Getting Over the One Who Got Away: How to Forget Her

Learning how to forget her isn't easy

At one point, she meant the world to you. But life happened. And now you want to know how to forget her. It’s easier said than done, but it’s not impossible.

We’ve all been there. Whether she wants a break from seeing you as often, you go through a painful breakup with her, or you never got the chance to be in a relationship with her, it’s not easy to be a man and simply put her out of your mind. 

Men who don’t know how to forget a woman often experience unpleasant emotions that can wreak havoc on their daily lives - sometimes creating long periods of despair, anger, depression, anxiety, and more. 

To avoid these outcomes, it’s important to learn how to forget her. The only question is: How?

In this article, we’ll take a look at a number of reasons why you always think of the one that got away, how to forget her after a breakup, and - if this applies to your situation - how to forget a girl you were never with. 

Why Do You Always Think of the One that Got Away?

What is it about “the one that got away” that makes us wax poetic about what could have been? 

There are pair-bonding chemicals released during sex and other activities

There are plenty of studies that show that the pair-bonding chemical oxytocin is released during sex and mating activities (like cuddling, holding hands, or simply being around a woman we find desirable). This ensures that humans end up in a semi-monogamous relationship during pregnancy and while children are young. 

This cycle of good feelings tends to only last about 3 months before things turn more practical. While modern social dynamics show that humans tend to stay in relationships beyond this cycle, it’s not uncommon for a woman to look elsewhere for another man if her body is ready for children. 

Casual sex, even in a committed relationship, doesn’t make an exception for releasing these feelings. And it is these feelings that our bodies become used to that makes it so hard to forget a girl once she’s gone.

Going one step further, there’s enough evidence to suggest that not getting a regular dose of oxytocin (as well as good-feeling hormones like serotonin and dopamine) is equivalent to the feeling that opiates have on our body. In truth, a man’s body may be withdrawing from building up a tolerance to those good-feeling hormones - and that girl was your connection in the same way that a junkie that loses his dealer’s phone number feels. 

It’s also not a logical leap to suggest that those who are dealing with oxytocin withdrawal often turn to drugs and destructive behaviors, as well.

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You may not have other options

If you don’t have another person to love or pine for, you may default to the last woman in your life that you were in a relationship with. This type of focus can make men often regret their decision-making, inflate a woman’s worth in his life, and cause depression because there are no other women in their life to fulfill that lost role. 

She may be better than all of your previous love interests 

If you have trouble forgetting a woman, she may have been the best you’ve experienced. 

In PUA terminology, when a woman breaks up with a high-value man, she becomes “Alpha Widowed” - that is, she feels that all men in the future will not live up to this relationship. 

Men have this state of mind too. Often called “oneitis”, a man will compare every current and future woman in his life to a particularly prized woman (real or imagined). Being fixated on the best he has had can throw a wrench in his self-confidence and skew his perceptions. Other women simply don’t match up - and so this desire defaults to THE ONE. 

Unless another woman comes into the picture, this phase can last years.

You may have issues with abandonment 

Those who experienced traumatic events in early childhood - especially those concerning a distant or absent mother - may seek to replace that maternal role with a woman in our lives. 

And when a man feels abandoned and doesn’t have the coping skills to care for his mental health (particularly after a girlfriend used to fit this role), it’s not uncommon to be in extreme states of confusion, anger, depression, and so forth.

You may be suffering from the “sunk cost fallacy”

Ever hear a man say, “I can’t believe she broke up with me! After all I did for her… It’s that last part that’s important and why you may be having trouble forgetting a girl. 

Essentially, men are more interested in things, whereas women are more interested in people. This means that men express their love and commitment by providing things, expending effort on her behalf, and spending time with their loved ones. And when it seems that a woman doesn’t reciprocate in the same way or value the effort that it took to provide those things and time, it tends to stick in a man’s mind more than it should. 

What this behavior hinges on is the sunk cost fallacy. In short, the sunk cost fallacy is when a person continues a behavior or endeavor as a result of previously invested resources. And the more a man feels that he was “used”, the harder it is to forget a woman who still has to even the deal. 

You’re looking through rose-colored glasses

Rosy retrospection is a psychological phenomenon that results from reminiscing about the past more favorably than you assess the present. This distorts your view, emphasizing the highs and downplaying the lows. We end up slingshotting between triumphs in a relationship to miserable failures that have us asking, “What if that never happened?”

You didn’t get closure

In an ideal world, every relationship would follow a logical story arc, from beginning to end. But what happens if she simply cuts you off with no explanation? Or one day, you’re simply ghosted without a trace? 

It’s no surprise that our minds drag us through every possibility - and often towards the worst-case scenarios.

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How to Forget Her After a Breakup

So you and her are no longer an item? It’s time to take action to move forward in your life. Let’s take a look at some practical steps you can take to forget someone:

Remove all reminders

  • Put any items you have in a shoebox if you can’t bear to toss them away.
  • Don’t listen to any music that you shared or associate with her (at least for several months until you can enjoy the song without associating her with it). 
  • Delete any pictures you may have of her on your phone or computer. Like the shoebox idea, dump all of the images on a thumb drive if you want to keep the pictures.

Block all social media profiles 

  • Facebook and other platforms have a habit of throwing reminders of relationships, events, and so forth that chronicle your past relationships. So, you will have to go through the arduous task of blocking her wherever she appears. 
  • You may also want to block her friends if you don’t want to see her (coincidentally) pop up on your feed.
  • Disable all push notifications to untrain you from “checking” behaviors.

Delete her phone number

  • This one’s fairly simple, but deleting her phone number will save you from sending drunk texts or calling at odd hours to try to reach her. 
  • And if you find yourself trying to justify why you should keep her number, understand that everyone has an email and if it really came down to it, you could contact her there. 

Find other women to pursue

  • There are an estimated 3.9 billion women in the world today. Stop thinking about this girl and try the other 3,899,999,999 ones out there.
  • As a general rule, “The easiest way to get over someone is to get under someone”. Having sex or pursuing another woman can take your mind off past prospects and refocus it on the next woman - or women - in your life. 
  • Be advised that casual sex may leave you feeling vacuous after a while, but it can be a good short-term remedy - particularly if you don’t have a sexual outlet.
  • As for relationships, you will want to take things slow and use the lens of the girl you couldn’t forget to help you have a healthier relationship in the future. 

Don’t wallow in self-pity

  • Self-pity may be necessary to exorcise some lingering emotions that you’re dealing with at the start of a breakup, but understand that feeling sorry for yourself is a weak state of mind - and a childish one at that. Children often cry for help and comfort but remember: No one cares about your problems when you are an adult unless they have a vested interest in your well-being. Adults can take care of themselves.
  • And even if you’re not showing external signs of self-pity for attention, understand that it can be an internal state of mind. Try to observe yourself acting depressed or mopey, and cut those behaviors out. 

Go to a therapist

  • If you don’t have impartial friends or don’t feel comfortable airing out your personal/intimate business where it has the potential to spread around, a therapist is the perfect outlet to help you sort out why you can’t forget a girl. Having an impartial 3rd-party can point out negative behaviors that you may be unconsciously engaging in that reinforce your feelings towards a girl. 
  • Be aware that going to a therapist is an active step to get better mentally and shouldn’t carry a stigma to be “tough” or “capable on your own”. In truth, realizing that you are having an issue and are taking action is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. 

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Realize that you’re addicted

  • Pining for “the one that got away” isn’t healthy. While it is beyond the scope of this article to deal with addictions, consult the literature of various types of recovery programs. You may find that each of the 12 Steps of AA are an applicable strategy to wean yourself off a “feel-good chemical” addiction.

Understand that this behavior is holding you back from moving on to better things

  • You may be shocked to realize how many moments of the day you are spending in a type of maladaptive daydreaming state
  • Our brains are drawn back to visit memories over and over again. If you fantasize about convincing her she made a mistake, what it would be like to reconnect, and so forth, you need to put these thoughts out of your mind and recognize how they’re reinforcing your mind to distort reality.

Make a list of reasons why the relationship worked and another list of why it didn’t work

  • Putting pros and cons on paper helps you see the relationship more realistically. Be honest and try to populate the columns for anything that comes to mind.

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How to Forget a Girl You Were Never With

We all know about the one that got away, but what about the one that never was?

To be honest, most men who pine after a woman they were never intimate with often have never been in a meaningful relationship. Those who have been in a meaningful relationship realize that putting a woman on a pedestal is a recipe for disaster - and there’s always plenty more fish in the sea.

Understand the process of how you developed a crush on a girl, and try to see where it began. Understand that she was never “yours” and probably won’t be. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but living in a fantasy can lead to dark obsessive feelings.

Last, it’s also important to understand that by never being involved with her, you have a distorted view of her real being. You’re basing your knowledge and speculating. Who knows if she’s concealing personality defects that would turn you off? So focus on acknowledging that you never really knew her enough to know that she was “The One”. That way, you can learn to forget her and all those “what ifs” about her.

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