30 Practical Tips To Forget Your Ex

Giving the time to heal yourself is one of the best ways to forget your ex.

Reviewed by Jessica Jefferson, MA, MS, LMFT Jessica Jefferson Jessica JeffersonMA, MS, LMFT facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon Specialty: Anxiety, Depression, Couples Counseling and Perinatal Mental Health (PPD & PPA)Experience: 8 years
Written by sanjana lagudu
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Breakups can cause long-lasting heartaches, especially when you were committed for a long time and dreamt of being together forever. Sometimes, things may not work out as expected. But even after moving on, you may try to figure out how to forget your ex as the heart may keep up the light of hope and crave for the estranged to return. It may become a daunting task to overcome the longing. However, it is okay to take a while to realize the futility of your expectations, as moving on remains the only option. So, keep reading as we tell you effective ways of letting go.

30 Ways To Forget Your Ex

You may not be able to forget the person you once loved, but you can find ways to deal with the pain and build the courage to leave the past behind. 

1. Accept the past

The first step to heal a broken heart is to accept that the relationship did not work even though you gave your best. You have to make peace with the past and believe that everything happens for a reason, and the breakup was perhaps right for you.  Only then will you be able to forget your ex and the bittersweet memories associated with them.

2. Let go

You have indeed invested much in this relationship, which is why it is challenging to let go. However, it is time to stop watering a dead plant. You may have had high hopes that this relationship would last, but not everything will go as planned, and that is okay. As the saying goes, “the first step is the hardest,” but once you take it, you realize that your self-worth is too valuable, and it is best to let go of a relationship that couldn’t make you happy.

3. Know that forgetting takes time

When you are alone and those memories start to haunt you, you wish you had a magic wand that could erase your ex in a jiffy. But, in reality, it is not all that easy, as forgetting takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. It requires willpower and a lot of patience. So do not be hard on yourself if you could not make progress as you expected.

4. Do not lose your self-control

In a hurry to forget the painful memories, one common mistake people make is losing self-control and indulging in excess partying, drinking alcohol, or hooking up with strangers. Such activities might give you short-term happiness, but they would do more harm than good in the long-term.

5. Stalking is a strict no-no

It is quite tempting to want to know how your ex is doing after the breakup. Thanks to social media, you can easily trace their whereabouts, but this will only slow down your healing process and push you into more misery. Never stalk your ex in person or on the internet. If you are unable to resist, stay away from social media until you gain self-control.

6. Take up a hobby

An empty mind is a devil’s workshop, so try to keep your mind engaged. This does not mean you start working 16 hours a day. A good way to keep yourself occupied is by picking up a hobby. So, dust your college badminton racquet off and play a game. Or, complete that calligraphy course you left midway. Participating in such activities will not only boost your confidence, but also help you rediscover yourself.

7. Spend time with family

After a breakup, you might feel rejected and unloved. Family could be the best place to find some love. Your family might have seen you at your lowest and highest; they also love you for who you are and always have your back. Spending time with family might help you heal so you can forget your ex.

8. Talk to a trusted friend

“Why did this happen to me?” “Was it my fault?” or “Is there anything else I could do?” There is no end to such questions after a breakup. Eventually, in the process of finding the answers, you might commit the mistake of contacting your ex. Therefore, whenever you feel overwhelmed with thoughts, talk to your trusted friend. It might help get a new perspective on life.

9. Go on a solo trip

This tip could never go wrong as it would help you regain your self-confidence and give you some alone time. If you feel the need to take a break, do not hesitate. Pack your bags, and go on a solo trip to your favorite destination.

10. Delete all means of communication

Another quick way to forget your ex is to cut all ties with them. Delete their contact from your phone, give away their clothes and anything that reminds you of them, and block them on social media. If you are unable to resist the temptation to look for them, change your phone number, or stop visiting places where you could run into them. Lastly, do not include yourself in conversations that contain your ex unless you are strong enough to handle it.

11. Never think of taking revenge

Yes, you are hurt and heartbroken. This could lead to frustration and anger with your ex, but you should never think of harming or defaming them. Such activities will not only slow down your healing process, but they can also land you in trouble. The more you want to hurt them, the more you start thinking about them.

12. Replace old memories with new ones

Want to get rid of those painful memories? Just create new memories to replace old ones with. If you are dreading visiting places you went together, go there with your friends and family. Try new foods, or do something you thought you would never do, like skydiving or bungee jumping. Doing these things will help you forget your ex sooner and discover many new things about yourself.

13. Make changes to your everyday life

If you shared a daily routine with your ex, then continuing it might remind you of them. The best way to forget your ex is by changing your lifestyle. For example, if you used to eat a lot of junk food because your ex liked it, then start cooking healthy meals. Wake up early and go for a run in the fresh morning air. Such changes will fill your life with positivity and give you the strength to mend your broken heart.

14. Take care of yourself

Post-breakup, investing in yourself is one of the best ways to forget your ex. Now could be a good time to get a new haircut, go for a massage, or change your wardrobe. Such life changes will make you look forward to each day, and slowly your ex will become a speck in your memories.

15. Do not go looking for a closure

One of the biggest mistakes is going back and talking one last time with the ex, in the name of closure. You may think that one last conversation might help in putting an end to all the drama so you can move on. But that would never happen, because once you talk to them, your emotions wake up, and you could get hurt again, and the vicious cycle begins all over again. Remember, the closure should always come from within you.

16. Give your house a makeover

Changing your surroundings could also help you to forget the past. If your bedroom is filled with pictures of your ex, this could be a good time for redecoration. Remove all the pictures, repaint the room, and move some furniture here and there. Wipe all traces of your ex in your house. Moving to a new home, if possible, could also help.

17. Adopt a pet

Pets are said to be the epitome of selfless love, and they could be the ideal companions to mend a broken heart. Adopt a cat or a dog and give them a forever home. Who knows, you might even completely forget your ex because of the love showered by your pet. However, go for it only when you are aware and ready to take up a pet’s responsibility for life, as they also need love and care.

18. Never compare with others

You may be happy for your colleague who is getting married, or your best friend who is getting engaged,  but deep down, you could be comparing your life with theirs. Such comparisons will only make it hard to forget your ex, and you could react emotionally and want to go back. Understand and accept that everyone’s life is different, and you should never compare.

19. Look at the advantages of being single

It is true, falling in love is a wonderful feeling, but being single is no less joy. Embrace this change and try to look at the positive side of being single. For example, if you had to let go of kayaking because your ex is aquaphobic, the breakup gives you a chance to go back to it. When you start liking your life sans your ex, it will be easy to let go. 

20. List out the bad things in the relationship

Forgetting your ex could be hard if you are still in love with them. There is no sure shot way to unlove a person, but whenever you get the urge to go back, think of all the bad things, all the tears and fights you had gone through when you were in that relationship. This will remind you why you broke up in the first place and prevent thinking about them.

21. Know your self-worth

You may have a good heart to forgive and hold on to a person who is not capable of seeing your worth, but this would only result in more grief. Now that you had the courage to step out of that relationship, it is time to know your worth. Once you realize this, forgetting your ex could be tad easy.

22. Focus on your career

Now that you are single, you will have ample time to focus on your career, take up that new project, or accept an overseas job offer. As you reach new heights in your career, it boosts your self-confidence and keeps you busy to forget the past and the person.

23. Meet new people

Do this only when you are emotionally stable. Meeting new people can change your perspective on life and make you realize that not everyone would make you feel miserable. The new person may also make you believe in love again. However, take your time and never get into a relationship if you are not sure of it.

24. Start a journal

Another way to forget your ex is to empty your thoughts and feelings. Keep a journal and start writing; use this as a medium to vent out all your anger and pain. As time progresses, you will notice that you feel much liberated and lighthearted. This journal could also help track your progress.

25. Learn to say no to mutual friends

If you are in the process of getting over your ex, then try not to attend events where your ex might be present. If some of your mutual friends invite you over for a party, politely decline the invitation. Also, if anybody tries to probe into your breakup, politely tell them that you do not want to talk about it yet. Don’t let people push you into anything you do not like.

26. Do not be confined to your room

When you are sad and heartbroken, you would want to be left alone. This might work during the initial stages of the breakup, as you would need this time to grieve. But, once you are past it, do not confine yourself to your room, as your mind could venture back to your ex. Instead, go out, call your friends, and spend time with them.

27. Never suppress your grief

The process of forgetting someone you once loved is going to be messy. You would be sad and might even feel like crying, which is completely normal. Never suppress your grief, cry out loud, or burn your ex’s picture if you want to, as it might help you in letting go of that person.

28. Forgive them

Another simple way to forget your ex is to forgive them, whether they have apologized or not. Once you forgive them, you will be at peace, and they will no longer hold a place in your thoughts. Also, try to forget the good and bad moments you spent with them, but do not forget the lessons this relationship has taught you.

29. Do not lose hope

Just because this relationship did not work, doesn’t mean others won’t. Do not lose hope and give up on love, as this would make you negative. Do not let one failed relationship define your identity. Never give up or blame yourself, as there will always be light at the end of the tunnel.

30. Seek professional help

If you think you are unable to deal with the breakup and none of the tips mentioned above are helping you forget your ex and get over them, try therapy.  A professional will be able to understand your situation and guide you down the right path. Do not be shy or hesitate to seek external help.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does it take to forget my ex?

Experts say it takes around six weeks to three months to forget one’s ex-partner. However, there is no specific timeframe as overcoming your ex’s memories depends on various factors, including the duration and intensity of the relationship.

2. Who moves on faster after a breakup?

While some claim that men take time to move on from a broken relationship, others assert that women take longer to overcome a breakup. Nevertheless, the time taken to move on varies from person to person.

3. Can I stop loving someone I truly loved?

“Time heals all wounds.” Though this maxim is true, it is for you to let time heal your wounds by not opening old wounds. When you learn to love a person by yourself, you can unlove them as well. Sometimes love can be like the sand you hold in your fists. The more you try to tighten your grip on it, the more it slips through your fingers. So the onus is on you to initiate the process of letting go by maintaining physical, mental, and emotional distance from them. Unless you let go of the past, you cannot live in the present and enjoy the beauty of life.

Breaking up is painful, but staying in a problematic relationship that is not working anymore may be more damaging for you. After parting ways, you may feel profoundly disappointed and heartbroken and wonder how to forget your ex. Though it is impossible to unlove a person you once loved and dreamt of spending your life with, you must try to accept the reality and move on in life for the better. Invest time taking care of yourself and spend more time with your family and friends. Also, cut all means of communication with your ex; instead, go out, meet people and be hopeful for a better, happy future.

Infographic: Healing Yourself After A Breakup

Do you still yearn for your ex and wish them to return? Get over this feeling by motivating yourself with kind and encouraging words. This infographic lists some empowering things you can say to yourself when overcoming a heartbreak. Print and stick it to your wall and refer to it when feeling low.

relationship loyalty quotes [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • To get over your ex, you should primarily accept the truth and not hold any grudges.
  • Vent out your emotions but avoid losing self-control. Realize that time heals everything and don’t stalk them on social media.
  • Delete all communication with your ex and focus on trying activities such as a solo trip, adopting a pet, nurturing a hobby to keep yourself occupied.

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Jessica Jefferson
Jessica JeffersonMA, MS, LMFT
Jessica Jefferson is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified perinatal mental health professional who is trained to help clients suffering from mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. She graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Miami, a Masters in Psychology in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Masters in Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University.

Read full bio of Jessica Jefferson
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