Whether you ended your relationship or your partner ended things, it’s over. It’s likely been over for a while. So why do you still keep thinking about your ex? Maybe they keep showing up in your dreams? Or perhaps your current partner makes you wish you were with your ex even though you were unhappy in your past relationship?
If you are trying to learn how to forget about your ex, this article is for you.
As a clinical therapist, I often get the “it’s over” text update from clients. I am a compassionate listener during the grieving sessions that follow. Sometimes the breakup was the client’s choice, and at other times, it was not.
When a relationship ends, things change. There is no longer an “us,” there is only “me.” We are no longer “in a relationship,” as we are single. This new identity is not always welcomed, but even when it is, why are there certain exes we just can’t shake?
15 tips on how to get over your ex
Learning how to forget about your ex can be confusing as you may find yourself trying to hold onto the past while being aware that it may be important to move into the future.
Here are some tips that have helped others and are perhaps worth a try if you are trying to understand how to forget your ex.
1. Write them a letter
Getting all the redundant thoughts out on paper can be cleansing when trying to figure out ways to forget your ex.
When we have thoughts that don’t leave us, the act of putting them on a piece of paper can help us deal with them.
Write and tell them all the reasons you miss them. And then all the reasons you don’t. Tell them everything you wish you could still say. And then tear it up and never send it.
Learning how to forget the past relationship includes recognizing that you can’t keep inviting your ex into your present when you agreed to leave them in the past.
You possibly imagine them stepping right back into your life as if they never left. You may unrealistically believe that they will not just appreciate who you are today but also change themselves to become someone worth appreciating.
These thoughts are likely baseless fantasies that will lead you towards disappointment.
3. Clarify your memory trips
The trips you take down memory lane must be accurate about all aspects of your relationship. Don’t overlook the reasons why you broke up in the first place.
Make sure to remember instances like when they yelled at you for making a small mistake or getting too drunk to stay out with you at night.
4. Make the list
Prepare an honest list of qualities your ex had that do not mesh with your values and path. The list can serve as a reminder to you about why you deserve better.
5. Be grateful for the experience
Every relationship is full of lessons because you can learn things about yourself as part of a duo. This information can help you figure out things that worked and the ones that didn’t to use as a guide for your next relationship.
Are they kind to waiters and check-out staff at stores?
Learn to notice and appreciate all the things that make them exceptional.
11. Start over
Fresh start. Fresh haircut. Clean room. These are things you can do and have control over.
New, fresh, and yours.
If you have the luxury of planning a vacation or even a day trip, do that.
If you have time to try out that new restaurant, go. You are making new memories with your new status and your new sense of self.
Even if you are in a new relationship and forgetting your ex is difficult for you, these strategies can help you appreciate what is different about your life now with your present partner.
12. New hobby
Now is a great time to dive into a new hobby or a hobby that you had previously abandoned. All that time you spent texting, talking, eating, and arguing with your partner, is now free.
Yes, you can take a class, learn a language, join a book club, or get a pet. Value the positive aspects of having time to do anything you want.
13. Do things for others
Fill your bucket by filling other buckets.
Spend time with a pet, a neighbor, or a grandparent as being genuinely kind makes us feel better about ourselves, our circumstances, and our day.
Showing kindness and compassion for others reminds us of our responsibility as fellow humans, and it feels good to do our part.
14. Give yourself time to grieve
Grief really does seem to include those five stages of denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance.
Discovering your own personal definition of acceptance can be empowering in itself.
Maybe you accept that you learned a lot about what you deserve, what you need and who you are as a partner. And perhaps you learn now that you are much better at missing them than loving them!
15. Love yourself
Self-compassion can feel indulgent, but it is vital.
Remember, you have been through a lot to arrive here. Acknowledge that. Let it sink in.
The best you can do is to demand respect, consideration, and care from your current and future relationships regardless of the intimacy.
You know what you give others. You know what you thrive on in return. Recognize these aspects of your character and use these to learn to love yourself.
Forgetting your ex can be a significant undertaking; therefore, if you don’t have a therapist already who can help you brainstorm and commit to these, find one.
If you can’t find a therapist you connect with, keep looking. We are primed and ready to support you. When you can finally love your current life, the life without your ex, that is truly living your best life.
Once you learn how to forget about your ex, you will be able to appreciate the beauty in the life you live right now.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Lynn R. Zakeri, LCSW is a therapist in the Chicago area whose passion is to help people figure out what is wrong and help them feel better again. As the owner of Lynn Zakeri LCSW Clinical Services, PLLC she works closely with her associates and helps children, adolescents, adults and families with many issues, including anxiety, depression, transitions, work ethics/motivation, young adult goal setting, self esteem, anger, family dysfunction (present or past), marital therapy, new mom stress, social skills, trauma, self-harming, and eating disorders, among others. She enjoys assisting in the progress and achievement of attaining goals and clients needs are prioritized, addressed and met. She has worked in the school setting and private practice. Lynn serves on many committees and when she is not working, she is being a soccer mom.