How To Stop Thinking About Your Ex? 11 Expert-Backed Tips

December 2, 2023 |
how to stop thinking about your ex
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Dealing with the end of a relationship can be a painful ordeal, especially when your thoughts keep drifting back to your ex. Whether the breakup is recent or you’re still struggling with the hurt months later, these persistent thoughts might hinder your ability to move on. At this point, it is normal to spend your time trying to figure out how to stop thinking about your ex.

By adopting the right techniques, you can come to terms with the fact that the relationship is over and finally free yourself from the past. We spoke to psychologist Juhi Pandey (M.A, psychology), who specializes in dating, premarital and breakup counseling, about the reasons that you might still be thinking about your former partner and the best ways to get over an ex-lover.

Why Am I Thinking About My Ex? 5 Possible Reasons

Breaking up is undeniably challenging, and it doesn’t end with the conversation itself. Depending on the depth of your emotional connection with the person or the relationship, you may find thoughts of them lingering in your mind for days, weeks, months, or even years. We may even find ourselves reminiscing about what we perceive as a ‘perfect’ connection. It may seem like a never-ending loop that you can’t get out of. Here are five possible answers to your “why do I still think about my ex every day” question:

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1. You miss how they made you feel and the person you were with them

After a breakup, it’s common to yearn for the emotional connection you once had with your ex-partner. However, the truth is that you miss the version of yourself from that past relationship more than your ex. Each relationship and partner influences our personalities and behaviors in different ways. You might have been more carefree with your ex, but now you find yourself being more cautious with your current partner. Or maybe you had an amazing sexual compatibility with your ex, which is why the “I can’t stop thinking about my ex sexually” feelings are recurrent.

According to Juhi, “One of the reasons you can’t keep the obsessive thinking at bay is because you are not happy in your present relationship. Maybe you are overwhelmed or in a trying situation and you are reminded of your former partner because they supported you during such difficult times.”

It is possible to miss your ex because they taught you valuable life lessons or had a deep impact on your personal growth. You find yourself looking at the relationship with rose-tinted glasses and you think about those lessons when you encounter similar situations now.

Related Reading: Men vs Women – 5 Differences In How They Handle A Breakup

2. You didn’t get any closure

The inability to move on after a breakup can be due to unresolved issues from the past. Lingering feelings of guilt, anger, regret, or pain might be holding you back from getting over your ex, especially if you didn’t receive any closure after the breakup. Seeking explanations and trying to understand the reasons behind the breakup is common, but unfortunately, closure is not always guaranteed.

The lack of it can cause distress and make you look for explanations and replay old memories, resulting in ongoing thoughts about your ex. You might end up thinking about someone too much even years later because the absence of closure hinders the process of acceptance and emotional peace. It’s even natural to have occasional flashbacks of memories when doing things with a new partner that were once shared with the ex.

3. You have obsessive thoughts about your ex because you miss them and want them back

“I want to talk to her again.” “I wonder if he thinks about me.” “Will I ever stop loving my ex?” – If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, then you might genuinely miss your ex and want them back in your life. Even after a significant amount of time has passed or when you’re in a new relationship, it’s not uncommon to find yourself missing them. What you had with them might be difficult to replicate with someone else. Maybe you think that the breakup was a mistake which is why you want to reconcile with your ex-partner, making it harder for you to get over them and move on in life.

Related Reading: 19 Dos And Don’ts After A Breakup

4. You’ve not cut them out of your life yet

“Why do I still think about my ex every day?” – It’s probably because you’re still in touch with them. If you’ve been constantly asking yourself this question, the answer probably lies in your phone or social media. Do you do any of these things?

  • Follow their social media accounts
  • Text or call them regularly
  • Meet them, even if it’s with your common friends
  • Keep tabs on what’s happening in their lives

Yes, ex-partners can be friends. But if you’ve just gone through a breakup, you need space and time to process everything that has happened. Staying in touch will prevent you from reflecting on the relationship and getting through this big change in your life, especially if your ex moved on fast and you’re in a “seeing my ex with someone else kills me every time” zone.

5. You are lonely and miss being in a relationship

“Why am I thinking about my ex all of a sudden?” “I can’t stop thinking about my ex sexually” – Maybe because it’s been a while since your relationship ended and you feel lonely, says Juhi. You miss being in a relationship and the companionship, intimacy, and security that comes with it.

The question “Why do I still think about my ex?” is a common one, especially when there’s a fear of being single. If you were in a relationship for a considerable period of time, then returning to singlehood can be scary. To cope with this fear and fill the void in your life, you may find yourself frequently thinking about your ex. According to Juhi, “It is also possible that you see a friend or someone you know being romantically involved, and their love reminds you of your ex.”

Related Reading: 40 Loneliness Quotes When You’re Feeling All Alone

11 Expert-Backed Tips To Stop Thinking About Your Ex

How to block someone from your mind? Let’s try to create a list of necessary things to do to get over your ex. A study suggests that reframing your thoughts about your ex in a negative light, accepting your emotions, and engaging in distracting activities can be effective methods to stop dwelling on your past relationship and find closure. Here are some of the best ways to get over an ex:

Stop thinking about your ex

1. Take your time to grieve

How long does it take to stop thinking about your ex? Well, there’s no fixed timeline but the first step toward getting over your ex is taking your time to grieve, acknowledge, and accept what has happened. Juhi says, “There has to be acceptance that the person or the relationship was not right for you, which is why it did not work. Acceptance is the first step in the healing journey.”

Ending a relationship can be a challenging task and experience. When you invest your emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual energy into something, its ending can take a massive toll on you, which is why you need time to process the loss and your feelings. It’s essential to recognize these emotions, allow yourself to grieve, and take all the time needed to heal. You could:

  • Take a few days off work
  • Spend time alone to understand your emotions
  • Cry as much as you want
  • Journal about it every day
  • Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re experiencing without judgment

A breakup can feel like the loss of a loved one, and it’s alright to mourn this loss. Emotions should not be dismissed or ignored; instead, confront them without judgment to facilitate the healing process. Suppressing thoughts and feelings may intensify them. Embrace your emotions if you want to move on in life.

Related Reading: How To Erase Memories After A Breakup

2. Snap all contact with your former partner

Establishing a no-contact rule is one of the best ways to get over your ex. Go cold turkey. Out of sight, out of mind. Our best tip on how to avoid your ex is by blocking them from everywhere – No phone calls, text messages, social media, meeting up, seeing their photos, or going to places you know they visit often. Remove their contact information from your phone. When you feel indifferent toward a person, that’s the beginning of moving on and true closure. Until then, it’s essential to keep your ex out of your life, both physically and virtually. For this, blocking exes is usually essential, at least for a few months.

According to Juhi, “Block your ex from all social media handles because the more you see the person, the more you will want to know about their personal life. It’s a natural human tendency, which is why the no-contact rule is important. Once you’ve done that, keep yourself busy and engaged in activities. It is one of the most important tips on how to stop thinking about your ex during no-contact periods.”

Keeping in touch with your ex can aggravate the painful feelings you’ve been experiencing since the breakup, so stop contacting your ex if you want to get over it and move on. Establishing this boundary creates a necessary distance between you and that person. A few tips on how to stop thinking about your ex during no-contact:

  • Focus on your career
  • Exercise regularly and stay physically active
  • Channel all your emotions and energy into art – this is a unique and practical tip on how to stop thinking about your ex
  • Catch up with your friends (stay away from mutual friends for a while)
  • Go for a spa session or create one at home for yourself
  • Get back to your favorite hobby or pick a new one

Related Reading: 5 Signs The No-Contact Rule Is Working

3. Getting rid of reminders is one of the best ways to get over your ex

Are you still holding on to the reminders from your relationship? If you are, it may be time to bid farewell to these material possessions, including places that hold sentimental value. Packing up these reminders and disposing of them will help you move on from your past relationship. While holding onto these items might provide temporary comfort, it can also prolong the pain of letting go and affect your healing process.

A reader emailed us, “I need help getting over my ex. How do I do it?” Juhi answers, “If you hold on to their belongings or relationship souvenirs or even memories like their favorite restaurants or the places you would visit together, you will continue to experience obsessive thoughts about your ex-partner. This will make it all the more difficult for you to let go of your ex, which is why it is best to get rid of all shared reminders. It brings up the past and you don’t really want that at the moment.”

4. Practice self-love and self-care

“Will I ever stop loving my ex?” Yes. Healing from the pain of being hurt by someone takes time and requires a lot of self-love and care. Making time for yourself, just as you would for your ex, can help clear your mind and provide a sense of self-fulfillment. Create a calendar of activities you enjoy doing alone or with loved ones, and set aside time slots to engage in each of them. Surround yourself with people who are positive and uplifting.

Juhi says, “A few things a person can do is plan a vacation, change their environment, indulge in hobbies, pursue a course, try to make friends, and work on their low self-esteem. If you have pets and children at home, spend time with them because they give you energy, life, and unconditional love. Indulge in hobbies like gardening, cooking, and reading books. Spend time in nature, meditate, and do ‘pranayam’ to calm your mind.”

Engage in something you love each day, no matter how small. Our tips on how to stop thinking about your ex:

  • Listen to the music you love
  • Wear something nice and go for a walk in the nearby park
  • Go shopping with a friend
  • Get a new haircut or pamper your skin
  • Focus on personal growth
  • Try a new sport or a new restaurant
  • Binge-watch your favorite shows or movies
  • Take an online cooking class

Related Reading: 15 Awesome Advantages Of Being Single | Love Singledom

5. Create a new routine

One of the answers to your “I need help getting over my ex” dilemma is to change your daily routine. For a long time, your life revolved around your ex. But now that the relationship has ended, it doesn’t have to anymore, which means that you need to establish a new routine and get your life together. If you’re thinking about how to distract yourself from a breakup, then this is one of the best ways.

Juhi says, “Try to do something that keeps you creatively engaged because that will help your serotonin and dopamine levels and release all the happy hormones. Engage in activities that offer something new. Work on yourself and transform your body and mind.”

How long does it take to stop thinking about your ex? Well, the idea is to replace old memories with new ones. And for that to happen, you will have to create new experiences. You can try a few things like:

  • Exercise or go for a run
  • Meditate or try yoga
  • Focus on your work
  • Try a new restaurant or visit a new park instead of going to the one you went with your ex
Infographic on how to stop thinking about your ex
11 tips on how to stop thinking about your ex-partner

6. Remind yourself why you broke up with your ex

Breakups are painful because they involve investing time and effort in a relationship with hopes of a lasting bond. As time passes, the pain may fade, leaving you with memories of the positive aspects of the relationship. In such a situation, how to stop thinking about someone you love deeply? It’s normal to think about your ex-partner, but it’s equally important to remember the reasons for the breakup and acknowledge that if it was possible to save the relationship, you wouldn’t be in this position.

Related Reading: 12 Perfectly Valid Excuses To Break Up With Someone

7. To get over your breakup, avoid the family and friends of your ex

Are you still in contact with your ex-partner’s friends and family? If so, it might be time to consider cutting off communication with them as well. It can be difficult, especially if you were close to them. But it’s essential to recognize that they are your former partner’s friends and family, not your own. Their allegiance and loyalties lie with your ex, not with you.

By maintaining communication with them, you only prolong the pain and make it harder for yourself to move on. Instead, Juhi says, “Talk to your family members and go back to your friends. Spend a lot of time with them. After a breakup, if you have someone to talk and listen to, you feel more at ease. It helps you divert your mind from your ex.”

8. Understand that you may still have feelings for them and that’s okay

While it would be ideal to stop caring for someone immediately after a breakup, human emotions don’t work that way. It’s perfectly okay to still love your ex. You can’t get over someone you love in a day. Moving on from a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean your love for the person ends. Sometimes, the best way to let go is to love them enough to want what’s best for them, even if it means not being together. Love yourself enough to know what’s best for you too.

Getting over someone who has been deeply ingrained in every aspect of your life can be challenging, regardless of the duration of the relationship. Allow yourself time to grieve without setting rigid time limits or immediately seeking someone else as a distraction. Dwelling too much on why it’s taking time to move on will only leave you thinking about them all the more. Once you stop being hard on yourself for still caring, you may find that thoughts of them diminish on their own.

Related Reading: 9 Reasons You Miss Your Ex And 5 Things You Can Do About It

9. Let go of all the anger and find your own closure

When you are constantly thinking about him or her, ask yourself these questions: Will your anger improve the situation? Will it make your ex acknowledge their faults? Whom does your anger truly harm? You’ll realize that your anger won’t change what happened. It’ll only hurt you. It won’t affect your ex-partner’s life or prevent them from moving on. Therefore, there’s no point in you holding on to the anger and bitterness. You will have to make the choice to let go and reclaim your life instead of wasting your time and energy in digging up old wounds.

Create your own closure! Don’t allow your ex-partner to determine if and when you can move on; only you have that power. Closure may not come from your ex, and seeking it may lead to more pain. The key is to focus on your growth and healing to move forward. Take control of your life and emotions. Work on building your confidence and finding happiness on your own terms.

On Ex

10. Seek professional help to stop thinking about your ex

It’s natural for thoughts of an ex to occasionally resurface. However, if these thoughts begin to haunt you and impact your current or potential future relationship with a new partner, whether it’s a rebound or serious one, it may be time to consider seeking a therapist or clinical psychologist. If you are unable to figure out how to stop thinking about your ex after months and need help, Bonobology’s panel of licensed and experienced therapists is only a click away.

Related Reading: Breakup Healing Process – How To Heal After A Breakup

11. See new people and start dating when you feel ready

If you’re wondering how to stop thinking about your ex after months, meeting new people or dating someone new can be an effective way. Engaging in conversation with new people can serve as a positive distraction from lingering feelings and thoughts. If you still feel emotionally raw from the breakup, remember that dating doesn’t always have to lead to a serious relationship. Be open with your new dates about your intentions, whether you’re seeking a good time or a temporary distraction, to ensure everyone is on the same page emotionally.

Find new love when you’re ready. There’s no timeframe for when to start dating again after a breakup, so trust your instincts and do what feels right for you. Avoid rushing into a new relationship solely to avoid being alone, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there either. If you are struggling with persistent thoughts of your ex while in a new and healthy relationship, suppressing those thoughts won’t be productive. Instead, add to your thoughts the love you feel for your new partner. It can help resist the urge to reach out to your ex.

Key Pointers

  • A few reasons that you can’t stop thinking about your ex include loneliness, staying in contact with your ex after the breakup, and having genuine feelings for your ex and wanting them back
  • What are some of the things to do to get over your ex? Snap all contact with them, practice self-care, do things that make you happy, and get into a new routine
  • Consult a clinical psychologist or a therapist if thoughts about your ex-flame persist
  • Time heals old wounds. Take your time to grieve and acknowledge your feelings instead of suppressing them

It’s natural to wonder what went wrong and replay memories in your mind repeatedly, but it’s important to recognize that the hardest part of a breakup is often the inability to stop thinking about the other person. Although there’s no magical step-by-step guide to recovery, it’s crucial to understand that feelings of love or attachment don’t vanish overnight. Nonetheless, it is possible to work on healing and moving forward.


1. How long does it take to get over an ex?

The time it takes to get over an ex-partner varies significantly from person to person. There is no fixed timeframe. The healing process depends on various factors, including the length and intensity of the relationship, the reasons for the breakup, the level of emotional attachment, and the individual’s coping mechanisms and support system.

For some people, getting over an ex may take a few weeks or months, while for others, it could take years. It’s essential to allow yourself the time and space needed to process the emotions and heal at your own pace.

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