How To Get Over A Breakup By Turning Negativity Into Positivity

Photo: by cottonbro from Pexels
How To Get Over A Breakup By Turning Negativity Into Positivity

When the connection you shared with someone you love ends, it's painful. It's not uncommon to feel extreme grief after a breakup, even if you weren't dating or in a relationship for a long time. 

But the key to learning how to get over a breakup and move on from your ex lies in turning negativity into positivity.

RELATED: 10 Spiritual Practices That Will Help You Get Over A Bad Breakup

Breakups can be torture.

You've lost someone important to you, and it hurts. You had good times and big plans.

Binge-watching while snuggling. Friday night dinners with other couples. You traveled together and planned to travel more.
You planned your future home, and perhaps even marriage and kids. Your couplehood was central to your life and maybe even your identity.

You never wanted to know how to get over a breakup, but as time went on, it became clear that this relationship wasn’t suitable long term. It’s over. Ouch.

And now you wonder: How can I get over my ex?

The surprising mind shift for getting over your ex is to harness the negative for the positive. Breakups are one of the few times in life when focusing on the negative is a good thing.

That is to say, when those “highlight reels” of all the good times, all the exciting plans, and all the nostalgia creep in, they need a reality check. And that reality check is recalling all the reasons that the relationship wasn’t right for you.

Make a list of the negatives.

What is your list of all the negative aspects of the relationship? Think about all the reasons and write them down in a list.

This tangible reference about the negative aspects of your relationship will be your go-to for combating the understandable, although ill-directed, “maybe we could get back together” fantasy.

Everyone’s list will be different.

RELATED: How Long It Really Takes To Get Over A Breakup, Says Science

In order to trigger you to write your personal list, here are some reasons you might have had for breaking up:

  • You had different life goals or values
  • You kept fighting and couldn’t resolve your differences
  • You didn’t feel understood or that you got the emotional support you needed
  • You were incompatible (be specific as to why)
  • Your ex was abusive, mentally unstable, suffering from addiction, or any combination thereof

Choose one negative focus.

After you’ve written down your personal list about why you broke up with your ex, choose the most impactful reason.

That one main reason will be your negative focus to combat any wishful thinking about getting back together.

By focusing on why you broke up, you’ll have a tool to counterbalance any longings to return to this now-past relationship.

Breaking up takes time — it’s a period of grief.

So allow yourself to feel the emotional parts, then work on moving past them in as healthy a way as possible.

How long it will take to get over the breakup and move on from your ex depends on you, though.

You can't rush the process.

Be kind to yourself during this period.

By reminding yourself why it is you broke up in the first place, you’ll be able to work through the breakup, rather than remain stuck in wishful thinking about what could be.

By focusing on the negative about life with your ex, you pave the way toward opening yourself up for a new, positive life with someone else down the line.

RELATED: 25 Break Up Quotes To Help You Move On From The Past

For more help managing anxiety, check out my book, Hack Your Anxiety, register for my free mini-ecourse by signing up for book bonuses here, and check-out my anxiety and relationships blogs.

This article was originally published at Alicia Clark PsyD. Reprinted with permission from the author.