sit and let you take it all in.

Make sure that the people you choose to confide in are emotionally intelligent and on your side. There’s nothing worse than a so-called “friend” telling you all the things you did wrong in the relationship.

That discussion can be had for another time. For now, you just need someone to listen and show support for you.

Whether you are fresh off the relationship scene or you have been single for a while now, breaking up is a toll that can take a while to overcome.

Give yourself time, space, and permission to feel it out and figure it out.

There’s no rush and you can’t set a time limit on how long you will feel like this.

One thing is for sure though, don’t go looking for new love right away. You don’t need to put salt on the wound.

Figure your own stuff out before you go looking for someone else to love.

5) Stop Watching the Clock

Speaking of time, there is no timeline for getting over someone.

According to research published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, it takes 11 weeks to feel better after a relationship ends.

However, another study found it takes about 18 months to heal after the end of a marriage.

The brutal truth is this:

Heartbreak is a grieving process – and it’s a unique experience for everyone. Love is a messy emotion, after all.

How long it takes is going to depend heavily on how long you’ve been together, whether or not you were the reason for the break-up, whether or not you were lied to, cheated on, ignored, beaten, deeply wounded – they all contribute to a length of time for healing that nobody can point to.

It’s going to depend a lot on your resilience and desire to move on. So one of the most important things you can do when you need to get over your ex is to not put parameters on your healing.

It is going to take time. Give it time.

6) Name Your Thoughts and Feeling

If you are struggling to make sense of what has happened, it’s a good idea to grab a notebook and pen and start writing down your thoughts.

Just like I mentioned above about writing down your goals, writing has the ability to slow your mind down so you can structure the information in your head.

In this way, you can better understand what you’re feeling and thinking.

According to the Harvard Health Blog, writing about stressful life experiences may help some people cope with the fallout of such events.

By writing about what has happened, what you’re feeling and what you want to occur in the future, you may learn to move beyond the experience by expressing your emotions.

Remember, you aren’t writing this for an audience, so you can write anything you feel in your heart and let yourself be raw and real.

A lot of people are worried about putting their thoughts and feelings into writing because they are afraid people are going to read it, but don’t worry about anyone seeing it.

Write from your heart and try to make meaning of what has happened. Remember that things happen for you, not to you.

7) Give Yourself Some Space

A lot of romantic comedies and even dramas will see a newly-single gal or guy taking to the road to get out of town, which usually results in hilarity and a new relationship in a far off place.

That’s not how it really happens and usually, those road trips end up costing a lot of money and you don’t come back feeling any better because all you were doing was escaping the feelings you left behind.

When you come back and haven’t dealt with them yet, you still have them. Now, you’re broke and no further along in the healing process.

According to Noam Shpancer Ph.D. in Psychology Today, avoiding a negative emotion buys you short term gain at the price of long term pain.

Here’s why:

“When you avoid the short term discomfort of a negative emotion, you resemble the person who under stress decides to drink. It “works,” and the next day, when bad feelings come, he drinks again. So far so good, in the short term. In the long run, however, that person will develop a bigger problem (addiction), in addition to the unresolved issues he had avoided by drinking.”

Noam Schpancer says that emotional acceptance is a better strategy than avoidance for four reasons:

1) By accepting your emotions, you are “accepting the truth of your situation. This means you don’t have to spend your energy pushing the emotion away.
2) Learning to accept an emotion gives you an opportunity to learn about it, become familiar with it and get better skilled at its management.
3) Experiencing negative emotions is annoying, but not dangerous – and eventually much less of a drag than continually avoiding them.
4) Accepting a negative emotion causes it to lose its destructive power. Accepting an emotion allows it to run its course while you run yours.

So even though you’re feeling crap now, just let yourself feel what you are feeling and face it like an adult. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

There’s no need to run from your heartache.

8) Let Go of the Blame

Whether you are to blame or your ex is to blame for the demise of your relationship, remember that you don’t have to carry any of that with you as you go forward.

Even if you totally ruined your relationship, you don’t have to feel shame and guilt forever. Feel it out if you need to, but the sooner you can let go of that blame, the sooner you can start healing and getting back to your life.

Which, let us remind you, probably wasn’t half bad before you hooked up with this person and probably won’t be half bad again soon.

In reality, blaming only results in bitterness, resentment, and powerlessness.

You need to stop blaming so you can reclaim your freedom and power that is yours.

No one can take away your ability to take action and make a better life for yourself.

9) Don’t Slack Off — Try New Things and Stay Busy

You have to limit the time you spend moping around. Once you run out of ice cream and you can’t stand wearing the same clothes for another day, get ready.

Here are some tips for you:

— Take a good, long shower to clear your mind.
— Wear your best clothes and look fresh.
— Check your daily and weekly schedule.
— See what’s happening in town.
— Go to work and keep busy.

Basically, this is what we’re trying to say:

It’s easy to learn how to get over an ex if you’ve got a hectic schedule. You won’t have time to look back at all the painful experiences if you’re focused on other things.

Yes, you do need to accept your emotions rather than ignoring them. But you don’t need to dwell on them. There’s a big difference. When you’ve truly accepted what you’re feeling, you create space for you to move on with your life.

This can include that big, important project you’ve been ignoring for so long at work. It could also mean volunteering at your local animal shelter.

Do you still have a lot of free time?

Well, that’s easy:

Look for more things to do.

You see, the fact that the world is so big makes it a double-edged sword:

It may seem that you’re all alone when you’re coping with a breakup and everyone else is busy with work, family, and friends — living their usual life.

But on the bright side, it proves that a breakup isn’t going to be the end of the world for you.

Not at all.

10) Evaluate Your Experience

Do you watch Bojack Horseman?

There’s a famous quote from the show that’s worth bringing up here.

It says:

“When you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.”

In other words:

It’s easy to overlook the bad in someone if you’re blinded by love.

You may think that this does not apply to your previous relationship, but a thorough evaluation may suggest otherwise.

Think about it:

— How many times have you excused your ex’s terrible behavior?
— When you were asked to buy a gift, did you think they were being unreasonable or just plain adorable?
— When your ex ridiculed you for the nth time, do you think it was them being their true self or them simply having a bad day?

See, here’s the thing:

Knowing how to get over an ex is about knowing who they truly were.

Stop romanticizing the past. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship.

You can only make the best out of it by learning to compromise and embrace each other’s imperfections.

Still can’t stop thinking about your ex?

That’s because you’re only seeing the good in them.

Once you realize all the red flags, it becomes so much easier to move on from your ex.

Ask yourself these four questions:

1) Were you really happy 100% of the time?

2) Did the relationship hinder your life in any way?

3) Were you happy before the relationship?

4) What annoyed you most about your partner?  

Answer these questions truthfully and you’ll begin to realize that the relationship ending isn’t as bad as you thought it was.

You might even start to see that your life has opened up in many ways that weren’t previously possible.

Marilyn Monroe said it best:

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe

But don’t forget:

Your evaluation of the past is not only for forgetting your ex. It’s also about learning about yourself.

So take the time to see what you could have done better in the past and apply these lessons to the present and the future.

This way, you’ll have a clearer version of what you want in a partner and a relationship.

11) Love Yourself and Have a ‘Me’ Day

We get it.

This advice seems so obvious and cliche.

But you know what?

It’s still a great tip to anyone who wants to learn how to get over an ex.

So how do you love yourself?

Well, only you know the answer to that; it differs from one person to another.

If you need suggestions, we’ve got some for you:

— Take a day off from work and get that well-deserved sleep
— Book tickets to an upcoming music festival or theater play
— Go to your favorite restaurant and order all your comfort foods

But most importantly:

Give yourself a pat on the back.

Acknowledge that you are a strong individual who won’t crumble for a mere ex.

Why?

Because being out of a relationship does not mean you look less attractive or that you’re less worthy of love. Thus, there’s no need to cling to memories of your ex.

You’re still the same awesome, loveable individual that you’ve always been.

That won’t change regardless of your relationship status.

12) Remove Any Connections to Your Ex

The world is becoming more and more connected each day, but that doesn’t mean you must keep in touch with your ex.

Why?

It’s easy for all the memories to flood in if you always see them. It doesn’t matter if it’s online or offline; it’s the same face.

So the question here is:

If you don’t unfriend or block them from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, will you ever succeed in learning how to get over an ex?

The answer is no.

Sure, you can add them back again to your social circle — but only after you’ve finally moved on.

Otherwise, you’re not helping yourself heal your emotional wounds.

So do all these:

— Get rid of your ex on all your social media accounts
— Delete their phone number and email address
— Remove all photos of your ex
— Ask people who tagged you in photos of your ex to remove the tag
— If your mutual friends ask to hang out, check if your ex is coming along

The less you’re reminded of your ex, the easier it is to move on from them.

13) Let Time Do Its Thing and Think Ahead

Let’s clarify something first:

Time alone isn’t enough to make you forget your ex. But with the right attitude and changes, it can contribute to your emotional recovery.

Just like what we’ve mentioned earlier: It’s only a breakup — not the end of the world.

Time is on your side.

So don’t rush into things if you don’t feel like it.

You will get by. You may not know exactly when, but it’s bound to happen.

That’s just how time works.

One day you’re still in pain over losing someone, the next day you’re ready to take on the world.

Because with each passing day, your heartache loses a bit of its intensity.

You meet new people and take on new challenges.

You create more experiences and form new bonds.

In time, you remember and celebrate more of these new, exciting things — memories that fill the once big void your ex left in your heart.

14) Be With Those Who Actually Matter in Your Life

Here’s the final key in learning how to get over an ex:

Appreciate those who are still in your life.

Why would you lie in bed all day, crying about your ex, when you’ve got the most awesome friends in the entire world?

The truth is:

Your best friends know more about you than your ex does. They know more how to make you smile and laugh like an idiot.

Because let’s face it:

Boyfriends, girlfriends, and flings come and go.

But your friends?

The real ones stick with you all your life — all through the highs and the lows, all through the jokes and the drama.

And on a similar note:

Don’t forget about your family. Because even before you had friends, it’s your family members who were on your side no matter what.

So when you’re feeling worthless and all alone, remember two things:

— You are definitely not alone.
— You are loved by many people.

Why cling to a failed romantic relationship when there are so many people who will shower you with all the love and support you could ever ask for?

Learning How to Get Over an Ex

You may have had genuinely great times with your ex, but here’s the truth:

It’s all in the past.

Both the good and the bad times are just memories now; they should not take hold of your life in the present.

See, the world has so many things to offer.

You’re doing a disservice to yourself if you hide away in your room — romanticizing the past with your rose-colored glasses.

You can learn how to get over an ex, but you have to do your part.

Time does indeed heal all wounds.

But you can speed up your emotional recovery in many ways:

— Stay busy and be open to new experiences.
— Learn from your past mistakes.
— Know the value of self-love and apply it.
— Keep your ex away from your social circle.
— Spend more time with your loved ones.

And of course, you may just find someone new in your romantic life, someone who’ll make you forget your ex with all their love and care.

In the end, learning how to get over an ex is all about embracing what the world has to offer — all the experiences, the people, and the memories.

In Conclusion

Relationships are complicated things. They are made even more complicated when they come to an end.

Whether you’d decided to call it quits after a long, drawn-out fight and ongoing issues, or you found yourself on the receiving on of an unexpected break-up call, when a relationship ends, there’s no really easy way to get over it and move on.

It takes time, truthfully, but it’s not impossible. Despite how you might be feeling right now, reprieve is on the way.

You just need to give yourself permission to start to heal.

Use our tips to help you get on your way after a relationship ends and you’ll be back on the road to recovery in no time.

If you’re still struggling to get over your ex, check out my new eBook The Art of Breaking Up: The Ultimate Guide to Letting Go of Someone You Loved.

I’ll help you understand your break up (there are generally 5 different types) and why you’re feeling the way you are. Together, we’ll work through your toughest emotions and set you on the path to a confident, fulfilling future.

Check out my eBook here.

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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