Moving on from an ex is hard — especially when you still love them.
Whether the breakup was a surprise or not, letting go of your ex and preparing yourself for a life without them may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
It’s normal to wonder how to move on from the love of your life, however, you lost them.
You’re not alone.
And you can move on.
Read on to learn how.
How to Move on From An Ex: 13 Ideas to Make It Less Painful
This post is for all who are asking themselves, “Why can’t I move on from my ex?” If this is you, we’re glad you’re here. Take some time to read through all 13 of the following ideas on how to move on from your ex.
Make a note of the ones that stand out for you.
1. Accept what has happened.
Moving on is impossible if you’re still in denial about what happened. You’re not alone if you’re still holding onto the possibility your ex will come back to you. But holding onto false hopes or refusing to accept your ex’s decision to leave is only holding you back.
Until you accept the truth and let go of your ex, you won’t allow yourself to heal or to create a better life for yourself.
2. Talk to someone.
A trusted family member may be able to help you see your situation more clearly, especially one who’s experienced a painful breakup and has moved on from it.
You can also find a therapist or mentor to talk to about what you’re going through with this breakup. Work through the process with someone who can challenge your thinking, support you as you process your loss, and help you see your way forward.
3. Acknowledge the truth behind the breakup.
Moving on requires more than simply accepting the breakup; you also need to acknowledge what led up to it, without judging either yourself or your ex.
Get to the truth of what happened and why the breakup was necessary. If it wasn’t, you’d both be doing everything possible to stay together.
The goal is to learn what you can from the experience, so you can both do better next time.
4. Get some closure.
To get to the truth behind your breakup, you might need to talk to your ex. And you’ll probably hear some things you’d rather not.
Still, it beats wondering…
- Was it something you said or did (or didn’t say or do)?
- Was your ex attracted to someone else?
- Was there anything you could have done to save the relationship?
Don’t argue with your ex, or you won’t learn as much as you can about their perspective on the relationship. You might not agree with it. But if one of you says it’s over, it is.
5. Give yourself some social distance — from your ex.
Once you’ve learned what you need to learn from your ex about their perspective on the breakup and the reasons behind it, give yourself time and space away from them.
- No calls or texts
- No visits or “accidental” meetings
- No social media stalking
You need the social distance to process what you’ve learned and to decide how you’re going to move forward. If your ex sees your relationship as part of their past, there’s no reason for them to have 24/7 access to you in the present.
6. Pursue an interest you’ve put on the back burner.
Is there something you’ve wanted to do but haven’t because your ex wanted you to do something else? Maybe it’s a lot of somethings. Make a list.
Focus on what you’re free to do, now, that you couldn’t do before because your ex (i.e., former partner) discouraged the idea or kept you busy with other things.
Allow yourself to enjoy the freedom to do what you want without feeling guilty about it.
7. Take care of yourself.
Don’t neglect self-care when you’re working through the fallout from a painful breakup. If anything, double down on it. Breakups don’t make you any less worthy of love.
This is not the time to neglect basic hygiene (not that there’s ever a good time for that). Keep that up, and think about something you can do to show yourself some extra TLC.
Tender-loving care does not include going on benders or sobbing loudly outside your ex’s apartment. Think of something your future self will thank you for.
8. Spend time with friends, and meet new people.
Get together with some friends and be open to the idea of meeting new people.
You don’t have to be ready to date; just focus on being good company for your friends. And allow yourself to enjoy theirs.
That said, if you try this and feel incapable of socializing, no one should blame you for leaving early and giving yourself some time alone — or with one friend at a time.
9. Listen to the right voices.
The louder voice in your head right now is probably being a jerk, saying all kinds of unhelpful things. Tell that voice to stuff it. It’s not you. And it’s not telling you the truth. It’s just repeating the same old false beliefs with an extra helping of judgment.
Listen to the quieter, gentler voice behind that one — the inner voice that doesn’t kick you when you’re down. Spend time in the present moment just listening for that voice.
You’ll know it by the peace it brings.
10. Reframe your past.
Moving forward is a lot easier when you can see your past as it is and not as something you have to fix. Try reframing your past in a way that helps you let go of your ex and move on.
Ditch the drama and the self-hating or resentful language and focus on the naked truth of what happened between you, without judging either person.
Change the way you think about the past, and you can change your present for the better.
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11. Let the past go.
Once you’ve reframed your past, it’s time to make your intention to leave it where it is.
Decide to stop yourself whenever you’re tempted to write long-winded monologues about how your ex has done you wrong. Remind yourself that those thoughts are meaningless. Refuse to give them the power to dominate your thinking and keep you stuck in the past.
Then replace them with thoughts that help you heal and focus on the present.
12. Get real with the present.
Your present is where the light is and where you are, and it deserves your attention. Your present is where your focus should be, as much as possible.
We get how tempting it is to wander back to memories you shared with your ex (those you remember with a smile — and others). But it’s time to make new memories, and for that to happen, you have to engage fully with the present moment.
Notice the good things around you and the possibilities each moment holds. Take a moment to savor what you have, and be honest about where you are. Start there.
13. Get ready to rewrite your story.
You’re never too old to make a new start and write a new story for yourself. It doesn’t even have to resemble your past. But it will be influenced by your beliefs.
The good news? You choose what you believe. And if you change those, you can change the way you think — about yourself and everything else. Your beliefs are the foundation of every story you tell about yourself.
Make this one better than the last. Because you can.
FAQ About Moving On From An Ex
Now that you’ve read through all 13 ways to move on from an ex, let’s recap and tackle some frequently-asked questions.
How do you get over an ex you still love?
The steps are the same as the ones you’ve just read about, but working through them might take a bit longer. Give yourself all the space and the time you need to grieve the loss of someone you love and to get to the truth behind the break-up.
How do I stop thinking about my ex?
You can’t control what your monkey mind will throw at you, but you can control what thoughts you choose to dwell on. So, when you’re tempted to think about your ex, think about something else.
Find new things to occupy your mind. Don’t beat yourself up if your thoughts stray back to your ex, but don’t let those thoughts steal the spotlight, either.
How long does it take to get over an ex you still love?
That depends entirely on you. We don’t say that to make light of your pain but to point out that it’s up to you to decide when you’ll let go of your ex and move on with your life.
That said, don’t compare yourself to others who’ve gotten over their exes more quickly — or those who are still steeped in agony over their loss. Your process is your own.
No one else can speed you through it or hold you back.
Now that you know how to move on from an ex, which of the ideas described above stood out for you? And what will you do today to help yourself heal and create a life you love?