Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Ex? Here’s What You Need To Do
Your relationship is over but you can’t move on.
It seems like maybe if you just keep going over it in your mind then you’ll figure out what went wrong and they’ll come running back to you.
But you won’t. You’ll just drive yourself insane.
I’m going to teach you how to get your mind off your ex.
It starts with finding out WHY you you’re still thinking about them.
Why You Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Ex
First, let’s look at why your ex is occupying all your thoughts.
Let’s start off by dealing with the most common problems.
1. It’s easier to think about your ex than move on with your life
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
-Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
This fixation on the past relationship is a way to avoid having to worry about your own problems.
While thinking about your ex is painful, it’s familiar. In a weird way, it’s comforting, like poking a canker sore with your tongue. You may not feel good doing it but it’s not going to surprise you.
We prefer the devil we know. This is why we’d rather donate ten dollars to save the baby seals than take a seal hunter into our home and teach him to use Powerpoint so he can compete in the modern job market.
Long story short, it’s easier to whine about your ex than it is to move on with your life.
2. You still see them
If your ex is still a part of your life, then no wonder you’re having trouble moving on.
Whether you’re seeing them on social media, hearing about them from mutual friends, or actually seeing them day-to-day, then it makes sense that they’re still on your mind.
You need to take steps to build some distance from them.
Avoid them on social media
There are ways you can avoid seeing them without straight up blocking their accounts. Twitter and facebook allow you to mute the person so you won’t stumble across them in your feed.
But if you find yourself constantly checking out their profiles you might need to take steps to avoid this. Block them, delete them as a friend.
Don’t worry about what they think.
That’s the best thing about being broken up: you don’t have to their feelings your priority anymore.
You need to do what’s right for you!
Take them out of the conversation
If your friends keep bringing your ex up, tell them to stop. It’s not the easiest conversation to have but they need to know that it bothers you. Good friends will understand.
Some people think that acting like nothing bothers you is how to be strong. But we’re only human. Putting on a brave face can only get you so far.
Truly strong people acknowledge what is bothering them and address it so they can move forward.
Cut off contact
Don’t text them, call them, or see them anymore. If you two are still hanging out, cut off all contact. It may feel comforting to see them but it’s like eating a whole tub of ice cream. Great for an hour but you’re definitely going to feel worse tomorrow.
3. You’re keeping your feelings bottled up
Talking about your ex non stop is obnoxious and will definitely have your friends running the other way when they see you on the street.
But if you haven’t been able to talk about your breakup at all then that might be why you can’t stop thinking about your ex.
You need to talk about it to take its power away.
This does not mean dwelling on every gory detail but if you find that you’re thinking about him or her all the time and never letting anyone else know, you should try to talk about what happened.
You’ll be surprised how saying it out loud will make it feel like way less of a big deal.
If you have no one in your life you can turn to, you should consider talk therapy. It’s helpful to have someone who is willing to listen to anything you have to say without judgment.
This is something that a therapist can offer. Sometimes getting it all out in the open will free your mind from continuously going to the same places.
4. You’re focusing on the wrong things
“The harvest is always richer in another man’s field.”
This speaks to our tendency to remember only the good things about our past relationship. This can be a good thing. It allows us to maintain positive memories of an ex and move forward with our hearts free from pain.
But more often than not, it hurts us.
Those who fixate on an ex tend to think of two things only: how amazing their ex made them feel, and how much it hurt to have that end.
If this is all you’re thinking about this then it’s no wonder you can’t get over it.
Try to remember all the bad times too. Things weren’t as good as you remember or you would still be together.
If you can keep the negatives in mind when you think about your ex you’ll be more able to see them as a real person and less as some magic cure for your pain.
5. This was your first relationship.
If your ex was the first person you’ve seriously dated, you might be worried that they were the only one for you.
You can’t imagine ever meeting someone who will want you again.
I have good news for you. If there’s one person in the world who wanted to be with you, then there are many people out there who will see the same things in you that they did.
Also, even if you’re very picky, if you were able to find one person who made you happy, then there are a ton of other people out there who will make you feel the same way.
There are SO many people out there.
Think about it this way: if there are enough people out there who would buy a PT Cruiser that they keep making them year after year, then there are enough people out there that you could date someone new every week until you’re in a nursing home and still not run out.
Even if you feel like you’re nothing special, there are many people who would disagree.
You just have to find them. And the sooner you can put your ex out of your mind, the sooner you’ll be able to see that they weren’t your only option and you’ll be able to find and connect with these new people.
How To STOP Thinking About Your Ex
But hey, diagnosing the problem is just the first step. Even if you know WHY you keep thinking about your ex it doesn’t mean you’re able to stop any more than knowing WHY that guy at McDonald’s stabbed you means that you’re not going to bleed out in the ball pit.
So how do you stop? There’s no magic phrase I can say that will erase your ex from your mind, unfortunately. You are actually going to have to do a little work.
Take Stock of Your Life!
It’s easier said than done but you need to put in the work to recognize your situation and then change things. Take it one step at a time.
Start by making a list of what you love about your life. It may make you feel a little silly but I promise it helps.
Whether it’s friends, family, your job, your hobbies. What are the things that add value to your life and make it worth living?
Don’t compare yourself to other people. Focus on the things that make you happy and explain why and how.
This list will help give you context. What I mean is, when your ex is all you can think about, they seem like they’re your entire life.
If you can see how they really fit into your life, you’ll see that they’re just a small piece.
Plus, you’ll see that they’re no longer on that list.
They used to be a part of your life that brought you great comfort, and happiness but now all they’re doing is dragging you down because you’re focusing on a part of your life is over.
Another benefit of this list is that these are all things you can lean on to get your mind off your ex.
Love the beach? Get off the couch and get out in the sun. Does your family make you happy? Go have dinner with your parents.
I know it seems like an impossible task when you feel this way but if you can push through that pain, it really will take your mind off it.
But what if that list is extremely short? If you’re finding that you can’t find a lot of stuff to put on this list, it’s okay.
Sometimes we let a relationship swallow up al the good things in our life. This is another reason why you can’t stop thinking about your ex.
This short list is an opportunity. Think of the areas in your life that are lacking.
- Do you enjoy your job or what you’re taking in school?
- Have you lost touch with friends?
- Are you not pursuing your hobbies?
Don’t despair. The more you have to work on, the easier it will be to keep your mind off your ex.
Think of one small thing you can do today to make your life better and do it. It can be as small as going for a walk or calling a friend.
If you can take this step then before you know it you’ll forget all about your ex.