Breakups. Some people have them harder, some easier, but we all go through them at some point, and they always suck.
After my most notable breakup, I started frantically rummaging the Internet for answers on how to get over my ex. Luckily, with a quick Google search, I got access to a boundless sea of breakup advice. And, oh boy, was I fucking thrilled to get my answer.
I’ve read every sweet article, listened to every succulent podcast, and watched every savory video I could find. I was like a starved dog thrown out to rot, who just uncovered an open truck full of fresh doggy-delicacies.
However, after spending weeks glued to my computer screen, I’ve encountered a glaring problem with all the so-called “how to get over your ex” guides: they contained little to no tangible value.
These guides were either sales pitches for a product or shallow fluff pieces full of cliches and drivel like “work on yourself,” “get back out there,” or “just socialize more.”
Don’t get me wrong, these bits of advice do help people get over an ex, but at the same time, they put forth a nonsensical and dumbed-down picture of what breakup recovery actually is.
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, grit, and effort — and it will suck.
But ultimately, that suck will be worth it because as you reach the other side of your painful recovery, you’re going to become a more compassionate, resilient, and overall better person.
So, grab a gallon of ice cream or a bottle of whiskey, and let’s get through this fucker together.
WHY BREAKUPS HURT SO MUCH And Why It’s so Hard To Move On
After your relationship’s death, the biggest foe that’s keeping you stuck is the fact that a part of you died with it. Here’s what I mean…
When you’re in a relationship for some time, the values, beliefs, and goals you and your partner share begin to intertwine. This process makes it possible for the two of you to become one. Your partner infuses with a part of your identity, and you infuse with a part of theirs. As a result, the two of you form a “shared identity.”
The shared identity carries many benefits. It deepens the love, respect, trust, and emotional connection between you and your partner. It helps you live a longer, mentally healthier, and more fulfilling life. And it provides your life with one more facet of purpose.
However, this formation of life purpose is not limited to only romantic relationships. You can even start to form one by cultivating a deep and fulfilling relationship with your career, body, family, and friends.
Now, think about this: something that’s a part of you, something that provided your life with meaning and fulfillment, is suddenly stripped away.
Without a doubt, you’d fall into an existential crisis as a result — one where you’d start to question everything you know, everyone you know, and even yourself, and your deepest core values. And the same result would occur whether your relationship was toxic or healthy because, in the end, it was still yours.
As if that wasn’t enough, the more meaning and emotional value you attached to your past relationship, the more empty, hopeless, and miserable you feel now that it’s gone. And sometimes the emotional pain of a breakup hurts so much that it even causes debilitating physical pain. Science proves this by reporting that the same brain regions activated when we endure intense physical pain are also activated when we endure intense emotional pain.
However, the pain-train doesn’t stop there. It get’s even worse. If you keep marinading yourself in your emptiness, hopelessness, and misery, you’ll risk staying stuck in the past, chasing after an old life, a life that is now dead. This tendency is the equivalent of mental, emotional, and spiritual stagnation.
So, how do you move forward instead of backward? Well, it all starts with four simple (yet emotionally difficult) steps.
- Why Do Breakups Hurt And What Can You Do About It
- Breakups Through The Lens Of Attachment Theory.
- 3 Beliefs That Keep You Heartbroken And How To Overcome Them
- 5 Fallacies That Prevent You From Finding Love Again
- 8 Stages Of A Breakup (And How To Navigate Each One)
- 7 Types of Breakups (And How To Navigate Each One)
- The Biggest Post-Breakup Lie We All Fall For
1. THE FOUR FIRST STEPS TO GETTING OVER AN EX
Step 1: Decide that you’re going to get over your ex. Decide that you’re going to retake control over your emotions, identity, and life. Decide you’re going to do all of this despite the odds. Then keep making that decision in each and every moment: when you wake up, while you brush your teeth, while you push out your morning turn, while you drive to work, while you work, while you cook/grab breakfast, lunch, dinner, and so forth. You get the idea…
Step 2: Take responsibility for your breakup. It might not be your fault that your relationship ended, but it’s always on you how you’ll respond to its end.
Here’s what I mean. When my girlfriend 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 didn’t get me very far. It just made me feel worse. Now, while she was to blame for pulling the plug and hurting me, I was still responsible for how I felt. And because I couldn’t take any responsibility, I unnecessarily suffered longer. So again, it’s not your ex’s responsibility to make you happy. It’s yours. Take it.
Step 3: If you’re the reason your relationship ended, forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. If your ex is the reason why your relationship ended, forgive them. Again, we all make mistakes. And if the breakup is the fault of both of you — which is most likely — forgive them and you.
And don’t misunderstand forgiveness. It doesn’t mean forgetting or being okay with whatever happened. It simply means deciding to accept what happened and letting go, and then remaking that decision in every moment of weakness. Accept and let go. Accept and let go. Accept and let go.
Talking about acceptance…
Step 4: Accept your breakup. While this may sound abstract, complicated, and most likely unachievable, it really is none of those things. Accepting your breakup doesn’t mean you forget your ex, stop loving them, or make yourself like the emotional place you’re in right now. Accepting a breakup simply means you accept your situation. You are where you are. You don’t fight this feeling, nor do you try to suppress or deny it. You’re simply okay with it, even though it hurts.
Obviously, these four steps are not always easy to do or to keep doing. So to make this easier, try creating a daily habit around them. For example, every morning, remind yourself, “Move on, it’s over for a reason. You’re responsible for your life. Don’t play the victim. I forgive myself. I forgive my ex. I accept my loss. Work on yourself, etc.”
Above all, remember this: after loss, there’s always rebirth. When you lose someone, you concurrently make space in your life for someone else to fill. When you lose yourself, you at some point also find yourself again. When you lose your old life, you at some point build a new, and better one.
A word of warning: many people begin to yearn for their ex during this period. While there’s nothing wrong with reconciliation, I generally advise people to find someone else instead. This is because of three reasons:
First, if two people broke up, they probably weren’t compatible. And if they suddenly get back together, their incompatibility is will not magically go away, at least not with months or even years of mutual self-improvement. So odds are that they’ll just break up again shortly.
Second, most people want their ex back due to their fear of not finding anyone else or because they don’t feel worthy of anyone else. If these kinds of people get their ex back, the usual result is an unsatisfying relationship or a downright toxic. For example, a relationship where you’re trapped in a perpetual cycle of breaking up and getting back together.
Third, the odds of staying together with your ex after a breakup are not in your favor. Therefore I often deem the whole venture a waste of time. I know this sounds counterintuitive since most “get your ex back” experts tell you otherwise, but it’s the truth. Those people lie through their teeth so you buy their products.
- Stop Trying To Overcome Your Anger After A Breakup
- How To Get Back With Your Ex The Right Way
- The Bullshit Behind The “How To Get An Ex Back” Gurus
- Should I Take My Ex Back?
- Let Go Of Your Ex To Get Them Back
- How Often Do Exes Come Back After A Breakup
- 10 Signs Your Ex Is Never Coming Back (And Some Sobering Advice)
- 11 Signs Your Ex Will Eventually Come Back (And Some Sobering Advice)
2. Cut Your Ex Out Of Your Life (Indefinite No Contact)
To get over your ex as fast as possible, you have to emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually cut them out of your life for a certain period. This is what the no contact rule helps you with.
No contact is a technique where you refrain from contacting your ex in any way, shape, or form. During this period, you don’t call them, you don’t message them, you don’t like their social media posts, nor do you wish them a happy birthday, and you definitely don’t have any “accidental” encounters with them.
Some people say this no contact period should last from 21 all up to 90 days. I disagree with that mentality. I insist that if your ex left you, or even if you left them, you should walk away and never look back.
However, that doesn’t mean ignoring your ex if they do reach out. If that happens, be human. If you want them back, tell them that. If you want to heal, tell them not to contact you because you’re trying to heal. And if they keep bugging you and don’t respect your wishes, block them.
But what about cases where no contact is impossible? Cases where you live with your ex, or you have kids together, or you work together? Well, that’s where modified no contact comes in. The only difference between the classic and modified is that in the latter you’re “allowed” to contact your ex. However, this contact must be short, to the point, and strictly tied to logistics, business, or family matters.
In addition to no contact, it would also be wise to remove anything that is within your control and has the potential to remind you of your ex, making you more likely to reach out.
Your phone is a solid starting point. Delete your ex’s phone number, any photos of them, your text/social conversations, and your email exchanges. Then unfriend and unfollow them on all social media channels.
Next, throw away any gifts that your ex gave you or things that remind you of them. But if that’s too much for you, at least hide them in a closet or give them to a friend for safekeeping until you’ve healed.
And finally, until you’ve gotten over your ex, avoid going to places that you’ve loved to go to when you were still together. Even better, find new fun places to spend your time and create new sources of meaning in.
- How To Survive A Breakup (56 Quick Tips To Heal A Broken Heart)
- 4 Reasons Why You’re Missing your ex And How To Stop
- The Ultimate Guide To The No Contact Rule
- The Best Way To Handle Social Media After A Breakup
- How To Forget About Your Ex: 12 Tips To Get Your Life Back On Track
3. Grieve Fully (The Art Of Letting Go)
Pain is an inseparable thread in the fabric of our life; It’s always there, always present, and no one can protect us from it. The more we try to scratch, burn, starve, choke, or therapy our pain from our life, the more of it we’ll feel. And, not only that we can’t rid pain from our life, but we also shouldn’t. An attempt to tear out pain also unravels everything else with it.
So, the only thing we can do is accept our pain, live with our pain, survive, and maybe even thrive despite our pain. And one way of doing this is by grieving fully, or more often called, letting go.
In its simplest form, letting go means becoming aware of a specific feeling, allowing it to come up, clutching it tightly, and then letting it flow away from us without judgment or any desire to change it.
When you feel a certain negative emotion — be it anxiety, anger, sadness, or hurt — let yourself feel the very depths of it. Don’t try to suppress or avoid it. Find a place where you won’t be disturbed, like, a bedroom or a car, and then let it rip. Don’t think. Just let yourself cry, wail, and punch holes in the walls if you have to.
You can also amplify your negative emotions by telling yourself things like, “I feel like shit, “I’m going to die,” or “I’ll never be the same again.” The reason one would say these things to oneself is to squeeze all the hurt out if them.
This process may take you from a few minutes to several hours, but ultimately, it’s different for everyone since we are all at different points in our breakup recovery. So don’t be pressured to reach a certain time period.
In general, you’ll want to repeat this activity multiple times throughout the days or weeks because negative emotions will keep regrowing until you’ve reached acceptance. Therefore, this process of letting go is not something you do once and forget about it. It’s an activity you repeat until you have finally outgrown and transcended the longing for your ex.
Just whatever you do, don’t try to suppress your emotions or try 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 way more likely to face mood swings, temper tantrums, and general irritability. At worst, you may even develop trauma.
- How To Be Vulnerable In A Relationship
- How To Grow From Your Breakup Pain
- How To Be Happy After A Breakup
- Accepting A Breakup
4. Take care of the life-essentials
If you’re like most people, you probably have difficulty sleeping and focusing on work after your breakup. Maybe you also struggle to eat, or you’ve begun to binge eat? Hell, you probably even quit exercising and instead fused your flesh with the living room sofa.
I get it. Breakups hurts like hell. You’re feeling lonely, you’re pissed off, and you just want to stay in bed all day. It’s fine. Go and do that for a while. Take a week or two off. Just know that you can’t afford to stay that way, or you’ll end up miserable. Sooner or later, you will have to snap back to reality, get off your ass, and get your life in order. However, don’t feel pressured that you need to do it all in one go. Start rebuilding your life slowly, day by day, so you don’t overwhelm yourself.
Below, I’ve outlined five key areas in which you should start rebuilding your life: sleep, exercise, hygiene, diet, and general well-being. The faster you get them in order the sooner you’ll feel like yourself again.
Get some sleep. Seriously. It’s been proven that people who get less than 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night are more irritable, less focused and way more prone to anxiety and depression. If you have trouble sleeping after your breakup, there are many things you can do to turn around the situation.
First, start with the basics: rebuild your sleeping patterns. Commit to waking up and going to bed at the same time every night. Second, limit or eliminate caffeine and alcohol, and turn any screens off at night. Third, incorporate an exercise regime into your afternoons or evenings. You can do weight or cardio, whatever feels best. And lastly, experiment with sleep-aid devices like white-noise machines, sleep sounds/music, and relaxation exercises.
No matter how much pain you feel, you have to muster up the energy to perform some form of physical exercise at some point. As mentioned previously, this will also help you get better sleep.
Your exercise doesn’t have to be hardcore. You can start small as with a walk for 20 minutes every morning or a bike ride for an hour every evening. You can also just lift weights at hope or use a trusty stair stepper. Just know that activities done in nature are proven to be more relaxing and therapeutic than those done at home, the gym, or any other closed place.
I won’t overindulge in this topic because I assume that you already have your personal hygiene in order. The only reason I’m throwing this bullet-point in here is because many people need to be reminded that they stink after five days of mulling and weeping in bed due to their breakup.
So rapid-fire: shower at least once a day, wash your hair and teeth, invest in quality clothing (this does not mean expensive), clip your nails, use deodorant. Just look presentable… Don’t be a slob.
You know the drill: you get your heart shattered, and suddenly you end up at the nearest TV with a bowl of chocolate ice cream in your hands. Soon, one bowl turns into ten bowls, with the addition of salty chips, Oreos, and Jaffa Cakes.
Look, do yourself a favor and cut any sweets out of your diet. Having an abundance of sugar in your body is proven to make you more emotionally volatile, increasing the likelihood of drastic mood swings or temper tantrums.
Another thing you can do to improve your diet and your overall health is to cut out any wheat-based goodies, like pasta or bread. Those foods cause brain fog, lower productivity, make you gain rapid weight, and make you feel stodgy — which no one wants.
A couple of tips:
- If you’re working long hours, maybe even late into the night, creating a stop point would be beneficial. As would cutting your workload be.
- Learn to say “no” more times to the requests of other people.
- Cut back on the booze if you think you’re drinking too much. Similarly, reducing smoking or other drugs would be very helpful.
- Do a social media detox. Or even better, quit social media altogether, especially if it makes you anxious, irritated, or full of FOMO.
- If you’re watching, reading, or listening to things that piss you off(e.i, news), stop watching, reading, or listening to those things for a while.
- If you’re distracting yourself with something – a.k.a, indulging in escapism, try to catch and stop yourself from doing that.
- The Guide To Healthy Boundaries In A Relationship
- 12 Powerful Solution For When You Can’t Sleep After A Breakup
- How To Stop Feeling Worthless And Inadequate After A Breakup
- How To Stop Being Needy After A Breakup
5. Socialise now — Date when ready
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 well-being and even helps you live a fuller and longer life. So go outside and meet up with your friends or family. Besides, humans are wired for social connection. It’s obvious that you’ll feel better if you get active again in our community or friend groups.
An offshoot of getting your needs for connections met, would be getting a pet —specifically, a dog. Dogs are proven to be therapeutic for those dealing with grief and loneliness. Plus, a pet’s unconditional love is also a nice, warm, and fuzzy bonus.
Now, when it comes to dating, it’s a whole other story.
Many dating coaches blazon how you should start dating other people, even if it’s just a week after your 10-year relationship collapsed. I call BS on this perspective.
If you start dating right after your breakup, you’ll risk ending up in an unhealthy rebound relationship, or you’ll use dating as a distraction that will prevent you from dealing with your breakup pain and consequentially delay 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. Instead, take some time off to enjoy the single life, to process your grief and other emotions, and to get a taste of what living without someone you cherished feels like. And only start seeing other people when the world of dating starts feeling fun and exciting again.
I can’t stress this enough. You have no idea how many people tell me that they 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. 90% of the time, they’re even more miserable than when they were before they started dating. Again, start dating when it feels fun. Here’s another way you can look at it: start dating when you’re not motivated to do it by fear or hurt.
Oh yeah, and one last thing: never be friends with an ex. Ever. Even if you want them back after a breakup. Even if they mean the world to you. Hell, even if you share an apartment or have kids together. There’s just too much emotional baggage tied to the both of you, which as a result, prevents you from forming any lasting friendship. So don’t even try. At least not until you both are over each other, and there’s absolutely no emotional residue of wanting to rekindle things left.
Note: a commenter pointed out that one should also consider travel as an option when trying to get over an ex. Perhaps it’s the perspective that travel gives you that helps. Perhaps it’s the fact that it forces you to meet and socialize with all kinds of different people — including fresh dating options! Perhaps being in another place makes one focus on the actual place instead of a dead relationship.
In any case, I found myself nodding in agreement with the statement. Travel is a good option when recovering from a breakup. It helped me a lot, too. So consider it. It’s not like you have to fly to a whole other continent (even thought that’s probably a good idea, and an experiance you’d never forget) You can simply visit an unknown nearby town and still feel a therapeutic effect.
- How Everyone Gets The Stages Of A Rebound Relationship Wrong
- How A Rebound Relationship Can Save Your Life
- The Importance Of Dating In A Relationship
- Can You Be Friends With Your Ex? (The Dos And Don’ts)
- My Ex Is Ignoring Me: Why They Do It And How To Deal With It
6. Leverage Proven Healing Modalities
It’s no secret that breakups hurt. Below are what I consider the best ways you can recover and eleviate some of that hurt. I’ve seen these things work firsthand with most of my clients and hundreds of readers with who I conversed till now.
I know, I know. You’ve seen meditation listed on just about every other post on getting over an ex, and you’re probably sick to the stomach reading about it. But let me ask you this: have you tried it yet? And if you did, have you at least stuck with it for one month?
Most people never start and thus, never experience the results the practice gives. Don’t be one of those people. Try it. Stick with it. You’ll see results, I promise.
Not only will meditation help you recover faster, but it will also lessen your anxiety and worry and make you more productive, self-aware, and emotionally intelligent.
The benefits of mediation transcend breakups and help improve most, if not all, the essential areas of your life. So, please do yourself a favor and try it out. My best advice is to use an app like Calm or Headspace at the start, then once you’re comfortable, try the practice without it.
Journaling is one of the best ways of making your unconscious thoughts, worries, and emotions conscious. This further leads to more clarity and faster recovery.
Also, journaling doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply start by writing down what you feel and think at the moment. Then you can start writing about the lessons your breakup taught you, the hopes you have for the future, the insecurities you have to deal with to not face another heartbreak, and all the things you’re grateful for.
An excellent resource for starting with journaling is a site called TheDailyStoic. It’s where I’ve learned it. But you can always opt-in for other websites. These days it feels like every other self-help blogger and their dog writes about journaling (including myself).
At its core, dream reporting translates 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. But not in a spiritual kind of sense, but a psychological one.
Dreams give us insight into what post-breakup emotions and worries we need to focus on and process. On top of this, the simple act of jotting our dreams down has a therapeutic effect on us, making us feel more at ease despite our heartbreak. Put differently, knowing what you dream about helps you get over your ex faster.
Qi-gong is an ancient Chinese system of physical exercises and breathing control. It’s like meditation; only it consists of more movement. Also, there’s a vast amount of scientific studies backing up the effectiveness of the practice. Studies ranging all the way back from 1964 to recent years report that qi-gong highly benefits one’s mental and emotional health.
Therapy is a breakup-problem obliterator, especially for people who want nothing to do with their ex anymore. However, most get stuck in the stage of picking the right type of therapy. I mean, there’s shitloads of them out there: CBT, ACT, AEDP, REBT, existential, gestalt, Jungian, interpersonal, humanistic, psychoanalysis, and on and on it goes.
Don’t be too nervous about choosing the right/wrong form of therapy. There is no right/wrong. All forms of therapy are equally effective. Some are just better at certain things than others. 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.
Pumping my own shit here. Consulting may also help you out a lot. I personally incorporate many legit therapeutic frameworks in my consulting practice, and I do have a CBT practitioner certificate. Still, I would never say that my consulting is the equivalent of therapy. Keep this in mind. But it does work wonders in tandem with therapy.
My most successful clients all participated in therapy sessions in addition to our consulting. Sometimes their therapist helped them with their unconscious emotions, and I helped them with their behaviors, habits, and goals. And other times, I helped them with their unconscious emotions, and their therapist helped them with their behaviors, habits, and goals.
Finding Better Meaning:
When you want to get over your ex, a great thing to try is to find something more important than your ex to focus on. One of the things that got me through my most mortifying breakup was an intense desire to become a less needy, emotionally damaged, and emotionally volatile person — someone more psychologically resilient and mature.
This desire acted as a forcefield against the devastating currents of hopelessness and misery. In fact, because I was so eager to make it a reality, overcoming my breakup didn’t seem so impossible anymore. It was something that I was willing to struggle for. And fuck, it worked. Do the same.
Find something that you value more than your dead relationship and focus on it wholeheartedly. Find something that’s healthy and will keep you moving in the direction of growth and unapologetic self-expression. This something can be as grand as a life purpose or as small as a desire to become a good writer, dancer, or cook. Go wild.
- 10 Crucial Books To Read After A Breakup And 336 To Avoid
- The Holy Quaternity Of Breakup Recovery
- Patterns In The Static (Finding Hope After Heartbreak)
- How To Overcome Loneliness After A Breakup
- Fuck Indifference (Re-attract Your Ex With This Instead)
7. Show yourself Some Love
At its core, self-love is the view you have towards your failures; it’s the state of appreciation for yourself grown out of numerous actions directed towards your personal, psychological, and spiritual growth. And it’s far from some hippie nonsense. It’s actually a field of study heavily proven to help people live a better life.
If you love and care for yourself, you’re not going to have an overwhelming need to do everything right, correct, or perfect — like making a relationship last. Instead, you’ll be willing to fail because you understand that that is where actual growth comes from.
And loving yourself doesn’t mean that you only care about yourself — quite the opposite. If you find love and compassion within, you will inevitably radiate it outwards. On the other hand, if you don’t find love and compassion within yourself, you won’t be able to broadcast it outwards, and you’ll be a rude, shallow person as a result.
The most significant step you can take towards self-love is to accept your flaws and embrace them and then be willing to show them. However, there are multitudes of other ways of showing yourself love. For example, you can cultivate it by taking yourself to the cinema, indulging in countless numbers of crusty and savory pizza rolls, or going on a seven-day hike all by yourself to unwind and “find yourself.”
But here’s the catch. If you’re doing these things conditionally — because of any outside influences (like me telling you to do it) — it’s not self-love, but if you do it unconditionally, it is.
This means that if you take yourself 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 the same things because you enjoy doing them, because you want to do them, then you are doing self-love right. Do self-love right. It’s all about intentions.
- How To Love Yourself After A Breakup (A Guide To Self-Love)
- How To Rebuild Your Self Esteem After A Breakup
- How To Never Get Over A Breakup
8. Learn How To Be More Assertive
Broadly speaking, assertiveness is the willingness to go after what you want despite uncertainty, fear, and confusion. It could mean requesting time off your regular day job to process your heartbreak and normalize your life. It could mean deciding that some of your friends are unsupportive and a bad influence for you, and thus you cut them out of your life. It could mean putting up boundaries that shield you from further breakup pain. Boundaries like:
- I will cut all contact with my ex and give myself time and space to grieve the loss of my relationship.
- I will not beat myself up mentally or chastise myself for the breakup by neglecting my self-care routines and acting without trust and respect for myself.
- I will recognize half-assed calls and texts from my ex and not stretch their meaning into something like, “Oh shit, they said, “Hi,” they must still love me! Yaaas! Let’s get back together.”
- I will recognise when I am becoming obsessed with my ex and will force myself to step back so that I don’t end up trapped in denial.
- I will not engage in behavior that will cause me to lose my dignity and self-respect and give my ex the opportunity to call me a psycho/stalker/pleaser and to potentially absolve themselves of any shady treatment.
- I will not wait and put my life on hold for anyone. I am tempted, and it’s going to be difficult to pull through, but I’ll manage. I have to.
- Is My Ex Toxic? 11 Signs To Help You Find Out
- 9 Reasons Why Self-Help Sucks
- 7 Practical Ways To Deal With Your Lack Of Empathy
Make Breakup Recovery A Habit
Journaling, mediation, dream reporting, reflection or just about any other self-improvement activity we covered till now is useless if you perform it only once and then forget about it. To get over your ex in the fastest way, you have to build tiny habits around your go-to self-help activities.
Instead of meditating for three hours, spurting out three pages in your journal, or plotting down a 1000 word-long description of your dreams followed by a two-hour-long analysis period, relax and start small. Meditate each day for 5 minutes, journal each evening about 200 words, take one 50 word note of your dreams when you wake up, to 5 minutes of qi-gong. Take it easy. This is the way.
Only when you’ve created consistency with a tiny habit for at least a week or two should you add 1% more effort and/or time to your activities. If you don’t, those habits can become too laborious, and thus, suck you dry of the motivation to do them. And once you skip one day by not engaging with your habits, that one day soon turns into a week, then a month, and BAM! You get no results in your breakup recovery.
Also, even when you pump up your habits to the point where you’re doing your go-to activities frequently and thoroughly, always remember to NOT overwhelm yourself. Self-improvement is not self-overwhelm. Yet, sadly, this is what I see all the fucking time.
People take on five different daily mediation practices, then they add Qi-gong, yoga, and tai-chi to the mix, and on top of that, they even start vomiting in three different journals.
When they feel exhausted from doing so much shit, they assume that they need even more self-improvement to keep their energy up. So they dive into green-juice cleanses, intermittent fasting, and cryogenic baths.
The next thing you know, in just a month, these breakup survivors already spent way over 5000$ on self-help seminars and dodgy online courses costing up to four figures. Oh, sorry, they didn’t all that cash. They “invested in themselves.” (Please, shut the fuck up.)
One more time, say it with me: Self-improvement is not self-overwhelm.
I know you want to get over your ex quickly, I know you want to become a better person, and I know you want to squeeze out all that juicy potential from yourself. I commend you for your bravery. But try to understand that you don’t need to force yourself into 10 or 20 different self-help/recovery activities to achieve those things.
Just focus on the few activities that genuinely resonate with you — that you enjoy doing — and go deep with those. In other words, pick the activities that you’re willing to struggle for and let them take you to recovery and beyond. And of course… know when to stop doing them.
For example, when you got over your ex, when you overcame your anxieties, insecurities, when you rebuilt your self-esteem, etc., stop digesting self-help stuff, including my articles.
The reason being that the more you chase unnecessary personal growth, the more flawed, unworthy, and unhappy you’re going to feel. Primarily because you’ll always think that something is missing from your life; that there’s some area in which you have to improve more; that there’s some next level in life you have to reach.
It’s all an illusion. When you reach a certain level of massive self-improvement, switch to cultivating self-acceptance instead of improving yourself even further. I find this switch way more important for one’s sanity than being locked in self-improvement for life.
Ultimately, think of self-improvement as an Aspirin. You take it when you have a headache. But you don’t keep taking it afterward when the headache subsided. That just wouldn’t make sense.
Optional Grey Box Of Doom
Top questions about getting over an ex and my best attempts at answering.
1. How to get closure after a breakup?
From the inside. Never outside. That being said, I would even go as far as to say that closure is not important. You think it will make you feel better, but it won’t. It never does. There’s just another attempt at getting closure, behind closure. Here’s what to do instead: get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Accept that you’ll never find the answers you’re looking for.
2. how long does it take to get over a breakup?
Plenty of people have tried to make that estimate. There have been scientific studies done on the matter, and there have been poles made. Still, the unfortunate reality is that there’s no definitive answer. It might take you few weeks, a few months, or a few years to fully get over your ex.
3. It’s Been Three Months And I Still Miss My Ex. Is This Normal?
It depends on the length of your relationship, but in general, it is normal. For instance, I needed about eight months to stop missing an ex I’ve been with for a year.
4. It’s Been Over A Year And I Still Miss My Ex. Is That Normal?
If it’s been over a year and you’re still missing your ex like crazy, then I would consider a consultation, therapy, or any other form of active breakup recovery. But, if you’re only missing or thinking about them occasionally, and if that missing/thinking subsided over the months, then you’re probably fine. You just might need more time. Everyone is different in terms of recovery. Some people get over a breakup in a matter of days; others need years. It’s just how it is.
5. Is It Normal That I Miss My Ex Even When I’m In Another Relationship?
It depends on the consistency of missing someone, the timeframe, and the feelings’ output. If you’re consistently missing your ex like a mad lad (high output) for an extended period – a few weeks to a few months into your new relationship (long timeframe) – then there’s probably something wrong/missing in your current relationship.
Maybe your current partner is not meeting all of your emotional needs. Perhaps you have problems with intimacy and vulnerability due to a post-breakup or childhood trauma. Or you just might be with the wrong person.
But, if you miss your ex lightly and only occasionally, then missing them is perfectly fine. Just keep in mind that these things are tough to measure. I can’t really give you an accurate answer to what’s right or wrong. The only right answer is the one you find within yourself through self-awareness, reflection, and self-exploration.
6. Are there any resources for breakup recovery that you’d recommend?
Yes. Here’s a few I’d check out:
- Grief support groups.
- Breakup related Facebook groups.
- Breakup related Reddit communities.
- The National Helpline. (24/7 telephone line you can call for support or help related to any mental health or emotional difficulty, including grief, breakup pain and loneliness).
- Therapy — affiliate link.
- The Breakup Recovery Manual — shameless self-plug.
- The Radical Recovery Course — yet, another shameless self-plug.
Loss is a fact of life
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, the ultimate change agent.
Death can very well be just around the corner. Ponder this. 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 and mope over your breakup?
Instead, focus on what you can make of yourself in this one short life so that when Death actually comes, you can proudly give her the middle finger as you let go of any regrets, 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 ok.
If you think back to a hard time in your life, recognize that to get out of those hard times, you had to accept losses. You had to lose relationships and pursuits, you had to lose a lot of meaning in order to create greater, healthier meaning. In that sense, all growth requires a degree of loss. And all loss incites further growth. The two must occur together.
People like to see growth as this euphoric, joyous thing. But it’s not. Real change brings a mixture of emotions with it—a grief of what you’ve left behind along with a satisfaction at what you’ve become. A soft sadness mixed with a simple joy — Mark Manson
Cover photo is by DestinyBlue via Deviantart.
Receive a free copy of my popular breakup survival guide, 56 Tips To Heal A Broken Heart, with three bonus exercises on how to stop obsessing over your ex. Remember: whether you want to get over or re-attract your ex, recovery is always the first step.
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