Falling in love can happen with hardly any thought or effort on your part. But very often, falling out of love takes work. If you parted ways due to practical issues, you may have some lingering feelings for your former partner well after the relationship has ended. Fortunately, experts say there are some foolproof ways to fall out of love with your ex. All it really takes is a shift in your habits and routines to shake up your mindset and start to move forward.
According to Chelsea Leigh Trescott, breakup coach and podcast host of Thank You Heartbreak, if a relationship ended unexpectedly due to inconvenient circumstances (such as a move) or an issue of compatibility rather than a lack of affection or chemistry, it’s only natural to still have some love for your ex. But no matter what the nature of your breakup was, licensed clinical social worker Melanie Shapiro says you shouldn’t be hard on yourself if those feelings are still there.
“Falling out of love is an active decision to change thoughts, behaviors and even certain events, neighborhoods, and songs," she tells Elite Daily.
The good news is, you’re not helpless in your circumstances. Doing things like setting healthy boundaries (especially if you maintain contact with your former partner) and focusing on self-love can go a long way in helping you to move on. And if you need a little extra push, here are a few expert-approved strategies for getting over your ex.
This probably comes as no surprise, but checking up on your ex via social media can make it super challenging to get over them. That’s why Trescott always advises unfollowing them. Sure, it can be easier said than done — after all, the temptation to see what they’re up to is often super strong when you still care about them. But according to Trescott, seeing their photos, videos, comments, and other digital life updates can fuel the fantasy of your ex, which is especially problematic if you’re still hanging hopes on a reconciliation.
“On the surface, one new post on Instagram can seem harmless. But a picture really can speak a thousand words and, if your goal is to fall out of love with your ex, any storyline that includes them is going to have to end,” she adds. “By continually tuning into their life, you trick your mind into believing this person is still apart of your world and therefore allowed to actively influence your decisions and mood.”
It's ultimately your choice to hit that “unfollow” button, and only you know what's detrimental to your healing process. But Trescott says eliminating your ex from your social media feeds can definitely help you to detach from past influences and feelings and start a new chapter IRL. Not to mention, it relieves you of the emotional burden of seeing your ex potentially move on with someone new, which can cause you additional unnecessary heartache.
Find A New Rush
Love is a highly addictive feeling. In fact, Trescott asserts that it’s common to fall in love with the experience of being in love more than the actual person.
“This is why so many people rush to fall in love again — because being in love offers them the experience of security, adventure, connection, and affection and the mutual exchange of that gives them a sense of purpose and presence in this world,” she explains. “But a partner isn’t the only source that can offer these experiences.”
Trescott recommends seeking out more experiences that offer up those feelings you crave — the feelings that love inspired in you.
“If you miss security, think back to moments where you’ve felt at ease, encouraged, and courageous,” she says. “If it was when you were a part of a team, consider taking up a sport or joining a social club. Instead of focusing on who you can go on your next adventure with, think of what you can do this week that would make you feel daring, spontaneous, or curious.”
Essentially, by taking action and pursuing activities that give you a rush, you reinforce the idea that you don’t need your ex to experience many of the wonderful feelings that come with love.
Make Some Location Changes
Social media isn’t the only source of reminders of your ex — and the more of those reminders that you can eliminate from your life right now, the better. That’s why Shapiro advises avoiding the coffee shop, restaurant, and other venues that you used to regularly go to together, and finding some alternate go-to spots.
“If you did Barry’s Bootcamp together, try Solidcore instead,” she explains. “Make sure to have new experiences so you can start to have different associations with fun and less associations with your ex."
That doesn’t mean you have to give up these favorite establishments forever, of course. But at least right now, while you’re still attempting to get over your ex, avoiding these triggers can be immensely helpful.
Take More Chances
According to Trescott, it's time to ask yourself what you couldn't do when you were with your ex, and make an active effort to do those things now that you're single.
"There's an opportunity for you to reconnect with yourself, reclaim your life and start envisioning yourself in a brand new relationship," says Trescott. "Leaning into singleness with the awareness that it needn’t be forever can relieve you of the burden of being alone and excite you to take advantage of this precious period of your life."
So, what are you waiting for? Take an impromptu trip with your bestie, flirt with multiple strangers, or finally adopt that pet you've been dreaming about (but couldn't get, thanks to your ex's inconvenient allergies.) As you focus on finding fulfilling new experiences to keep you in the present, you'll gradually be able to let go of your past.
While all of these steps may help you to gradually fall out of love with your ex, experts agree that it’s crucial to be patient with yourself, honor your feelings, and recognize that the process is different for everyone.
“If your love is only intensifying after your breakup, this may be a telltale sign that you are forcing yourself to rush your recovery process and be somewhere you’re currently not,” says Trescott. “Allow yourself to be exactly where you are.”
If it’s taking longer than you’d like to get over your ex, Shapiro recommends practicing self-compassion and reminding yourself that you won’t be in this place forever.
As Trescott says, you fall in love by chance — and fall out of love by choice. In other words, while it's impossible to gain complete control over your feelings, you do ultimately have the power to move forward. And both taking chances and making new choices are powerful ways to do just that.
Melanie Shapiro, licensed clinical social worker
Chelsea Leigh Trescott, breakup coach