Sometimes it's easy to get over your ex girlfriend and move on after a break-up.
It's easy when you ditch the girl, wipe her from your life and carry on.
Even when she ends it you may come to realize quite soon that it's a good thing she is out of your life.
But sometimes it can be difficult to get over your girlfriend. Almost every man has had the experience of being dumped and not being able to let go.
This attachment and inability to get over your ex can last for years.
It will affect every relationship that you enter and prevent you from being truly happy.
It is important to understand why you are experiencing pain and why you are struggling to get over her before you can actually go about moving on.
Because you need to be able to man up, move on and have happy, fulfilling relationships. You deserve it.
It's not healthy to still be pining after a girl that left you long ago.
Why The Break Up Causes You Pain
Men Take Break Ups Harder Than Women
This may surprise you, but men are actually more emotional than women. They are just better at hiding it.
So when it comes to a break up, men actually take the hurt much harder than women and take longer getting over the relationship
Because men tend to be less open than women about their emotions they bottle it up stoicly, say they are okay and refuse to talk about it.
It is socially acceptable for women to get together in a group over a bowl of ice cream and a chick flick and cry it out. Not so, for men.
You Are Feeling The Pain Of Loss
A relationship is an investment in time, energy and resources. One of the reasons you feel pain at the end of the relationship is because you have invested a lot of yourself in the partnership.
Even if you don't have a house and kids, you have still put a lot of energy into the shared space between you. It's understandably devastating when that just withers and dies.
If you maintained a healthy independent life with your own activites, your own friends and your own identity then you can get past this stage reasonably quickly.
However if you went all in and associate your entire identity, life and self esteem in the relationship then it is very painful to have to start standing on your own two feet once again.
You Are Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms
Brain research has found that relationships are actually very much like drug addictions. 1
The same chemicals, feedback loops and rewards systems are in action when we are in love and when we are on drugs.
This can be a constructive addiction when love is reciprocated but a destructive addiction when love is rejected.
Going through a break up is literally like going cold turkey on an addictive drug.
It's why you experience all the painful physical symptoms, why you pine for her and why you want to remain friends.
The good news is that once you go through the withdrawal, you will be clean.
How To Get Over Your Ex Girlfriend
1. Accept That Your Ex Is Your Ex For A Reason
You had an attempt at being in a relationship with her and, for whatever reason, it failed. It will be hard but you need to accept that.
Maybe you had grand dreams of the future where you had children and grew old together. Those dreams aren't shattered, it's just going to be with a different woman.
It can be easy to reach that conclusion logically, but takes time to reach that conclusion emotionally as well.
You can finally get over your ex when you accept both at a logical level and an emotional level that she is not right for you.
The problem with dealing with the emotional level is that you can't just flick a switch and get over her. You have to go through those addiction withdrawals.
You have to reprogram your subconscious thinking and that isn't always easy.
The key is to identify the difference between your logical and your emotional feelings. When you can't tell the difference you feel this sense of being torn in two directions. You don't quite know which way to go.
But when you break it up into logical and emotional you can understand it. You realize that your emotions are tying you to her while your rational mind says to let go.
Eventually you will acknowledge that the rational and logical decision is to let go. At some point after the break up you will see this clearly. Then the subconscious will begin to change and the emotions will slowly follow.
You can see this in every break up. The first few days and weeks are clouded with emotion but as time passes a logical viewpoint takes over. The feeling of attachment to your ex remains when emotion still reigns over logic. Once logic takes over the emotional trauma gradually subsides and the emotional falls into line with the logical.
Understand that you will have emotional pangs towards her. You just have to ignore and override them until they subside. Don't give in and go running back to her because your judgement is clouded.
2. Accept That She Might Have Been The Right Person At The Wrong Time
It's possible that you feel you have met the right person at the wrong time. You think that if you only met her a few years later or a few years earlier things would work out. But for some reason the present just isn't doing it for the two of you.
Tough luck. That's life.
For a relationship to work you need the right person at the right time. You can't hang on to someone and hope that the right time will come along. You can't wait for them, hoping that in a few months or years the time will be right.
This is a certain recipe for an unhealthy attachment. It will make you miserable and prevent you from finding happiness.
If she is the right woman but it's not the right time then let her go. You never know, she might come back to you. It's rare and highly unlikely, but it's better than hanging around waiting.
I have an old friend who dated a girl at high school. They went their separate ways and he had a daughter with another woman. Ten years later he runs into her in Australia. Now they are married.
Right person, wrong time in high school. A decade down the track right person, right time.
But it wouldn't have happened if he had been pining for her for 10 years. He moved on and chance brought them back together.
3. Figure Out If It Was Love Or An Unhealthy Attachment
A common reason that young men find it hard to get over women is because they mistake love and attachment.
These attachments do not show the characteristics of genuine love. Things such as generosity, selflessness and gratitude just aren't there.
It's so easy to get sucked in by these relationships and harder to get over them. The high levels of passion and drama make the relationship seem so important. But this is importance that revolves around negative emotions.
I've made this mistake before and so have countless others.
You need to identify the fact that you probably have an emotional subconscious attachment. High drama is exciting and addictive. It makes you feel like you are living in a soap opera. But it's not the basis for a healthy relationship.
Often this type of relationship will boom and bust spectacularly. The bust leaves you heartbroken because you thought you had true love.
After a while you will logically see that this attachment wasn't true love and was in fact a bad idea. Then you can move forward and you can properly get over her.
4. Don't Try To Be Friends
Sometimes in a break up you never want to talk to that girl again. So it's easy. You get over her with minimal effort.
But often when young men still have feelings for their ex they fall into the trap of "being friends."
Being friends is a giant cliche that you need to avoid. Men and women can't be friends if they have been together.
If you keep hanging around with your ex a tiny little flame will still survive. It might even be quite a big flame. To get over your ex you need to cut the cord completely.
- Delete her number
- Delete her from social media
- Don't try to meet up with her
- Don't see her friends
This will be more difficult if you share a social circle or take the same classes. If you truly can't avoid her completely then avoid her as much as humanly possible.
Otherwise, if you can, just cut her completely. You need that cold turkey to get over the withdrawals.
Life will go on just fine without her. You don't need her as a friend. Having her hanging around will put a handbrake on your happiness.
All this "friends" business comes from being too weak to let go. You still want to hold onto the girl emotionally after she has gone. Let her go, go through your grieving and healing process and get over her.
5. Don't Think About Getting Back With Her
One of the reasons you might be holding onto your ex is that there is a tiny sliver of hope somewhere that you might work things out and get back to together.
This is why you want to stay friends. This is why you struggle to cut all contact with her.
The brutal truth is that you aren't going to get back with her and live happily ever after. Even if you try and succeed, you are only signing on for more pain and misery.
Holding onto hope is a major reason why you can't get over her.
See #1. Your ex is your ex for a reason. Let the hope die and you will be able to move on.
6. Take Her Off The Pedastal And Remember The Bad Times
In a break up there is a tendency to put your ex on a pedastal and remember her as this amazing woman who you cannot live without.
Instead what you need to do is remind yourself that she is not a goddess. She is a human being with quirks and flaws, with whom a relationship is not possible.
If you lack self respect and bow at her feet and grovel for forgiveness of your sins then the break up experience is going to be long and painful.
If you accept that for whatever reason the relationship couldn't function and remind yourself of all the negative experiences then you will be able to recover much faster.
7. Understand That People Are Always Growing, And Sometimes Apart
Humans are not static creatures. Our personalities and paths in life are always in a state of flux, moving in different directions. A healthy relationship allows for this and the two people let the other grow.
If your paths grow in a similar direction and you can feasibly maintain a relationship then that is great.
But sometimes people grow in different directions. Even if they are well suited to each other the relationship might not be practical based on where each other is going.
For a relationship to succeed you need sexual chemistry, compatible values and a shared life path. Sometimes you get the first two but not the third and eventually a break up is inevitable.
If you understand this then you know that you have to be true to yourself and follow your own path in life. If a girlfriend comes and goes then so be it. That is the nature of things.
Enjoy it while it lasts but don't mourn it forever.
8. Spend Time Doing Your Own Thing
Keeping busy is an excellent way to get over your ex. It's important to spend time doing your own activites and keeping a busy social life.
Through yourself into your hobbies and your work. Catch up with friends and family.
The important thing here is to remind yourself that your ex was a part of life, but not your whole life. You have to detach yourself and your identity from her.
Everything else carries on and, while there will be some grieving in the relationship department, you have other things going for you.
9. See Other Women
It's may be a cliche but rebound sex is very common as a coping strategy. 2
While seeing other women and getting laid isn't a magic pill to healing it does play a part.
If you aren't seeing other women your mind can trick you into thinking that you are refraining from doing so out of respect and faithfulness to your ex.
Sleeping with a new girl breaks that idea of you still being faithful to your ex. In a very physical way it reminds you that you are no longer together and you have entered a new chapter.
Starting to date other women shows you that there are in fact plenty of more fish in the sea. You might not care about that fact while you are grieving, but as you start to heal this is a natural part of the process.
10. Gain Control Of Your Thoughts
The challenge with a break up is that your feelings and emotions are determined by an external event i.e. the break up.
There is a risk that when youe experience pain from an external source, you assume that happiness too must come from an external source. You put your happiness in the hands of that woman, and when she breaks your heart you assume you will never be happy again.
In fact happiness lies within. While life and relationships can be stormy at times, ultimately you and only you have the ability to make sure you are leading a happy and content life.
You have the power to control how you feel. You just have to realize that fact and then take control of your own subconscious programming.
A break up is an excellent time to learn to gain control of your thoughts and feelings. If you can do so, then the pain of the break up will disappear very quickly.
Self hypnosis is an excellent way you can learn to exercise control over your emotions and learn to get over your ex girlfriend a lot quicker.
When your relationship breaks down you have to learn to be happy without your girl. Then you have learn to be happy as a single guy. Then you can find happiness with a new girl.
Holding onto your ex just delays your emotions from working through that process. It's not healthy and it will make you miserable.
At the end of the day time is the best means to heal all wounds. But you can speed the process along by focusing on personal development, cutting all contact with her and reflecting on the relationship in a healthy way.
- Fisher, H., Brown, L., Aron, A., Strong, G. and Mashek, D. (2010). Reward, Addiction, and Emotion Regulation Systems Associated With Rejection in Love. Journal of Neurophysiology, 104(1), pp.51-60.
- Barber, L. and Cooper, M. (2013). Rebound Sex: Sexual Motives and Behaviors Following a Relationship Breakup. Arch Sex Behav, 43(2), pp.251-265.