Patti's Blog

What to do if you can’t stop thinking about your ex

thinkingaboutyourexAh, break ups. They’re heinous on all levels. Even the best, most amicable break up is pretty effing bad. Believe me, I know! Going through the break up can be hell, but what’s sometimes worse is that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. You keeping thinking about that final conversation, what you could have done differently, if you should have ended things earlier, what he’s doing now, who he’s doing now. The list goes on and on. And sometimes, so do your thoughts. It can be weeks and week or months and months of obsessing over the relationship. Even when you don’t want to be thinking about your ex, you can’t stop. Well, here’s what to do.

Just stop

The only way to stop thinking about your ex is to just plain stop doing it. What I like to do is give myself a deadline that feels reasonable. I mean, you can’t break up with someone and the next day be completely healed. Set a deadline to end the obsessing that feels reasonable for the situation. It could be three weeks or three months or even longer. Mark it on your calendar. When that reminder pops up, you need to stop thinking about him. And when your brain wanders into ex territory, immediately pull it somewhere else. I like to have a really pleasant image or memory that I automatically think about whenever my brain goes somewhere it shouldn’t. If you do that enough times, your brain will stop defaulting to thinking about your ex. You just need to get it out of the ex-thinking mode it’s so used to.

Move on

I know you don’t feel like you’re ready to move on, but good stuff happens before you’re fully ready. Trust me on that one. So, even if you’re not 100% healed, open yourself up to a new relationship. Jump into online dating. Go to parties with your eyes open for single dudes. Ask friends for set ups. You don’t have to jump into the first relationship that presents itself, of course. But, a little romantic attention can be a nice distraction from ex-obsessing. Treat yourself to some flirting and excitement. I think it’ll really help.

Talk to a professional

If you really feel like your brain is out of control and the amount of time you’re spending thinking about your ex is making you unhappy, talk to a professional like a therapist. A few sessions with a therapist can do wonders for helping you move on. You’ll learn to shift your energy from dwelling on the past to focusing on the future. Suddenly, your whole life will open up.

I really hope this helps all of you post-break up gals. It’s rough out there for a newly single lady, but know that it gets a lot better and you will find true love. He’s out there. You just need to meet him!

Photo credit: Crystl / CC BY