How To Get Over Your Ex
One of the most frequently asked questions that I hear from people who are going through a breakup or divorce, is “How do I get over my ex? He/she was the love of my life. I am devastated, lonely and can’t seem to move on.”
The breakup of a long-term relationship or marriage can be extremely painful. If you are the one who initiated the breakup, you have most likely done most of your grieving before you broke the news to your partner. If, on the other hand, you were blindsided by your partner’s announcement that they wanted out of the relationship, then your grieving starts after the shock wears off.
After reality sinks in and you understand that the relationship is over, it is important to give yourself some time to mourn the loss of the relationship. Scream, cry, punch pillows, talk about it to anyone who will listen. Give yourself time to wallow in self pity and get sympathy from others, but then stop. The mourning period can be seductive, as it can feel much safer to stay in grief than to shake off the cocoon of sadness and step out into life as a single person.
Put Distance Between You
Too often, I hear about divorced people trying to force themselves to be friendly to their ex and then hating themselves for being phony. Even if children are part of the dynamic, fake friendliness is absolutely not necessary. Be polite and cordial to your ex. Behave in a manner that makes you proud of yourself. Think of it as a business arrangement. This is a great way to teach your children about boundaries and being authentic.
Don’t follow your ex on social media. You are better off not knowing what he or she is doing. Why torture yourself with that information? It won’t help you, but it could cause you undue heartache and slow your healing process.
Friendship between you and your ex might develop over time, but it doesn’t always happen and it’s not something you can force. If your divorce or breakup was friendly and there are no hurt feelings, then count your blessings.
Stop Talking About The Pain
The more we talk about and dwell on how much we are hurting, the longer we will continue to be in pain. If you really want to move past the heartache, you will have to make a conscious decision to stop talking about the pain and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Begin to talk about and turn your attention to what is going well in your life. Focusing on what is already positive in your life will lead you to start feeling hopeful that life can be as good as it used to be or better.
The Poison Pen Letter
Underneath our sadness after a breakup is typically some very nasty anger. No one likes feeling rejected or having the rug pulled out from under them. Even if you are the one that initiated the breakup, you may still have some unexpressed emotions. One way to stop the mourning process and get over your ex is to write a letter expressing all your pent up emotions including your noxious, vindictive anger. This exercise allows you to indulge in and release your most unhappy or angry thoughts about your ex. Because the letter is not to be sent, no one is harmed, but you can give yourself the much needed closure.
Learn From The Experience
Look back on the relationship. You might not have done anything wrong, but it’s worth taking an honest look to discover what you learned and what to avoid in future relationships. How did the relationship start? Where were you in your life journey? What did you do or not do that might have caused the relationship to fall apart? Did you put up with behavior from your partner that you really didn’t like so you would not be alone? Were you inattentive and self-absorbed? Was there a warning sign early in the relationship that you ignored. This is not intended to make you feel bad about yourself. This is only an exercise to help you become more self-aware and make better choices going forward.
Mending Your Broken Heart
Become your own heart handyman. The best way you take your focus off what you think you lost and mend your heart, is to turn your attention to what is good in your life. Imagine the future you want to create for yourself and take a small step toward that dream then take the next step and the next.
What are the current resources available to you, that would be supportive for you? Friendships, your work, taking a walk, spa day, yoga stretches, deep breathing? Sign up for a class you have been wanting to take (art, dance, exercise). Pick up a hobby that you set aside years ago.
Getting over your ex solely depends upon you and how much pain you are willing to put yourself through. Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers, you have the power to stop feeling devastated by the breakup.
Get Professional Support
If it’s been several months or more than a year since the breakup, and you are still stuck in sadness, seek the support of a coach or therapist.
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