How To Get Over Your Ex And Move On With Your Life - Max Jancar
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How To Get Over Your Ex And Move On With Your Life

By Max Jancar | Updated: May 1, 2022 | 22 Minute Read | Recovery

How To Get Over Your Ex

Breakups suck. Some people have them harder. Other people have them easier. But most of us go through at least one at some point in our lives.

After spending weeks glued to my computer screen when I had my own breakup, I encountered a glaring problem with the so-called “how to get over your ex” guides on the web: they contained little to no tangible value.

In fact, they were either sales pitches for a product or shallow fluff pieces full of cliches like “work on yourself,” “get back out there,” or “socialize more.”

Don’t get me wrong, these bits of advice can help you get over your ex, but simultaneously, they put forth a nonsensical and dumbed-down picture of what breakup recovery actually looks like.

I’m not going to bullshit you. Getting over your ex is much more complicated than just “going out there and focusing on yourself.” It will take time. It will take grit. It will take immense effort. And it sure as shit will suck.

But there are certain pieces of advice can make this suckage less, err… sucky.

1. Understand Why It’s So Hard To Get Over Your Ex

When you’re in a relationship for an extended period, your identity (a unique mixture of values, beliefs, goals, and lifestyle choices) and your partner’s one begin to intertwine, gradually becoming its own singular entity — a shared identity. (1)

This shared identity further deepens the love, respect, trust, and emotional connection of a couple and helps them live a longer, mentally healthier, and more fulfilling life.

Now, think about this: something that’s an inherent psychological part of you is suddenly stripped away. Undoubtedly, you’d fall into an existential crisis as a result. And you’d start questioning everything you know, everyone you know, and even yourself, and your deepest held values and beliefs.

This is what happens when we get dumped, and it’s plowing through this sort of pain why it’s so damn hard to get over an ex. Generally speaking, the more meaning and emotional value you attach to your relationship, the more empty, hopeless, and miserable you feel now that it’s gone. Sometimes this pain can even get physical. (2)

2. Cut Your Ex Out Of Your Life (Indefinite No Contact)

The best way to get over your ex is to immediately cut them out of your life.  This is where the no contact rule comes in. And while I wrote an entire guide on no contact, here’s a quick rundown.

Don’t call or text your ex anymore. Don’t engage with their social media. Avoid having any accidental encounters with them. Remove everything that’s within your control and has the potential to remind you of them. Throw away any gifts they gave you, or at least lend them to a friend until you’ve moved on. And avoid going to places that elicit (or can elicit) painful memories.

Note that this no contact period should be indefinite. Meaning once your relationship is over, you cut your ex out of your life, walk away, and never look back. Don’t only burn the bridges; annihilate them.

In cases where classic no contact is impossible — like when you live with your ex, have kids together, or work together — use what’s called modified no contact. In other words, you can interact with your ex, but those interactions must be short, to the point, and strictly tied to things like logistics, business, family matters. No mindless chitchat.

Note: Until you’re both over each other or have sorted your emotional shit, refrain from being friends. It will only slow down your recovery.

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3. Feel Your Emotions

This looks like locking yourself into a car or a bedroom when you’re, let’s say, angry, and instead of trying to be happy, you let yourself cry, scream, and punch and kick shit if you have to (be vulnerable!). And then you keep crying and screaming and punching and kicking shit until you’ve let it all out, and you can resume your day-to-day life. And above all, don’t judge yourself.

Feeling your emotions may take from a few minutes to a few hours, but ultimately, it’s different for everyone since we’re all at different points in our breakup recovery. So don’t be pressured to hit a certain time period when doing the activity.

You’ll want to repeat this activity multiple times throughout the days or weeks because emotions eliciting breakup pain will keep regrowing and reappearing until you’ve reached acceptance. So feeling your emotions is not something you do once. It’s an activity you repeat until you’ve got over your ex.

Just whatever you do, again, don’t try to suppress your emotions or escape from them (i.e., indulge in drugs, sweets, rigorous exercise, Youtube binges, etc.) The more you do this, the shittier you’ll feel afterward, and you’ll also be more likely to face mood swings, temper tantrums, and general irritability. At worst, you may develop low-key trauma.

4. Rebuild life-essential areas

There are four key areas where you should start rebuilding your life: sleep, diet, exercise, and hygiene. The faster you get them in order, the sooner you’ll get over your ex and feel like yourself again.

5. Take Care Of Your Well-being

While there are a lot of tips on taking care of your well being out there, here’s a couple that worked best for my readers and me:

6. Socialise

Socializing is paramount when you’re going through a breakup. It helps fend off loneliness and depression, increases your overall happiness, self-esteem, stress coping skills, and even helps you live a fuller and longer life.

So go outside and meet up with your friends or family. Humans are wired for social connection, so you’ll definitely feel better if you get active again in your community and friend groups.

You can even join breakup recovery support groups. These can be accessed via Facebook, Reddit, or obscure online forums. Once you’re there, vent, explain yourself, and help others. Hear what others have to say. Truly listen. You’re never suffering alone. (5)

And while you’re socilizing, consider travel. Perhaps it’s the perspective that it gives you that helps. Or the fact that it forces you to meet and socialize with all kinds of different people. Or that being in another place makes you focus on the actual place instead of a dead relationship. In any case, travel is a great option when you’re trying to get over an ex.

Oh yeah. One last thing. And get a dog if possible. Dogs are proven to be therapeutic as fuck. (6)

7. Start Dating When Reasonable

Dating right after your breakup, means risking getting into an unhealthy rebound relationship, or using dating as a means of distracting yourself from your pain, thus prolonging your recovery.

So here’s what I recommend you do instead: don’t rush into another relationship when you just came out of a fresh one. Take some time off to enjoy the single life, process your grief and other emotions, and get a taste of what living without someone you love feels like. And ONLY start seeing other people when the world of dating starts feeling fun and exciting again.

You have no idea how many people actually hate dating after their breakup, but they do it anyway because it prevents them from dealing with their pain or strokes their ego and makes them feel worthy of love again. Don’t be one of these people.

8. Meditate

I know, I know. You’ve seen meditation listed on just about every other post on how to get over an ex, and you’re probably sick to the stomach reading about it. But have you tried it yet? And if so, did you stick with it for at least a month? You see, most people never start. Don’t be one of them. Try and stick with it for a month, and you’ll see results. I promise. (7)

You don’t even need any fancy equipment to start. Just sit down on the floor cross-legged, close your eyes, spine straight, hands on your lap, and start inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth — like you’re blowing a candle. Continue inhaling and exhaling for 10-15 minutes, and try to keep your focus on the breath. That’s it.

Yes, it will be transcendentally difficult to stay focused on your breath for more than two inhale-exhale motions, but it gets easier over time. Don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up when you screw up. You will screw up.

9. Journal

Journaling is one of the best ways of making your unconscious thoughts, worries, and emotions conscious. Why is this important? Because by becoming aware of them, you can process them faster. And the faster you process them, the sooner you’ll get over your ex. (8)(9)

Journaling also doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply start by writing down what you feel and think at the moment, the lessons your breakup taught you, the hopes you have for the future, the insecurities you have to deal with, or all the things you’re grateful for.

10. Jot Down Your Dreams

Dream reporting boils down to keeping a simple log where you write down the contents of your dreams every morning. Then based on what you’ve written, you seek patterns on what your dreams are trying to communicate in a psychological sense.

This practice makes it easier to process your emotions and deal with grief. On top of that, the simple act of writing down your dreams have a surprisingly potent therapeutic effect that helps you get over your ex — an effect similar to one when journaling. (10)

11. Get Therapy

Therapy is the ultimate breakup-problem obliterator. Most people, however, get stuck in the stage of picking the right type of therapy. I mean, there are shitloads of them out there: CBT, ACT, AEDP, REBT, existential, gestalt, Jungian, interpersonal, humanistic, psychoanalysis, etc.

Look. Don’t be too nervous about choosing the right/wrong form of therapy. There is no right/wrong. All forms of therapy work to some extent and produce, on average, a relatively similar result. Some are just better at certain things than others. (11) (12)

For example, existential therapy, Jungian therapy, and psychotherapy are the go-to choices for trauma survivors, and CBT and ACT are the go-to choices for people suffering from depression or anxiety.

12. Get Breakup Consulting

Breakup consulting/coaching can truly help you get over your ex, but let’s be honest: It’s not a replacement for therapy, nor the equivalent of it. That said, where consulting truly shines is when it’s used in tandem with therapy.

For example, sometimes a therapist can help you uncover and process your unconscious emotions and trauma so you feel better, while a breakup consultant/coach enables you to unearth and change any relationship-sabotaging patterns, unproductive behaviors, or habits and assists you in creating intelligent goals that help you get over your ex faster.

13. Practice Self-Love

The most significant step you can take towards self-love is to accept that you make mistakes and that you’re flawed. Then embrace those imperfections. Sure, you can improve upon them. But you’re okay and worthy even though you have them.

Then there’s the more practical side of self-love you can try out: taking yourself on dates, making gratitude lists, taking a vacation, and changing negative self-talk (i.e., I’m a piece of shit for screwing up my relationship) to a realistic variant (i.e., just made some mistakes, as we all do).

But there is a catch with self-love, and it has to do everything with intentions. If you’re doing it conditionally — that is, because of outside influences — you’re not really doing self-love. The only time you do self-love right is when you do it unconditionally.

This means that if you take yourself, let’s say, on a date to the cinema or make yourself a bubble bath because some random dude on the internet told you to, you’re not really participating in self-love. But if you do those things because you enjoy doing them — because you want to do them — then you are doing self-love right.

14. Practice Gratitude

As cheesy as it sounds, practicing gratitude is a great way to get over your ex and have a more fulfilling existence. It makes you happier, more appreciative, mindful, magnetic, and attractive. It leads to higher self-esteem. It lessens rumination. It helps you deal with stress better. It betters your mental health. (13) (14)

Here’s how to do it: take a few minutes every day to think about what you’re grateful for. This can be anything, although the more specific you can be, the better. Then when you have a few things in mind, either write them down or repeat them to yourself aloud. Keep doing this for a few weeks, and you’re sure as shit going to feel better.

15. Set Smart Breakup Boundaries

Like you can establish boundaries around other people’s behaviors — which ones you’ll tolerate/which ones you won’t — you can establish them around your own behaviors to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain upon yourself. Here are a couple examples.

16. Take responsibility for your breakup

It may not be your fault that your relationship ended, but it’s always your responsibility how you respond to its end.  Let me illustrate my point with an example.

When one of my exes dumped me, I felt miserable for at least a year afterward. That’s to be expected. But I also held her responsible for my misery, which only made me feel more miserable. And while she was to blame for pulling the plug and hurting me, I was still responsible for how I felt. She couldn’t make me happy; only I could make myself happy.

It wasn’t until I figured this out that I started taking responsibility for my breakup and, as a result, feeling better.

17. Forgive

If you’re the reason your relationship failed, forgive yourself. If your ex is the reason your relationship failed, forgive them. And if the breakup is the fault of both — which is most likely — forgive yourself and them. We all make mistakes.

Just don’t misunderstand forgiveness. It doesn’t mean forgetting whatever happened. It simply means deciding to accept it and then remaking that decision in every moment of weakness.

While this may sound abstract, complicated, and unachievable, it really is none of those things. Acceptance doesn’t mean you forget your ex, stop loving them, or make yourself enjoy the emotional place you’re in. It a breakup simply means you’re okay with your situation. You are where you are. You don’t fight this feeling, nor do you try to suppress or deny it.

18. Find New Meaning

You’ll never remove pain from your life. But what you can do to lessen its effect is find something worth suffering for. Find something subjectively more valuable than your dead relationship and focus on it wholeheartedly — something that’s healthy and will keep you moving in the direction of growth and unapologetic self-expression.

This something can be anything: building a business, excelling at a certain career, being a good parent, becoming a Hollywood actor/actress, owning a cabin in the woods, buying a new computer, rebuilding your self-esteem, becoming more attractive, and less needy, etc. Go wild.

19. Stop Being Selfish

Any time you find yourself unable to get over your ex, know this: the more you’ll chase after them and force yourself into their life, the more you’re going to push them away, the more miserable you’ll feel, and the higher you’re going to raise the odds of wrecking your life emotionally; as well as your ex’s.

If this is what you’re doing, cease contact immediately. I know you fear giving them up for a variety of reasons (you don’t feel good enough for anyone else, you feel your ex is irreplaceable, you don’t believe you’ll ever find anyone better, etc.), but you must do it. You must stop being selfish. You must stop wasting their time, and yours.

20. Stimulate those genitals

Masturbation is proven to help you relax and leads to higher quality sleep, reduced stress, enhanced self-esteem, as well as better physical and mental wellbeing and body image. (15)

Inversely to the above, and if you’re a dude, you could try the whole NoFap thing. I’ve heard it’s even more beneficial than masturbating frequently. Yet I still have reservations about the whole thing since there are no real studies on it, nor have I personally found it living up to its promises.

21. Reflect On Your Relationship

People often remember only the good times they had with their ex and disregard the bad — this is a psychological effect known as “seeing through rose-colored glasses,” and it’s insanely frequent with breakup survivors. Don’t give into it, though. Consciously reflect on your relationship and remind yourself how it actually looked like. (16)

And, while reflecting, ponder the lessons your breakup taught you. What are your emotional needs? Do you have any needy tendencies? Any weird or toxic hangups? Any boundary issues? A shitty attachment type, perhaps? Self-esteem issues? Worthiness issues? …those kinds of things.

When you discover your lessons, don’t forget about them. Perhaps even discuss them with a friend, so they stick. The success of your future relationships depends on them.

22. Be Patient

Plenty of experts have tried to estimate how long it takes to get over an ex. There have even been scientific studies and polls done on the matter. Yet the unfortunate reality is that there’s no definitive answer. Chances are, it’s going to take months, maybe even years, to get over your ex. Accept this. There is no shortcut, no magic pill.

Corollary to patience, also be patient with closure. Don’t force your ex to give it to you. None of their answers will be enough. None will make you feel better. It’s only within yourself that you find closure — and you find it in due time.

23. Make Getting Over Your Ex A Habit

Until now, every piece of advice we covered is useless if you use it only once and forget about it. To get over your ex in the fastest way possible, build tiny habits around the pieces of advice that resonate the most with you.

For example: meditate each day for 5 minutes, journal each evening about 200 words, or do 5 minutes of gratitude practice after every breakfast.

Only once you’ve created consistency with a tiny habit for at least a week or two should you add 1% more effort and time to your activities. This will guarantee that your habits don’t become too exhausting and end up killing your motivation to continue doing them.

24. Don’t overwhelm yourself

I see so many people do exactly that, and it never ends well.

They take on five different daily mediation practices, keep three journals, and do qi-gong, yoga, and tai-chi, all in the same afternoon. And when they feel exhausted from doing so much, they assume they need even more stimulation. So they dive into green-juice cleanses, intermittent fasting, cryogenic baths, and the like. And the next thing you know, they’re spending thousands of dollars on stupid self-help seminars and dodgy online courses.

I know you want to get over your ex. I know you want to become a better, happier person. I know you want to squeeze out all that juicy potential from yourself. I commend you for your bravery.

But understand that you don’t need to force yourself into 10 or 20 different activities to achieve these things. Just focus on the few that genuinely resonate with you — those you enjoy doing — and go deep with them. Let them take you to full recovery and beyond.

25. Know When To Stop Working On Yourself

The ultimate goal of breakup recovery or self-help advice is to reach the point where you no longer feel the need for it. If you keep engaging with it, despite already overcoming all of your personal issues, you’ll paradoxically only end up reinforcing the belief that you’re not good enough as you are right now.

And the more you chase unnecessary growth, the more flawed and unhappy you’ll feel. You’ll always think that something is missing from your life, that there’s always some area in which you have to improve even more in, that there’s always some next level you have to reach in order to be happy.

The reality is that after a certain growth period — and this varies from breakup to breakup, person to person — more self-improvement becomes self-defeating. At that point, what you should focus on instead is self-acceptance. If you fail to cultivate it, you’ll be trapped in a perpetual cycle of chasing highs — a hedonic treadmill, per se. You’ll feel like you’re advancing in life, but in actuality, you’ll just be spinning your wheels, going nowhere. (17)

26. Understand that Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds

When you’re trying to get over your ex, time is your biggest ally. Yet, contrary to popular belief, it’s not a miracle cure. Time is your biggest ally when getting over your ex. Yet, contrary to popular belief, it’s not a miracle cure.

While it makes you feel better, it doesn’t heal the trauma you developed due to your breakup, nor does it eliminate emotional problems like low self-esteem and self-worth or buttloads of neediness and codependency.

Time only gives you the mental space, energy, and opportunity to reflect on these things and overcome them by doing something about them — by taking action and investing in yourself.

27. Understand that it’s natural to still love your ex

There will be times when you’ll hate your ex, times when you’ll miss them, and times where you’ll silently realize — and maybe even get a mini heart attack as a result — that, deep down, you still love them. Relax. This is normal. Breakup recovery is never linear. One day you’ll feel one way. The next day you’ll feel another way.

How will you know when you’ve got over your ex? Well, it’s when you start to feel acceptance toward your ex. That’s the most frequent sign, at least. It’s when you still love them, but that love is far less intense and “in your face” than it would be otherwise.

Think of it as a subtler, more calming sense of love — such where you realize that your ex is not coming back, and despite caring for them, you feel okay about it. Maybe you even feel hopeful and excited.

28. Understand that Loss is Inevitable

Human life naturally moves toward entropy. We’ll be dealing with loss and chaos as long as we live, and this goes far beyond our romantic relationships. We’re going to lose our jobs, kids, health, our mom and dad, and we’re going to have to deal with all of it. In the end, we’re even going to start losing ourselves.

Bit by bit, we’re going to begin losing the pieces of our sanity, identity, and soul — the pieces that made us who we are and start to move towards our inevitable demise, the sweet kiss of death. What will you do before she gets you? If you got hit by a car tomorrow and you’d know it, would you still sulk or mope over your breakup?

Probably not.

So focus on what’s actually important. Focus on what’s in front of you. Focus on what you can make of yourself in this one short life so that when Death actually does come, you can proudly give her the middle finger as you whisper your last words and exhale your last breath.

Make this life count. This breakup is a new beginning for you. And I know you don’t believe me, but you really are going to be okay.

If you need more more help healing from your breakup, check out my Radical Recovery Course. With over 5h of video, 200 pages of writing, and personalized 1-on-1 coaching, I'll walk you through every step of the recovery process from start to finish.

Learn How To Stop Obsessing Over Your Ex And Feel Great And Like Yourself Again In No Time

Get a free cheat sheet that will help you emotionally recover from your breakup (whether you want your ex back or not) by giving you quick information about what to expect along recovery, as well as over 40 tips on how to recover faster.

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Learn How To Stop Obsessing Over Your Ex And Feel Great And Like Yourself Again In No Time

Get a free cheat sheet that will help you emotionally recover from your breakup (whether you want your ex back or not) by giving you quick information about what to expect along recovery, as well as over 40 tips on how to recover faster.

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