Still Hung Up On Your Ex? Here Are Some Psychological Tricks To Help You Through It

Breakups are hard. The length of a time required to get over a breakup has been a classic topic of debate.

And people have their own ways of dealing with a breakup. As I write this, I remember one of the girls residing in my hostel.

This happened 4 years ago. Renuka’s love life was the talk of the college because of the fact that it was more than perfect – the deep understanding, the affection, the sweet love: basically all the right adjectives. But soon enough, they broke up because the guy turned out to be an asshole. After this, Renuka had entered a different zone where she seemed lost. She just wanted to be left alone. People around noticed the dark circles under her eyes that told a different yet sad story. It seemed as if the chirpiness had been reduced to ashes. Yes, it was difficult.

Once after returning from the college, I noticed a portrait that was placed on her table. While throwing a cursory glance at her messy room, the portrait caught my attention. She had put a big red cross over her boyfriend’s photo with all the cuss words written beneath it.

”It soothes my mind, Aparajita. Don’t give it a puzzled look.”

”How does that even help?”

”It does. It reminds me that even though we shared a great bond before, he is no more than an asshole now. I need to move on from the time that we shared and create new ones.”

As stupid as it sounded to me that time, it worked wonders for her. She recuperated.


And this incident made me think, that maybe, there are better ways to get over a breakup (which doesn’t include watching 500 Days of summer 1000 times). Needless to say, I found some ways that are proven successful, according to psychology.

Here they are:

Allow the emotions to seep in, give it some time

It’s not you. Your brain is addicted to the love that you once-upon-a-time shared. According to Journal of Positive Psychology, after a breakup, an average person takes around 11 weeks to see their relationship in a positive light again.

Feed your emotions, don’t let it fade away. If you do the latter, it will come back and haunt you and hence, you’ll never be able to get over that person. Once you feed your emotions, you’re giving yourself the time and power to be healed. I know it’s hard that I may fall short of right words to describe the feeling. But nevertheless, do it.


The White Bear effect: Training your mind NOT to think of your ex

Try to not think of your ex. Psychologists call this as the White Bear effect. The effect says that if you train your mind NOT to think of a white bear, it thinks of that only. And this thing is applicable in all walks of life. For example, if I tell you, don’t think of cheesy pizza right now, an image of cheesy pizza assuredly pops up in your mind.

Since you have experienced a breakup, you would be advised by people not to think of your ex. But it doesn’t work that way. The reason being, if you suppress your thoughts, there’d be a rebound in your behavior, which will harm you in the long run.

So, if you’re surrounded by the thoughts of your ex, do not panic. But then, don’t take it as a sign of you getting back with him/her.


Have a new ‘I want’

Once you’re done with the above thing, make sure that you need a new addiction that will help you to let go of the old habits (that you did with your ex). According to thePsychology Today, having a new ‘I want’ helps immensely. That’s one thing that Renuka did. She immersed herself in a new hobby – running a marathon for charity, that helped her immensely. You see, the new hobby (aka the new ‘I want’) made her happy from within and she was inspired to be like this and be invigorated.

Make sure you do this too.


Identify the things that are preventing you from moving on

These are called triggers. You may be doing the below things

  •  Listening to sad songs to remember your ex.
  •  Thinking of only the ‘good parts’ of your relationship.
  •  Visiting the same places where you shared your time with your ex.

While, it is good for some time, you need to realize that this was a thing of the past. According to researchers of Stony Brook University, it’s hard to let go of the exes. But if you’re doing the above-cited things, know that even time won’t help you heal your broken heart. Just make it stop. As soon as you encounter a thought like this, just push it away.


It’s okay to still love them

Yes! You read that right. Love is never flawed or wrong and it’s completely okay according to the Psychology Today. A part of maturity is required here. Know that one-sided love is not that drives a relationship.

Even after writing cringe-worthy notes and saying cuss words, it may happen that you find out that you’re still in love with them (which happens, most of the times) and this feeling is completely okay. Just remember not trying to get them back.

If you really love your ex, just let them go.


…but remember to love yourself

It all boils down to this. Because, ultimately, moving on from a relationship is about loving yourself.

You may indulge yourself in a negative soliloquy that breeds negative emotions, but remember that you deserve better. Your inner dialogue might be filled with self-doubt conversations, negative thoughts, but remind yourself that you need to see yourself in a new light; with someone who deserves you more.

These might be hard, but once applied, will surely do you wonders.

And, just a random update: Renuka is doing great! I got her text last night where she had shared her 2-year anniversary photo with her new boyfriend and captioned it – My soulmate. Touchwood. 😉



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