It’s easy to tell someone to quit moping around and move on after a breakup, but everything is heaps harder when it’s you going through it. The wound still runs deep, you convince yourself you’ll never find happiness or love again, and even getting out of bed in the morning feels like a mission.
You’d love nothing more than to stop missing him, but it’s not as easy as clicking your fingers and erasing months, years, or even decades worth of memories. You’ve lost your best friend, he’s not coming back, and that absence can be crippling.
So, if you’ve just broken up and you’re wondering how to stop missing your ex, I won’t sugarcoat it and tell you that everything will magically be better after reading this article. But here are some tips that will help you move on in time, regain control of your life, and find your way to happiness and love again.
How to stop missing your ex in 15 steps
1. Resist the urge to contact him
Number one on the list of things to stop missing your ex is to cut all contact with him. In the short term, it might make you feel better messaging him, hearing his voice on the phone, or even having breakup sex. The natural thing to do when you miss someone is to reach out. But in the long run? You’re keeping him in your mind and heart and making it even harder to stop missing him.
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If you have been in touch since the breakup, it’s unfair to ghost him. So reach out one last time and explain that you’re going to end contact, why you need to, and why this will be better for both of you. This doesn’t have to be permanent. Once you have both moved on, there is a possibility you can go back to being in each other’s lives or even remain friends. But right now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to end contact with him. And yes, that also means no more hearts or fire emojis on Instagram.
2. Allow yourself to feel all your emotions
Yes, you should try and remain strong during and in the aftermath of a breakup. But “being strong” does not mean pretending not to feel grief, pain, or loneliness. Being able to confront these emotions requires courage. If you ignore or repress your feelings and tell yourself you’re okay, those emotions will only fester and grow. You can’t run from how you feel; the only way to overcome emotions is to move through them.
So embrace all your feelings, whether anger, grief, heartache, sadness, loneliness, loss or something else. When you do, you’ll feel a release. Journaling can help a lot. A study of 73 people found that journaling for 20 minutes each day about the breakup helped participants feel less resentment and guilt and care less about their ex.
3. Join a community
Here’s how to stop missing your ex: join our Love Accelerator community. It’s a strong online community of women where you can connect with and feel supported by powerful, like-minded women who have been through similar experiences.
Even before you’re ready to start dating again, being surrounded by empowered women will help you see that this breakup is not the end; it’s just the end of one chapter and the beginning of a beautiful new one.
4. Reflect why you’re missing your ex
Okay, so you miss him. But why?
Was it how he made you feel less alone when you went to sleep at night?
Was it the thoughtful things he used to do for you, like bring you a cup of coffee every morning just the way you like it?
Or was it the attention and validation he gave you?
When you get clear on what you actually miss, you might find that it’s not him you miss at all.
Even if you were in a toxic or abusive relationship, it could still be normal to think you miss that person when they’re gone. But of course, you don’t miss him. Why would you miss someone treating you so badly or a relationship that wasn’t working? It’s likely what you miss is having someone there and the habit of the relationship.
If you do miss your ex, you will feel it.
5. Consider working with a therapist
If feeling your emotions and journaling on them isn’t getting you anywhere, and you’re struggling, it might be time to enlist professional help.
Honestly, even if you’re not going through a breakup, therapy can be enlightening and help you work through some childhood trauma or baggage you didn’t even know was lurking in your subconscious. We should all go to therapy.
Working with a licensed therapist you feel comfortable with and sharing your feelings without fear of bias or judgment can be a brilliant way to process your emotions. A therapist can also offer more insight and clarity on why you feel the way you do, the cause of the breakdown of the relationship, and help you heal some old wounds and toxic patterns that are holding you back from the right man and relationship.
Talking to your best friends about the breakup is great, but how can you be sure they’re not telling you what you want to hear, like, “sure Jenna, it’s totally fine to drunk text him at 1 AM and indulge in a bit of healthy breakup sex, I always do that…”
When in doubt, go to therapy.
6. Think about why things didn’t work out
When two people break up, it’s because something happened that meant you couldn’t work things out and see a future together. When you feel sad and lonely, it’s easy to look back through rose-tinted glasses and rewrite the story of your relationship. But to stop missing your ex, you need to focus on what drove you apart. There must have been some bad, irreparable things; otherwise, you’d still be together, right?
Sure, a small percentage of people break up, make up, and live happily ever after. But that’s a minority of people. So instead of feeling sorry for yourself and focusing on the John-shaped hole in your life, focus on why it didn’t work out, why he’s not right for you.
It’s equally important to learn from your past relationship to avoid repeating the same mistakes in your next one. This is what life is all about. And as long as you do learn and grow, there’s nothing to regret or feel down about.
7. Focus on the positives of ending the relationship
Toward the end of your relationship, were you constantly fighting and having more bad days than good ones? Were you on totally different pages about what you wanted and what was important? Did the trust or love erode over time? Was he holding you back from your career goals or making you feel bad for being ambitious and pursuing your dreams?
Next time you find yourself missing your ex, focus on everything that wasn’t working. Remind yourself of the positives of the breakup and being out of that relationship. This is your chance to start over, build a better relationship than the last one, and align it with the life you want to live.
It’s easy to dwell on the negatives, but when you’re in a funk, do your best to find something positive about this situation and focus on it until that gray cloud dissolves.
8. Get rid of anything that reminds you of him
How will you stop missing your ex when he’s sitting in all your photo frames around the house, staring back at you while you devour that chicken pot pie at dinner?
There’s no time like now to get rid of any loud reminders of your ex, whether it’s a screensaver on your phone, a password that reminds you of him, photos on the wall, a piece of jewelry, or any other mementos of your relationship.
I’m not a heartless b*stard, so I won’t tell you to light a bonfire and burn all that sh*t up. That’s optional. But I will ask you to decide what is too sentimental to throw away, put it all in a box, and put that box in your basement or into storage where you won’t see it for a long time. You’ll stumble on it five or ten years from now, and it’ll be a cute blast from the past. But right now, the wound is too fresh, so all that sh*t needs to go.
9. Give yourself time
I know you’re probably sick of people telling you “time heals all wounds” at this point, but as cliché as it sounds, it’s true. There isn’t much that time doesn’t heal. And while you might struggle to believe that things will get better, I promise you they will.
Although we can feel distressed for a long time after a breakup, it will get easier in time, and we have seen this to be true with all our clients. So even if it feels like you miss your ex more than ever, trust that you have to go through this darkness before you get to the light.
I can’t give you a timeline for when you’ll have moved on because all relationships and all people are different. Take things one day at a time, focus on getting through them, and make today a good day in whatever small ways you can.
10. Add structure to your life
Yes, there are times to binge-watch Netflix and do too many tequila shots with your girlfriends. But while these may be tried and tested activities that keep your mind off your ex and make you feel good in the moment, they aren’t positively contributing to your growth. You need to fill your days with things that feel good in the moment that your future self will thank you for – like trying out a new yogalates class, volunteering at your local homeless shelter, or doing a meal plan and grocery shop for the week ahead.
Think about your week in chunks of time. A week is 168 hours. Unless you’re retired, you probably spend a lot of time at work (about 40) and another large chunk sleeping (about 50 hours). That leaves you with 70 hours each week. If you have kids to take care of, even less. And if you’re not intentional about planning out those hours each week, they will run away from you (on things like watching sad rom-coms, gorging on chocolate, and missing your ex), and you won’t have much to show for it.
Think about how you want to use this time, and start allocating it each week to things that add value to your life.
11. Channel your energy into things you love
Here’s how to finally stop missing your ex – every time you start missing him, put a timer on, and start adding up all the time you’re wasting on this guy who:
a. You broke up with
b. Who broke up with you
Whether it was scenario a or b doesn’t matter. What matters is you are not together anymore, and it’s time to move on. Redirect all this energy into things that bring you joy and make you feel good. You can only do something you love for so long with a frown before something kicks in and you realize you’re actually happy.
It’s time to focus all your energy on things that lift you up, inspire you, and help you rediscover who you are. Maybe you want to get stuck into a big project at work and go after a promotion. Maybe you want to embark on a spontaneous trip to Italy for a month or attend a meditation retreat in Costa Rica. You may want to return to school, start a business, or give kickboxing a whirl.
Before you know it, you’ll be like, “Matthew, who?”
12. Practice self-care
All that BS about getting a “revenge body” is exactly that: bullsh*t. Don’t do anything with your ex in mind because that shows you’re still missing him and not moving on. The idea that a woman is working out, eating well, and taking care of herself simply to show her ex what he’s missing is garbage. Maybe she’s working out because it makes her feel healthy and strong. Maybe she’s eating well because it gives her so much more energy. Maybe she’s taking care of herself because she finally realized she deserves more than that as*hole and is prioritizing herself.
Exercise will calm anxiety and stress and give you a great outlet for any rage you still hold onto. Eating well is a way to show yourself love and will provide you with the right fuel to do all the amazing things you want to do. Taking care of yourself is a way to offer yourself kindness and grace, which is more important than ever after a breakup when you’re feeling extra vulnerable.
And if you just so happen to look like a straight-up ten outta ten next time your ex walks past, and he’s wondering why the heck he ever let you slip through his fingers, that’s just a bonus.
13. Focus on self-improvement
Another way to stop missing your ex and move forward is to focus on self-improvement. That’s not an invitation to slip into a comparison trap with friends or influencers on Instagram. The only person you should ever be competing against is yourself.
What can you do to be one percent better than yesterday’s you?
Whether it’s taking an online course, learning how to change a tire, reading a book that helps you learn something new, re-organizing your desk or closet, trying out a new recipe, or using a piece of equipment in the gym that you always avoid. Improving yourself in small ways = growth, and it’s one of the best ways to spend your time and forget about your ex.
14. Spend time with those who love you
One of the best things you can do for yourself when you miss your ex after a breakup is to surround yourself with people who care about you, support you, and love you. You might think you want to be left alone to wallow in self-pity, and some time alone will be beneficial to process your feelings, but don’t spend too much time on your own. Your friends and family will be there to pick you back up, dry your tears, and make you laugh. So don’t be afraid to reach out when you need to.
15. Start dating again
The danger of dating too soon after a breakup is that you will rebound hard or have meaningless casual sex. And in the moment, these things might feel great and stop you from missing your ex. But in the long run, they won’t help heal your heart.
The challenging part is knowing when you are ready to date again while also knowing that a part of you will probably never feel ready. So give yourself up to six months to process and heal, and then push yourself to get back out there and start dating again. Even if you don’t meet anyone you’re romantically interested in, meeting new people and having new experiences is important and will help you move on. There are so many people in the world, and the more you meet, the more you’ll realize that losing one guy is not the end of the world.
Are you going through a breakup and wondering how to stop missing your ex? Have you tried any of the tips on this list? What’s working for you, and what’s not working? Do you have any tips that have helped you move forward that aren’t on the list?
Share your story with us in the comments below!