Relationships can make you suffer in silence. Unrequited love or love that was nipped in the bud is indeed heart-breaking. We know struggling to get over someone after a breakup can be excruciatingly painful. The heart and the mind that once fixated on the person you dreamt of spending your life with are now empty. Life seems to come to a halt when you are forced to stop loving someone you can’t have.
Let us also remind you that it is time for you to miss that chugging train of the relationship and move on to the next stop, without the baggage of the past. Are you feeling dejected and depressed after your breakup? You are not alone. Even though there is no checklist to train your brain to forget someone, you can arm yourself with expert tips that actually work.
We are here to help you understand the psychology of breakups with the help of counselor Ridhi Golechha (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in counseling for loveless marriages, breakups, and other relationship issues. Based on her understanding of the psychology of breakups, Ridhi shares some of her expert tips that can help if you are struggling to get over someone.
What Does It Mean When You Just Can’t Get Over Someone?
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The tumultuous relationship that you just came out of was not long-lasting, and let us assure you, that even the pain of heartbreak won’t be either. Be it a partner who cheated, a love that was not reciprocated, or a relationship that saw the end too early, it is not easy to let go of the love that was and the pain that is. It is even more difficult to get over a breakup when nothing was wrong and yet you and your partner couldn’t make it work.
Your partner might have been a part and parcel of your life, leaving their stamp everywhere. Although they did retract their footsteps from your life, their footprints remain. The constant pondering over what went wrong and what could have been makes you hark back to the previous relationship.
Ridhi points out, “If you are struggling to get over someone, you are still holding on to some part of that relationship. You have not come to peace with the need to move on from your serious relationship.” To be able to snap that chord and understand the unlove someone psychology, you need to get to the root of the reasons for your fixation with the past. For that, you need to look within yourself to find the answers to some crucial questions:
- Is it a quality or a trait of your ex that you can’t get over?
- Is it the way the relationship ended without closure?
- Are you still processing the reasons behind the breakup?
- Are you holding any grudges against your partner? A heated argument or wrongdoing that left you fuming in rage?
- What is it that you miss about your past relationship? Is it the passion that makes you lovesick? Or are you feeling the need to have heart-to-heart conversations as you had before?
- Are you beating yourself up over a mistake that ruined your relationship?
The issue needs a diagnosis before it can be weeded out. Tracing the reasons to the underlying cause is the first step toward getting over someone.
13 Expert Tips To Help If You Are Struggling To Get Over Someone
We’ve all been through heartbreaks at some point in time. Well, the countless number of songs, self-help books, and poems on heartaches are a testimony to that. Moving on from a relationship can be emotionally exhausting and challenging. We feel you. And that’s why we’ve listed here a few expert-backed tips to help you cope with the pain. Ridhi shares some practical ways you can tackle the situation and heal your broken heart:
1. Accept and acknowledge the reality
Acceptance is the key to healing. Acknowledge the reality and come to terms with it. Are you still waiting for your partner to reconcile? Or are you pondering over sending them a slew of texts pleading them to return? Or stalking your ex and keeping a tab on them through social media? None of this will bring them back into your life but it does clearly indicate that you are living in denial.
The sooner you accept the reality, the easier it is for you to move on. The breakup happened for a reason – the relationship is broken and can’t be mended. Try to comprehend the end of the relationship; the reality is that it did not work out. Perhaps, that person is not meant for you and you need to stop loving someone you can’t have. Being emotionally invested in the past can do no good to your future. Even though it is not easy to let go, you do need to start with a new chapter in your life.
Based on the findings of a study, people who find it difficult to accept separation show signs of “poorer psychological adjustment”. Reluctance to accept the romantic separation can pose a threat to their emotional security and disturb their psychological adjustment.
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2. Forgive yourself
Ridhi says, “One of the most common self-sabotaging behaviors is holding yourself responsible for everything.” Trying to pin down the reasons will eventually lead to the blame game. Be it yourself, your partner, or the circumstances, you need to find it in yourself to forgive whatever or whoever is responsible for your relationship coming to an end. Let your negative feelings fade away to leave the relationship peacefully. Crying over the spilled milk will not let you train your brain to forget someone.
When asked how to get over a relationship you ruined, Ridhi replies, “By forgiving yourself. Cut yourself some slack and go easy on yourself. Regretting things of the past and subjecting yourself to harsh criticism will leave you struggling to get over someone. Constantly living inside your head as a culprit thinking, “Why did I behave the way I did? I should have been more lenient in the relationship”, will give rise to negative thoughts. If your mind is not a happy and peaceful place to live in, then it is difficult to get over someone you slept with.”
The solution, as Ridhi says, is to, “Practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion. The more you forgive yourself, the more you are at peace. You need to look at the two sides of the coin where you acknowledge your mistake along with the need for you to move on.”
3. Practice self-care
The end of a relationship doesn’t mean the end of the world. Make yourself a priority. Relationships are mostly about prioritizing your partner. You tend to lose yourself when you are enamored by someone. It’s time to hog the limelight and focus your attention on yourself. Do what you have been postponing for long because of your preoccupation with the relationship.
Ridhi suggests, “Fill in the void created by your ex’s absence with something that excites you. The empty spaces can be filled in with creative and recreational pursuits.” Always wanted to learn a new language? Thinking of upping your fitness game? Want to try out pottery? Now is the time to enroll in the classes. Acquire new skills. Pick up new hobbies. Indulge and pamper yourself with self-love. Replace dilemmas, guilt trips, and resentment with inner peace and contentment.
The turbulence of a breakup can hit you, leaving you with low self-esteem and confidence. Venerate yourself and have conviction in yourself. The emotional upheaval needs to be balanced out with self-care and self-development. Living life on your terms aligned to your interests and desires will fill you with happiness and help you get over someone you slept with.
4. Distance yourself
Cut off your ties with your ex. The no-contact rule works better if you are struggling to get over someone. Severing all communication with your ex can help your mind settle well without the nagging Catch-22 of an on-again-and-off-again relationship. Ridhi points out, “Distancing yourself from your ex is an effective coping mechanism using which you can train your brain to forget someone. The sooner you comprehend the unlove someone psychology, the easier it gets to go back to normalcy, the place where you belong as someone who has moved on.”
Bid adieu to the days when you talked with your partner for hours on end. Having your partner around, seeing them every day, and catching up over FaceTime every now and then is no longer a part of your daily routine. Blocking them out is the way to go. Delete their contact from your phone. Trash those pictures. Prohibit your common friends from relaying any information. Stop looking them up on social media.
As per a study published by the National Library of Medicine, maintaining contact with an ex-partner can lead to “greater emotional distress”. Another study points out that a “higher frequency of contact following a breakup was associated with declines in life satisfaction”. Word of advice for those struggling to get over someone? Snap those strings with your ex.
5. Fall back upon your support system
We all have people in our lives who have got our back, no matter what. Now is the time to keep them closer. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. At a time when you might be burdened with anxiety and anguish, it is natural to seek support. Spend time with your loved ones. Ask for help as and when needed with no inhibitions. Call that friend at 3 a.m. Go and meet your mom in the other city. Confide in that coworker who has been your confidant all along.
Spending time alone pondering over the past is the worst thing to do. Loneliness can get the better of you, pulling you into the infinite loop of overthinking. Spending time with your friends and family can offer a healthy distraction from all that emotional trauma that accompanies heartbreak. People who love you unconditionally can promote and foster that positive vibe in you which can help you take on a new life with zeal and fervor.
Related Reading: The 7 Fundamentals Of Support In A Relationship
6. Process your feelings
Permit yourself to feel the way you do. Do you feel lonely? Accept that. Do you feel guilty? Acknowledge that. Don’t pressure yourself to feel a certain way. Understand that it is okay to feel dejected after a breakup. Validate your feelings. You might want to sit down for 10 minutes and introspect how things turned out. Feel your feelings instead of repressing them.
Open up to people and talk your heart out. Do not let that embarrassment get the better of you. Express yourself and communicate with your friends and family. Ridhi says, “Keeping your feelings bottled up can be harmful to your mental health. Go rant, talk, and vent. Grieve your loss, if that helps your mind recalibrate.” The psychology of breakups necessitates purging out the feelings. Cry your eyes out, scream into your pillow, and do whatever it takes to regain emotional stability and well-being.
7. Seek professional help
If you were too invested in the relationship and are persistently struggling to get over someone, then you should seek therapy. Coping with depression after a breakup can take a toll on your mental health, leaving you feeling emotionally drained. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, breaking up a romantic relationship is conducive to “an increased range of depression scores” among the sample individuals after their breakup.
Another study interviewed 47 men who were trying to recover from their breakup. The study shows men developing new or deteriorating symptoms of mental illness following their breakup. Issues like depression, anxiety, anger, suicidal tendencies, and substance abuse started to surface in the group of men studied. Further investigations revealed that the men admitted to feeling lonely with no emotional support to help them. Non-judgmental support and guidance could have helped them maintain their mental well-being.
Seeking professional help from a therapist can allow one an opportunity to voice one’s feelings instead of suffering in silence. An unbiased and objective view from a third person who is capable of taking a neutral and unprejudiced stance regarding the problematic relationship helps understand the psychology of breakups. Sudden and alarming changes in behavior like insomnia, loss of appetite, suicidal thoughts, and precarious changes in personality make it imperative for you to opt for counseling.
If you’re looking for professional help, Bonobology’s panel of experienced counselors is only a click away.
8. Embrace and enjoy singledom (for as long as you want)
Take a break from your dating expeditions. Someone who has moved on doesn’t need to jump into another relationship just for the sake of it. Starting with a new relationship to put up a facade of normalcy is a strict no-no. This can further add to the already existing distress and slow down the healing process. Your mind and emotions need to process what you have gone through. Heartbreaks are difficult to overcome and you can’t expect an overnight epiphany or a eureka moment to heal you.
Ridhi suggests, “Take your time to recover. Sit back and wait for the right moment before you begin another relationship. Till then, you can be happily single and enjoy it.” A study shows that around 45.1% of the adult population in America were single in 2018, with the number increasing ever since.
Let the dust settle on your last relationship before you start a new one. It can take you a few weeks, months, or even longer to overcome the grief and loss, but it will subside for sure. Stay single for as long as you want and enjoy living life as per your whims and fancies. One can enjoy having one’s own space and independence as a single. Research conducted on more than 4,000 people in New Zealand found that the singles were equally happy in their lives as their coupled counterparts and had no relationship triggered anxiety.
9. Set your eyes on your future
Visualizing yourself as a happy individual in the future without your ex is an effective way to train your brain to forget someone. Structure your day around your interests and find yourself all over again. Maybe visit that local cafe, listen to your favorite artists, go traveling solo, or construct a new social life. Ridhi says, “Happiness is a choice. Do what makes you happy. Seek and create your happiness as you look forward to the future. Start a gratitude journal, list all the beautiful things that have happened to you, and be grateful for them.”
Set your goals and work hard toward achieving them. Reconsider your life goals, and aspirations to set your objectives right. Working hard can offer a distraction when you are struggling to get over someone.
10. Allow yourself to think of your ex
If you are struggling to get over someone, chances are you have your thoughts snowballing to remind you of your ex. Permit yourself to think of them. Wiping your mental slate clean by erasing them from the memories is not possible. It is human nature to go back to the things they deny themselves the most.
Don’t restrict yourselves from thinking about your ex. Elaborating on unlove someone psychology, Ridhi points out, “It is not possible to wipe out someone from your memory when they have left an impression on your heart. You remember everyone fondly, your teachers, friends, and classmates from your 2nd grade even if you haven’t heard from them for years.
You will continue to have a special place for your ex in your heart forever, but as the painful yearning and longing fade away, you realize that you have successfully and happily moved on in life.”
This brings us to consider how to get over someone. Ridhi says, “It is okay to miss your ex-partner. Allow the pain to go away every time you miss them.” This way you can let the steam out, purge your inner feelings, and effectively process your thoughts to work toward the breakup healing process.
11. Prepare yourself for better things
Do away with all the negative reminders of your past. Understand that better things will come. All you need to do is to take on life with a positive frame of mind and discover newer opportunities. Step out of your comfort zone. Believe in yourself. You can make your life better without depending on someone. Broaden the horizon of your goals. Your breakup can prove to be an opportunity to reshape and redefine your life the way you envision it.
With subsiding pain, you will begin to feel more like yourself. You know you are over them when you can think of your ex-partner from a detached and disinterested point of view. Check your inner feelings to see if you are ready to settle down in a relationship.
12. Have a closure ritual
You might be struggling to get over someone because you did not get any closure. There were no reasons, no raised fingers, no arguments, that could justify or explain the breakup. As per a study, people who get closure and can make sense of the end of a relationship are less susceptible to mental distress. The lack of closure can wreak havoc with your sanity, making it difficult for you to move on.
So, how do you get over a breakup when nothing was wrong? If you’re struggling to find an answer to this question, work toward getting your own closure. Process and regulate your emotions by writing a letter to your ex, except that you don’t post it. It can be an angry outburst, an apology for wrongdoing or heartfelt gratitude for the moments spent together. The idea is to get everything off your chest. Read it out aloud before flushing it down the drain. This ritual can help you find your balance as you get the closure that you’ve been looking for.
Related Reading: How to Move On Without Closure? 8 Ways To Help You Heal
13. Value yourself
Know your worth. Just because a relationship did not translate into a happily-ever-after you had envisioned doesn’t mean you are unlovable. Critical and negative thoughts can be self-harming. How to get over a relationship you ruined? You forgive yourself and turn your focus on your better aspects. Love yourself as you have never been loved before. Self-deprecating tendencies do you no good.
Advising self-forgiveness and self-compassion, Ridhi says, “There is nothing wrong with you if you are struggling to get over someone. Without hating yourself, allow your thoughts to come and go like clouds. Break out from the pattern of self-judgment. Know who you are. Celebrate yourself for the person you are.” Practices like listing down your accomplishments or qualities can help a great deal in appreciating yourself.
- Accept reality without judging yourself
- Value yourself and practice self-love
- Seek emotional support from friends and family
- Seek professional help, if required
- Focus on the future
Lastly, hang in there. You will be fine sooner than you realize. Do you still hear stories from your mother about her ex-boyfriends? Yes, maybe. But does that mean she still loves them? No. So, no matter how you remember your ex-partners and for how long you remember them, the truth is that eventually, you learn to move on. The pain of the present empowers you for the future.
Your past experiences define you and shape you. You might never get over someone in the sense that they still occupy a place in your heart and remembrances. But, when their memories stop inflicting wistful longings on you, you know you have moved on in life.
You carry on with your life as you did before your breakup, except that you don’t have your ex-partner by your side. Life moves on and so will you.
The time taken to get over someone is very subjective. It can take over a few months to even a few years. But what matters is that it does happen. Nothing lasts forever, and the pain you’re experiencing right now is no exception.