So, you finally arrived at Single-Land after months and months of doubts, pining, ugly crying, having drunk discussions with girlfriends or the boys and weighing all pros and cons that eventually led to The Break Up Conversation. You returned all the presents (or not), moved to another apartment (or to your friend’s couch), you wake up in a complete silence between unusually cool sheets. Your old dreams of a big house, three kids and a dog are shattered. Now you are stranded in the ocean of memories and tears.
Or maybe it’s been six months already and things cleared up a bit. You have been on numerous nice and not-so-nice dates. You have certain opinions about dating apps. But still, those strange feelings gnaw on you on Sunday mornings.
You might be at a certain time and a certain place in your life, but you came here with the same question: How to stop thinking about your ex?
Luckily, you are not the first or the last person who is going through heartbreak. You don’t have to struggle on your own. Instead, you can read this article:
1. Forget about the 9-month-rule
Also known as 1-year-rule, also known as 6 months rule, etc., etc. You might have noticed that different sources and different experts mention different time durations. The problem is that your mind is not something unified – there are no universal rules applicable to any case. It is much more abstract, individual and this is simultaneously good and bad. Let yourself grieve properly.
2. Avoid rumination
Spilling all the emotions out is crucial. But where is the fine line between legitimate grieve and depressive tendencies? How to stop ruminating over a failed relationship? The best way is to be attentive. Keep a diary and stick to writing there all your thoughts every day. You might notice soon that some of the entries are repetitive. If you notice this, these are the red flags you should watch out for.
3. Distance from your ex
Here is another, more prominent rule: No contact until you are completely healed. This means unfollowing and blocking your ex on all social media, deleting their number, not asking their friends about them. As a matter of fact, it would be helpful to distance yourself from your ex’s friends in a healthy and respectful way. It’s ok to stay friends with your ex but reconnection is possible only after some time. It is only possible in case your relationship was not toxic and abusive. You can read about the importance of parting ways forever with an abusive or toxic partner in our article about toxic relationships.
It is also better if you avoid places that your ex frequents. It might get a bit stressful. You might even consider this paranoid. Maybe you will have to give up your favorite place in the town. The cons of constantly tearing your heart apart with nostalgia and confusion are not worth that. Meanwhile, you could discover other new places, that you might have overlooked because of your commitment to couples’ compromises. Oh, well…
4. Take yourself on a date
No, we are not suggesting getting a rebound. Sit down, breathe deeply and make a list of things you have really wanted to do yourself or in the couple. Something you really wanted to do but neither had time not effort to do so. How about that painting class you wanted to take but it was on Wednesdays and Wednesdays were saved for night outs with your significant other? Or that Nickelback concert you wanted to attend despite your partner’s sarcastic sneers. Be careful and don’t go crazy over the freedom of movement now. Who says that you can’t treat yourself with a movie and a dinner at a restaurant? Don’t you love yourself? We believe you do.
5. Do a makeover
Do a makeover of everything. Do a makeover of your schedule. Do a makeover at your flat. Do a makeover of your hobbies. Paint your room blue or yellow. Change your hair color. Or your job and flat!
6. Stay occupied
Don’t overdo it though! It’s important to stay balanced. Take up a new hobby and stay committed to it. You can use this hobby as some sort of safe place. It may actually turn into another meaningful part of your life or at least serve as a healthy coping mechanism.
7. Be patient.
Despite the popular saying, it’s not the time that heals wounds. It’s actually you, who heals your own wounds. It’s you who uses mental and psychological effort to nurture yourself and process emotionally traumatic experience in an act of incredibly complex human adaptation. You should be proud of yourself and be aware of the huge amount of emotional labor you do.
8. Surround yourself with love and support
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, relatives and many loving and caring people who are willing to offer you help. There is no shame in being in pain and needing a helping hand. In this trying time, you need compassion more than ever.
9. Talk to a therapist
However supportive your friends can be, they still have their own agenda. A professional therapist can give you a good unbiased insight into the current affairs and help you process emotions in a healthy environment. Whilst it’s crucial to form and maintain meaningful relationships outside your therapist’s cabinet, professional help is never excessive. What is more, therapy may prevent you from getting into post-break-up depression or revert destructive behavior patterns.
10. Don’t indulge in unhealthy coping mechanisms
However tempting and logical it might feel, alcohol, drugs, wild partying may seem helpful in the nearest future. But in the long run, it can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. Sure, you are a whole functioning adult, and this is just an article on the internet. But keep in mind, that you are not solving your problems by drinking heavily or abusing drugs. You are merely indulging in escapism while also putting your mental and physical health under certain risks. Also, alcohol is a well-known depressant.
11. Don’t hop on a new person
Rebounds are even worse than all the coping mechanisms from the previous paragraph since it involves not only you but also another person. Your heartbreak doesn’t justify other people being hurt. And they are going to be hurt for sure since there is zero chance you could build something meaningful in such a hurry. Also, there is zero chance of you not thinking about your ex while in a relationship and that will hurt both sides.
You might be afraid of thinking about your ex years later. The hardest truth is that yes, you are going to remember people you loved and shared great memories and moments with. And that’s the point, if there was nothing to lose and nothing to grieve about, then there was no point in the relationship. Give yourself time to learn more and accept and finally move on.