Anyone who has been through a breakup understands how difficult it is to stop thinking about your ex during those early stages of moving on. I struggled with this in the past but I’ve picked up on some seriously effective solutions for how to stop thinking about an ex.
What you need to understand is that the reason why you’re still thinking about your ex is because it takes time for the heart and mind to detach from someone you’ve been with for a while.
Just because the relationship has ended doesn’t mean the connection you shared with your ex has been severed and forgotten.
You need to give yourself loads of time and new experiences to focus on. When you reach that point in your life of being happily single again, that’s when you’re usually ready to meet someone else because you have finally broken that connection and attachment to your ex.
However, there are a few things that prevent this from happening such as communicating with your ex, keeping reminders of them and a fixation on finding closure.
So, in this article, I’m going to share my experience and lessons learned on how to stop thinking about an ex.
Related post: Why do I still think about my ex every day?
1. Keep yourself busy with necessary activities for survival
When I went through my last breakup, I searched for advice on how to stop thinking about an ex and I found a lot of advice that encouraged me to focus on doing what I want to do.
But, anyone who is actually going through a breakup and can’t stop thinking about their ex understands how difficult it is to even muster up any motivation to think about goals or dreams.
You’re too consumed by those thoughts to even think about other things.
What actually helped me was taking care of business. I realized that I need to take care of myself and my family or else we would be in trouble.
So, I focused on my work. When I wasn’t working, I took over the cleaning and cooking. In other words, I purposefully took on more responsibilities for survival and this helped me to get away from those thoughts about my ex.
This proved to be a coping mechanism that helped me really well during those early days of my breakup.
These sort of activities remind you that there’s more to life than your ex or that relationship and you can’t afford to stop living.
2. Engage in physical work or goals
When you’ve finally gained some control over yourself and those first couple of weeks have passed, it would be a great idea to get back to the grind.
You have all this time on your hands and it would be pointless to waste it on doing fruitless activities.
Channel your feelings and time towards a goal that can improve your life.
For me, it was exercising and building things. I took up woodwork and tiling as a hobby during that time and it kept me busy.
It also got me out of my comfort zone which was the space that made me think about my ex.
Find some sort of activity that require you to use your hands or feet and get out of the house. it will make a huge difference to have even an hour of your life away from those thoughts.
3. Put yourself in social situations
I remember signing up for an extracurricular course in my field of study during a time in my life when I was obsessing over the past and feeling stuck.
My intention was to further my career but I ended up in a social situation with like-minded people who I had to meet on a regular basis for lessons and tests.
In doing so, I noticed that I started to unplug from the past and focus on what was happening in the present moment.
I started socializing with my peers and made new friends.
The more I socialized, the better I felt. It made me realize that there were so many interesting people in the world that could add value to my life.
I swear to God that this was one of the events in my life a few years ago that helped me to stop thinking about an ex.
Trust me when I tell you that I understand how hesitant you feel to step outside. I know that you lack the energy to focus on socializing but you should do it regardless of those feelings and thoughts.
Even if that means having a get together with your friends or hanging out with family, go ahead and do it.
They’ll add new experiences to your mind that will start to take precedence over the thoughts of your ex or the past.
4. Casually date other people
If you’ve put in the time to be alone and there has been quite a long time since your break, it might be a good idea to start dating.
More often than not, I advise people to avoid dating until they have spent enough time processing their feelings and moving on from their ex.
But, at a certain point, you have to start looking at the possibility of meeting someone else.
You’ll be surprised at how many great people are out there who are just looking for an opportunity to connect with someone like you.
Don’t even start dating for the express purpose of being in a relationship. Just put yourself out there with low expectations. Just focus on meeting people and having a good time getting to know different types of people.
Eventually, you’re going to meet someone who knocks your socks off. By then, you probably won’t even be thinking about your ex anymore.
5. Remove all reminders of your ex
The mind will always focus on that which it is exposed to. And if it’s been exposed to something for a long time, the only way to break free of it is via a cold turkey withdrawal approach.
Atleast, this has been the case with me.
Holding onto photos, videos, texts and gifts only keep you attached to an ex. There’s no way you’re going to stop thinking about them when your phone gallery is filled with reminders of them and that relationship that no longer exists.
For this reason, it is imperative that you remove all of these reminders of your ex for the foreseeable future.
You don’t have to delete everything or throw away these reminders. Just store them away from your sight until you have completely moved on and stopped thinking about your ex.
Related post: How to stop thinking about your ex
6. Remove your ex from social media altogether
Like a recovering drug addict, you absolutely cannot allow yourself to get a hit because it will undo all the progress you’ve made to move on.
You already have these thoughts about your ex, it makes no sense to add more things to think about by exposing yourself to their social media updates.
We have absolutely no control over what our exes choose to post online.
The last thing you want to do is see pictures of your ex looking happy or moving on. It will hurt your feelings and add more fuel to the fire that you have for him or her.
Either remove them from social media altogether, mute their updates or just deactivate your accounts for a while.
Related post: Should I reach out to my ex who dumped me?
7. Restrict the amount of time you spend talking about your breakup
I remember when I was much younger, my girlfriend at the time left me and due to my inexperience, I didn’t see it coming.
So, it was quite hard for me to wrap my head around what happened. And so, I tried to find some kind of explanation that would make sense of it all.
I was the kind of person who fixates on finality and closure. Problem is, you don’t always get the answers you need after a breakup. You don’t always get a clean break or closure from your ex.
And so, I spent far too much time talking about my breakup with everyone. I went overboard with my best friend and it turned really unhealthy.
I realized that by not moderating myself, I turned every area of my life into a therapy session for my breakup.
That was unhealthy because it gave me no escape. Unintendedly, I was creating more reasons to hold onto a relationship that had ended.
Looking back, it feels like I did this as a way of avoiding reality. Subconsciously, I knew that I would move on if I stopped fixating on my breakup with everyone important in my life and so I kept talking about it months later.
Eventually, I broke out of that because I just wanted to be free from the past.
By choosing to have a good time with my friends and family instead of dredging up the past, I was able to get lost in the moment and enjoy myself.
At a certain point, you have to stop analyzing your ex or the breakup with the people in your life. Letting go might mean abandoning the idea of seeking closure and answers.
It’s okay because the end of a relationship is not the end of your story.
Related post: Am I still in love with my ex or just lonely?
8. Embrace the suck
When doing some research on obsessive disorders, I came across many books that share the same sentiment about thoughts.
The more you try to resist a thought, the more power it gains over you.
If we apply that to the situation of thinking about an ex, the more you try to ignore those thoughts about them, the more they subsist.
You’re creating more of an emotional reaction to those thoughts by fighting them which adds more value to those thoughts.
We have so many thoughts every single day and yet half of them come into our mind and exit just as easily.
But, if we were to try to fight those thoughts, they would become more noticable and harder to control
When trying to stop thinking about an ex, you should actually just stop trying.
By allowing yourself to experience these thoughts and feelings without judgment and without acting on them, they gradually lose their hold over you.
Eventually, like most unpleasant thoughts that fade away from your brain as quickly as they pop in, these thoughts about your ex will soon dissipate because you stop placing so much importance on them.
A breakup is difficult and painful. You will have to go through a phase of missing your ex but so does everybody.
You’re going to be okay and you’re definitely going to move on.
But, you can’t skip this phase or else you’ll remain stuck in the past.
Allow yourself some time to process these thoughts and emotions. As time goes on, you’ll eventually gain some control over your life. The new routines and activities in your life will start infiltrating your thoughts.
The reminders of the past will decrease and you’ll muster up the energy and courage to start experiencing life again.
As you make new memories, you’ll have loads of new things and people to think about. That’s when you’ll truly stop thinking about an ex.
Related post: What to do when you’re still in love with your ex
Before you leave this article, I highly suggest that you consider using no contact if you haven’t as yet. It is one of the most effective tools for moving on from an ex and it speeds up the process.
I know that you’re currently struggling to keep it together right now but I promise you that this too shall pass.
Take as much time as you need to move on. Focus on channeling all this love and time that you now have towards improving yourself.
You will gain so much of strength by developing a better relationship with yourself.
With that being said, I hope you found solace and help in this article on how to stop thinking about an ex. If you would like to get personalized email coaching, be sure to check out my services page for more information. Please stay strong and take care of yourself!
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