How To Fall Out Of Love By Using A Psychological 'Mind Trick' On Yourself

Having a hard time moving on? Try this trick.

girl laying in grass ViChizh/ Shutterstock

After a devastating breakup, it's normal to still feel in love with your ex. It takes time to fall in love with someone in the first, so. so it's only natural that falling out of love with them won't be something that happens overnight.

That said, relationship and life coach John Alex Clark holds that you can actively move through the process and fall out of love more quickly by learning a few psychological mind tricks to play on yourself.


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If you want to know how to fall out of love with someone, Clark recommends one technique in particular, based on the concept known in psychology as classical (or Pavlovian) conditioning.

"Getting over a breakup can be a lot like quitting smoking," Clark explains. "When a person chooses to give up a habit like smoking, the initial few days are always the hardest to overcome. Fortunately, it gets easier with time, patience, and practice."

After a breakup, there will be many things in your daily life that will remind you of your ex. It might be a song, a type of food, a TV show or movie you watched together, or even a certain smell.


Your ex was an integral part of your life, so it's normal for there to be any number of things that might remind you of them throughout any given day, even if you've proactively cut off all contact with them.

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In order to fall out of love, you must purposefully break these existing mental and emotional associations with your ex and replace them with new ones.


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"Imagine your favorite movie you had as a child," Clark says. "Whenever you see this movie, you experience nostalgic feelings and happy memories. Now imagine watching this film over and over again a hundred times. The pleasurable memories would diminish with each viewing, and eventually, you would get sick of it."

In short, you must disassociate the songs, foods, shows, and smells that trigger feelings of love for your ex by reorienting yourself to associate them with new feelings and memories that have nothing to do with your past relationship.

For example, if you and your ex loved hiking on a particular trail together, set a new personal training goal and head there each day or several times a week until you accomplish it. As you make progress with your new goal firmly in mind, the satisfaction you feel from doing so will replace the temporarily painful associations you have between that trail and your past.


"For each positive experience you connect to that once-painful place, the suffering declines," explains Clark.

"Your new, pleasant memories take its place and slowly you no longer make those identifications with your ex. Over time, you will begin to fall out of love as your mind sees fewer and fewer reasons to constantly think of them. It will begin to see that you are thinking less and less about them and so will interpret this to mean you have moved on."

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Clark is careful to note that this classical conditioning technique won't necessarily be easy, nor is it absolutely guaranteed to have the same positive results on everyone who tries it.


You must embrace the pain of the heartbreak and allow yourself to grieve the loss of what was. But actively working to disassociate potential triggers can help you fall out of love and move on more quickly than you might otherwise.

"The more you brood over your suffering," Clark says, "the deeper you push it into your subconscious, making it harder to uproot when you’re finally ready to move on."

Embrace the pain and allow yourself to feel sad for now, but eventually, you have to decide it's simply time to move on.


And before you know it, the love you felt for your ex will be but a distant, hopefully, pleasant memory.

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Caithlin Pena is an editor and former contributor for YourTango. Her work has been featured on Thought Catalog, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Psych Central, and BRIDES.