This Is the Only Way to Truly Get Over an Ex, According to Experts
Although it may be hard at first, doing this is the best way to move on.
Whether you finally built up the courage to break up with someone who wasn't right for you or someone you thought was your forever broke your heart, it's hard to let go of a person who was once deeply ingrained in your life. And as much as you might tell yourself you're over them after the relationship is done with, it can be hard to truly let go. The good news is, experts say there's one foolproof way to help you get over your ex sooner. To see what they suggest you do for a speedier recovery, read on, and for more on what could cause a split, check out The More Money You Spend on This, the More Likely You Are to Divorce.
The "no contact rule" is the most effective way to get over your ex.
The "no contact rule" is exactly what it sounds like: cutting off any contact with your ex. While this may be challenging, if not impossible, for people who had been in a more committed relationship that involved marriage, a shared home, or children, experts insist it's the only way to really move on.
"If you're divorcing, let your lawyer do the contacting for legal matters. If you have children, you'll need to have some contact, but keep it minimal and businesslike," says Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of Dr. Romance's Guide to Finding Love Today. "Otherwise, no calling, emailing, texting, IMing, or stalking your ex on social media; and certainly no personal contact."
Continuing to talk to your ex or scroll through their social media stalls the grief you will inevitably feel from the loss. "You need time to grieve and reflect, and you can't do that by stalking your ex's Facebook page," says Tessina. And for more advice on the realities of splitting up, check out The Biggest Secret About Divorce No One Tells You, According to Experts.
Talking to an ex too soon can set you back.
While psychotherapist Amy Sobelman, LCSW, acknowledges that "urges to reconnect are totally natural following a breakup," she adds, "going 'no contact' gives people the time and space needed to adjust and move-on. Talking to an ex-partner too soon can actually set us back in the grieving process by reinforcing the attachment." Tessina also notes that it's important to "understand that texting and calling work against you" and "can hurt your self-esteem."
If you find yourself still talking with your ex, it's likely because you're not giving yourself a fair chance to detox. "At first, you may have a tough time staying away, especially if you've been co-dependent in the relationship," says Tessina. "This kind of neediness is like an addiction, and no contact means going 'cold turkey,' which gives your emotional system a chance to adjust itself. … Once you have done some grieving, you'll feel a lot better, and you'll be able to put things into perspective." And for more on the ups and downs of the worst kind of breakup, check out Real People Reveal the Best and Worst Things About Getting Divorced.
It's important to remind yourself why you broke up in the first place.
Yes, exes can be friends, but not immediately following the breakup when there's grieving and healing that need to be done. When you feel yourself faltering in your resolution not to reach out to your ex, remind yourself why you're not together. Remember that reaching out to them now won't change that reason.
"Resolution and closure come from inside you—not talking to your ex," points out relationship and communication expert Chloe Ballatore. "Use this time to heal and focus on you; and what you want in a relationship next time." And for more useful tips and tricks delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Missing your ex isn't a sign you should reach out to them.
It's easy to interpret certain feelings as a sign of something bigger, but that's not always the case. Relationship coach Marie Murphy, PhD, says everyone should know that "missing your ex is not a sign that the two of you are 'supposed to be together.'"
Sadness and longing for communication are common following a breakup, but they're not a reason to reconcile. "Feeling sadness about an ending is not a sign that the breakup was a bad idea," Murphy says. And for more advice for your dating future, check out Women Focused on This One Thing Are 60 Percent More Likely to Get Divorced.
Putting away their things and filling your time are key to sticking to the no-contact rule.
To help you stay on track, Tessina recommends you put away any reminders of your ex. "Pack up all souvenirs, gifts, pictures, and other reminders of the relationship, seal the box so it's not easy to open, and put them away somewhere until you get past the worst of the loss," she suggests. "Then you can take it out and decide what you want to keep."
Experts also suggest filling your days so that you have less time to think about reaching out to your ex. "It is common to find ourselves having much more free time when we are no longer in a relationship. If we do not fill that time with more productive things, our idle mind, left to its own devices, can sometimes opt to dwell on our ex and wonder how things could have turned out differently. This may make you more vulnerable and tempted to cave and contact your ex," explains psychotherapist Laura F. Dabney, MD. "Instead, find other ways to use that newfound free time so that your mind has less opportunity to obsess and fixate on your ex. Try to socialize despite probably not wanting to."
Dabney suggests making coffee dates with friends, taking a small road trip, or starting something fresh like "learning a new language, reading a classic novel, or organizing that closet." And for more words of wisdom if you're prone to rebounds, check out The Tell-Tale Signs You're Not Ready to Date Again, According to Dating Experts.