Love is paradise. Until trouble finds its way in. When there’s trouble in paradise, it can go two ways. We either try to keep the momentum going and rekindle, or we inevitably grow apart. The latter is heartbreaking. When you break up with somebody you like, the pain of the breakup demands to be felt.
How we wish we could forget people within the snap of a finger! Unfortunately, it’s not a privilege all of us have. When a relationship ends, we feel a rollercoaster of emotions.
Rightfully so. Everything that happened over the course of the relationship might have had quite an impact on us. We owe it to ourselves to keep going, and moving on happens in seven distinct stages. The extent of your feelings during these stages may vary from one experience to another. Here’s a secret. It’s completely okay.
How to stop thinking about your ex? We’ve got you covered.
#1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
The very first step to moving on is to allow yourself to feel. Recognize your emotions, and let them flow. A strong feeling that may be recurring is grief, and so many of us don’t know how to process it.
According to the Kübler-Ross model, grief happens in five stages – DABDA. Beginning with classic Denial, followed by Anger, Bargaining for some settlement, Depression, and finally – Accepting the situation.
“Cry your heart out, smash a few plates, scream in anger. Whatever helps.”
While in denial, we do our best to pretend like the break up didn’t happen. Sometimes it goes on for days, sometimes it lasts for years. It is important to be able to recognize what is happening, and acknowledge reality.
The harsh reality isn’t what you want. But it’s what you need to understand what has happened and what should happen.
Sit down. Let the feelings take over while you’re in a safe space. Whatever it is that you’re feeling, let it out. Keeping it in would only delay the process of moving on, that you truly deserve.
#2. Cut Contact
This is an integral part of the process. Out of sight, out of mind is a principle that has often worked wonders, and you should try it too.
Limit your interactions with your ex-partner. If possible, attempt to cut off contact completely. Do so in a tactful manner, so as to avoid extra drama or conflict. This frees up your environment and mind space. Enough for you to pay attention to everything else.
Cutting contact is not just limited to severing communication. It is also getting rid of things that remind you of them too much. We understand completely if you want to retain some things for a while, but discard material memories if possible.
Removing the traces of your partner’s existence in your life definitely is a clean-up act like no other. If you want to move on, do so healthily instead of stalking them! That would only fetch you more pain and grief.
#3. Talk to People About It
Talking features high on our list of the seven steps on how to stop thinking about your ex. You can choose to open up to your friends, your family, or even a licensed mental health professional about your relationship. Talking about what happened allows you to understand your feelings about all of it.
“Venting helps. Sharing helps. Talking helps.”
A great listener who lets you vent might just be the right thing you need after acknowledging your emotions. Go over to someone trustworthy. Talk about it.
The listener might have a perspective you wouldn’t have chanced upon. Sometimes, there’s no harm with a little bit of healthy input from near and dear people on personal matters.
Call up a friend. Sit down with someone you trust from your family. Or, book an appointment with a therapist. Address all of your concerns, your doubts – spill everything out. Doing this makes you feel much lighter. It’d feel like a boulder has been lifted off your chest. Open up, only when you’re truly ready.
When is the right time to open up? Well, trust your instincts.
#4. Pamper Yourself
This is definitely the fun part. Have you been wanting to buy something, or do something for a long time, but you just weren’t in the space to?
Now is the time! Self-care, especially during times like these, helps you reacquaint with yourself. Treat yourself to that spa treatment you’ve been wanting for a while now. Buy that gaming console you’ve been eyeing for ages.
“Repeat after me. I am loved!”
Allowing yourself to be pampered, either by yourself or by others is definitely a way to feel recharged. Order your favorite takeout, and spend time doing the things you love for yourself.
Travel the city, or the world! Do what pleases you, because you definitely deserve to pamper yourself and be pampered after a grim ordeal. There’s no going overboard when it comes to pampering yourself. This is also the space to reinvent yourself. Go for that crazy hair color you’ve always wanted. Adopt a pet!
This phase is simply for you to feel like yourself again, to feel confident in your own skin.
Post any relationship, despite how long it might have lasted, it is necessary to think about what transpired. Experiences that expire often become lessons.
Give thought to what had happened during the course of the equation, and assess anything that you think requires attention. Here’s an important reminder from me: do not punish yourself for no reason. You’d benefit from understanding what your partner’s absence means to you and your life.
Recognize behaviors or situations that need to be dealt with in the future. Not every relationship can be a home run, but almost everything is an invaluable learning experience.
#6. Meet New People
Whenever you’re ready, begin meeting new people. And by that, we don’t just mean romantic relationships. Don’t hesitate to develop fantastic bonds that could last for life.
A lot of us retract into a shell after the loss of an important relationship. We tend to shun people, and stay away from anyone who comes our way. Whenever you’re ready, allow yourself the freedom to talk to people. It doesn’t have to mean something. It could just be a fleeting arrangement.
“Go out and get social. Be it a casual hang out, a one-night stand, a friendship.”
We are not implying the next person you meet should be your next partner. All we’re saying is, being social again and opening yourself up to new communication definitely helps with getting over your older memories.
Trust me, it works wonders!
#7. Love Them, But Love Yourself More
After everything you might have been through with your partner, it is only natural to still have feelings for them.
Let’s be realistic, it isn’t very easy to unlove someone and bury our feelings. It’s completely okay to still love them. Keep your distance, and it’s alright to harbor feelings for them.
Just remember one thing. All your life, there will be one constant, and that constant is you. Keep that in mind while you feel for others, and be kind to yourself. You’ve come a long way, and you deserve to be loved. And the most important love that you deserve, is that of yourself.
All we’re saying is, it’s okay to love them, but remember to love yourself just as much. Or hopefully, much more.
A Few Parting Words
How to stop thinking about your ex isn’t exactly the easiest process that you could go through. It’s messy, it’s unpredictable and sometimes it drags out. While I have explained to you the stages of moving on that you could use after a breakup, do remember one important thing.
It is okay to relapse. You may not be able to pull off everything seamlessly. There may be breakdowns, ugly fights, and drama that you didn’t ask for. Just making the decision to move on is extremely brave, and you’re very courageous to have made that call. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself, trust yourself, and love yourself hard!