How to get over an ex

Neil Sedaka nailed it when he sang Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. Even the relationships you want to get out of can be fraught with emotional peril. But if you are hoping for a clean break, here’s how it could be done in 10 simple steps.

1. Don’t get down on yourself
The first and most important thing to do is not to get down on yourself. Some relationships work, some don’t. If it was meant to be – you know how it goes – you just keep telling yourself this. The only way you’ll move on is by letting go. So, let go.

2. List the reasons you should be happy
Make a list of things that make you smile and check it twice. In no time at all you’ll feel really nice. Don’t you let your break-up get you down (you can hear the tune, can’t you?).

Add to this list ways in which your ex wronged you, as well as the things they did that annoyed you. Now think: I don’t have to put up with that any more. Happy yet?

3. Get rid of all their things
Throw away or box up anything that reminds you of your ex. Throwing the items away may be more cathartic, but if you feel like being nice, pack and send them back, or leave them out the front and tell them to do a pick up.

Or you may prefer to store these things away for now so that one day you can dig them out and remember the better times you had together.

4. Write down your story and burn it
It may sound like a waste of time and paper, but you’d be amazed at how cathartic it is to write down your whole story – spare no detail – and then burn it! Make a small ritual out of it and once those thoughts and feelings go up in flames you’ll feel a little, or a lot, better.

5. Treat yourself
Go out with friends, buy yourself something nice, take yourself out on a date, pamper yourself with a spa day, or do something you’ve wanted to do for ages. Just do something to make yourself happy.

6. Give yourself some space
Even if it’s just for a few weeks, it’s probably best to steer clear of shared friends. You don’t need the reminder and to have to rehash all the reasons you were and weren’t right for each other.

And if you’ve agreed to stay friends with your ex, it’s a process that can wait until later. That way you’ll figure out whether you really want to stay friends or if the sentiment is guilt-driven. Make sure you’re absolutely over your ex before you begin the friendship, otherwise you may both fall back into old habits.

7. Plan a solo holiday
It doesn’t have to be overseas, it could be 20km away, but get out of the house for a few days and get some perspective. Being in a different environment can change the way you think about life, and it can reset your attitude.

8. Ease up on the booze
Avoid the old cliché of seeking the bottom of a bottle, be it alcohol or other stimulant. You need to get over your ex with as clear a mind as possible, and alcohol can often bring out the sentimental or morbid personality that runs back to a relationship time after time.

9. Get busy
Idle hands make for a sad sack, or some such sentiment. Find things to do to take your mind off things and stay occupied for a while. It’s amazing how easily you can be distracted from relationship woes with a little elbow grease.

10. Seek solace in others
Once you’ve separated from your ex, you’ll eventually need to become sociable again. So, seek solace in your closest friends and family. Most people have been through a break-up, so, when you’re ready, seek their advice. You never know what pearls of wisdom you can learn from those who’ve been there before you.

There’s also a great little trick for getting over an ex that may mean you don’t need to do any of the above. It’s called ‘snapping out of it’. All you do is place a rubber band around your wrist and every time you think about your ex, you pull the rubber band and SNAP it on your wrist. It may hurt a little bit, but it will train your brain to stop thinking about your ex. Hey, it works!

Hopefully these steps will help you acquire  a new perspective for when the time comes to begin a new relationship. Remember, don’t let past relationships ruin a new one. Hopefully you’ve learned from your mistakes and can walk a path to a healthy, happy union.

Do you have any advice for someone going through a break-up?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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