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Not so long ago, a friend of mine – we’ll call her Susan – broke up with her partner. It was a longtime coming, and yet no one anticipated what would happen next: she became obsessed with his every move!

It can be rough when a relationship ends. Sometimes love does crazy things to us, and in Susan’s case, that manifested in late-night drives, staged run-ins, and lunches with the ex’s family. She spent her free time analyzing his Instagram feed, and frantically checking if he had a new partner.

If there was a post-breakup manual of what not to do, she would’ve checked every single bad idea off the list. Susan’s breakup, although necessary, felt impossible. And when I asked her why she was so obsessed with her ex, she said: I can’t let him win.

Have you ever struggled getting over an ex?

Let Go of “Winning”

As one of her best girlfriends, I felt it was my duty to give her a hit of reality. I reminded her that there is no such thing as winning or losing in a (healthy) breakup. But, if we were judging by that logic, Susan sure as hell wasn’t the victor. I reminded her that, regardless of her incredible efforts, it’s impossible to get inside another person’s head; she needed to let go.

On a similar note, she did prove there is a wrong way to do breakups, and in that sense, she was kicking all asses.

Luckily, her and I have a great relationship, and I assumed the role of (pseudo) relationship coach. Together we decided I’d hold her accountable, support her efforts, and do my best to keep her on the road to recovery – aka, getting over her ex.

If you’re like Susan and have a prior relationship that’s haunting you, let me create a new vision for you: a future full of confidence, joy, close friends, and perhaps a new love interest…

Sounds nice, right?

Well, now is the time to stop obsessing. Here’s how to get over an ex!

Have you ever experienced the “I don’t want them to win” breakup mindset?

Mean What You Say

First things first, it’s time to practice self-integrity.

In short, self-integrity is just doing what you’ve told yourself you’re going to do.

If you’ve lived outside of your integrity for some time, this may feel uncomfortable, and that’s okay. Do yourself a favor and commit to this process for a few weeks. The goal right now is rebuilding your relationship to self!

When Susan started following-through on her word, she began strengthening her self-integrity, making every commitment easier to undertake. With each successful commitment, I saw the effects on her overall self-image. You see, when you can count on yourself, your confidence increases, and that’s a great foundation to start fresh on, especially after a breakup.

Once Susan began taking the process seriously, she realized that she was the only one suffering from being out of alignment with herself. She was so afraid of her ex “winning” that she sacrificed her own mental health (on a daily basis!) to confirm that wasn’t true.

Where’s the joy in that?

Of course, breakups come with strong emotions. They can trick us into indulging in some degrading behaviors. Being obsessed with an ex or a past relationship is like any other bad habit, and breaking it is a process. Your body needs to metabolize the loss of the relationship, and therefore it’s normal to have ups and downs. The difference is whether you take actions that support your healing or keep you stuck in past relationships.

The ironic part about being human is you have to feel the pain for it to find its exit point. However, external reinforcement of that pain will keep it stagnant and festering, so forget about doing that drive-by or staging that run-in! Instead, follow through with your commitment to yourself and create space to get over your ex.

As you work through these steps, keep this mantra in mind:

Progress not perfection!

Another ironic part about being human? You have to accept your mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over the missteps (both in your relationship or during the/post-breakup), it will only add to the chaos. Ya, okay, I do believe there is a wrong way to do breakups but think of it like an experiment. Instead of wallowing in the mistakes, stand up, brush yourself off, and do better next time around. Being in integrity with yourself means accepting the truth of the situation (even the bad times and feelings) and taking control of what’s possible for you to better that situation. And here’s how…

The No Contact Rule

One of the first things I told my friend was to cut contact with her ex and his family. Every time she’d come home from an outing with them, her wounds were reopened. She wasn’t just emotionally attached to her ex, but everything that came with him, family included. So, for her own wellbeing, it was time to enforce the no contact rule.

Shared Responsibilities

Of course, if you and your ex have shared responsibilities or living space, maybe you can’t apply this full force. In saying that, reducing exposure to your ex and their family will help you emotionally recalibrate.

Some alternatives include:

âś… Limiting contact to shared responsibilities (i.e., kids, business, etc.)

âś… Communicating through an intermediary

Pause Your Social Media Accounts

One of the hardest things for Susan was giving up social media. She felt it was her last tie to her ex (which is exactly why it had to go). For this reason, we took it in tolerable stages:

a photo of a smartphone showing social media accounts

The first was unfollowing him.

The second was unfollowing his friends.

The third was blocking him.

Through her process, she had moments where she deleted the app from her phone to give her peace of mind.

If you have moments where you feel particularly vulnerable (i.e., impulses to check up on your ex-partner) but you don’t want to delete your account, this may be the best alternative. Again, it’s impossible to get inside another person’s head, so commit to a few weeks and see how you feel. I bet you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted!

The Trouble with Social Media

The trouble with social media is it’s like looking through someone else’s rose-colored glasses. It’s a photo album of good times, which disconnects us further from one another. Because we are comparing our strong emotional experience to their smiles and adventures, it makes the world feel unrelatable and distant. This can be dangerous for anyone in a vulnerable state of mind. Changing your reading preferences from their Facebook page to more inspiring literature is a great alternative. Also, making plans with friends in real life, and speaking about things that matter to you is a healthier way to pass the time, and feel less alone.

None of Your Business

My friend needed to accept that what her ex was up to was no longer any of her business, and vice versa. She had to move on with her life, accepting that he was no longer a part of it. Although she felt sad about this, she could begin focusing on other, more positive, emotional outlets.

What helped you the most during a breakup?

Adjust Your Social Life

Susan had to relearn the difference between solitude and feeling lonely. For a while she thought they were one in the same, but as she adjusted her social life and spent time with people who care and bring out the best in her, the distinction became clear.

Temporary Irregular

One of the first things she stopped doing was frequenting places she knew her ex would be.

I know you may not want to give up your local coffee shop but think of it as a temporary solution to an impactful problem. The goal right now is to detach from your ex, which sometimes means letting go of that delicious cup of brew that is designed specifically for you.

Mutual Friends

a groupd of male and female friends

If you share mutual friends, create boundaries around where and when you see them, and let them know that you don’t wish to speak about your ex-partner.

Susan learned very quickly who she could trust and who she needed to distance herself from throughout this process. This was one of the greatest lessons for my friend. She found out who cared more about the drama of the breakup than her wellbeing.

For this reason, Susan had to leave more than her ex in the past! Breaking up with her ex expanded into breaking up with certain friends. Although it often felt like adding insult to injury, she was grateful in the end as it cleared space for new friendships.

Up the Self Care

Sometimes we have to focus inward to let go of external influences. I believe there’s no better way to get over your ex than getting good with yourself. Shift your focus from that relationship to something more empowering, such as self-care. Here are a few practices Susan implemented. Within two weeks of consistent practice, we both noticed a huge improvement in her mood and energy, and the diminishing of her obsession.

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation boost joy. They do so through the increase of presence and self-awareness, while also building stress-management skills through breath, focus, and relaxation. These are two of the most highly praised mental health practices that don’t need to take longer than five minutes.

Daily Journaling

Having even a short journal routine will offer personal insights and make you less of a stranger to yourself. Journaling can help process feelings and build positive self-talk.

Speaking to a therapist

Like Susan, you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re having a particularly difficult time, talk things through with a professional. A great resource is Better Help.

Talk therapy can help build resilience and independence – specifically finding your own identity, one that is no longer interconnected with your ex.

Personal Growth

Personal growth is a beautiful and fulfilling way to enhance one’s quality of life and strengthen relationships. It can also identify patterns that need to be acknowledged and broken. This can put a stop to repeating negative habits or relationships (i.e., obsessing over your ex’s every move!) and build a healthy foundation for new ones.

What stage are you currently at in your breakup?

Create a Life You’re Obsessed With Instead

black man doing a yoga position

Lastly, the best way to get over an ex is to create a future you’re obsessed with!

Try to see this as a fresh start, and let your previous relationship be a lesson to you.

Turn your obsession over the past into an obsession with your new life! Start focusing on things that bring you joy. Get out of your comfort zone and build confidence. Do this at your own pace and know that wherever you are in this healing process, you are not alone!