How To Forget Your Ex

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Are you struggling with a breakup? Got things playing round and round in your head? Want to know how to forget your ex? Push those thoughts, feelings and memories (even if just temporarily) aside? Uh huh. I get it. It hurts.

Whether it’s been days, weeks, or months even – there’s obviously things that are still raw. Unresolved even. But the fact that you want to forget your ex, it just shows that you’ve still got a little more to do to heal.

In time, the memories you do have won’t hold so much power. The bad memories will turn into lessons. And the good memories (as hard as this may be to believe) will more likely make you smile than cry. 

Recommended Read: How To Deal With Memories After a Breakup

So yes – you want to forget your ex. You feel like you NEED to forget your ex. But in time, it will get easier. In the meantime, here’s how to make it more manageable – how to forget your ex in a healthier way.

You’ll go from freaking out at memories or reminders, to instead, calmly pushing them aside.

Why You Can’t Forget Your Ex

So before we look at how to forget your ex, let’s start with why you can’t forget your ex – why they’re playing on your mind so much, and why you see that as such a big deal.

Because you could of course, not forget about your ex because you don’t want to. You don’t have feelings for them, they’re just a chapter of your life. And that’s great.

It means you’ve successfully healed. But for the purpose of this article, we’ll look at what driving you if it’s not such a healthy outlook. In that case…

Essentially it usually boils down to:

  1. Unresolved issues / personal problems.
  2. Lingering feelings.
  3. A lack of closure.
  4. Painful memories or emotions.

When you think about your ex, what you had, what you lost, or what happened between the two of you (whether that’s specific moments or just in general), it stirs up things that you don’t want to think about. But ask yourself:

Why does this hurt so much? How exactly do I feel? What things in particular am I thinking about? And why is that getting to me?

If you want to work through anything, the first step is to understand it. And until you understand it, it’s going to be a lot harder to forget your ex. 

Also, every time you think about your ex when you don’t want to – and consequently try to avoid it – the more likely they are to linger (whether that’s through your dreams at night, or in your thoughts in the day.)

Thats’ because by consciously trying NOT to think about them, you are unconsciously keeping them on your mind.

So to free yourself from all of this, and well and truly get your ex out of your mind for a more prolonged period of time, you have to understand where the power comes from – how you feel and why. That’s fundamental. 

Why Do You Want To Forget Your Ex?

Next comes the consideration of why do you want to forget your ex? I mean, we’re not talking about getting over them, we’re talking about FORGETTING them – clearing them from your mind completely, and presumably, forever. That’s a pretty strong statement or desire.

So what’s causing that?

Because hey – let’s start with the top coupe of reasons. First, you don’t need to forget your ex to get over them. They were a part of your life, regardless of what happened. And so as time goes on, the way you look back on it will likely mellow out and soften.

Also, if there’s things that you did or ways that you acted, that you didn’t like – forgetting this isn’t the answer. Instead, learning from it is. It goes back to power.

Don’t give this the power to make you feel any particular way. You felt it. You don’t need to keep feeling it. All you have to do is look back and learn from things.

That also works with relationships that are particularly painful. If your ex hurt you and didn’t treat you the way he / she should, then yes – you will want to forget your ex to a degree.

You don’t want them to have a hold over you. Nor do you want what happened to become your story or define you.

But you do want to learn from it, to stop the same things from happening again. So even then – forgetting an ex completely and pretending they didn’t ever exist – it’s very rarely the answer.

How To Forget Your Ex

So What Is The Answer?

If you want to forget your ex, then let’s – instead – focus on forgetting:

  1. The things you don’t need to remember.
  2. The things that aren’t helpful to think about.
  3. And just generally, shifting the focus so that they’re not on the forefront of your mind.

When it comes to how to forget your ex, I also want to focus on how to forget them in the moments you need to. So for instance:

  • When you’re trying to focus on work, and you can’t stop ruminating on certain things… Let’s learn how to push them aside right there and then.
  • Or when you’re trying to move on with your life and keep coming back to a particular thought or moment – let’s forget THAT and replace it with something more helpful.

You see? It’s not about completely forgetting your ex. It’s about not allowing them to take over, and forgetting certain things. Even if just for now. Makes sense? Alright then. Let’s look at how to do it…

How To Forget Your Ex

So with all of this in mind, here’s how to forget your ex, or certain memories, as and when you need.

1) Feel What You Need To Feel

Now I know what you’re thinking – Huh?! You want me to stir all of this up even more? How’s that going to help me forget it? Well, because you need to take away the power – like we said above – and better process it.

Once you’ve felt it, and processed it, you can then better release it…
Forgetting Fairytales – How To Forget An Ex

Learning how to forget your ex – or certain things about them and the relationship – may not be an instant thing. Especially if it hasn’t been that long since things broke down.

You therefore need to have a little patience, and understand that emotional repression or avoidance – it’s not the answer! Here, have a read of these posts:

  1. How To Properly Feel Your Emotions
  2. How To Stop Repressing Your Emotions

Every time you do this, every time you feel what you want to feel, know that you’re one step further to forgetting it. Feel proud. Literally FEEL the weight starting to lift from you. And take pride and strength from that.

2) Work Through The Things You Need To

Just like it’s important to feel what you need to feel. It’s also important to address the things you need to too – really tackle them head on. 

So once you’ve recognised why you feel the need to forget your ex, or certain painful memories / emotions relating to him or her, you then want to work through them.

This can be done yourself – by swatting up, reading, learning, applying. Or, with a therapist or coach. We have set breakup programmes designed specifically to work through breakup related issues. They’re well worth checking out!

But regardless of which route you go down – don’t shy away. Because again, once you do this – you can release it. That’s the process you want when it comes to how to forget your ex:

Feel it – Release it – Free Yourself From The Pain

And when there’s less pain, there’s less power… which not only means less reason to forget your ex anyway, but also less cause for your ex to be playing on your mind and getting you down.

How To Forget Your Ex

3) Literally Push Them Out Your Mind

Now, if you feel like you’ve more-than felt what you need to feel, you’ve worked through certain issues and have a good understanding about it all – you want to let go but you still feel like you can’t, then you have to get a little strict with yourself.

You want to forget your ex. Whether that’s forever or just in this moment.

So when you feel them coming into your mind – LITERALLY, close your eyes and see yourself pushing (with both hands!) that thought – and them – out. Visualise it. It’s powerful stuff.

Every time they come in, push, push, push them out. Make it comical if you can as it will start to change your state.

You’re aware of them playing on your mind – NUH UH, out you go! Visualise it. Push them. Out of your mind. And then replace them with another thought.

Every time you find them coming back in, you just do the same process of pushing them out and replacing the thought with something else.

It’s a distraction technique, but if you’re committed to it – it works. You just have to keep doing it.

Feel Like It’s Not Helping?

Now with this one, you may find that you jumped to it too fast, there are unresolved issues and you need to go back to feeling your emotions around it all, and working through it – either yourself or with a coach.

That’s okay. You’re trying. This is a process. And the process isn’t always linear. Sometimes you’ll need to go back a step in order to continue forward. 

But in time, when you keep doing these three things, you’ll find you soon forget your ex and the hold this breakup has over you.

To help this process along:

  • Keep spending time with friends and family.
  • Focus on you again – and doing more of the things that you love.
  • Keep building yourself up. Here: try this Personal Development Challenge for a start!
  • Also be kind to yourself, take care, don’t expect too much too soon.

Like I said, things will get easier. You won’t even feel this way forever. But I promise you, you will get through this. And in the meantime, keep learning and growing. Take care!


How To Forget Your Ex
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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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