It's not easy getting over an ex. But we can help.
Breaking up is hard to do. What can be even more difficult than the actual split is the aftermath: getting over the loss and trying to start fresh. Many people can get stuck after a breakup by finding excuses to stay in contact with their former lover.
In her book, Getting Past Your Breakup, Susan J. Elliot says that a rule of "no contact" with an ex is necessary to fully heal and grieve after a tough breakup. Although she understands how difficult this notion can be, she says, "In order to truly get past your breakup, you need to separate emotionally, physically, and psychologically from the relationship, and the primary way to do that is to stop talking to your ex."
Elliot learned from people who struggled with contacting exes. She found seven major excuses that we use in order to rationalize remaining in touch.
1. You want to remain friends.
This sounds nice, but in reality an ex does not make a true friend, especially immediately after the breakup.
2. You crave closure.
Closure can be difficult to obtain no matter how many conversations one has. The best closure can come from resisting the urge for dialogue and moving on.
3. You feel the need to make sense of it all.
You may feel the need to say one more thing before you go. This is another version of closure and another reason to stay in contact, when in reality this just gives your ex another opportunity to hurt you. Not fun.
4. You want to be available for reconciliation.
Wanting to get back together is a fair feeling to have. Even if you do end up reconciling, the relationship will undoubtedly be different. It is still important to take some time without speaking in order to mourn the relationship and contemplate how you really feel.
5. You want to give his stuff back.
Do it quickly and in the first couple days. After that, use one of our many mail services.
6. You are horny.
And your ex is familiar because you know him or her. But again, this is just prolonging the inevitable and will keep you stuck in the past. Time to cut off the ex and find someone new (or maybe even just yourself) to get jiggy with.
7. You run in the same circles as your ex.
If this is the case, you won't be able to help running into your ex, but that does not mean you need to get in touch afterward. Keep your conversations polite, brief and away from anything that can bring up negative feelings from the past. Obviously easier said than done.
While our natural reaction to a breakup may be to keep in touch, in order to successfully move on, the "no contact" rule is a good place to start. No matter how much we want to rationalize, the sooner we stop talking to our ex, the faster we'll move on.