Ever had one of those nights where the memories of your ex-lover rush to you, leaving you incapable of getting a moment’s sleep? You’re caught twisting and turning, yearning and crying. Overanalyzing what you did wrong and undervaluing what you did right. The post-breakup nights of despair like these are enough to make anybody want to figure out how to erase memories.
Undoubtedly, breakups are hard for everyone involved. However, when the only thing that’s left of the relationship are the memories you’re holding on to with your life, moving on seems an impossible task, as though it’s something you’ll never be able to achieve.
So, how do you go about erasing someone from your memory? When you’ve done away with every other shroud of evidence of the relationship existing, how do you escape from memories that continue to plague your mind? Let’s talk about how I struggled with memories after a breakup and what I did to move on.
How To Erase Memories: My Bout With Post-Breakup Stress
In my last relationship, there were many gifts that went from me to her over a span of two years. Some of them were pocket-friendly but ripe with emotions – mushy cards, red roses and accessories. The rest were designer clothes, gadgets, a Fendi bag, a Burberry clutch, an Omega watch, a gold coin embossed with our images with promises of eternal love.
A bit much? I haven’t even told you about the diamond ring yet. Let’s not forget the other things like a delicately created logbook of our history – right from the time she said ‘hi’ up to that point in our relationship, something that took me a week to put together and sketch out.
About one and a half years into the relationship when turbulence kicked in, I remember telling her “whatever you do, promise me that you won’t throw away whatever I have given you.” She said she would courier everything back but I made her promise that she wouldn’t think of doing such a thing, no matter what happened between us.
Perhaps, she made that promise in the heat of the moment. But I could never be with her long enough to find out whether she actually kept it, unlike her other promises. I was dumped overnight six months later, finding myself suddenly blocked out from everywhere. Back then, thinking of material stuff was the least of my concerns.
Related Reading: 10 Ways To Deal With Heartbreak
Dealing with the memories was the hardest part
I couldn’t care less about the money I spent on the things I gave her. My best friend, however, suggested that I text her asking her to give back everything that I had given her. I told him that whatever I had given her or done for her was of my own free will and because of my love for her, there was no selfishness involved in any of my gestures.
Staying true to the hopeless romantic I am, I found solace in the thought that maybe those things would keep reminding her of me. Then my friend asked what I would do with the things she had given me, and I started thinking. Apart from a lip balm which I never used for fear of throwing it away when it was done, a bar of chocolate that never came out of the deep freezer and tickets of the first movie we saw together, I really didn’t have anything given by her in the material sense of things.
At first, it made me happy, but as realization dawned, I told my friend that it would have been better if I had things from her because they would be easy to dispose of but what I have is far worse – her memories! Figuring out how to forget memories of your ex proved harder than I ever expected it to be.
How do you escape from memories after a breakup?
It’s relatively easy to dispose of material stuff but very difficult to delete a person from your mind completely. How do you erase someone’s memory? Well, at least the movies seem to be doing it better than us. In The Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet erase themselves from each other’s memories using a mechanical procedure, and back then I so wanted this to be a part of the real world. With time, however, I realized that the things you end up doing for yourself make you a stronger person, a better human being.
Back then with a heavy heart, I did delete all her pictures, voice notes, chats – the proof of togetherness and the bond we shared, knowing that she had done the same a long time ago. As MRI scans show when faced with reminders of your ex, your mind activates the same areas that cause physical pain thereby prolonging your recovery. Any trace of the ex in your life is only going to hurt you and disturb your peace of mind, which you need the most in a post-breakup phase.
Figuring out how to erase memories of your ex is one of the hardest things you can do. Sometimes, we aren’t strong enough to delete everything. Especially in today’s world where a lot of memories lie on our computer hard drives and mobile phones. It’s okay to be momentarily weak as we are human after all and it’s humanity that makes us capable of loving the way we do.
In such instances, however, I suggest locking away all electronic records or transferring them to a different drive and handing it over to a friend with instructions not to give them back to you until you are strong enough to face the bitter past again.
Related Reading: 21 Signs You Should Break Up For Good
How To Erase Memories Of Your Ex After A Breakup
If you’re looking to find the answer to “how to erase someone from your memory?”, the best advice anyone can ever give you is to religiously follow the no-contact rule. Think about it, how can you expect to move on, when you’re waiting for your ex to reply, constantly losing yourself in the daydreams about spending time with them?
The process of “forgetting” about your ex and cutting off contact is easier said than done. But when your nights go from staring at your phone screen, waiting for it to light up with a notification from your ex to keeping your phone away altogether to get some rest, you’ll thank yourself for it.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in The Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind’s universe, and the only answer to “how to erase your ex from your memory” is by pursuing greener pastures, without constantly looking back to see how the ones you left behind are doing. Maintain your distance from your ex, focus on yourself and don’t let your mind convince you that you’ll never find love again. After an appropriate amount of time when you have a new crush, you’ll look back and laugh at how miserable you thought you’d always be.
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People get over grief at their own pace. While there’s really no definite time period for how long it’ll take to escape from the memories after a breakup, it might take a person anywhere between a month to a couple of years. Depending on the breakup, the things you do to help yourself move on, and the duration of the relationship, the time it takes to forget someone can vary.
If you want to figure out how to forget memories of your ex, you’ve got to stop living in the past. Accept the breakup happened, use the no-contact rule and start focusing on yourself. Try not to let yourself be bummed out by missing what once was, instead, try and focus on your future. Not having any contact with your ex will help you more than you can imagine.
The first and foremost thing you should do is make sure most of your time is occupied by productive things. Exercise, work, study and/or do whatever makes you happy. Give yourself some time to feel sad/nostalgic about your ex, but don’t let it consume your day by making sure you distract yourself. Work on moving on, get some professional help if need be. At Bonobology, we have a multitude of experienced therapists who’d gladly help you get past this difficult stage in your life.