Do you know why ignoring your ex is powerful? You might have heard it from dating coaches and relationship "gurus" in the past—if you want to get over your ex, you must ignore her for several weeks. But exactly why do they give that advice?
As it turns out, there's a lot of science behind the advice. In this article, we'll examine what psychologists know about precisely why ignoring your ex is a good idea. Then, we'll look at proven tips and techniques to make the process easier and more effective.
You're about to learn the three biggest reasons why ignoring your ex is powerful, and seven techniques that are proven to help you ignore your ex, make the whole "getting over her" phase much easier to deal with, and move on with your life.
Let's get started with the basics:
Why Ignoring Your Ex is Powerful
Your ex might still be bugging you, trying to make you feel bad, or baiting you into an argument. You might feel like responding to her to give her a taste of her own medicine. However, this section will show why ignoring her is a more powerful course of action.
It maintains your boundaries
Did you have an issue with setting boundaries for your life during your past relationship? Check if any of the following apply to you:
- Your ex kept taking advantage of you
- You felt like you had to "save" your ex all the time
- You got suckered into fights and arguments often
- You invested much more time, money, and energy in her than she did in you
If you did, you didn't set healthy-enough boundaries for your life. And if you don't develop new boundaries soon, you're likely to go through the same problems in your future relationships.
It's also one of the reasons why ignoring your ex instead of responding to her is a good idea. Doing so sends a clear message that you're no longer interested in engaging with her. It's the first of many healthy boundaries you'll set in your life right now.
It helps you move on
If your ex dumped you, then it's normal to be experiencing depression, low self-esteem, and rumination. It's a long process of healing, and necessary to come out wiser and stronger in the end. Unfortunately, staying in touch with your ex prolongs the healing process and keeps you stuck in the gloom.
Ignoring your ex prevents these conversations from happening in the first place. It eliminates any interference or drama from your old relationship, letting you go through the healing process in peace.
It continues, as well. Avoiding contact gives you more time and energy to focus on recovering rather than worrying about what she thinks. You'll soon realize that very little about your life, if anything, is actually affected by your ex's opinions or feelings.
Ignoring your ex brings clarity into your life, encouraging the growth and self-reflection necessary to move on.
It helps with closure
In 2016, researchers from Carleton University studied the effect of "continuing bonds," or a person's behavioral attempts to maintain a bond with an ex. They found that externalized continuing bonds—such as communicating with your ex or constantly feeling her presence—significantly increase grief.
What's worse, having internalized continuing bonds—such as merely wondering what she's thinking—increases grief and symptoms of depression. It keeps you from enjoying life, illustrating the toxic need for proper closure—and that's where ignoring your ex helps tremendously.
Ignoring her prevents any more back-and-forth conversation between the two of you. It makes it easier for you to realize that have ended between you for good. Your feelings may not change immediately, but they will much more quickly, and you can move on with your life much sooner.
It's the kind thing to do
You might hesitate to ignore your ex because it feels like you're "ghosting" her, which you think is rude and cruel. You may be surprised, but this 2016 study suggests that ghosting actually won't affect her much.
In fact, it's much worse to maintain some communication with her in hopes of getting her back. The study calls it "breadcrumbing," and it's much more likely to make her feel dissatisfied, helpless, and lonely. Simply put, it's ruder and crueler to keep in touch than to not.
So, ghost away—it's the kind thing to do and lets you move on more quickly.
Now that we've established why ignoring an ex is powerful, let's move on to the how.
Ignoring an Ex That Dumped You: 7 Crucial Tips
The post-breakup phase is always more challenging when your ex keeps popping up in your life. If she keeps trying to contact you or shows up in unexpected places, here are 7 things you can do to keep your focus on the future.
Delete your ex from social media
The first step is to delete all traces of your ex from social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). This will help ensure that they don't keep showing up in your digital life and make it easier to move on with your life.
While you're at it, consider spending time off social media in general. Regularly using social media causes depression and anxiety, which keeps you stuck in misery for much longer.
Block her phone number
In addition to deleting her from social media, it's also a good idea to block her phone number. That way, she won't be able to contact you directly. This would protect you from any emotional manipulation or harassment if they could get through to you via phone call or text message.
Spend time with friends
Surrounding yourself with friends is a great way to stay positive after a breakup. Among friends, you remind yourself some people love and care about you regardless of your past. Plus, spending time with friends can divert your attention to more enjoyable activities instead of constantly ruminating about your ex.
That said, though, it's essential to keep the next tip in mind:
Don't go overboard trying to feel better
You might instinctively want to take your friends to a bar and get wasted. Surely it's a great way to forget your ex temporarily, right?
The answer is "yes," but the risks that come with it make it not worth it. For instance, you can end up making reckless decisions that could cost you heavily in the long run. Worst of all, you end up robbing yourself of your healing process, making you even more depressed afterward.
Remember: When times are bad, use your head. And logically, you don't need alcohol or drugs to feel better after getting dumped.
Pursue new interests
Taking on new hobbies can be a great distraction from thinking about an old flame from time to time, and it gives you something else to focus your energy and attention on instead of dwelling on your past relationship.
Plus, exploring something completely new can be fun—especially if it's about an interest you've been curious about for years. Ask yourself: What have I been wanting to do for years but never had the time for?
Not only will you be ticking items off the ol' bucket list, but it'll also give you another good reason to ignore your ex. After all, you're spending your time on important things now.
Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself physically and mentally should always be a priority, whether or not you're going through a rough patch in your love life. It becomes even more critical when your heart's just been broken by someone you once cared deeply for.
Some ways to actively and purposefully take care of yourself after a breakup:
- Learning to prepare and eat healthy meals
- Getting plenty of restful sleep each night
- Exercising regularly
- Meditating/praying daily
- Kicking a bad habit or two
All these activities can help you clear your mind, so it doesn't wander to your old flame as much. Keeping your body busy will keep your mind active as well.
Don't look for closure from her
Sometimes, after being dumped, we think we need closure before we can indeed start moving forward with our lives. However, seeking closure often keeps us locked in a loop of "what ifs," especially if our exes are not interested in talking to us.
The solution is simple—don't look for closure; instead, impose it on the relationship yourself. Tell yourself: "It's over for whatever reason. I no longer care. Let's soldier on."
You'll be surprised to realize that there's actually so much that's under your control when you:
- Stop caring what your ex thinks
- Stop caring what strangers might think
- Focus on your own goals in life, and cut off everything that distracts you from them
Breakups hurt like heck—there are no two ways about it. Eventually, though, everyone moves forward with their lives, willingly or not—and that will include you. So, why not move on willingly instead of leaving it up to chance?
Using these 7 tips will make ignoring your ex much easier. After all, life is short, and thousands, maybe even millions, of other women out there would treat you better. So, ignore your ex, get back on your feet, and get busy living.