Getting over heartbreak can be difficult. Depending on why you parted ways, the desire to reunite may linger for a long time. Even if you’ve reached the point where you know it’s finally time to move on, it can be tough to figure out how to get on with your life. The Cheat Sheet asked a few relationship experts for their advice on how to get over an ex once and for all.
Allow yourself time to grieve
Getting over an ex is a lot like grieving the death of a loved one because that person is no longer in your life in the same way. You can cherish the memories you have while still feeling good about walking away, or being upset with the way things ended. Some people need to ask for some space with no contact with their ex, while others want to talk things out over a period of time before saying goodbye. Overall, it is important to respect each other’s needs while still getting your own needs met. This can be a difficult balance.
Personally, this is my favorite advice: Remember who you are during a breakup. Sometimes people get lost in love and forget that they can be very happy by themselves. A good way to get through a breakup is to think about what you learned from this relationship and how it changed you as a person for the better. Every person and experience teaches you something. Finding the lesson in this relationship may not make it hurt less, but it lets you know that even through this pain, you are growing. Again, this can be difficult and it is a good idea to talk to trusted friends, family, and a therapist to help you deal with your emotions.
Briana Bogue, marriage and family therapist at Council for Relationships
Take care of yourself
Invest your energy into your life, your family, your friends, your work, and your hobbies. Focus on taking care of yourself, getting healthier, getting stronger. Try new activities and interests. Take your mind off what you lost, and replace it with things that make you feel content and fulfilled.
Don’t deny your feelings
First and foremost, understand that you are human and you will feel. Do not deny the feelings and do not associate them with bad or unhealthy things. They are good and they are healthy. If you see them as bad you will want to do something to make them good again and those things will be reckless (getting back with your ex, dating without boundaries, etc.)
Second, find meaningful outlets. Notice I said meaningful. Find things that occupy your head and your heart, not just your time. If we find things that simply fill time, they will be temporary buffers but will create no meaningful memories. You need meaningful memories that will replace the memories of your ex that you have in your frontal lobe. This is not to suggest that you should just wipe away any memories with your ex — you just need to remove them from the frontal lobe.
Chris Armstrong, certified relationship coach and Owner/Operator of Maze of Love
Get a dose of reality
You can get over your ex by being honest about what the relationship was like and how you each felt in it. All relationships have something to teach you — what you want in a relationship, what didn’t work for you, what relationship skills you need to work on, etc. Value the positive times and learn from the harder ones. Spend time grieving but don’t get stuck. Go out with friends, engage in hobbies, and take your time getting back in the game.
Lesli Doares, couples consultant and coach and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage
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