From Love of Your Life to Somebody You Used to Know: Finding Happiness Without Your Ex

By: Faye Roberts

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Right now … you hurt.

 

And this may sound all too familiar:

 

Your mind is like a filtration system. Everything you encounter that has the least bit to do with your ex is examined and turned over and over and analyzed. The rest … who cares.

 

You probably look for excuses to go where your ex might be. Even if it’s out of your way, even if it means ditching on other plans you made, and even if it means the possible encounter won’t be a good one.

 

And it’s hard to go to sleep too, right? You putter around past midnight trying to do a few extra things so you don’t have to lie there in the dark with your own thoughts.

 

Finally, you beat yourself up. Oh, you probably don’t realize this one. Your mind is very subtle and sneaky at silently attacking you for losing him or her.

 

So in general, you feel like crap.

 

And what’s happening in reality is that you’re handcuffed to a dead relationship, and you just keep dragging it around.

 

Well hey!

 

You can let go.

 

When? Why not now? Right now. Right this very minute. Right this very second. And here’s how.

 

Steps to Freedom: Getting Happy and Back to Yourself Without Your Ex

You read that right.

Sucks, doesn’t it?

You’ve gotta do it.

 

Get Rid of Their Stuff (and Reappropriate the Stuff That Reminds You of Them)

 

If you have things your ex will want back, do the right thing and give them back.

 

Ok now look at the stuff you have that reminds you of your ex. If it’s some sort of tissue shrine you’ve kept from when they blew their nose or a hair or something, throw that stuff away!

 

But the other stuff? Take it back!

 

In other words, sit yourself down, go through your stuff and reappropriate it.

 

This is a word that comes from sociology, and it refers to certain groups who have “taken back” names that were once derogatory. For example, “Yankee” was once a mean name for colonists. Today, it refers to a proud American when you’re out of the country or a proud northerner when you’re here.

 

So no: seeing the mirror you had bought at the flea market with your ex should not make you sad anymore. That’s your mirror. Similarly, ordering pizza from your favorite pizzeria is not “theirs.” And they do not get to “have” Downton Abbey either just because you watched it together. Turn those things on end, and reappropriate your entire home or apartment for yourself. This is your turf.

 

Subtract Social Media

 

Now. We’re going to be looking at you holding on to your ex like an addiction. Hey, don’t jump to conclusions just yet. Addictions have an awful stigma, but they’re a wholly human thing. It’s normal to feel “addicted” to someone you care about and love. But it can be hard to stop “using.”

 

Subtracting all or some of your social media will help a great deal. And don’t worry, you’ll get it back later. Sadly, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the innocent bystanders who have got to go away for a while. When you use them, you get a little bonkers stalking your ex, right? And it’s not just their page. It’s your mutual friends’ pages and friends of friends … of friends, etc. And that is why you just have to delete them. If you don’t, it’s like an alcoholic taking little shots of tequila every day while he’s also actively trying to quite drinking. It won’t work.

 

As a caveat, notice it says you might only have to delete only “some of your social media.” This is because some individuals rely on these platforms for their work and livelihood, and if that’s the case, you’ve just got to do your best to hide them or any site of them in your feeds.

 

Write Down Your Feelings

 

If you just rolled your eyes at this one, think again. Journaling is not something that only 13 year-old girls and whalers from the 1800s do. You can journal too, and it can help you a great deal.

 

When you write, don’t hide things, even if you feel ashamed or embarrassed. No one will see this. Just write down exactly what you feel at that moment. Figure out a way to put it into words even if it comes out clumsily. Maybe you want to say you’re mad or angry or that you feel stupid and lonely. All of that’s okay.

 

Mix With New People and Get New Hobbies

 

You knew this was coming. You have to keep yourself busy! But this won’t be too hard if you’re creative. Look for hobbies you’ve always wanted to try first. If you’re short on cash, just grab some charcoal pencils and paper at an art store and try drawing, or start taking a free online class.

 

To meet new people, try new hobbies that are social. You can play an intramural sport, take a dance or art class, go back to school, or just try mingling more with your co-workers. Those happy hour Thursdays always sounded fun, right? The goal is to create a new friend circle that doesn’t include your ex. You have to start fresh sometimes, but that’s okay!

 

Find Someone New

 

This is the real kicker, and it won’t be easy. But the absolute best remedy for getting over an ex is finding someone new.

 

Now, let’s make something perfectly clear first. You do not need a partner to be whole. In fact, you should make sure that you are whole yourself before you go looking for a partner. So if you’ve been in long-term relationships since your teens or just got out of a marriage, maybe it’s time to take a break and not go looking this instant.

 

But if you’re still dwelling over your ex and it’s been months or even years, it’s time to move on. You have to believe there are other fish in the sea and go fishing. Do it through blind dates, or do it by asking for a number at the bar, or do it through online dating. Just do it.

 

Let Go

 

Finally, this step: You have to let go of your ex. And for most people, this means forgiveness and acceptance. You’ll have a lot of feelings right now—that you wasted time with them, that you made a grand mistake of some sort, that you have got to find some way to get them back, that you hate them so much and will never love again.

 

All of these feelings are valid, but they’re holding you back from moving on. You have to drop them. Nope—you can’t drop all of them “except that one.” You have to drop every one. Forget it. No regrets.

 

This is your life, and you have to harness it and take advantage of how wonderful it can be. Holding onto an ex or being bitter about an ex is only keeping you from having an amazing life.

 

You can’t see where you’re headed if you keep looking behind you.

 

So look ahead and move forward. It will get easier every day.