Mind & Body

Getting Over An Ex? Here’s The Ultimate Guide To Healing

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We’ve seen countless movies and TV shows that coach us through how not to get over an ex. Don’t follow your ex to grad school after they basically called you stupid and rebounded real quick (even if you will become more successful than him because of that choice as in Legally Blonde). Don’t use the new girl to sabotage your ex like they did in John Tucker Must Die. Don’t go out and sleep with the first rando you come across mdash; even if you were “on a break” like Ross and Rachel from Friends.

I think that about covers it? Getting over an ex is tough mdash; we know that. Heartbreak is one of the hardest things we go through, especially when there is no real timeframe or guidebook that specifies just how long we will suffer. We’ve all heard the saying “time heals all wounds,” but that can mean jack squat when you’re down in the dumps. So instead of moping in bed for the third week in a row, get out there and do something.

Cut ’em out

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Parkwood / Columbia

While staying friends with an ex can certainly soften the blow of a full-fledged separation, it might be doing more harm than good, says Rachel Sussman, a New York City-based psychotherapist and author of The Breakup Bible. It can even hold you back from new relationships. “Or you get into a new relationship and you tell your new girlfriend or boyfriend, ‘My ex is one of my closest friends.’ That’s complicated. Are you giving the new relationship a [fair] chance to really flourish or blossom?”

It’s important to note that every situation is different. For example, it might be better to stay friends with your ex when kids are involved. This can keep things smoother and drama-free. Just remember to trust your gut and do what feels best. Just because your ex is adamant on staying friends, doesn’t mean that you automatically have to go along with it — not when it could mess with your wellbeing.

But overall, as Nina Atwood, therapist and author of Temptations of the Single Girl, explains, “You might think that it’s a good idea to stay platonic with a former lover, but there are many challenges, such as the feelings of emotional attachment.”

Block the B—

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People say it’s petty, but they’re wrong. Imagine this: you’re having a night alone at home with Netflix and sweatpants when you decide to check social media. All is well in your scroll until your heart starts to thump from stumbling upon a picture of your ex up in a club or at the beach with some pretty girl. Sure, it could be his cousin, but it also could be the new girl he’s replaced you with. By not blocking or deleting your ex on social media, these are the type of situations you’re subjecting yourself to.

Having trouble breaking off social media contact? Take relief in the fact that you’re not alone. According to Dr. Suzana E. Flores, clinical psychologist and author of Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships, and Our Lives, 70 percent of people stalk their exes on social media. However, while it can be tempting to give yourself just “one little peek,” doing so can actually become an addiction.

You could even be classified as a stalker, says relationship expert April Masini. “One reason why I recommend a total disconnect from social media after a breakup is because you can find yourself, without intending to, becoming a derivative stalker.” Yikes. Feeling like Joe from You is the last thing we want.

Take The High Road

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Sure, it’s perfectly normal to absolutely disdain your ex and wish them all sorts of misery, but it’s important to keep this bad-talk to yourself (or at least with your supportive group of girlfriends who would also relish in his demise). No matter how badly the relationship ended, the last thing you want is to regret something you said or worse — say it to the wrong person and have it get back to the person. Not only does that make you look spiteful, it also makes you look desperate, or like you’re “losing” the breakup. (Sorry, tough love, girl.)

It can be a sign that you still have a long way to go to no longer being a bitter ex. “When people talk badly about their exes to an unhealthy point, it means that they haven’t worked through a lot of that relationship,” says Lena Aburdene Derhally, MS, LPC, an Imago relationship therapist based in D.C. If this is you, it may be time to visit a therapist or at least find a healthy way to cope.

Self Care

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Type A Films

It’s far too easy to pull an Elle Woods and mope in bed for weeks after a bad breakup, neglecting hygiene, your friends, and basic care for yourself. Instead, channel the Elle Woods that got her sh*t together. That’s right. Get up, get dressed, meet up with friends, go for that run, get a manicure, and go dancing.

Self-care is so essential during a breakup. You’re going through a hard time; it’s important to be extra kind to yourself. And don’t be alarmed by there being good and bad days; healing is not a straight road. In time, it will get easier. You got this.