No breakup is easy to deal with and some are certainly more difficult to get over than others. If you’re struggling with how to stop thinking about your ex, the first thing to realize is that it’s normal.
They played an important role in your life and no matter the reason, they’re no longer there. Thinking about the situation can bring about a range of negative emotions but how do you stop it?
That’s exactly the question we’ll be covering in today’s article. I’m going to lay out nine changes you can make right now to help you through it.
9 tips to learn how to stop thinking about your ex
Breaking up with a girl is serious business. Feelings get hurt, friendships severed and for the most part, the emotional drain of getting over your ex can take its toll. It's even worse if you broke up with someone you lived with.
After your breakup, thoughts about your ex will come and go. It doesn’t matter if you want to fix things or not, knowing how to stop thinking about your ex is an important step. It allows you the time and space you need to stabilize and get comfortable being single again.
If you plan to be friends or try to fix the relationship, being comfortable by yourself is a solid base to work from.
Allow yourself a set amount of time to be sad
I recently wrote about how to cope with a breakup and this is a topic I covered there too. See, if you don’t allow yourself time to grieve the relationship, you’ll end up dragging out the negative emotions even longer.
Instead, set yourself a timeframe where this is okay. How long it takes to get over a breakup is entirely up to you. It can be anywhere from a couple of days to a week. Set that limit and understand that it’s okay to feel bad. This is the time to openly feel sad, angry or upset.
Once that time is up though, you need to start moving on. Set yourself positive targets for the future and focus on them.
Remove them from your social media for now
When you’re figuring out how to stop thinking about an ex, the last thing you need is a daily reminder. It's tempting to post your feelings on social media, especially when you broke up. You’re making progress and starting to feel better about things then all of a sudden you see a photo of them having a great time.
Immediately you’re brought straight back to a sea of negative emotions and you have to start all over again.
Rather than subjecting yourself to this each day, remove them from all social media. At least for now.
How to stop thinking about your ex -- temporarily cut off contact
Likewise, communicating with them on a regular basis is not conducive. Let them know that you need some space while you work through things then set a complete ban on communication. Right after the breakup isn't the time to try and be friends with your ex.
Anywhere from two to four weeks is usually a good timeframe. It allows you to focus on yourself without having to see their name show up in your notifications every day.
It also keeps you both from acting as though you’re still in a relationship. You’re single now and it’s important that this fact stays consistent.
Remove things from around your house that remind you of them
This is another constant reminder that we often forget about. You’re learning how to stop thinking about your ex and making steady progress. You’re starting to feel good about things then all of a sudden you see that photo from your last vacation together.
If you’re feeling bitter about the breakup you might be tempted to throw it out in anger. Instead, just put it away somewhere out of sight for now. If you still want it gone after you’re over them, go ahead and throw it out.
All you’re aiming to do for now is keep it out of sight and out of mind.
Stay active, it’ll help in a lot of ways
Exercise is an excellent way to deal with a breakup and forget about your ex, at least temporarily. It releases endorphins which make you feel fantastic and reduce your perception of pain (both physical and emotional).
It also gives you something else to focus on. Rather than sitting on the couch alone, you’re at the gym or out on the trail staying busy. If intense exercise is your thing, you won’t have time to think about doing anything else!
For me, it’s all about lifting and road cycling. Done right, both of these make me feel great but they also hurt enough to keep me completely focused on the task at hand.
It’s always a huge part of my success in knowing how to stop thinking about an ex. I suggest you try it too.
Keep busy with other things
Taking your mind off your feelings and ex is one of the best ways to sort out how to stop thinking about your ex. But maybe exercise isn’t your thing. That’s fine too, just make sure you stay busy with other things instead.
You cannot allow yourself to stay at home alone 24/7. If you do, it’s inevitable that you’ll end up sitting there thinking about your ex and spiraling into a bad place.
Go hang out with friends, spend more time at the office or focus on learning a new skill. The other great distraction that I’ve used in difficult times is learning French. Picking up a new language is an ongoing challenge that takes a lot of time and focus.
It also makes me feel better about myself as I start to see that progress. Not only am I keeping my mind preoccupied, I’m also making improvements to myself.
Create a fresh routine
When you’re in a relationship, your routine changes to include your partner. Now that the relationship is over, it’s important that you don’t try to maintain that same routine.
Visiting the same places or doing the same things you always did with them will only serve as a regular reminder.
Now, it’s time to start from scratch. Work out a routine that works for you. Incorporate any new things you’ve started doing and stick with it. It’s just you now so this routine can be designed entirely around what you want to do.
Feel like heading to the gym at 1:00 a.m. works best for you? Do it! Have a job that allows you to sleep until noon? If that’s what you want to do then go right ahead. There are no rules here so long as you’re sticking to your own routine.
Keeping up that routine means you aren’t sitting at home procrastinating and thinking about them. It gets you out of the house and keeps you productive while also avoiding potential triggers for you.
When you’re ready, start dating other women
When figuring out how to stop thinking about your ex, getting back out there is a great way to cope.
This might take some time but when you reach a point where you’re comfortable with it, start dating other women.
If you’re unsure where to even start, we’ve got you covered with the best dating apps out there. If you don’t feel like actually dating but just want a quick and fun fling, we’ve picked out the best hookup apps as well.
However you choose to approach it, dating other women can be another great distraction. It gives you someone new to focus your attention on while also boosting your self-confidence.
The better you feel about yourself, the easier it is to have a positive outlook on life.
Focus on your distractions, not what you’re trying to avoid
For example, if you start going to the gym, focus on what you’re going to do there and set mini-goals to aim for. This is far better than taking the approach of doing something to not think about your ex.
If you go into a task saying: “I’m going to go to the gym in order to not think about Jess,” you’re going to be disappointed.
The reason is simple yet hard to articulate. You can’t successfully focus on not thinking about something. For example, if I say “don’t think about a red ball”. . . what are you thinking about right now?
The solution to this? Set out a bunch of things that you can focus on then set goals within them. For me, it might be going to the gym five days per week and hitting 300 XP-per-day on Duolingo (part of what I do to learn French).
Now that I have those tangible goals, I can track that progress and not think about them at all.
Keeping yourself from thinking about your ex is an important step in the healing process. By incorporating these tips into your day to day life it’ll help you learn how to stop thinking about your ex.
Keep yourself busy enough that you don’t have time to sit and dwell on it. You deserve to be happy and this is a major step toward achieving that.