The pain of a breakup can be unbearable at first, especially when you can’t seem to stop thinking about (and missing) your ex.
So, how do you stop thinking about your ex and get over your breakup?
We asked experts to share their insights.
Table of Contents
- Recognize that it is normal to miss one’s ex-partner
- Journaling is often helpful in gaining clarity on one’s thoughts and feelings
- “Reconnecting head to heart”
- Develop new activities in a new environment
- Stick to the reasons for your break-up
- Be thankful for your experience with this partner
- Zero contact
- Remember the bad times
- Keep busy
- Give yourself time
- Take care of yourself
- You must grieve the loss
- Take some time to analyze and think about why the relationship did not work out
- Focus on your relationship with yourself
- Surround yourself with supportive friends or family
- Keep busy
- Surround yourself with family and friends
- Do something you’ve always wanted
- Ditch the bad habits. Instead, eat fresh fruit, vegetables, and grains
- Fill your time with constructive activities
- In the same vein, immerse yourself in people too
- Make sense of the break-up
- Identify the pain in real terms
- Write a list of the reasons the relationship was not working for you
- Use this in-your-face, self-reflective time to reset growth priorities
- Do not allow negative self-talk
- Repurpose your life
- Imagine your ex is sitting beside you and tell him/her that you are releasing all energetic attachments that are invisible
- Throw out and put away all things that remind you of your ex
- Write a list of all the things you want in a new relationship
- Say yes to life
- Reconnect with family and friends
- Try new things alone
- Set realistic expectations for yourself
- Delete and stop all forms of connection
- Work on yourself
- Acknowledge the mourning process
- The best way not to think about your ex is to distract yourself
- Reconnect with yourself
- Try the three
- Prepare a list of all their negative traits
- Social media detox
- Frequently Asked Questions
It’s natural to miss someone after a relationship has ended. And, it can be particularly tough if strong feelings of love remain after the break-up. Yet, from a neurobiological perspective, the more we think about an ex, the more we hardwire neural pathways that create more of the same thoughts.
Over time, the thoughts of missing someone can take over—and become obsessive in nature—if we do not take care to process our thoughts and feelings in order to let go. That said, a few tips can be very helpful for those stuck in “I miss my ex” thought patterns:
Recognize that it is normal to miss one’s ex-partner
It’s normal to grieve after we have lost a close romantic partner. And, the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) must be honored as part of resolving grief and coming to the last stage (acceptance).
Journaling is often helpful in gaining clarity on one’s thoughts and feelings
Journaling can help the writer process and digest the upsides and downsides of the relationship—and this often leads to a more objective, cathartic outlook on why the relationship ended.
Once feelings and thoughts have been processed—whether through talking with friends, journaling, or seeing a therapist—the feelings of missing the person may dissipate.
At this stage, people often realize that they missed not just the partner (the person), but also a source of companionship, play, sexual intimacy, etc. This realization is often liberating as it takes the focus off of the specific ex and puts it more into the realm of missing a friend and partner.
As the stages of grief (which are not linear in progression) are moved through, the mind may still continue to turn to old thought patterns of missing the ex.
At this stage, it is important to engage in distractions—such as thinking of an upcoming event, engaging in work, talking to a friend, or saying a positive mantra. By consciously replacing the “I miss my ex” thought with another thought, the brain learns to engage in thoughts that are more uplifting.
Jenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI-MP
Certified Professional Coach, Jenna Ponaman Coaching | Sociologist | Speaker
Typically, when a person experiences a breakup they go through an emotional and thought-processing frenzy. From believing this is the best thing for them, to becoming angry about why it happened, to the inability to comprehend what went wrong, to even finding every reason why it was their fault and how they were too inadequate for the relationship.
Essentially, a breakup makes it incredibly difficult for one to assess their own thoughts because they are struggling to differentiate reality from their deepest fears and angsts.
“Reconnecting head to heart”
With that being said, the first thing a person should do when they find themselves missing someone after a breakup is to do what I call, “reconnecting head to heart.”
When the feeling comes up, try to be aware of what your brain is doing— why are these thoughts and feelings coming up now? Were you doing an activity that reminded you of your ex?
As you build this awareness around your thoughts and behavior, you will notice that you aren’t actually missing your ex, but missing the experience you had with that person. An experience you can recreate at any time, with anyone, including yourself.
Develop new activities in a new environment
Activities or familiar environments can often trigger emotions of missing your ex. With that in mind, I would highly encourage one to develop an activity that they enjoy in a fresh environment, particularly somewhere they can develop community and social interaction.
This will allow the individual to see hard proof that there is a life past the breakup. A life they can enjoy all on their own.
Stick to the reasons for your break-up
As for the memories that begin to enter your mind when you miss your ex— for every good memory, play devil’s advocate. What were your reasons for leaving in the first place? Are they still valid reasons today?
Be thankful for your experience with this partner
Additionally, when I have a client that can’t seem the shake the feel-good memories of their past life with their partner, I tell them that it is okay. Keep the memories and hold them close if you’d like. Be thankful for your experience with this partner— chances are you have grown as an individual and so have they.
Then acknowledge that perhaps this relationship has a good reason to end— that it has run its course simply because you are ready to grow beyond it, as is your ex-partner. Opportunity awaits you, and it is infinite. And that is something to be very excited about. This is your moment to build whatever life you can imagine.
Professional Matchmaker | Dating Coach, LUMA Luxury Matchmaking
Getting over an ex is never easy. Usually, that is someone that you were with for a few months to a few years, maybe even a decade. It is surely going to take a bit of time to move past them!
The main reason that getting over an ex is so hard is the mind tends to remind people of the good times.
The first time they said ‘I love you’, the day they brought you soup and came to cuddle you when you weren’t feeling well… all these good memories can have you thinking why did we break up again?
What our memories fail to remember are all the bad times that lead to the eventual breakup in the first place. This is the reason we see couples that break up just to get back together and remember why they broke up in the first place.
Getting over an ex could also be extremely hard especially when time is taken into account.
So much time was spent with this person and when a breakup happens, people feel like they lost out on all that time and even wasted that time.
What we need to remember is that the time spent was not wasted. That time was spent learning lessons – what you want in a partner, what you don’t want in a partner, what you need to work on, and more. In other words, we need to change the narrative from ‘I wasted so much time on this guy/gal’ to ‘I learned so much from that relationship but the breakup was necessary due to us not being compatible’.
Being true to ourselves and remembering all aspects of the relationship, not just the good times, and reflecting on the lessons we learned from the relationship will allow the process of getting over an ex to come easier.
Here are some tips on how to stop missing someone after a breakup:
This is something we hear time and time again and it holds true. When you are trying to stop missing someone, it is important to cease all communication with them. Don’t call or text them, don’t ask family or friends about them, and don’t you dare look at any of their social media pages.
If you hear information or see what your ex is up to on social media, this could interfere with your progress of getting over them because you are letting them still take up space in your mind!
Having zero communication with an ex will make it easier to not think about them or play around with the idea of getting back together with them
Remember the bad times
As stated above, when we are missing something, our brains have a way of tricking us into remembering why we are missing it. You won’t be missing someone for the bad times, only the good times, so that is what you will remember.
Remembering only the good times is dangerous because you will start to second guess yourself on why the breakup happened in the first place and lose sight of the reasons you two had for breaking up that are more than likely valid and credible reasons.
If you are busy doing, then you aren’t busy thinking too hard. Get out there and do things – join that acting class, go see that new action flick, start making YouTube videos!
Find a way to distract yourself from thinking too hard about your ex. This might help you go a few minutes without thinking about your ex, then a few hours, a few days, and before you know it you might make it to a week without thinking about them!
Give yourself time
Time heals most wounds. Give yourself time and don’t hold yourself back by thinking in one month I don’t want to be thinking about him/her anymore. When we give ourselves time limits, we will beat ourselves up if we don’t see it through.
Instead, don’t think about the time it will take. Who knows? It might take a few months, a year, 2 years…however long it takes eventually the heartache will fade.
Take care of yourself
Looking great makes us feel great. Take time out for yourself! Get a gym membership, do a closet makeover, go to the hair salon, and do whatever makes you feel good about yourself.
When you take good care of yourself, you will feel great and this will, in turn, help you during your healing process.
Dr. Sylvia Buet
Psychologist | Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapist | Founder, The Breakup CBT Cure
You may believe that just getting distracted and become busy will make you stop missing your ex. In fact, you may be engaging in cognitive avoidance and the outcome may lead to the opposite.
In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, cognitive avoidance involves shutting out uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, or sensations. The problem with using the typical advice “stop thinking of your ex and get busy” is that you are likely to become more hyper-alert to yearning and missing your former partner and feel worse when you are not able to successfully stop thinking of them.
Much better strategies I would recommend are:
- Identify what is exactly what you are missing and make a plan on how to obtain what you are yearning for.
- For every positive memory leading to noticing the absence of your ex, think of at least, three negative aspects of the relationship that made you unhappy.
- Acknowledge that you are missing your ex without avoiding the negative emotions. While the experience is not pleasant, it is not catastrophic either. On a scale 0% to 100%, how much do you believe this is terrible? Is it as bad as losing your job, failing an exam, having a painful illness…?
- Make a conscious effort to remember that feelings are always temporary and missing your ex follows the same pattern as other emotions.
- Resist the temptation of using proximity seeking strategies to find out what your ex is doing with their lives. The more you monitor your ex, the more you will miss them.
- If you believe that missing your ex will drive you crazy or that you will lose control, think again. Nobody loses their mind to experiencing a temporary negative mental state. Your mind is more resilient than you may think.
Related: How to Stop Missing Your Ex
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
You must grieve the loss
Feel the sadness and cry, but remember you will feel better soon. You will have some good days, and some bad days, but just remember that sadness will not be permanent.
Buy yourself a journal and write out your feelings as they arise. Write your ex letters in your journal to get your feelings out – these are not letters you actually give your ex, they are just for you to release your own feelings in a private place. Make sure that you say everything you have always wanted to say in these letters. When you are done grieving, you may want to throw out the journal, or burn it.
Take some time to analyze and think about why the relationship did not work out
Ask yourself if there were any “red flags” that told you early on this relationship was not good for you. Try to identify the things about this person or the relationship that was not right for you. Remind yourself of these things and try to see this relationship as a learning experience that will teach you about the things you do want in a person or relationship.
All relationships are learning experiences that teach us how to have a successful one. Remember that letting go of a relationship that wasn’t right for you means you are closer to finding the one who will be right for you.
Focus on your relationship with yourself
You may need to stop blaming yourself or feeling ashamed that the relationship did not work out. Instead, accept that for now, the relationship was severed. Now is the time to focus on yourself by remembering your goals, interests, and things that are important to you. Identify these things, prioritize them, and make time for them.
Fall in love with yourself. Make sure you are doing acts of “self-care” daily, or throughout the day. Self-care may include things like, working out, taking bubble baths, lighting candles, reading books – anything that makes you feel good in a healthy way. Be kind to yourself and remind yourself that you are healing.
Surround yourself with supportive friends or family
You will need to vent and share your feelings, and you will need your friends and family to remind you of how amazing you are.
Finally, Marriage and Family Therapists, Counselors, or Psychotherapists can help you process your feelings, develop deeper insights into what went wrong, or improve your relationship skills. Now is a great time to jump into therapy to further your understanding of yourself in relationships.
We don’t just stop missing someone after a break-up. Grief is a process that we follow and we will miss that person for as long as we are going to.
In order to not be drowning in that feeling of missing somebody, it is important to keep busy, to take on maybe new projects in your life that you’ve been neglecting like cleaning closets, cleansing your life, etc.
When you create space for the new to come into your life, it does help get out what’s old and takes your attention away from what you’re missing.
Sometimes it’s healthy to get out with friends and but sometimes it can make you miss your ex more, so follow your gut and be internal and isolated when you need to but definitely make sure you don’t do too much of that to create an imbalance.
Try and focus more on healing than missing.
Related: What to Do After a Breakup
Dr. Christopher Ryan Jones
Clinical Psychologist | Relationship and Sex Therapist
Here are the two suggestions that I always give people:
Surround yourself with family and friends
After a breakup, it is good to surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Many people have self-loathing thoughts after a breakup. But by surrounding yourself by those who care about you the most, you can put away those faulty cognitions.
Do something you’ve always wanted
So often people sacrifice things that they want or want to do for their relationship. But after a break-up, you are free! You can restart. So take that trip you’ve been wanting, sign up for that cooking class, or read that book that you haven’t had time to.
By doing something for yourself, you are turning the preverbal page to the next chapter of your life, and you are occupying your mind so your ex won’t be such an intrusive thought.
Relationship Expert | Life Coach, Orion’s Method
Media stereotypes of breakups often feature a distraught ex consoling themselves with a large glass of wine and a tub of ice cream. However, while a self-indulgent binge immediately after a breakup is fine, this shouldn’t form the basis of your post-breakup recovery.
For a start, alcohol is a depressant. In chemical terms, alcohol hampers your recovery and exacerbates your negative emotions. The same applies to junk food too. High levels of salt or sugar, as well as other artificial chemicals found in fast food, have been linked to psychological distress.
Ditch the bad habits. Instead, eat fresh fruit, vegetables, and grains
Prepare meals from scratch and avoid processed food. This helps you control what goes into your body, plus it offers a welcome distraction to your negative mood.
Fill your time with constructive activities
After a breakup, there is a hole in your life. Not only is there an emotional void, but you also end up with a lot more free time, time that you would have spent with your ex. Rather than filling that hole with short-term fixes like alcohol or junk food, fill your time with constructive activity instead.
Hobbies, especially physical or creative ones such as arts and crafts or woodwork, distract you from missing your ex in a positive way. Immerse yourself in a new challenge — this forces your brain to engage with something new and, in turn, provides a welcome distraction from your sorrow.
In the same vein, immerse yourself in people too
Humans are social creatures and the sudden departure of a loved one will leave your evolutionary psyche reeling. That sudden absence needs to be filled with something else.
Spend time with friends and engage in physical displays of affection — hugging and cuddling releases oxytocin and endorphins, feel-good hormones that improve your mood.
Finally, spending time with other humans also distracts your mind from negative thought patterns related to your ex. When you’re alone, there is little to break the cycle of negative thinking.
Being with friends or family encourages you to snap out of it and embrace positivity. Lean heavily on your social circle — it is essential for positive growth and recovery.
Relationship and Dating Expert | Co-owner, Platinum Poire
Make sense of the break-up
The first step in getting over someone so you can be happy is trying to make sense of the breakup, so you don’t repeat patterns. If you or your partner had unhealthy expectations, jealousy, or different needs. How did the relationship start off in the first place? Maybe you jumped into bed too fast?
Ask yourself: Am I a jealous person or did my partner bring that out in a way that other partners haven’t? Is this breakup really about me? Am I too insecure? Did we have the same value systems, if not how were they different? Do we want the same things out of life?
These things help you take a look inside yourself, it helps you check in with yourself about how your partner made you feel through different types of scenarios. It’s about believing that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else, and self-love and self-care. Which is what you need especially after the breakup.
Things you can do to get over a breakup:
- Get flirty with it! Remind yourself just how bold and sexy you can be. Go out on the town with your girls (or solo) with the intention of having fun.
- Get your revenge body back! If you’ve been thinking about getting implants or investing in a personal trainer maybe now’s the time… This will help you shift the focus from your breakup woes to being physically strong, confident and sexy.
- Get in touch with yourself. You can learn about your body and your rhythm by exploring physical self- love.
Life Coach | Relationship Expert | Communication Guru
One of the most challenging aspects of breaking up is finding oneself again. It is easy to lose ourselves in relationships and try to adapt or morph into what we perceive the other person wants.
This usually happens in the beginning when we are trying to attract the other person. Therefore it is important to approach relationships true to ourselves.
The remedy for easing the pain of pining and missing the one we left behind requires good friends and connections that give us love and support including time and hugs. Here are more ideas that can really help:
- Talk to a coach or counselor. I highly recommend this not only when a relationship ends but also in the beginning! This way a lot of communication can happen much more clearly.
- Join groups and activities that really resonate with what your likes and purpose reflect.
- Ask yourself if you recognize past patterns in this recent relationship that you have just left. It is likely that you attracted it to learn from the past. Work on identifying the pattern and resolving it.
- Attend a workshop on life-planning. Quite often we get into a relationship to avoid taking on the responsibilities of our own lives. Ask yourself if you were looking to be rescued from something—if you were then it is time to take charge of your own life!
The most important thing is to not isolate yourself. Do everything you can to realize that relationships are collaborations and friendships. There are never any guarantees as to their length and we must be grateful for every moment we have the opportunity to share energy with another soul.
Make a commitment that you will always hold yourself in the position of number one and in your future relationships strive to maintain your unique and amazing self!
Also be sure to schedule time with your friends, loving family members, and with your significant other. We must be very mindful of our time and attention so that all of our relationships stay healthy and are long-lasting.
In most cases, after a breakup, the thing that is missed the most isn’t even a reality. We all hold onto hopes and dreams of what the other person could become. So when breaking up, we are letting go of those potentials that would have never happened anyway.
Here are some tips to stop missing someone after you break up with them.
- Make a list of good things about them. Check it twice. Are they a reality? Were they already there, or did you just hope they would become those things?
- Make a list of the reasons you broke up in the first place. What went wrong? What was the tipping point? Is it something that would continue to happen? Or a once in the relationship sort of thing?
- Cut ties completely. When you continue to see the person, or just be friends, the feelings struggle to die down.
- Find some closure. When things are left undone, or there are unknowns involved, it’s much easier to move past it.
- Keep busy. Fill your time with hobbies or work.
- Fill your time with other relationships. Whether it’s with friends or a new someone, this is the quickest way to quit missing the other person.
- Remember that even relationships can become an addiction. Whether they’re good or bad. Endorphins get released in both situations. Once we get used to that release, we crave it. The longer you are in the relationship, the more habits/addiction is created.
- Allow yourself to bring up the pain. Feel it, go through it, and ultimately move past it.
- Time is your friend. You can’t really put a time limit on healing.
Award-winning Author | Speaker, The Friendship Upgrade,
Date Like a Grownup: Anecdotes, Admissions of Guilt & Advice Between Friends | Founder & Director, Cabernet Coaches®
Identify the pain in real terms
“I’m lonely tonight. I miss movie nights. I miss sex.” Yes, you may miss him or her, but break it down into small pieces rather than carry it all under one big black cloud.
Write a list of the reasons the relationship was not working for you
This is a list you carry as an email or memo on your phone, adding to it as you identify any additional negatives (ask your friends for help). Even if the breakup was not your choice, and soft-focus happy memories are dominating your recollection, switch out that filter and find the gritty, black and white negatives that also were part of the experience—because perfect is but an Instagram hashtag.
Use this in-your-face, self-reflective time to reset growth priorities
Identify any negative patterns that were present in the relationship, ask yourself why you were willing to accept them and aim for people and experiences that will allow you to become your best self.
Do not allow negative self-talk
Shut it down immediately and give yourself a compliment instead. It takes discipline, but this is very effective and, over time, will give you a truer picture of you and your own possibilities.
Repurpose your life
Repurpose the new space in your life with home projects, long walks or bike rides, a rediscovery of old favorite activities and begin seeking out and valuing the friendships that will give your life a solid social foundation.
Remember that there was an opportunity cost to lingering in the previous relationship. In time, if you take the time to heal and learn, you will be well prepared for a better relationship in the future.
Addiction Therapist | Relationship Expert
Getting over an ex must be approached like getting over an addiction or a bad habit. You have to conquer it or it will lead you into obsession or depression or a block that keeps you from moving on in your life.
Everyone knows how hard it is to break free from a past love – so here are some tips:
Imagine your ex is sitting beside you and tell him/her that you are releasing all energetic attachments that are invisible
Say whatever it is you need to say and get it all out. Be honest, be thorough and let it rip- all of your fears, and feelings and heartache. Say what you never said. Then when you are finished, cut the cord and take back all the energy that you had originally expensed into the relationship.
This exercise will heal you in ways that are beyond the rational mind, into the physical body where we stay hooked long after we separate.
Throw out and put away all things that remind you of your ex
This is great feng shui- where you have to clear the space and all the reminders that get you thinking of them again. Rearrange furniture, get a new quilt or new sheets and change the decor of the room. This is a great way to create new energy coming into your life
Write a list of all the things you want in a new relationship
Be precise and commit to having it. See the future and imagine this amazing new person actually being in your life. Stay in the new plan with the new list. When you get sad, refer to it, so you can understand the reason for the breakup and remind yourself to make room for a great future with a beautiful new love.
Dating Expert, Dating Scout
Say yes to life
Crying your eyes out over every cliched rom-com while eating tub after tub of ice cream sounds like the perfect breakup plan, right? No matter how cozy, don’t do this; you’ll only hurt longer.
Instead of spending the days at home, say yes to every social invite.
Take the time to prepare every look and just let yourself get swept up at the moment. Live one day at a time surrounded by laughter and new experiences so your thoughts won’t linger on the person and the breakup.
Reconnect with family and friends
Admit it or not, we’re all guilty of spending less time with family and friends when we’re in a relationship. It seems like every move and event is centered around the person we are dating; we forget the people who were with us way back.
Now that you’re single again, bridge the gap and never break the connection. Be sincerely present for your family members and pals and take this time to channel all your energy towards being the sister, daughter, niece, and friend they all missed.
Try new things alone
Losing someone sometimes makes us lose a part of ourselves too. So in order to move on, you have to “find yourself.” As ironic as it sounds, but you can actually find yourself by going on a new adventure and trying new things to let you rediscover yourself.
Go on a hike, meet new friends, have a date night with yourself. The moment that you learn to love yourself more and enjoy being by yourself is one of the best feelings of fulfillment you can ever have.
Related: How to Be Happy Alone?
Justine Carino, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Carino Counseling
Set realistic expectations for yourself
My first piece of advice is to set the expectation for yourself that it is going to take time for you to let go of the relationship and be free of your feelings of loss. It may sound contrary to what you think you should do, but you need to lean into your sadness when the break up happens.
Don’t try to push your emotions away and cover them up with new hookups or substances, instead allow yourself to mourn the loss.
Once you get through the first month or so post break up, then it is time to start to cleanse the relationship from your life. This can be done in baby steps because it feels scary.
Delete and stop all forms of connection
You want to stop following them on all social media, delete all old texts between you and your ex. Delete the thousands of photos that you have with them and pick a few good ones that you can put into a separate folder on your phone.
Then you can either give back their items, get them out of your house or put them in a box under your bed where you can’t see them. And for the love of God, stop texting them.
Founder, Break Up Bestie
It is very natural to miss someone after a breakup, typically in a relationship, especially a serious one it’s likely that you’re seeing and communicating with this person every day. To go from that to being totally separated is a traumatic event we go through, and even if the break-up ended on bad terms – it’s still natural to miss the person deeply.
Work on yourself
In my personal experience and in the experience of the women I work with, the number one way to end the cycle of missing the person is to turn inward and work on yourself.
By working your way into a way of life that feels good without the person, you’ll allow yourself to see that there is life after that relationship. This can include, refocusing on a personal growth journey, finding some new hobbies, going on a trip you’ve always wanted to go on, etc.
The key is not to do these things “at” your ex but to make a conscious decision to work on yourself for you. Working on building self-esteem will be another great tool to feel better and eventually stop missing that person- this means doing esteem-able acts including volunteering, doing something nice for a friend, keeping commitments to yourself and others.
There are of course the unhealthy shortcuts to stop missing an ex – jumping into a new relationship or partying your way through the discomfort but after those things end, the pain of missing the person will be there waiting for you.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a magic cure to stop missing someone, and it’s going to be something that gets better with time- but in my experience of working with women on this subject the healthiest and most sustainable way to do it is going to be turning inward.
Certified Mental Health Consultant, Enlightened Reality | Relationship Expert, Maple Holistics
Acknowledge the mourning process
Every breakup is a loss and needs to be mourned, even if it was your idea to end the relationship. There needs to be a period of time invested in the mourning process acknowledging that which was good and that which was not so good.
Good self-care is really important during this time as missing someone that is no longer a part of your life is to be expected. You also need to take the time to identify what you are really missing. Is it the attention, companionship, and the feelings that accompany a relationship, or your ex’s quirky smile, character traits, and the way they made you laugh?
You just need to shift the way you look at things and take a more active role in your recovery. But know that it may just mean reconsidering the breakup. Were the differences really insurmountable? Was your relationship unhealthy? It just may be that you may not need to miss your ex.
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor | Certified Imago Relationship Therapist | Founder, The Marriage Restoration Project
It may take time to stop missing someone after a breakup. Realize that and give yourself a break.
The best way not to think about your ex is to distract yourself
Keep yourself busy, go on a road trip with a friend, immerse yourself in something positive, volunteer. If you want to explore your feelings and say goodbye to the good times that is ok too and may help you realize that old relationship.
But if you are looking to get them out of your head and heart, focusing on other things and not giving your self too much downtime to think too much will be the answer, along with time.
Health & Wellness Coach, Lisa Fit | Personal Trainer | Yoga Instructor
- Volunteer your weekends to a charitable organization. It will keep you busy in a constructive healthy way and allow you to focus on other people than yourself.
- Create a healthy vision board of all the things you want for yourself. Make sure that you can do within the next few months, for example – do yoga, get a massage, cook a new recipe, etc.
- Ask for overtime at work, depending on your job. Especially through the holidays, most companies are looking for more help plus you can make some extra cash.
- Journal on why the relationship or person was not right for you.
- Block all social media access. Don’t go to the dark side by stalking them on the internet.
- Give yourself a challenge. Focus on healthy challenges like “Do 7 workouts in a row” or “10 days of meditation.”
Retired Administrator | Author
This is often dependent on how long you were together and the level of involvement.
For example, if you were once married, or living together, missing this person make take longer to get over. Married for over 13 years when a number of issues forced a ‘marital time-out’, these things really helped me:
- One was keeping busy. A military couple our separation meant my returning back to the US after living abroad. It meant finding someplace to live in my new city and finding a job. Dog tied at the end of most days kept me from missing my spouse.
- I kept pictures of us together packed. Out of sight, out of mind.
- I spent time outside. What free time I had, I spent doing things with friends, plays, dinner out, outings at the local lakes.
- Keeping in touch (the love was still there) also helped not to miss him so much. (Incidentally, a couple of years later we reunited to become better than after) Perhaps, it’s true absence does make the heart grow fonder.
Freelance Copywriter | Social Media Manager | Author, Maroon in a Sky of Blue
Breakups are never easy and to stop missing someone after one is even harder. Guy Winch, PhD., a licensed psychologist and author of “How To Fix Your Broken Heart?” says, “Functional brain scans have shown that love is a form of addiction.”
Love is a drug and the person you broke up with was your addiction. During withdrawal, we act out of character as we become desperate just like a drug addict.
Here are four things one can do to stop missing someone after a breakup:
Reconnect with yourself
In a relationship, it’s easy to neglect ‘I’ or ‘me’ and focus on ‘we’ and ‘us’. The end of a relationship offers a unique chance to work on your self-esteem and do things that please you. You can take up a new hobby or reconnect with old friends. The purpose of this is to make you feel good so you don’t get caught in a spiral of sadness and regret.
Try the three
According to psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini, anyone going through heartbreak and unable to stop missing that someone should try three new places to go with a friend or family member.
It can be a coffee shop, a new theatre, a park, or a place of historical importance. The goal is to abandon your usual routine for a new one.
Prepare a list of all their negative traits
They say if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. However, this is one instance where an exception can be made.
Prepare a list of all their negative traits and all the compromises you had to make to keep this relationship intact and save it to your phone. Whenever your mind wanders on them, this list will help keep your focus away.
Social media detox
Keeping away from social media will prevent you from stalking them. Moreover, since you most probably share mutual friends, unfollowing them won’t really help as you’d reminded of the times spent through these mutual followers. The key is to not actively find connections in events on social media and that will prevent you from stop missing them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I miss my ex so much?
It’s natural to miss your ex, as relationships play a significant role in our lives. Here are a few reasons why you might be missing your ex:
• Emotional attachment: Emotional bonds are often deeply rooted in our psyche. It takes time to detach from those emotional ties when a relationship ends. Your feelings of missing your ex can be a reflection of the attachment you formed during the relationship.
• Familiarity: Human beings are creatures of habit, and we find comfort in familiarity. Your ex may represent a sense of stability and routine you’ve grown accustomed to, causing you to miss them.
• Fear of change: Change can be unsettling, and a breakup often brings a drastic shift in our lives. This fear of change can make us yearn for the familiarity of our past relationship, even if it wasn’t ideal.
• Nostalgia: We tend to remember the good times more vividly than the bad. As a result, you might miss your ex as you reminisce about the happy memories you shared together.
• Unresolved feelings: If the breakup was sudden or not amicable, you might still have lingering emotions that you haven’t fully processed. This can lead to feelings of longing and a desire to reconnect with your ex.
Additionally, the sudden absence of the familiarity and comfort that your ex provided may leave you feeling a sense of loss and loneliness.
Why does missing someone hurt so much?
Missing someone can be a deeply emotional and painful experience because it’s rooted in the attachment we form with others.
When we lose that connection, our brains process the pain similarly to how they process physical pain. This emotional pain activates areas of the brain associated with stress, longing, and even addiction, which can lead to an overwhelming sense of sadness and discomfort.
Is it normal to feel a strong longing for someone after a breakup?
Yes, it is entirely normal to feel a strong longing for someone after a breakup.
A breakup can be a significant life event, and the emotions involved can be intense. You may feel sadness, anger, or even guilt, and it’s natural for these emotions to manifest as a strong longing for the person you’ve lost.
It’s important to remember that these feelings are part of the healing process and are necessary for personal growth.
How long goes it take to stop missing someone after a breakup?
There’s no set timeline for how long it takes to stop missing someone after a breakup, as it varies from person to person. Factors like the duration and depth of the relationship, your individual coping mechanisms, and the support system around you can all influence the time it takes to heal.
Some people may find relief in weeks, while others may take months or even years. It’s essential to be patient with yourself and take the necessary time to process and heal from the breakup.
Is being friends with my ex after a breakup possible, or is it better to cut all ties?
Whether or not you can be friends with your ex after a breakup depends on your individual circumstances and the nature of your relationship. If you both end on good terms and have mutual respect for one another, it may be possible to maintain a friendship.
However, if the relationship was toxic or emotionally draining, cutting ties and focusing on your well-being may be healthier. Remember that you should take the time to heal and establish emotional independence before attempting any form of friendship with an ex. Give yourself the space and time to decide what’s best for you.
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