You’ll never move on if you keep obsessing about your ex! Here are several ways to stop thinking about your ex and the breakup.
Here’s what one guy says about his ex-girlfriend:
“I still seem to be obsessing about my ex. She crowds into my thoughts a dozen times a day. I’m trying my best to forget about her, but, despite what I’ve read and the advice I’ve gotten, I CAN’T GET HER OUT OF MY HEAD! I feel like I’m going through my days as half a person, with nothing ahead of me but regrets about what might have been….how do I stop my thoughts?” ~ from my article about letting go of someone you love.
Obsessive thoughts about your ex can be a normal part of breaking up. But, if those thoughts are overpowering or overwhelming, then you need to find a way to overcome them. Here are six ways to stop thinking about your ex all the time.
To learn more about overcoming an obsession, read Obsessive Love: When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go. Here’s what one readers says about the book: “Susan Forward explains the difference between love — and obsession is very different than love! The book is written in a nonjudgmental way, and her compassion comes through on every page. This allows readers to take the first painful step: admitting that we’re obsessing about the breakup.”
Overcoming the urge to obsess about your ex is difficult – but not impossible!
6 Ways to Stop Thinking About Your Ex All the Time
Different people will find different ways of overcoming obsessive thoughts effective…and the only way to learn what works for you is to try something you think might work. If a couple of weeks go by and you’re still obsessing, then try another technique. Eventually, you’ll find what works!
Use the dog-and-vomit analogy (it’s gross, but it works!)
It sounds gross, but hang in with me here! I recently read There Is a Season by Patrick Lane, about his journey through addiction and recovery. He said thinking about sad things in the past is like a dog returning to his own vomit. I love this analogy, and use it when I start berating myself for something I regret doing.
Instead of raking myself over the coals, I tell myself that I’m not a dog and I refuse to go back to my own vomit…and I then think “Eeewwww…” and I move on! This is a very practical, effective way to stop obsessive thoughts about an ex.
Use the rubber band technique
In psychology, a popular technique for overcoming obsessive thinking is to wear a rubber band around your wrist. When those obessessive thoughts come up, snap the band and replace your obsessive thought of your ex with a different thought (which you planned in advance).
Your replacement thought should be something that makes you feel good, and can range from “Which three pairs of shorts should I take on my Mexican vacation?” to “Wow, I did an awesome job on that work project! I really nailed it.”
Incorporate two new activities into your life
Plan a trip to Mexico. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Be a Big Brother. Take a sushi making class. Join a snowshoeing or hiking club. Take Zumba dance lessons. Find a new place to live. It doesn’t matter what the new activities are, really…what matters is that you find new, interesting things to do with your life. Then, when you start obsessing about your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, you can practice replacing the obsession with something new and interesting.
If new activities seem overwhelming, read Starting Over After Your Relationship Ends.
Schedule a time to obsess, and a time to get on with your life
If you can’t bear the thought of not thinking about the relationship breakup, then set a specific time to let your obsessive thoughts about your ex run wild. I’d suggest 15 minutes at the beginning or end of the day – and maybe a 15 minute stint at lunch, too (if you’re really dedicated). When the obsession intrudes at the wrong time (in the middle of a work meeting, for instance), then remind yourself that you get to obsess all you want in your “obsession time.”
During your obsession time, you must sit and do nothing but think, wail, cry, and obsess about your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend. After a few days of this, you’ll find it boring to sit and do nothing but think about your ex.
Stop trying to overcome your obsession with your ex
Have you heard the “elephant in the corner” analogy? When you attempt to force yourself not to think about the elephant in the corner (or ice cream if you’re on a diet), then of course that’s all you can think about. Instead of focusing on the fact that you’re obsessed with love, just flow with your thoughts. Don’t try to stop them. Instead, accept the thought – and then replace it with one of the ways I’ve suggested above.
It takes determination and self-control to control the direction your thoughts take. But, ultimately, you do have control. You just need to find the willpower – and the right technique – for overcoming obsessive love.
If you know in your heart it's time to move on, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.
Are you obsessive about your ex-cessive? Read 5 Reasons It’s So Hard to Get Over a Breakup.