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When the love fades away and you lose that person you thought was “the one,” how do you get over that person and move on with your life?
Letting go and moving on is the worst part of a relationship cycle. It can make you feel a lot of negative emotions—sadness, loneliness, depression, and a lot more.
Bottom line—it can be your greatest source of unhappiness (at least for the time being).
So when the time comes, how do you get over that person you have shared your life with for a very long time? How do you tell yourself that it’s over and that you have to move on?
In this article, we will give you 19 tips on how to get over someone you love deeply and move on with your life. We provide a step-by-step process for reclaiming your old, happy self, and learning to love again.
But before we get to that, let’s first establish how and why losing someone can be so painful. You need to understand your emotions prior to learning how to let go.
(Side note: One proven way to improve your happiness and life satisfaction is to focus on goals that truly matter. To get started, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.).
What You Will Learn
- How Painful Is It to Lose Someone You Love?
- 20 Steps to Get Over Someone You Love
- 1. Cry a river if you must.
- 2. Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings.
- 3. Realize that you can’t do anything about it anymore.
- 4. If you can’t forgive the person yet, at least forgive yourself.
- 5. When you’re ready, give yourself permission to heal.
- 6. Learn to accept that this person was important to you, but the past is past.
- 7. Stop the blaming and let go of the anger.
- 8. Get rid of the things that remind you of that person.
- 9. Cut all possible communications with this person.
- 10. Engage in physical exercise and outdoor activities.
- 11. Clean up the mess—literally!
- 12. Take baby steps—do things slowly, one day at a time.
- 13. Be patient and never give up on yourself.
- 14. Forget the past and focus on the present.
- 15. Look forward to what the future may bring.
- 16. Learn from this experience.
- 17. Open your heart to possible new relationships.
- 18. Find comfort in the company of your family and friends.
- 19. Take time to love yourself
- 20. Seek professional help—visit a therapist or join a support group.
- A Final Word on How to Get Over Someone You Loved Deeply
How Painful Is It to Lose Someone You Love?
It makes you desperate.
Nobody prepared you for it, so you try to find ways to get back the lost love. You feel the impulse to follow that person, keep contacting him or her, and go to the places where he or she might be found. But when this effort is not reciprocated, it ends up hurting you even more. You may even find that the person you love has moved on and is spending time with another person, which can be devastating.
You may also try to fill this gap by engaging in relationships that really have no meaning behind them. However, doing this can make you feel worse in the long run because you won't find the true sense of love that you once had.
It makes you lose control over your emotions.
You know you are really hurting when you start to initiate inappropriate calls, send unwanted messages, cry for hours, drink too much, make dramatic scenes, etc. Connected to being desperate, you feel the need to do whatever it takes just to get him or her back.
You are looking for a reaction of some sort from this person or some form of reciprocated attention. You may think that if you could just get them to notice you, there might be a chance to remind them of how great the two of you were together. Or, you might get them to feel sorry for you, and think they will want to help you in some way. You forget to be rational.
It brings not just emotional pain, but also physical pain.
A 2011 study explains that loss of love can be a great source of unhappiness. And particular parts of your brain respond to emotional pain by making you feel physical pain. Heartbreak can be experienced in a wide range of forms, including chest pain, stomachaches, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, and frequent crying.
While some cynics believe that emotional pain can be avoided with willpower, studies have confirmed that the pain in your heart caused by a breakup or rejection is equivalent to physical pain, as the brain processes physical pain and social loss the same way.
It confines you in the past.
Whenever you see his or her photo, visit the places you used to go together, or watch his or her favorite movie, you keep coming back to the memories of your relationship. This is the same reason why it feels so painful—you just can’t let go.
This is especially true if your schedule, routine, or environment doesn't change after your breakup. You will be surrounded by constant reminders of your former partner, whether that is coming home to the empty house where they once waited for you at the end of the day or doing your weekly trip to the farmer's market alone.
It can be a big source of unhappiness.
For many, this is one of the worst kinds of suffering. It makes you feel lost and depressed. You may have had hopes or expectations for your future that are no longer in the cards, and you may have to give up some other cherished relationships if some friends are especially close to your ex. This can easily have you questioning your path in life and make you uncertain about your future.
With all of this pain and sorrow, what can you do to bounce back? How can you be resilient during this time of change? Let's look at some steps you can take to move on from the relationship and get over your ex.
20 Steps to Get Over Someone You Love
1. Cry a river if you must.
You are allowed to cry and feel pain. You can even grieve if you need to. A failed relationship is not something you should shove off quickly. Crying gives your mind and body instant relief, as it is your body's way of releasing stress.
It will be harder for you to move on if you don’t let your emotions out. It is important to recognize your feelings and work through them so they don't become bottled up inside and multiply. Allow yourself to explore and feel the loss of what could have been.
Try to identify your triggers when you are going through this process, and work through them. Eventually, you may pick up on some patterns of things that excite your emotions, and then make the appropriate efforts to avoid those triggers.
When you have finished crying, take a mental note of how you feel. You will probably find that you feel less emotional. And while you may not feel joy right away, you will likely feel more calm, less anxious, and ready to move forward, despite your problems. Try to hold onto this feeling and allow yourself to cry when you need to.
2. Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings.
You need to understand yourself better, and the best way to do this is to acknowledge your emotions. Acknowledge them by associating them with a feeling, and then try to understand it. Your thoughts and feelings are a part of you, and they are there for a reason.
Acknowledging your feelings is more than just thinking “This is how I feel right now.” It's about allowing yourself to experience and feel the emotion and then considering what course of action you will take to help dissipate that pain.
When you acknowledge your feelings in this way, it will help both your mind and body to relax. It will help a lot if you write down your thoughts in a journal so you can acquire a better perspective about what happened.
3. Realize that you can’t do anything about it anymore.
After the breakup or the loss of a loved one, you will feel powerless—but that’s okay. You have to accept that things happened and you can’t do anything anymore to change them. All you can do now is figure out how to be happy again.
The more you fight the fact that the relationship is over, the worse you will feel. If you continue to resist the breakup, you will not be able to heal or move on. However, if you can learn to accept the breakup with grace, you will begin to heal and gain emotional strength, which will eventually lead to happiness.
If you can accept your circumstances, you will feel empowered to create the life that you want. You need to uncover the beliefs, thoughts, and activities that will help you accept this difficult situation.
4. If you can’t forgive the person yet, at least forgive yourself.
It can certainly be hard to forgive, especially if it was the other person’s fault that the relationship ended in the first place. But of course, there will also be times when you feel guilty about not being able to prevent things from happening. In that case, you need to forgive yourself first and understand that things were out of your control.
To forgive yourself for any role you may have played in the breakup, or for anything you may have done that ultimately pushed your partner away, it is helpful to keep in mind that we are all doing what we feel is right in any given moment. Whatever you did (or didn't do) seemed like the best course of action at the time.
If you had known that what you were doing would cause pain to you or your partner, you likely wouldn’t have done it. And even if you knew you were causing harm at the time, you were likely unaware of how much you would regret it later. Remember what you learned from your actions, but let go of everything else.
5. When you’re ready, give yourself permission to heal.
Everything has to be clear before you start moving on. Ask yourself, “Am I ready to move on?” Unless and until you’ve finally decided that you want to let go and move on, you wouldn’t be able to do so.
Once you're ready, set aside time every day for self-care. Do something you enjoy, like going for a run, doing some gardening, or meditating. This will help you engage in self-care that will be conducive to your healing.
Then, surround yourself with people who are supportive of your healing and who make you feel good about your future. Make sure to listen to your intuition and your body, and do the things that feel right to you. Make the conscious effort to move on with your life during this time as well.
6. Learn to accept that this person was important to you, but the past is past.
Just because it ended doesn’t mean that it was never real. You can love somebody for a long while, and that love may come to an end, but that is still real and genuine love. You won’t be able to complete the rest of the steps if you don’t get through this one.
Your past isn’t meant to be forgotten. In a lot of ways, your past is actually meant to be celebrated. You can look back at what you have learned, how you have grown, how other people have shaped you, and what you have become today, which is all-important.
Don't hold onto it, but simply remember it. Accept what it taught you, and how it can help you in the future. Hold its lessons and positive memories close and allow that to build you into a better person.
7. Stop the blaming and let go of the anger.
Most people tend to start off by blaming someone else for their own pain. Your ex did something wrong, or they betrayed you in some way. You want an apology. You want them to recognize their wrongdoing.
But the problem with blaming your ex is that it leaves you powerless. When you don't get the apology or recognition from them that you want, you’re left with anger and no feelings of resolution, which hurts you more than it hurts the other person.
These feelings are legitimate, and you have to allow yourself to feel them. But then you have to move on. Holding on to feelings of anger and resentment is exhausting. They contribute to the physical pain you are feeling. If you keep on feeling these negative emotions, they will have a detrimental effect on your health.
8. Get rid of the things that remind you of that person.
Seeing things that remind you of your ex and the past relationship you shared will only make things worse. It will make you feel nostalgic, sad, and regretful. If you can’t throw them away, at least put them in a box and store them somewhere you can’t easily access.
Return anything to your ex that may be sentimental or meaningful. For example, if their childhood teddy bear or their winter jacket is at your house, don't throw it away. Be respectful and return them, as you would hope they would do for you.
[ Why not keep better track of your changing emotions? Check out these great mood tracker apps]
9. Cut all possible communications with this person.
Don’t set up a meeting with him or her. Don’t send him or her a message (if he or she texts you first, do not reply). Don't call them. Keeping the lines of communication open is just leaving the door open to the relationship, and will prevent you from moving on.
If you need to respond to your ex's message because of important and urgent matters, keep your conversations short and to the point. Be the first to cut the conversation, or stop responding if the conversation moves away from the issue at hand.
Lastly, block or unfriend him or her on your social media networks. Don't allow yourself the temptation to look at their profile and see what they're up to, and don't post things on social media with the intent of making your ex jealous. Simply block them so there is no contact.
10. Engage in physical exercise and outdoor activities.
Some experts say that one of the best ways to move on and get over breaking up with someone you love is to keep yourself busy with other things. They suggest engaging in exercise or other similar activities because exercise releases hormones that make you feel happy. Exercise also has a lot of other health benefits that will make you feel better overall, and you could even obtain a hot revenge body as a result.
Try doing some boxing to get some aggression out, or take a HIIT exercise class to keep your mind busy. You can also do some yoga to help reconnect with yourself and find your center again.
11. Clean up the mess—literally!
Get organized and pick yourself up. There’s no way you can move on if your surrounded by a mess. Research tells us that having an organized environment helps in having an organized life.
As you're going through your stuff and separating your ex's stuff out to either trash or return, make a “trash,” “donate,” and “keep” pile of your own. Doing so will help you feel refreshed and renewed as you open up space in your home for new things.
12. Take baby steps—do things slowly, one day at a time.
Remember that there is no huge rush, and you want to allow yourself to have the time that you need to grieve. You can’t rush the entire process. Don’t expect yourself to get over a lost love in one night. It doesn’t matter how long the whole process takes, as long as you do it right.
Of course, this doesn't mean to wallow in your sorrows and never leave your bedroom again because you're thinking about your ex. But move on one step at a time and you will start to see your progress.
13. Be patient and never give up on yourself.
Again, getting over someone you loved is a long process. It might take months or even years before you can finally let go and move on. But no matter how complicated and long the process may be, always believe that you’ll get through it. Remember, you were just fine before you met your ex, so you will be just fine in the future when your life is continuing on without them.
Even if you feel like you aren't making progress in getting over your ex, you are. Be kind to yourself and continue to have faith that you will get over this. If you start to give up on yourself, others may too, which could result in more strained relationships. Believe in yourself.
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14. Forget the past and focus on the present.
Stop torturing yourself with the “what ifs?” and “if only” statements. See the beauty in your immediate surroundings and appreciate what life still has to offer. Practice mindfulness by accepting the current moment without judgment and not living in the past or the future.
Focusing on the present moment can also help you cultivate gratitude for the things in your life that are going well. It can help you see that this relationship was a part of you, but it did not define you. You may have wonderful friends, family, a career, hobbies, pets, or other things that truly make you who you are.
15. Look forward to what the future may bring.
Everything happens for a reason, and your relationship could have ended because there is a new, happier one waiting for you in the future. The breakup could be a blessing in disguise. Life is preparing you for the years to come. The possibilities for your future are limitless.
Take this time for yourself and make a plan for what you want your future to look like. Put yourself back in the driver's seat of your life and be selfish about how you spend your time, and who you spend it with. This can help you shape a future that holds a lot of new opportunities.
16. Learn from this experience.
As this was a major event in your life, make sure that you learn something from it. That way, if the time comes that you experience it again (hopefully not!), you’ll know how to handle things better.
Take note of the coping skills that really work for you and help you feel empowered. Find the things in your life that truly bring you happiness or allow you to get away from any negativity that surrounds you. Keep these tips in mind in the future if you find yourself in a similar situation.
17. Open your heart to possible new relationships.
Many people decide to close their doors after a significant heartbreak. Don’t be that kind of person. It’s not easy to trust again and fall in love, but you need to try.
While you don't necessarily want to jump right into a new relationship, keep yourself open to the possibility of moving on with someone else. You may not realize that you are fully over your ex until you find yourself happy again with someone new.
18. Find comfort in the company of your family and friends.
Your significant other may have left you, but your true friends and family never will. When everything else fails, there’s no other way to feel safe but to go home. Make things simple again by spending your time with the people who have known you the longest.
Not only can these people help comfort you, but they will also remind you of who you are and where you came from. They will reground you and help you start fresh.
19. Take time to love yourself
Never underestimate the power of self-love.
I am not talking about self-love to the point of narcissism. But we all need to love ourselves before others can love us back. A little bit of self-love and pampering are great ways to both lift the funk of a failed relationship and give you the mental clarity to find yourself a new and better relationship in the ashes of your old relationship.
20. Seek professional help—visit a therapist or join a support group.
This is an option for those who are really having a hard time getting over a lost love or failed relationship. What you are feeling right now is normal—people feel sad and lonely after heartbreaks. Thus, there’s no need to feel shy or ashamed about seeking professional help.
Therapists or other people who are going through similar situations can help validate your feelings and empathize with your emotions. Just sharing your story and giving yourself the chance to relate to others can help build you up.
A Final Word on How to Get Over Someone You Loved Deeply
Getting over someone you love deeply and moving on with your life is not a process you can accomplish overnight. It’s not easy, and never will be.
But you need to keep fighting. No matter how difficult it is or how painful it may feel, you need to stand your ground and push yourself to be better.
In this post, we’ve shared with you how losing someone can make your life miserable and unhappy. But we have also talked about the fact that there are ways to move on from the past to live a better life.
Amidst all the struggles, you are still destined to be the happier human you deserve to be. You just have to figure out how, and you have to be ready.
Hopefully the tips and guidelines we gave can help you to get over that person you love deeply. If you want to learn how to love yourself more, and how to invest in yourself to be a better person.
Do whatever it is that feels right for you. Celebrate life even after the most painful heartbreak.
Finally, one proven way to improve your happiness and life satisfaction is to focus on goals that truly matter. To get started, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.