For some people, it is hard to let go of an ex. Sometimes that is a cultural thing, sometimes it is pure emotions.
The reason given when asked why they keep holding on to their ex is because they simply cannot stop thinking about them.
When you have dated in countries where there is a huge gap between poor and rich, and you were the “rich foreigner” you may have noticed that your ex keeps popping up every now and then. Dipping in the pond, to see if you have changed your mind and prospects look good again for a brighter future for your (poorer) ex.
They miss the lifestyle you offered and the love to see if getting back together is an option.
This also makes it hard for you to let go. The sentiment is presented to you on the most expected moments and maybe even when you feel vulnerable and lonely. And the human brain is programmed to remember the good times and forget about what was the reason for a break-up in the first place.
This article is for both, the one left behind and the leaver, but mostly for the one left behind
Not being able to let go of your ex has to do with the repetitive ongoing thoughts and holding on to the past. These thoughts seem to take control of your mind and emotions, especially when you have nothing to do (f.e. late at night)
You think about your ex on special moments of the day, awaiting their good morning text or their good night text. You think you see your ex walking in the streets, or you hear a song that reminds you of them.
The circle of constant reminders and thoughts needs to be broken in order to move forward.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a clear head? To stop those thoughts and attend to your life the way you used to?
One thing is for sure, thinking about your ex will not bring your ex back. On the contrary. If you share these emotional thoughts with your ex, you will drive them even further away. They will pull up defense walls around their hearts and lives that you cannot break down.
So it is time you take control of your mind and life again. otherwise, you will be stuck in the past for ages. And time will not heal all. There will be damage that you take along in your next relationship which is bound to fail on past experiences.
Of you follow these simple steps and add some discipline to it you will open up to a new relationship as a better person, knowing yourself and what you want for the future much clearer and therefore be more successful in finding the right person.
If you want to stop thinking about that person, just stop thinking about that person
If it were only that simple. But it is not, isn’t it? If it were you would not be searching the internet for help.
And help is here. Keep reading!
In three steps you will be able to break through the circle of repetitive thoughts that are preventing you from moving on. And as practice makes perfect: it will become easier day after day.
1. You must be willing to let go
The first step is accepting the relationship is over. You guys broke up. Either the other or you decided it was enough and not working. And done is done. You are somebody’s ex for a reason. Get that reason clear in your head. Write it down, make a list of bad experiences and qualities if the relationship. And reread that list every time you feel you want to contact your ex or cry over past times.
And maybe you are still in the: ‘but it was all peaches and roses’- state of mind…. then it is time you face reality, for there is no such thing as breaking up both sides ‘peaches and roses’-relationship.
So step into reality and start writing what you missed, what you felt, what you picked up on gut feelings and what you wanted to be different while you were still together. What made you sad, angry, doubt? How many times did you feel alone or left out? What annoyed you about your ex? Didn’t it take forever before he texted you back? Why was that?
Stuff like that.
If it is too hard, ask your best friend. If that person knew the two of you together, he/she might be able to help you out. Your friend must have seen or noticed something even if you did not confide in them.
In the turmoil of a broken heart, we tend to forget the bad times and glorify the good ones, even if there were few. our whole perspective of the relationship gets off-balance. And somehow we forget all the struggle and heartache.
A list with the bad moments can help you keep perspective and grow your willingness to let go
I keep a diary and rereading my diary helps me to move on. Every time I wallow in sadness over what is lost I pull myself out of it by reading my diary. The pain, the distrust, the lies and the gap that started to show between me and him. Only to remember why we are each other’s ex.
If you were not the one doing the breaking up and you do not want this relationship to be over, you can keep it alive in your imagination. To be free of thinking constantly about your ex, you must let go of him/her. Only then you set yourself free and you can open up for your own life and maybe even a new partner.
2. Remember there are many others like you struggling through a breakup
After the break up you will feel lonely and abandoned. Your future is gone and you are kind of lost in grief. And it is okay to feel that way. yet, you must also realize that you are not alone. And that maybe you have felt like this before, in another breakup. And so you know you will survive. You will move on eventually.
If you have been in breakups before you might take a closer look at how you handled that. What helped and how did you get over it back then?
If this is your first break up it will be a very emotional experience. But you will rise and be your happy self again, I promise, for many others can and do and so can you.
And although you may not have a partner (anymore) right now, you still have friends and family. Turn to them. Let them help you. Let them distract you from overthinking. Maybe your best friend can help, if you confide in this person he or she might be willing to offer you an ear when you feel you need to talk when your thoughts are taking over.
Visit family and step out of your solitude and connect with other people
And there is always yourself. Write positive affirmations about yourself and talk to yourself in sentences like I’m worth a good life. I’m a good person. I’m lovable. I can find a new relationship.
Listen to friends and family when they tell you the same.
You can learn to love yourself, treat yourself well and spoil yourself a little bit to cheer yourself up.
All those negative things on the list under step number 1, you can turn into a positive experience with yourself and with friends.
Go on fun dates
Tell yourself you love yourself
Appreciate yourself for being you
Take care of yourself
3. Picture yourself with a better relationship in the future
It is a good thing to use this time of grief and recuperation to picture a new future for yourself.
And that is the most powerful step to let go of thoughts about your ex, for there is no room in the future for your ex, that person is in the past.
What would you really like to do or accomplish? What do you need to be a whole person again? What do you want to do tomorrow? And slowly from the next day, move to the next week and next month.
When you break up with a person your future is gone. You stare into emptiness and that emptiness needs to be filled by you.
I use the time of solitude after a break up not only to lick my wounds but also to find my learning curve. What did I do wrong, did I do anything wrong and how did I respond to the breakup? What emotions are holding me back from being happy and what I can I do to move forward.
When I have that clear, I take a fresh look at my future and I am ready to carefully start making plans:
go to the hairdresser and have my hair done
look at some brochures for a study, or look around for a (new) job
start a hobby or join a club
watch that movie I that has been on my wishlist for so long, or read that book I bought months ago
Change my daily routine back to MY daily routine, and get back on my feet again.
Make new plans, live them, follow your dreams. Name them! You can even write them down
Do not be afraid to picture yourself with another partner int he (near) future. Because you will find one if that is what you want. Maybe it does not feel like it right now, but once you have created your new future, you will grow into it.
Every time your ex pops up in your mind you follow these three steps, and believe me, it will be hard in the beginning but after a few days, you will find your already on a good track to recovery.
So there is the thought on your ex:
Read the negatives and remember why you are exes
Turn to friends and/or family for distraction and confirmation
picture yourself in the future and in a better relationship
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.