Skip to main content

From Mourning To Moving On: A Guide To Getting Over Your Ex

how to get over your ex
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Breakups suck, no matter how long you were together or why you broke up. Whether you were together for six months or married for ten years, whether it was an amicable split or a shouting-match, parting ways with someone you cared about (and probably do still care about) feels terrible. But there are ways to get over your ex in a healthy and positive way.

Gregory Frank, how to get over your ex
Gregory Frank, co-founder of DivorceForce Image used with permission by copyright holder

Gregory Frank, co-founder of DivorceForce, an online community that connects people going through divorce and offers post-divorce life advice, gave us some advice on how to get over your ex, regardless of the circumstances.

Go ahead and mourn

Frank says that mourning is totally normal, and, in fact, he encourages it. Mourning a breakup instead of ignoring it is an essential part of eventually being able to move on in the future.

“When somebody goes through a breakup, no matter the relationship, the emotions are there,” Frank says.

Studies show that honoring your emotions–even the negative ones–is the key to emotional well-being and happiness. So when you’re sad about a breakup, swallowing that sadness is the last thing you want to do.

Find people who are going through the same thing

Sure, friends are great sounding boards–to a point. But Frank says that friends can get tired of listening to you work through your breakup if they perceive you’re holding onto things for too long.

“If you find individuals going through the same thing, they’re going to be more understanding,” Frank says. Take, for instance, DivorceForce, which has forums where people going through divorce can come together and offer support.

“Our users can exchange stories, talk about what has worked to ease pain and what hasn’t, and just generally be in a space where they’re allowed to feel bad about a breakup.”

And, hey, if you’re not going through a divorce, the internet has a ton of resources you can tap into–everything from Reddit to 7 Cups–if you need a sympathetic ear.

There are added benefits of listening to each other’s stories. You can usually come to a resolution faster than if you were to talk through things with someone who hasn’t recently broken up, Frank says. To boot, online users usually don’t know your ex, so they are more likely to offer unbiased advice.

Keep yourself busy

While mourning is a totally normal part of the process, you don’t want mourning to turn into moping, because that gives more power to your ex than they deserve. When you’re not with your support community, make sure you’re busy.

Frank says keeping yourself busy will give you less time to think about the past, which will lower your risk of wallowing. You’ll also most likely fall into bed exhausted each night, and getting a good night of sleep is a key component of maintaining good mental health.

“Get out and love your life,” Frank says. “Don’t just sit around binging on Netflix.”

Whether that’s starting a new gym routine–which Frank stresses is one of the best hobbies you can pick up–or joining a game night, do something you love. Take back your life.

“Go to the gym four days a week,” Frank says. “You burn calories. It’s also a great place to release anger and sadness.” He also says that the endorphins released by exercise will help you recover.

Cultivate new hobbies

Don’t just run yourself exhausted–try to discover new things or get back to hobbies that you loved but perhaps didn’t have time for while in a relationship.

“This is a time to take for yourself, to learn who you are,” Frank says.

Frank says it’s best to pick a hobby that you’ve always been curious about but perhaps have never tried. (And, in fact, research shows that trying new things can promote positive health and happiness.) 

Or, if there’s a hobby you loved that your ex didn’t, and you didn’t get to do it much while you two were together, do that. Choose something that is wholly yours.

Really consider what happened

This is, Frank says, one of the tougher aspects of getting over your ex, but it’s also one of the most important.

“When it comes to really getting over your ex, you have to consider what actually happened,” Frank says.

Maybe you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s absolutely freeing to realize that it really wasn’t you. You can stop beating yourself up over what-ifs.

And if you did do something wrong? You can start the road to self-improvement. You’ll be better off in the long-term if you can own up to your own flaws and start working on bettering yourself.
In the end, Frank says, “You really owe it to yourself to soul-search about why the relationship ended. It’s one of the only ways to really get over someone.”

Know when to let go

“Healing, when it comes down to it, is a factor of time,” Frank says. Getting over your ex won’t happen overnight, and sometimes it takes a long time to deal with the damage of a particularly rough breakup, but it is possible.

You shouldn’t be consumed by a break-up to the point that it interferes with the rest of your life, but, at the same time, devastation happens. “If you’re having difficulty finding the balance,” Frank says, “go to therapy.” A therapist can help you see the breakup in a different light and help you develop coping mechanisms that directly address your needs.

Moving on isn’t the same as dating again, though dating can be a part of moving on.

“I’m not convinced that people just wake up and say, ‘Hey, I’m ready’ but the pain fades.”

Frank says you’re ready to date when you can emotionally get through a date and engage in conversation.

“Over time, you might start to view your breakup differently,” Frank says. The pain won’t be as immediate, and you’ll have more good days than bad. And eventually you’ll wake up, and you’ll realize: “Hey, I’m okay.”

Editors' Recommendations

Lisa Dunn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Lisa Dunn is a writer with a background in investigative journalism and a love of tailored suits. Born and raised in New…
Your Guide to Speed Skating at the Winter Olympics
Winter Olympics Rings Statue.

If you’re a casual sports enthusiast who enjoys
watching the Winter Olympics
but won’t be scoring points on sports questions during trivia night, you might think that a race taking place on the ice at the Winter Olympics is the one and only speed skating event. However, not only are there quite a few speed skating events of varying distances but there are actually two distinct speed skating disciplines at the Winter Olympics: speed skating and short track speed skating.
Though Olympic speed skating and short track speed skating do share the same basic premise -- racing on skates over the ice -- there are quite a few differences between these two sports as well. If you want to surprise your buddies at trivia night with your knowledge of Olympic speed skating or just want to enjoy watching the speed skating events at the Winter Olympics this year with a better understanding of the two sports, keep reading for our guide to the basics of speed skating at the Winter Olympics.

More Winter Olympic Events

Read more
Here is Your Winter Olympic Snowboarding Event Guide
Snowboarder catching some air at the Olympics.

Snowboarding events are some of the most exciting competitions to watch. In some Olympic snowboarding events, athletes get big air and execute the unthinkable when it comes to tricks and jumps, while in other snowboarding events, athletes race head to head and demonstrate incredible speed, technique, and precision.
However, for viewers at home, it can be confusing to follow all of the different snowboarding events at the Olympics, particularly because the sport is still in somewhat of its nascent stage and it seems like there are snowboarding events at the Olympics every other time the highly anticipated Games grace our television screens. But don't worry -- we have you covered; below, enjoy our event guide for snowboarding events at the Winter Olympics and get ready to cheer on the top athletes as they take on the Half Pipe, Big Air, Parallel Slalom, and more.

Is There Snowboarding At the Olympics?

Read more
Get Ready for Music, Comedy, and Mayhem From Adult Swim This Weekend
adult swim logo in black against a white background.

Adult Swim is promising “a year’s worth of fun crammed into the best two days of your life,” this weekend. Not a bad offer. 

Beginning Nov. 12 and streaming through Nov. 13, Adult Swim is bringing its annual Adult Swim Festival to anywhere that you might be celebrating via YouTube (with HBO Max exclusive bonuses). For approximately 11 hours per day over this Friday and Saturday, Cartoon Network’s adult programming has an entertainment-packed schedule that includes panels, screenings, musical performances, and much more. Let’s dig into the details to unearth the highlights that you won’t want to miss.

Read more