How to Get Over Your Ex-Boyfriend: 21 Practical Steps for Moving On
Breaking up with a boyfriend is never easy, and moving on can feel impossible. But what if we told you that there’s a silver lining in your cloud of heartbreak? That you can transform this period of pain into a journey of personal growth and healing?
Buckle up for a voyage of self-discovery as we explore practical steps on how to get over your ex-boyfriend.
1. Recognize the Finality
First, realize that the romantic relationship ended. It sounds harsh, but it is reality. Recognize the finality of your past relationship and allow yourself to process your emotions. Crying, being sad, being angry, remembering fond memories…these things are okay and healthy so you can grieve what was lost.
Know that he was clearly not the right person for you. There is a new person in your future, and fun times ahead. But first, you need to take care of yourself and undergo this emotional journey so you can release the past and get yourself ready for a new beginning.
Acknowledging that your ex is no longer a part of your life is a vital part of your recovery. It might feel as though you’ve lost a part of yourself…in fact, you probably feel a little lost in general. You used to spend free time together, and now you have time alone. What do you do now?
Use this opportunity to learn to find happiness with yourself and within yourself. Spend time watching movies, discovering a new hobby, and doing things that feel good to you. Practice more self-care. Plan outings with supportive friends and start new friendships. Join singles groups at one or more churches. Volunteer. Read on below for more ideas.
2. Grieve What Was Lost
Experiencing emotional pain after a relationship ends is perfectly acceptable. In fact, giving yourself permission to grieve is a significant part of the healing process. Acknowledge the pain and allow yourself to feel the emotions — no judgment.
This can ultimately lead to inner peace and acceptance.
3. Look Forward to New Beginnings
Having given yourself time to mourn the loss, you can now start anticipating new beginnings. Embrace what lies ahead. Focus on surrounding yourself with people who love you and doing things that make you happy.
Remember, you are not trying to forget the past, but grow as a person.
4. Cut Physical & Digital Ties
Take the gifts, jewelry and reminders of him out of your space. You might put gifts or jewelry from him on a consignment site, or donate them, and use it as an excuse to buy replacements.
Implement the no-contact rule. In the digital world, this means you unfollow your ex on social media, delete your old messages to and from him, and resist the urge to social media stalk. Don’t see if he is active on any dating app or search for mention of him online.
You don’t have to completely erase your ex from your life if you don’t want to, but at least provide yourself enough room to recover and grow. The quickest path to healing and moving on is to avoid reminders of your past relationship and get busy and excited about the present.
5. Avoid Common Hangouts
Steer clear of the places you used to frequent together. This can help minimize painful memories and avoid you running into him with someone new. Instead, explore new places and create new memories that are solely yours.
If you do happen to run into your ex, the best revenge is to look amazing and appear not to care. You can cry in private if you need to, but keep it together and show him what he lost.
6. Establish Boundaries with Mutual Friends
Setting boundaries with friends you share with your ex is equally important. Let them know that you’d rather not discuss your ex. If they don’t respect these boundaries, reevaluate these friendships. Remember, you have the right to protect your emotional well-being.
7. Indulge in Solo Activities
Following a breakup, it becomes vital to concentrate on self-love and self-care. This is the time to indulge in activities that bring you happiness and help you reconnect with yourself. Prioritize your physical and emotional health and seek joy in your daily life. As you heal, some days will be better than others. This is natural. The goal is to have more and more good days.
Whether it’s reading a book, taking a bubble bath with candles, going for a run, or simply watching your favorite movie while scarfing down your favorite pizza, these solo activities can help you enjoy your own company and find peace within yourself.
8. Prioritize Physical and Emotional Health
Take the extra time you have to find changes you can make for a healthier lifestyle. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and enough sleep can significantly aid in your emotional healing and help your mental health issues.
If you feel yourself struggling, find a counselor to help you worth through this tough time.
9. Seek Joy in Daily Life
Cultivate a positive mindset and find joy in the small moments of everyday life. Practice gratitude, surround yourself with positive people, and remember, it’s okay to be sad when you’re still healing.
10. Lean on Close Friends
Spending time with your friends and family is an important part of your healing process. Lean on close friends and don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance. These people can provide the emotional support and understanding that you need.
Make contact with friends who can be there to listen. They can distract you when the pain feels unbearable and offer a shoulder to cry on. True friends will be there for you. So don’t be overly concerned with bothering your friends with your sorrow…if they can’t be available for an occasional phone call with you, then they are not your friends.
11. Engage with Family Members
Your family can provide a uniquely close form of affection. You can have regular meals and conversations, plan fun activities or outings together, share your thoughts and feelings with them, and seek their support and advice.
Through all these ways, they can provide a sense of stability and comfort during this challenging time.
12. Explore Professional Guidance
Consider seeking professional help from a relationship expert or relationship coach to work through your emotions and the events that contributed to the breakup. The professional doesn’t necessarily have to be a licensed therapist, but that would be optimal if you can afford one.
Professionals can provide a safe space for you to express your feelings and offer strategies to help you cope and move on. Use them to process what has happened so you can improve your relationship skills when you have a new relationship.
Do not feel guilty about your part in the breakup. This will only lead to more pain. Instead, understand that you did the best you could at the time with the skills and viewpoint you had. To the extent you were wrong, learn from it so you are a better partner for a new guy.
13. Reflect on Lessons Learned
Don’t waste all the pain. Use that pain for growth and personal development. Reflect on the lessons learned from the relationship, embrace new interests, and set goals for yourself. Remember, every experience, good or bad, contributes to who you are as a person.
Reflecting on your previous relationship helps you identify areas where you can become a better version of yourself. What did you learn from the relationship? How can you apply these lessons to your future relationships?
14. Embrace New Hobbies and Interests
Venture into new hobbies and experiences. Have the courage to try things that your “old self” would have never done. Whether it’s taking a paint class, joining a hiking group, or attending a foreign language class, these activities will help you have a deeper understanding of yourself and build new connections.
Plus, trying different activities introduces you to different people. It may be that the type of man who is a healthy match for you is very different from the men you have been meeting through your old activities.
15. Set Goals for the Future
Set personal and professional goals to work towards as you move on from your former partner. Having clear goals gives your life direction and purpose, and gives you something to focus on outside of your shattered coupledom. If you have a relationship coach, lean on that person to help you come up with ideas and put them into action.
16. Know When It Is Time
Once you feel ready to enter the wacky world of dating again, pay attention to your feelings and your gut. You might feel ready, then have second thoughts when you start talking to guys on the phone and meeting them.
That is okay. There is no rush. Take a break, then when that time comes, tip toe back into the meat market again. Approach dating with an open mind, and also a clear mind that sees red flags early and protects your personal safety.
Determining when to start dating again is a deeply personal decision. Some might be ready after a few weeks, while others might take months or even years. There’s no right or wrong timeline. Your time is your time.
The important thing is that you feel ready and are open to meeting new people.
17. Use Dating Apps Wisely
I could write a whole article on this. Dating apps give you access to a broad range of new people, but they should be used authentically and with caution.
Be your real self in your profile. This means have several recent photos of yourself and communicate openly. A lot of people have a few select photos of themselves from many years ago. This is a bad choice. Your date will eventually meet you, and if you are different from your pictures, they will think you have lied about your appearance and likely will lie about other things as well. Game over.
Take it slow by starting with a phone call or two to see if you are even interested in meeting in person. Time can be saved be screening your potential match during a phone call. While you are on the phone, look for differences from what they say on the phone and who they say they are in their profile. People often pretend to be a better version of themselves online. Again, if they are different from their profile, they are lying. Game over.
Safety first. Meet in a public place and make sure your transportation is safe so you aren’t followed home.
Last, don’t expect that every match will become your next relationship. The goal is to safely meet new people, get comfortable dating again and have fun while you are meeting a possible new partner.
18. Learn to Trust and Love Again
Opening up to love again after being hurt can be challenging. It’s important to take things slow, maintain healthy boundaries, and trust your instincts.
Remember, it’s okay to be vulnerable, and it’s okay to take your time.
19. Create a Bucket List
Moving on from a heartbreak involves not only emotional healing but also making changes in your everyday life. You should fill the time you previously spent with your ex with healthy activities.
This includes creating a bucket list of experiences you want to have, taking action to have those experiences, adopting a spiritual approach, and giving back to your community. These activities will keep you busy, help you meet new people, and help you heal.
Compile a list of experiences that would be amazing life experiences. Your bucket list could include traveling to a new country, learning an interesting skill, or eating your way through all of the top restaurants in the city.
Make a set timeline to do these things to help you focus on moving forward.
20. Adopt a Spiritual Approach
Adopting spiritual activities, like meditation or mindfulness, can assist in achieving inner tranquility and a feeling of wellness. These practices can help you stay grounded, manage your emotions, and remain present in the moment.
21. Volunteer and Give Back
Involve yourself in volunteer tasks or services to your community. Giving back can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment, and it’s a great way to make a positive impact in your community.
The end of a relationship can be the start of your journey of healing and self-confidence. It involves accepting the end of the relationship, creating space for healing, rediscovering self-love, reconnecting with your support system in your friends and family, navigating the dating world again, and making changes in your daily life.
Remember, every end is a new beginning, and this is your chance to create a life that truly reflects who you are. Embrace the journey, because the best is yet to come.