Breakups can be extremely hard to grapple with, no matter how things between you and your ex ended. If you haven't been able to move on, regardless of how long it's been, try not to beat yourself up. It's totally normal to take as long as you need to heal. But letting go of your ex is the first step toward opening yourself up to a new love, or a new chapter of life. Of course, letting go isn't always easy, which is why getting professional advice is never a bad idea. Enter: the one thing these couples’ therapists tell clients about getting over an ex, and it's so unbelievably wise.
It seems like there's an endless amount of advice out there for people who are struggling to move on after a breakup, but the truth is that what works for some people might not work for everyone. So if you've tried a bunch of things and you're still torn up, don't worry — there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. At the very least, relationships that don't work out present a valuable opportunity to reflect on what went wrong and how you can avoid the same pitfalls in future relationships. So, don't fret. Even the pain of an intense heartbreak will let up eventually. In the meantime, here are some tips from the experts.
Realize that unless you made a clean break, it’s going to be very difficult to recover. That is why no matter how difficult it might seem the very best thing to do is to not see your ex, for at least 90 days. I know this is hard, of course it is, you’ve been with them for so long. But, if you don’t make a clean break and hang on by seeing them as a “friends with benefits,” or stalking them them on social media; or asking friends to spy on them, it will only prolong your pain and make it so much more difficult to recover and move on with your life. Again, it isn’t easy to go cold turkey, but you need to give yourself some time to grieve the loss.
— Dr. Gary Brown, Los Angeles-based dating and relationship therapist
If there is only one thing I could tell someone, it would be do not have contact with them at all for at least 30 days (no texting, calls, social media) to give yourself some time to regroup.
— Nicole Richardson, licensed counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist
Sometimes it takes your heart time to catch up to your head. Your head might logically know that you weren't a good fit, but it doesn't make the heart want your ex any less. This is normal and understandable. We can't switch off our emotions at our command. But be careful about the meaning you assign to your emotions. It's easy to romanticize the relationship and only remember the good things. Acknowledge your pain as normal and to be expected, but just because you feel miserable and in pain doesn't mean it's a sign that you should get back with your ex.
— Anita Chlipala, relationship expert and licensed marriage and family therapist
Painful as it is, it is better to feel fully as part of the process of healing as opposed to suppressing, repressing and avoiding feeling. It is believed that if we allows ourselves to feel whatever emotions it is we are feeling fully for 17 seconds, it will shift. Pain tells us we are alive — we can stay with [it], embrace it and work through it one breath at time and one day at a time.
— Dr. Martha Tara Lee, DHS, MA, BA and founder of Eros Coaching
Depending on where you are in the healing process, implementing this advice might take some time — but, as long as you keep moving forward, you'll be feeling better before you know it.