For a select few people, when they experience a breakup, they feel sad, mourn the relationship, and move on. But then there’s the rest of us: if you can’t stop obsessing over your ex, you know what I mean.
Just the thoughts of an ex can make it near-impossible to eat, let alone think about re-downloading dating apps.
If that’s you, I’m here to say that you’re not alone. Your breakup consuming your life is what many people go through (me included). But you don’t have to keep living with this pain and sadness. It’s possible to free your mind from the grip that thoughts of your ex have on it.
Sure, it’ll take time. You might slip up and sneak a peek at your ex’s Instagram. You’ll have nights when all you want to do is cry while watching proposal videos on TikTok. But with time and practice, and the tips I’m about to give you, things will get better.
Because time really does heal wounds. And with enough time, you’ll look back on this breakup with minimal feelings.
Hell, you might even get to the point where you feel indifferent about your ex and wonder why you were ever so sad about them (let’s hope for that).
In the meantime, let’s talk about tips to help you move on from your breakup and stop obsessing over your ex:
1. Block them on social media, at least just for a bit.
Imagine being addicted to cigarettes, but whenever you’re craving one, you take a little puff. It might feel good at the moment, but you make things harder for yourself in the long run.
That’s what it’s like when you keep obsessing over your ex.
Checking their social media might seem innocent, but you’re only making your pain last longer. Instead, take all temptation away by blocking them on social media, deleting their number, and getting rid of anything that reminds you of them.
When I give this advice, I get the reply, “But what will they think? Isn’t that immature?” often. To that, I say: who cares?
You have to look out for your well-being first. It’s emotionally mature to give yourself the best opportunity to move on. Prioritize your needs first.
2. Create a break-up list.
You know what feeling makes it the hardest to stop obsessing over your ex?
When people reflect on past relationships, they tend to only focus on the good. That’s called romanticizing, and it will keep you stuck in a fantasy land that’s not reality.
So I want you to create a list, preferably on your phone, so you have it at all times. Write down everything you didn’t like about your ex, the relationship, and any memory with them where you were unhappy.
Then, whenever you’re missing your ex like crazy, read that list. It’ll help take them off the pedestal that we often put our exes on.
3. Invest more time and energy into the things you love.
The power of distraction is very real. Your thoughts can’t race off to when you and your ex were together if you’re too busy doing whatever it is that brings you joy. Plus, I’m sure you can reason with yourself that your ex doesn’t deserve more of your mental energy than they’ve already taken.
The first step to this is figuring out how you love spending your time. For me, that looks like walking my dog while listening to an audiobook or losing myself in a good book. Pinpoint at least three or four things that you love doing and start prioritizing them.
Trust me; you deserve it.
4. Re-connect with your friends.
It’s a sad fact that we tend to lose contact with friends when we get into relationships. It’s so enticing to start spending all our free time with our new boo. But when you break up, it’s like having a veil lifted from your face, and you realize how much you miss the friends you lost touch with.
Now is the perfect time to reach out to them. Schedule some coffee dates or plan a hike. Remind yourself how important it is always to prioritize your other relationships in your life, especially friends.
5. Re-frame your breakup story.
Right now, you’re thinking a lot of things. Maybe you’re hung up on questions like “what if I’d been different” or “what if I’d tried harder?” But all those questions are doing is creating this narrative that your relationship was meant to happen, and you someone messed it up.
When in reality, people love many times. It doesn’t mean that the relationships that don’t last are failures. It’s more like they were lessons. Your ex taught you a lot about what you do and don’t want from a relationship. Plus, you probably grew as an individual.
Instead of thinking your breakup story was a waste of time, think of it as a chapter in your book. The story was exciting and filled with good moments, but it was never meant to last forever, and that’s OK.
You can have lingering feelings and move on.
The tricky thing about feelings is that sometimes, they don’t completely go away. What’s even weirder is that how long you were with your ex doesn’t determine how long those emotions will stick around. You could’ve been together years or only a few months, but that doesn’t determine how real your feelings are.
Even if a part of you feels your stomach flutter from just hearing someone say your ex’s name, that doesn’t mean you can’t move on. As long as you’re ready to let them go, then you deserve to try and move forward with your life. A new kind of love is waiting out there, and it might just surprise you.