How to Stop Thinking About Your Ex

Goda Brzozauskaite
  • Apr 14, 2022
  • 5 min read
lonely young woman tearing photo of ex boyfriend

Ending a relationship can be tricky; even when handled with sensitivity, it can be extremely depressing. Forgetting an ex is often difficult, painful, and equally frustrating. The moments you spent together, the promises, and even your own future may flash before your eyes.

Moreover, the breakup has the power to shake your foundation of belief. You start questioning your confidence, self-image, and your faith in love. The process is excruciating emotionally, mentally, and even physically. 

It even hurts more when you come to know that your ex has already moved on, and you are still stuck in the same place. 

You start trying several things just to distract yourself by keeping yourself busy, working hard, hanging out with friends, but in the end, when you come back home and lie on your bed, you might encounter the same thoughts

However, even if this stage usually ends within several months for most people, these months can have a highly negative effect on your mental health and even cause situational depression.

In this article, I will give you some tips on how to stop thinking about your ex and move on with less pain.

How to Get Over a Breakup?

If you have just experienced a breakup, dealing with the overall loss experience will likely make your thoughts about ex fade away with time. 

Nonetheless, it is tough to get over your loss, and moving on might feel unattainable at first. It's common for a person to feel like losing a loved one after the breakup. In this stage, you might want to suppress your feelings and forget your ex completely. It might feel like you are the only one going through such a hell, but many people have been in this position.

It's fine to be sad about this loss. Painful emotions cannot be buried and forgotten. Confronting your feelings without judgment can make it much simpler to get beyond your pain. If you want to cry, do so. 

In the meantime, you can also try these tips.

1. Visiting new places

Visiting the same places can bring back memories. So, it can be a great opportunity to explore the city (if you live in one) and find new locations to spend some quality time. 

Exploring can also help you find something you enjoy or learn something new. You might, for example, find an interesting pottery class just around the corner. It will also help you meet new people with the same interests and will leave less time for overthinking.

2. Taking command and letting go of things

Many people probably told you to move on because you cannot change the past. While it takes some time to grieve, getting stuck in the cycle of sleeping-eating-trying-to-forget for too long can make you feel lost and increase overthinking.

The quickest way out is to overcome your fears by accepting the truth and dealing with it. This is definitely not easy, but reaching out for help from your trusted friends, family members, or professionals can give you motivation and support. 

3. Trying behavioral techniques

Several behavioral techniques can help reduce intrusive thoughts over your ex. For example, wearing an elastic band over your wrists and snapping it whenever you remember your ex can help. Or you could scribble down your thoughts on a sheet and then discard it out. You may also try a visualization practice, in which you must envision a specific scene, such as a big red stop sign, anytime you have thoughts about your ex. 

Each of these methods entirely relies upon your capacity to detect whenever a notion of your ex crosses your mind and take measures to avoid it from returning.

4. Try thinking about your future

It’s normal for people to ruminate about the future that they have lost. Try to concentrate on positives by convincing yourself of all the beautiful things you can achieve without your ex. Plan what you want to achieve and improve to become happy while relying on your own.

You can try to reduce stress by following good habits. Ensure to take enough rest and sleep on a routine basis. Meditating can assist you in reclaiming your confidence and letting go of tension from your breakup. Start appreciating daily life and goals as well.

5. Want to stay friends?

At a certain point, while figuring out how to forget about them, you will realize that you can be friends with your ex. You may think that you have broken up and can not be together as a couple, but you can still be friends, just helping out each other.

However, you should evaluate this idea carefully. Most of the time, people try to switch to friendship instantly because it’s a way to cope with emotional pain. Therefore, the best idea is to take some time apart. 

If you just jump right into friendship, you might continue thinking about your ex like your companion since the coupling link hasn't been broken yet, and it can even affect your future relationship. 

6. Distance yourself

Even if the relationship did not end in acrimony, giving yourself some space by getting rid of your ex’s possessions and blocking them on social media for some time could be a good idea. If you can’t stop thinking about your ex, it will be a good reason to stop going through memories and checking what they are doing or inquiring about their activities from mutual friends.

For more information on how to get over a breakup, check this article.  

How to Forget Your Ex?

If some months have passed, but you still can’t stop loving a person who is no longer with you, you are probably experiencing unrequited love

Anthropologist Helen Fisher, a scientist who studied love for decades, says that sometimes, people might become even more in love with someone who left them. 

Moreover, overcoming unrequited love can be very hard if you think that there is the slightest chance of getting back together. 

However, even if it will be hard for you to give up every bit of hope, there are some other things you might try in the meantime. 

1. Get them out of your sight

According to scientists, the first thing you should do is limit the reminders of your ex as much as possible. Unfollow them on social media, delete or put photos of them out of reach. Even looking at a photo of a person you love triggers a release of dopamine in your brain.  

2. Try to find closure

Maybe you don’t understand what happened, and that is the reason why you keep ruminating about your ex. Or maybe you still don’t accept the fact that this chapter of your life is over. While talking with your ex may not always be a good idea, you can try to end this from your side. A good way is to express your feelings in a goodbye letter. 

Write a letter to your ex or the relationship that you had. List the things that you will cherish, what you have learned, and things you haven’t had a chance to tell them. You don’t have to mail it. The goal of this letter is to release your emotions. 

3. Consider seeking help

If you are struggling alone, therapy can help you move on faster. It’s especially beneficial if you are experiencing depressive symptoms, dealing with trauma or self-destructive behavior, or start to have obsessive-compulsive disorder tendencies.

A therapist can help you deal with painful emotions and feelings, regain your self-esteem and find what can help you move on. During therapy, you might even reveal the cause of why you can’t stop thinking about your ex. It will also help avoid blame and find a healthy closure. 

Sometimes, grief counseling can help you make sense of your loss and adapt to life after the breakup. 

If you experienced emotional abuse in your past relationship, therapy is the best way to start healing and prepare for the next healthy relationship. 

Nowadays, instead of visiting the counselors in a clinic, you can opt for private and comfortable online counseling. Online therapy allows you to communicate with a therapist every day via messages, and it can be very beneficial at first. Moreover, messaging can help you feel more secure if you struggle with opening up.

Bottom Line

A breakup can have significant consequences on your mental and physical health, particularly if you're thinking about it for several months. 

If you are recently separated, finding ways to distract yourself, getting emotional support from friends, and trying behavioral techniques can help you reduce thoughts about your ex. 

In case you have been struggling for several months, putting your ex completely out of sight is the first thing you should do. Seeking professional help in this situation is also very beneficial as it will also help you overcome painful feelings.

If you don’t have a counselor yet and would like to try online therapy, reach out to us at DoMental. Our therapist will assist you and help you overcome this phase of your life. 

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