Set a time limit to focus on your ex.
Whereas your relationship was a major part of your life, it didn’t consume you (nor should it have), so neither should your breakup. Each day, minimize the amount of attention you give to it. If you find it hard to stop recycling events or thoughts of him, surround yourself with other people or create a daily schedule to keep yourself busy. Make sure the time you spend thinking about your ex or your relationship is productive (ie, what was good/bad about the relationship) vs destructive (ie, beating yourself up about it or looping “what if’s” in your head).
Just as you would toss your cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays if you were quitting smoking, you must completely disconnect from your ex if you want to get over him. And the only way to do that is through cold-turkey detox. So take a deep breath and delete him from your phone contact list, defriend him on Facebook and remove any screen names. When you get the urge to reach out, tap into a predefined distraction activity list. Research has proven that the brain can concentrate fully on only one thing at a time, so if you shift your focus onto, say, a Sudoku puzzle, reading a magazine or alphabetizing your DVD collection, you will automatically lose the urge to reconnect.
Make a “what if” list.
In detail, write down all of the things that were broken in your relationship — what you loathed about you in the relationship, what you loathed about him, and what you loathed about the dynamic of the relationship. Be specific. Include particular occasions on which he disappointed you, moments that left you crying, and so on. This is the time to be brutally honest. Sugar coating or using a forgiving pen won’t work here. When your mind goes the route of “I wonder what if… (we got back together, I had done this, I changed this, etc),” pull out your list to remember how incomplete and unhealthy your relationship was.
Rebuild your bedroom.
Your bedroom is your personal sanctuary, and having opened it up to a man undoubtedly changed its energy flow. Now, it’s time to rid your room of him and recreate it as a space fit for the you of today. Start by shifting the furniture around. Treat yourself to new sheets and say goodbye to those in which you shared intimate moments with your ex. Resurrect any girly baubles you may have stored away when he came into the picture. Remove any photos of him and donate/trash all of the things he left behind. Spray your room with a particularly sweet and girly scent to free your haven of classic man smell. Relax and enjoy!
Do the pink hearts/black hearts exercise.
Cut out hand-size pink and black hearts — approximately five of each. On the pink hearts, write down what you will always cherish about your ex and/or your relationship with him. These could be fond memories of events or travel, how you grew as an individual… anything that warms your heart when you think about the relationship. On the black hearts, write down what pained you about the relationship. These could be feelings (ie, low self-esteem), major letdowns or even things you did that you regret. Place the pink hearts in a small “love box” to treasure forever. Shred or burn the black hearts to send them into the distant past — and commend yourself for learning from the experiences written on them and not allowing them to hold you back.
Have the last word.
Pour a glass of wine and grab a tissue box, along with a notebook and a pen (or computer). Take three deep breaths and begin writing your goodbye letter to your ex. Write whatever comes to mind. Don’t concern yourself with grammar, spelling or even sense. Just dump out your heart. Say everything that is in it, kind or unkind. When you think you are finished, pause for five minutes and wait to see if more comes. It will. When you are truly finished with the letter, re-read it once. Inhale your power as you do. Then, destroy the letter and exhale deeply as you let go of the past. The power in this letter is you having written it, not him reading it.
Enjoy your singledom.
Do three things that you didn’t do when you were in your relationship. These could be things like eating ice cream for dinner while wearing a face mask, traveling alone, taking a goofy class, splurging on $200 shoes, and so on. The important part isn’t what you choose to do but rather reconnecting with your life, making yourself whole again and centered on you. Remember that this is a new chapter, and you get to write it however you want.
Fun ways to move on
Flirtexting: The new dating frontier
It was only a matter of time before texting found a way to further complicate the world of dating. Shay talks to Debra Goldstein and Olivia Baniuszewicz, authors of Flirtexting, to find out what you need to know before you text him. Go to Flirtexting.com for a chance to win a Virgin Mobile phone for your text messages!
More ways to get over your Ex:
- How to start dating after divorce
- Starting over: Dating after divorce or widowhood
- Breakup homework: 4 Exercises to help you move on