Obsessing? Here are 3 Ways to Get Him Off Your Mind.
How to Stop Thinking About Him
We've all had terrible breakups. It can be very difficult to stop thinking about someone who has hurt you. However, ruminating over a past heartbreak will not always make you feel better. If you're struggling to let go of your pain, there are many things you can do to improve your mood. Limit how often you think of him. When your mind wanders towards your ex, turn your thoughts elsewhere. Try to stay distracted. Go on a trip, learn something new, or try casual dating. You cannot completely eliminate thoughts of your ex. When they do occur, learn to direct them in as positive a manner as possible.
Limiting How Often You Think of Him
Cut off contact.It can be hard to just stop talking to someone who was once important to you. However, if you want to move on and heal, this is a vital step. Stop texting, calling, or seeing him at social events. Avoid looking at his social media profiles.
- You do not have to be friends with your ex. However, if you want to maintain a friendship, acknowledge you can't do so right away. You will both need space, so mutually agree not to see or contact each other for a while.
- If you have to see him because you work together or go to school together, you can be cordial without going overboard. Be polite when you see him, but do not engage in small talk or banter. Try to have as little contact with him as possible.
Switch your focus when you start thinking about him.It can be hard to completely stop thinking about someone. If you're thinking of him, and think to yourself, "Stop thinking about it," you're only going to think about it more. Instead of beating yourself up for thinking about him, look for another way to direct your thoughts.
- For example, find something else to focus your thoughts on. Is there someone new you have feelings for? Try thinking about this person. Think about what it would be like to date them, and what kind of relationship you could envision with them.
- Redirecting your thoughts is more likely to get rid of unwanted thoughts than simply trying not to think about someone. The mind is a busy place and needs to be occupied, so give it something to do rather than trying to shut it down.
Do deep breathing for 90 seconds.Give yourself 90 seconds to allow negative emotions to run their course. Once you've taken 90 seconds to breathe and experience, you'll be better equipped to put your ex out of your thoughts.
- When you feel yourself obsessing, stop and start breathing for about 90 seconds. Take about 15 very deep breaths during this time.
- Breathing will help you allow your emotions to flow through you. After 90 seconds have passed, you should feel calmer and more grounded.
Imagine a soothing scenario.The mind needs something to think about. If you can't stop thinking about your ex, use your imagination. Picture a soothing scenario, even a fanciful one, to remove thoughts of your ex.
- Imagine, for example, that you're at the bottom of the ocean. Think about the soothing feeling of the water and watching the fish swim past you.
- Have a variety of soothing scenarios in the back of your mind. When you're bothered by thoughts of your ex, indulge in one of the scenarios.
Get rid of items that remind you of him.If you are still hanging onto some items that belonged to him or that remind you of him, then it is a good idea to let go of them or at least get them out of sight. If you are not ready to throw away things that remind you of him, then at least put them into a box and hide the box away somewhere that you will not see it.
- You might even ask a friend to hold onto the box of items for you so that you are not tempted to look through it.
Remind yourself you can't explain his actions.When you're hurt, you may strive for an explanation. You may find yourself trying to explain why your ex behaved in a certain way. These thoughts can very easily get out of control. When you feel them coming, remind yourself of what you don't know.
- What would happen if someone tried to explain your thoughts and actions? Would they be able to completely explain what you were going through or experiencing? Probably not.
- It's not fair to try to explain your ex's actions. You cannot fully explain what he did and why. When you start searching for explanations, pause and think to yourself something like, "I don't know why he did that so I should not dwell on it."
Take a vacation.If you can get out of town for a few days, do so. Taking a vacation and seeing old friends and family members can help you take your mind off a bad relationship.
- Try to go somewhere new. Visit a friend in a city you've been to before. Take a trip to a town or attraction a few hours away.
- A good way to prevent old memories from floating in is to have some great new experiences.
Date casually.You don't want to hop into a relationship right away after you've been hurt by someone. However, some casual dating can help take your mind off your ex. Make a dating profile online and go on some non-serious dates.
- Refocusing your attention on casual dating can help you control unwanted thoughts about him. As long as you're honest about the fact you're just seeking a casual romance, a brief rebound can be healthy.
Learn something new.What's something you always wanted to learn or try? Try it now. This will keep your mind busy and prevent you from thinking about your ex.
- Take up a craft, like knitting or sewing.
- Join a club or a local sports team.
- Take classes in something. A cooking class or singing class can give you something to do other than thinking about your ex.
Stay away from people who encourage anxious thoughts.You want to be around people who bring you up and not down. Some people are chronic over-analyzers and worriers themselves. Their anxiety may rub off on you. Keep your distance from your more negative thinking friends for a while. This will help you bounce back and not fall into negative thought patterns.
Reframing Negative Thoughts
Recognize the truth of the relationship.It can be hard to stop thinking about someone when you're romanticizing what you had. If you're missing someone, you may ignore painful memories and only focus on the good times or the good qualities about the person.
- The relationship probably ended for a reason. Did you two fight a lot? Were you simply not right for each other? What happened that caused things to sour?
- Remind yourself the relationship was imperfect. Remembering the imperfections can actually help you think about him less in the long run. It will lessen your longing for him.
Acknowledge your thoughts are not facts.When you're reeling from something, you're more prone to irrationality. You may experience thoughts that you see as facts. However, feelings are subjective. When you have negative or irrational thoughts about yourself or the situation, remind yourself of this.
- Your feelings are real, but that does not mean they are true. Just as you don't believe everything you hear, don't believe everything you think.
- For example, you find yourself thinking something like, "I will never find anyone like him." Say something to yourself like, "I'm feeling that way right now, and that's okay, but it's probably not true."
Challenge irrational thinking.You may experience a lot of irrational thoughts when trying to forget someone. When you experience a very negative thought about yourself, pause and challenge it. Think to yourself, "Is this really reality?"
- Try to examine the evidence when you have a negative thought. For example, you think, "No one else will want me." Is this really true? Aren't you basing a big generalization on one experience? You've been with other people who have valued you.
- Look for perspective. Think about the last time your heart was broken. You probably experienced similar negative thoughts, but they were not necessarily true. You did love again and find someone else.
- Ask yourself questions like, "If someone else were saying these things, how would I react?" and "How would I look at this situation if I was being positive?"
Try to forgive.It can be hard to forgive someone who hurt you. However, if you forgive the hurt, it will be easier to forget. Try to think positive thoughts about him and wish him well. While it may be tough at first, regularly sending him positive thoughts will make you feel better.
Avoid feelings of blame.The past is the past. Picking apart situations long after they've ended, and trying to assign blame, is not going to help you in the long run. If you find yourself doing so, stop and thinking something like, "It's over now. It doesn't matter whose fault it was." Then, try to focus your mind on the present and future.
QuestionI recently moved and I still really like a guy from my old school. It has been a month and a half now. He does not like me (I'm pretty sure). I tried to stop liking him but I just can't no matter what. I have known him for seven years and liked him all along. What should I do?
Clinical Social WorkerClinical Social WorkerExpert AnswerSounds like this is pretty entrenched! Make sure you are putting away any mementos that remind you of him. Also make certain that you have disconnected from his social media accounts. Seven years is a long time, so be kind and patient with yourself--it can take a while to move forward. Think: Part of you knows that he doesn't really like you. That is a red flag in itself to move on. You have a lot of living to do, and a lot of people to meet. Get involved at your new school and your new community.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if your ex owes you money? How do you ask him to pay it back so you can move on?
Clinical Social WorkerClinical Social WorkerExpert AnswerKeep the money and the relationship issues separate. Try sending a note JUST about the money--focusing on how the payments can be made--maybe through a 3rd party. Don't put any anger into this, or the breakup and the money issue can get mixed up, and then you might not receive it back. Assume that the person will honor the commitment. Refer to the original agreement about how repayment was supposed to happen.Thanks!
- Block his number and if possible stay away from places where he is a regular.
- Remove pictures, notes, anything that reminds of him.
- Stop listening to music that reminds you of him.
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