When a relationship ends, everyone goes through a bit of a mourning period. The dicey part is trying to figure out when that mourning period should end and it’s time to get on with your life. If the break up wasn’t your decision, then it is sometimes difficult to let go of the things you loved about the person and get on with your dating career. Here are some tips to get you on the road to forgetting your ex and finding the next one:
Get Mad, But Then Get Over It
The worst thing you can do is not let yourself go through the stages of loss when a relationship ends. Shock, denial, anger, and acceptance are all going to feature prominently in a heartbreak. As bizarre as it may seem, one of the most important stages is anger. Until you get angry at a person for hurting you, and I mean very angry, you can’t let them go.
During this phase, you will experience some irrational anger, backlash anger for things that you are pissed about that happened during the relationship as well as things that happened during the break up. This anger is going to be one of the most important steps in letting go.
It will only be a healthy step, however, if you reach a point that you can either forgive or just forget the pain and anger that your ex caused you. If you hold onto that anger and hurt, this will hurt only you and your future chances at happiness. That anger will turn into a bitter little nugget that will poison future relationships with distrust and negativity. There are few things less appealing than someone who is still very angry at their ex, as this indicates to future potentials that you are still not over that ex. Someone you don’t care about anymore cannot keep hurting you.
Don’t Romanticize The Relationship
Once a relationship is over, and you are missing your ex terribly, it is easy to idealize the relationship, remembering only the good parts. This not only prevents you from going through the aforementioned anger/acceptance, it creates an unrealistic picture of what the relationship was. If it was truly that good, it wouldn’t have ended. It is natural to miss specific things about a person you have spent a lot of time with, but the bottom line is this: if she dumped you, then she wasn’t the person for you. You want to find someone who is happy with you.
Getting over the ex means that you have to focus on the weaknesses in the relationship and why she wasn’t a good mate for you. Pick apart her flaws, not only to protect yourself from the missing her part, but also to figure out what you don’t want in your next girlfriend. This is your chance to refine your wish list for the next, even more perfect girlfriend.
Remove All Traces
If you are a sentimental guy and this ex has been a big part of your life for a significant period of time, there will be certain traces of her in your home and in your rituals. It is important to expunge these traces as soon as possible. This does not mean that you have to destroy everything—pictures, cards, etc.—but it is a good idea to box it up and put it in storage at a friend’s house or somewhere else where you won’t be tempted to thumb through it in a melancholy haze.
Similarly, if you had certain rituals together, change them. Going to the coffee place where you met or the brunch place you went to every Sunday is not going to help you. It is a no-win situation. If you go and she’s not there, you are hurt that she is trying to forget you, and if she is, it might appear that you are there “hoping” to run into her. And more importantly, you need to develop new rituals for your new life without her.
The First Encounter
No matter how big of a city you live in, you will run into your ex. It’s just one of life’s cruel rules. When you do run into her, or any of her friends for that matter, do your best to have minimal contact. If you are out somewhere where drinks are flowing, it might be best just to leave rather than risk talking to her in an inebriated state. If you are there with your friends, it’s time to trust them and defer to their judgement. The opportunity to talk to her will be irresistible, and you will not be rational about it. Don’t talk to her without talking to them first.
Get Out Of Dodge
One of the best ways to forget someone is distance. It is difficult to remove all traces of a person who has been a part of your life, so sometimes, the answer is to leave it behind. I don’t mean that you actually have to move (unless you lived with your ex, in which case, a fresh start in a new apartment is a great idea), but getting away for a week or even a weekend will do wonders for you.
In a new town, you can go out and not worry about running into your ex, you can meet other new ladies on vacation who might be looking for a good time, and not have to deal with having the whole not-ready-to-date-yet conversation. Just some harmless fun with some of your more supportive and single friends.
Get Back Into The Game At Your Own Pace
Many people find that jumping right back into the dating pool is helpful after a break up. This really depends on your personality. Some people find that a new person is the distraction they needed, while others find that they are a little too damaged after a fresh break to wade back into the dating pool. Don’t rush yourself, but also don’t limit yourself. A fling might be just the thing you need to see that there are others out there. As long as your are honest, many girls are up for a casual “in the meantime” affair.
Whatever your pace to re-enter the dating world, it is imperative that you let your heart heal and let your brain forget the good things you miss about your ex. One day you will be able to reminisce, but immediately following the break is not the time for that. That is the time for forgetting and moving on.