So I like to create my content around the things I see that people are struggling with, and this is a topic that crops up time and time again… how to stop thinking about your ex. I think it’s also especially especially relevant right now because lockdown can send our minds into overdrive – thinking far more than we usually would and replaying things that aren’t helpful.
See it’s good to process what’s happened. It’s an important part of healing. But there comes a point where you just have to let things go and move on.
If you feel like your ex is on your mind far more than you’d like them to be, and it’s not healthy or productive, then here’s how you can stop thinking about them… or to at least get them out of your head for a little while, and gradually make it less and less!
1. Cut All Contact
If you don’t believe in the no-contact rule once your relationship has ended, then I’ve got a post coming up all about that which is going to BLOW YOUR MIND! It also runs through why the no-contact rule might not be working (+ what to do about it in that situation) and any answers to the reasons you’re telling yourself to justify keeping contact.
Please note: there are some circumstances where some contact with an ex is required. Like for example, if you have children together. But in these cases, when we talk about no-contact, it’s no contact aside from what is 10000% mandatory… the rest still applies okay?
But cutting contact with your ex really helps you to stop thinking about them. If you find this difficult then this post runs through all the different things you can do INSTEAD of texting your ex. It’s not just about distractions but finding positive outlets instead of doing damaging things.
Another thing I recommend? Blocking them. On everything. Their number, their social media channels. It sounds extreme but it’s not… out of sight out of mind as they say. And sure it’s not that easy, but it does help because you’re then not checking your phone, waiting for a message. You know it’s not happening because it’s not possible so it stops you even being able to read into anything. This leads me onto my next point…
2. Stop The Stalking!
I know, we’ve all been there, we’ve all done it… but if you’re still doing it – it’s got to stop. I mean it. Block them if you can’t resist the temptation. If you want to stop thinking about your ex, you have to do the things that are going to help you, and watching their life without you, certainly isn’t.
Remember, just because you see something on social media, doesn’t mean it’s even an accurate reflection of their life. Yet you’ll see things, and it will hurt. Even staring at their face again is going to do more damage than good. Which reminds me…
3. Get Rid Of All The Reminders
The photos on your phone, the things he/ she bought you. You don’t need to throw them out or delete them for good. With the photos for example – just transfer them onto a backup drive so that they’re not easily accessible but it doesn’t break your heart getting rid of the memories forever.
After all, they were still a part of your life and you may look back one day and smile at this chapter, without feeling any sadness or anger. But for now, things are still too raw so – out of sight, out of mind.
Box up any of those gifts etc too. Or if you don’t really need to be holding onto them, give them to charity – there’s a better cause out there that can give you that feel-good boost!
4. Accept That It’s Over
One of the most common reasons that keeps you thinking about your ex, is because you haven’t truly accepted that it’s over and a part of you is still clinging onto the hope that you will reconnect. It’s hard, I know. And sometimes we’re doing this without even realising.
You’re moving onto bigger and better things – not only with the right person next time, but more importantly for yourself now.
5. Remove The Rose-Tinted Glasses
Another thing that’s going to help you not only to accept that it’s over, but to stop thinking about your ex so much, is to remove those rose-tinted glasses. You might have had some good times, but the chances are if you broke up – there were their fair share of bad times too. The relationship wasn’t perfect, and nor was your ex. So if you want to stop thinking about him / her so much, you have to stop replaying all the good times that are distorting your outlook, and remember why it did end.
This post will help you to gain a more accurate picture around it all.
You can also try this… every time your ex pops into your head, and you’re thinking about a good time, or a good quality of theirs – replace it with a bad one. Literally kick that good memory out of your head and see the bad thing take over. It sounds negative but you need to shift your perspective right now.
Eventually you won’t need to do this. You’ll just see it for what it was and have no extreme emotions when thinking of your past relationship. But if you’re struggling to get your ex out of your mind, you’re not quite there yet, so we’re going to have to try some different strategies to keep you sane. This leads me onto another suggestion…
6. Try The Elastic Band Technique
I absolutely love this one. It’s probably my all-time favourite on this list, so don’t scoff until you’ve tried it, okay? The elastic band technique (or otherwise known as the rubber band technique) is used to destroy negative thinking or negative habits. It’s so simple, but it’s so effective, because it changes your automatic response and snaps you back into reality!
- Basically, you wear a rubber band around your wrist (day and night!) It should loosely fit around your wrist, comfortably.
- Whenever you start thinking about your ex, you snap the elastic band, pulling it back so it hits your wrist.
- You then replace that line of thought with something new… it could be a different focus, a positive affirmation, anything really. Just decide beforehand on what you’re going to try, then stick to it.
Excessively thinking about your ex is not helping, so by using the elastic band technique, we’re training our mind to become more aware, to stop the thoughts in their tracks and focus on something different instead. Pretty neat huh? I actually used this immediately after my breakup and it was an absolute godsend, so trust me – it works!
7. Focus On Yourself More
Do the things that make you feel good, make self-care a priority, spend more time with your friends and family, hit the gym hard, progress in your career, work on developing yourself as a person. Whether you like it or not, you’re entering a new chapter in your life, so try to stop going over the past by focusing on how you’re going to move forward.
Write a list of all the things you want to do, all the things you want to experience, all the places you want to go… and start working through it! Get excited about life, and appreciate it.
I know it’s easier said than done, but even just committing a small amount of time daily, to doing things for yourself… over a short period of time, it will start to build up to change the way you feel. Especially when you adopt the right mindset.
You need to see that there are far better things ahead, and the best way to do that, is to embrace everything that you can, and live a little more fully.
8. Cut Out The Bad Habits
When we’re in a bad place, it’s easy to do more bad things because we think “f*ck it!” but this is only going to make things worse. For example, we’re not over the breakup, we can’t stop thinking about our ex and how badly we want them back – so we hit the bottle to drown our sorrows… only it doesn’t work. In fact, if anything, we overthink things even more and end up feeling lower.
It’s like when people go out and have a rebound straight after, thinking it will help them to move on, only to find it makes them feel worse.
So before you make any decisions, ask yourself – is this actually going to help me? Not necessarily momentarily, but long-term? Is this going to support my progress? To move me forward? And if it’s not, then it’s probably a good idea to go back a step and focus on the things that you know will help you feel good. Like burning that frustration off in the gym instead, or getting stuck into a good book to escape for a little while.
When you do less or the bad stuff and more of the good, you will gradually get yourself back to feeling like you again, which in turn means you’ll be thinking about your ex less and less.
9. Learn To Forgive
So I’ve spoken about not accepting that things are over, reliving the ‘best bits’ of your relationship and not seeing it for what it is… but what if you can see it? What if your ex betrayed your trust and shattered your heart and you just can’t quite believe it, which is why they keep coming into your mind? On the flip side, what if you made mistakes, or played your part in the breakup, and you can’t stop going over the ‘what ifs’ and regrets?
Both are completely different situations, but each require forgiveness – either for yourself or the other person. Sometimes even both. Until you forgive, you can’t truly let go, which is why your ex is now still on your mind. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to like the other person, or agree with what you did / how you behaved – it just means that you’re choosing to accept it and let go of it.
This post runs through how to let go of the mistakes you’ve made in past relationships. I also then have a couple more about how to move on when people have mistreated you, so if you subscribe to this blog at the bottom of this post, I’ll notify you once it goes live.
There’s a process you have to go through through, and it’s important. So don’t overlook it or think you can brush it under the carpet. Also remember, this is what’s going to help you grow and become stronger. So it’s actually a good thing.
10. See That There Are Other People Out There
Last but not least, it’s time to look forward. Like I briefly mentioned above, I personally don’t think that jumping from one person to the next will help you to stop thinking about your ex. Why? Because you’re not actually dealing with things properly. You’re looking for an escape. And it won’t last.
But if you’ve accepted that it’s over, began to see things for what they really were, have started to focus on yourself again – then I think you’re ready to get yourself back out there in the dating world… Not because you’re desperately searching to find someone, but because you want to have some fun again!
And dating CAN be heaps of fun – but only when you’re in the right headspace. So when you’re ready, try out some dating apps, get speaking to different people, enjoy getting to know people, maybe go on a few dates. Once you start building a connection with someone else and have that person there to speak to, your ex will be on your mind far less – trust me. So this one is a big one!
That’s All From Me…
I hope this give you a little insight into how to stop thinking about your ex. Remember, we’re not trying to block out feelings here. We’re just stopping bad habits that are holding us back and looking to move forward again. For this reason, talking is also good – to friends, family and professionals. Also allocate set times to work through this kind of stuff, so that your ex isn’t still taking over your life even after things are over.
For more in the breakup series, click here. You can also subscribe at the bottom of this page for ongoing support and encouragement. You’re not alone, okay?