Even if you have recently broken up with your boyfriend for entirely justifiable reasons, you may still suffer the pain of regret and find yourself asking “Did I do the right thing?” Love is, in many ways, an addiction, and is therefore hard to break. However, there are things you can do to avoid falling for your ex.
Stay away from him.
When it comes to dealing with the fallout of a breakup, follow the motto, “Out of sight, out of mind.” The less you run into your ex, the better. There may be times when you’re forced to see him or you run into him by accident. Outside of these times, do your best to avoid contact.
In today’s world, “staying away” also means cutting off contact via social media. Unfriend him, stop following his posts, delete his number in your phone. Break the chain that connects you, at least temporarily. You can possibly reconsider making some new connections later on.
Avoiding him isn’t a way of showing that you hate your old partner. Instead, you’re showing that being around this person makes you feel confusing, uncomfortable emotions (which is most likely true).
Avoid his friends when you can.
Breaking up can be especially hard if you were used to spending lots of time with his friends. However, if you can, limit your exposure to these people. Being around your ex’s friends will only remind you of the memories you shared with your ex and you will have trouble getting over him.
Cutting off contact with these friends will probably only exacerbate your sense of loss, but it is a pain you need to go through in order to get past your ex and move forward. You may be able to reconnect with some of these friends later on.
If you don’t have many friends who aren’t close to your ex, hang out with a few of your most trusted friends that you can count on to be sympathetic. You may also want to try to focus your efforts on making new friends (though this can be tough if you’re feeling blue).
Avoid places and activities that may trigger temptation.
It may be hard to (at least temporarily) give up your favorite restaurant, or listening to your favorite band, or doing the crossword in the Sunday paper, but if these are things you shared with your boyfriend, they could become temptation traps. You might associate such things so strongly with him that you can’t help but pine for him.
Remember, you’re trying to break a type of addiction, and if you were trying to quit drinking, you wouldn’t hang out at your favorite bar.
Eventually you should be able to reclaim favorite places and things for yourself, but it is best to play it safe by not risking temptation while your breakup is still fresh.
The worst-case scenario would be running into your ex at your favorite restaurant or the first spot where you kissed, so avoidance is the most prudent option.
Stay polite but distant when you can’t avoid contact.
Sometimes, you may be forced to see your ex face-to-face. Maybe he’s in your biology class, or lives down the street, or works at your local grocery store. In these cases, it’s not worth your effort to make a scene or try to hurt his feelings. Instead, smile and be pleasant, but keep your conversations short. Doing this will help prevent him from bringing back any difficult emotions.
Despite its common existence in sitcoms and other forms of popular culture, it is rarely a good idea to be “just friends” with your ex. If he was at fault for the breakup, you are only minimizing or even validating his mistreatment of you by deeming him worthy of friendship. Even if the breakup was mutual or faultless, you’ll find it even more difficult to escape the “addiction” of your romantic feelings for him if he’s always around as a friend.
Remember, happiness is the best revenge. If you’re angry at your ex over the breakup, showing him that you’re doing well without him is a great way to subtly show him the mistake he’s made.
Don’t view your relationship through rose-colored glasses.
In the time after a breakup, it can be difficult to think about your old relationship logically. Give yourself a few days to mourn, but then try to see things how they really were. The simple fact that you broke up in the first place means that your relationship wasn’t perfect. Remembering the bad parts of the relationship alongside the good will make it a lot harder to fall for your ex again.
Not sure what went wrong? Search your heart. Be honest with yourself. Was one of you unhappy? Did you have different life priorities? Was there a lack of trust? Were you treated with respect? Were you betrayed?
Honestly examining a past relationship can not only help you move on from it, but also better prepare you for the next one by helping you to identify potential problems and “warning signs” ahead of time.
Don’t devote yourself to getting revenge.
After a nasty breakup, the urge to get even with your ex may be strong. You may start to think that bashing up his car or embarrassing him in front of his new partner are good ideas. They aren’t. This sort of behavior shows that you’re still obsessed with your old partner. To others, it can seem petty and childish, leading to embarrassment for you in the long run. Don’t give in to hate. Instead, work to get over your ex so that you never have to think about him again.
Depending on why you broke up in the first place, you may even feel guilty after a mean-spirited prank. If your boyfriend cheated on you, you may indeed hate his guts. If he never betrayed your trust, though, and you broke up after a fight or something similar, you may not really want to see him unhappy.
The minuscule rush you may feel after exacting your revenge on your ex can never make up for the extra time you wasted obsessing over him instead of moving on with your life. In almost every case, revenge is not “a dish best served cold”; it is a dish best not served at all.
Distract yourself with things you enjoy.
After a breakup, it’s OK to treat yourself a little. Not only will this make you feel better, it’s also good for resisting the urge to spend time with your ex. When you’re at home feeling down and starting to think that a reunion would be a good idea, divert your attention to something you know you love. Basically, you want to replace one “addiction” for another, healthier one.
For example, you can try putting on your favorite music, baking your favorite pastry, or playing your favorite sport. With luck, you won’t be thinking about your ex for long.
Consider relying on portable distractions when you get wistful for your ex outside of the house (like, for example, on the train). Playing music, movies, or games on your phone, or putting a good old-fashioned book in your backpack, can be very useful for this.
Stay off the topic of boys when you’re with your friends.
Spending time with your most trusted friends is a fantastic idea after a breakup. However, some topics of conversation aren’t very helpful. Try to avoid talking about boys when you’re hanging out. Your ex is especially off limits, but boys and romance in general should also be avoided. Hearing your friends talk about their partners can make you miss your ex, even if he has nothing to do with these people.
This can, understandably, be a little awkward to bring up. It’s OK to say something like, “Hey, do you mind if we don’t talk about boys tonight?” Your friends should get the idea, but if they don’t, you might follow up with something a little more pointed, like “I’m just trying to get my mind off the subject.”
Watch out for what is known as the “white bear” example, though. (The name comes from the idea that if someone tells you not to think of a white bear, the first image likely to pop into your head is a white bear.) If you make too big a deal about not talking about your ex or boys/relationships in general, you may inadvertently steer the conversation that way.
Focus on the positives of being single.
Though it may not seem like it at first, being without a partner can have some major benefits. Keeping these in mind will make getting back with your partner seem much less appealing. Here are just a few things the newly-single you can be happy about, guilt-free:
You now get to spend more of your money on yourself.
You now have time to pursue more of your favorite hobbies and interests.
You no longer have to do things that you don’t like just to make your partner happy.
You don’t have to hang out with any of your partner’s unappealing friends.
You are now free to pursue other, even better guys.
Breaking up can leave you feeling depressed and sapped of energy for a while. As soon as you can, take the opportunity to get up, get out of the house, and start being active in all of your favorite ways. Physical exercise is especially valuable as it has proven anti-depressant effects.
However, almost any sort of activity is a good idea. Simply venturing outdoors and doing something can make you feel better.
Keep your mind and body busy by volunteering, tackling a home improvement project, or some other tasks that force your mind away from your ex. Eventually, by giving your mind other options to focus on, the urge to think about your ex will diminish and vanish.
Don’t be afraid to check out other guys.
Even if you broke up on good terms, your ex isn’t the only good guy in the world. There are good people everywhere, but it’s up to you to meet them! Don’t let yourself get into the mindset that your ex was the only one you can ever love. As soon as you feel those familiar “sparks” with someone new, you’ll realize just how wrong you were.
You may be concerned about getting into a “rebound” relationship, perhaps with someone who isn’t as good as you deserve or someone who is too much like your ex (and acting almost as a replacement). You may want to take some time before getting involved with someone else, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look! Have fun “scouting” the area before you decide to wade back into the dating waters.