How To Stop Ruminating Over Someone So You Can Move On

Mourning a failed relationship is necessary, but how do you stop obsessing about an ex when it's time to move on?

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Why do we keep thinking about someone after they've broken our heart?

If you've recently gone through the pain of breaking up with someone you love, you may constantly find yourself ruminating about your ex.

You may hope your situation will change — they'll start loving you again and you'll eventually get back together and live happily ever after. You may even think about this hourly, wondering how you can ever be happy again until that moment arrives.


First of all, I am so sorry you're going through this heartbreak. There's nothing worse than a broken heart.

And let me say, good for you for recognizing the truth and knowing that it’s time to move on!

RELATED: 5 Reasons Getting Over A Breakup Hurts So Bad


There is someone out there for you and by letting go of your ruminations about the ex, you will be able to find them.

But for now, let’s talk about how to stop that endless stream of thoughts about the person you once thought you'd be in love with forever.

Here's how to stop ruminating about your ex so you can move on and be happy again.

1. Ask yourself how determined you are to stop these repetitive thoughts.

Before you begin any life changing process, you must ask yourself how determined you are to actually do it. On a scale of one to ten, how close to a 10 are you? Without steadfast determination you will not be able to accomplish something as challenging as stopping thinking about someone you love.

So, are you ready to do this? Is there any part of you that is holding on to the possibility things could work out? Do you find a little bit of comfort thinking about them? Do you feel like you aren’t strong enough to stop the obsessive thoughts you're having?


If the answer to any of these questions is a yes, then perhaps you should wait a bit longer before you begin this process.

Time is a great healer and with some time you will get stronger, stop ruminating, and be ready to take on this challenging task.

2. Remember the truth rather than the fantasy you're ruminating about.

After breakups, we tend to romanticize even the worst relationships. We are obsessed with all of the good things about it — how wonderful it was at the beginning and how wonderful it could still be. You return in your minds to that romantic day you spent together in New York and how much you loved meeting their friends.

What we don’t think about is the bad stuff, the stuff that led us to the end of the relationship. If you want to know how to get over someone, this is one of the best ways.


To that end, make three lists:

  • List #1: Reasons the relationship ended.

What were the signs they had stopped loving you and the relationship was ending? Perhaps they no longer made an effort to spend time with you. Or they didn’t return your text messages. Or when you were going to bed, they just rolled over and turned off the light without kissing you. Or perhaps they told you they don’t like or respect you, even as they let you buy them a new bike or a fancy meal.

You know what I am talking about. Those gut feelings that told you this relationship was wrong.

  • List #2: Those things you were kidding yourself about.

Are there some things you're doing to talk yourself out of letting them go? Do you think if you just did one thing, they will start loving you again? Or perhaps you wonder how could they not love you because you know you are awesome?


I have a client who just doesn’t accept her relationship is over. She truly believes he should love her, and if she holds on long enough, he will know too. Every day she debases herself by ruminating about him and longing for his return.

Take a true account of those things you are doing to justify holding onto the relationship and continuing to think about your ex. Take a good hard look at them. Without understanding them, you won’t be able to let this person go. Letting go is one of the most difficult parts of learning how to get over someone you love, but it has to be done.

  • List #3: What you want in a new relationship.

If you don’t know what you want in a relationship, then you will most definitely be more likely to keep thinking about one that isn’t serving you.


Take some time and write down what you want in a relationship and what the person of your dreams looks like. Most likely, you will find what is important to you isn’t present in your current relationship.

Once you have made your three lists, refer to them often.

When we are in the midst of emotional turmoil our brains get cloudy and we can’t think clearly. If you have these lists in front of you, reminding you of why you have broken up with this person, you will be able to stay steadfast in your determination to stop thinking about them!

RELATED: 10 Secrets Guaranteed To Help You Move The H*ll On From Your Ex

3. Cut off all contact with your ex.

I know we all think we need closure at the end of a relationship, a final conversation where everyone gets to say what they want to say and you understand each other and walk away as friends. People think they need this in order to stave off rumination.


I am here to tell you I believe closure is a myth.

Closure is actually one last chance to spend time with and talk to a person you still love. Because really, if you could have a conversation and finally understand each other, why couldn’t you make it work as a couple?

So, when you have decided the relationship is over and you no longer want to think about them, cut them off. Block them on your phone, disconnect on social media, and stay away from places where you know they will be.

What you need to do is break the ties you have to your ex and change your habits. If you don’t know what they are doing, you are more like to stop thinking about them. The old saying, "out of sight, out of mind" is true. So, cut them off right away. It will make the healing process much easier.


4. Know in your heart you will love again.

This is the number one obstacle for most people who are trying to stop thinking about someone they love. Almost without exception, they can’t stop ruminating about their ex because they believe there will never be another person for them, if they let go of this person, they will be alone forever.

That isn’t true. You will learn how to be happy again. There are many, many fish in the sea, and there is one for you.

Of course, you will never have a chance to go fishing if you're still holding on to this person who doesn’t love you. If you can be brave enough to act and let go your ex, you will be setting yourself up to find the love of your life!

For example, another client of mine was in a horrible relationship where she felt awful about herself. She kept on breaking up with and taking him back because during those breaks, she couldn’t stop thinking about what an amazing guy he was.


Then one day, after yet another breakup with him, she was invited to a dance party. She decided to go to it instead of at sitting home ruminating about her man. At the party, which she never would have gone to if she had been home thinking about the bozo guy, she met the love of her life.

How awesome is that?!

RELATED: 3 Reasons You Can't Stop Thinking About Your Ex (And How To Finally Get Closure)

5. Get back out there.

Want to know how to stop obsessive thoughts about your ex? Get back out there!

I know right now you feel like you may never love again. All you want to do is stay home and obsess and stare at your phone. It may even feel like putting yourself back out there is somehow a betrayal to your love.


Putting yourself back out there doesn’t mean you have to fall in love again right now. Putting yourself back out there means getting dressed up and flirting and dating and having a lot of fun.

And you will, you will find another love. But in the meantime, you can enjoy yourself and the freedom you have as a single person. Embrace it!

Stopping those thoughts about someone you love is an incredibly hard thing to do.

You are holding onto the feelings you had for each other in the beginning, the feelings of excitement about the future you shared. You want them to come back to love you and everything to be fine and it’s all you can think about.

But hopefully now, after doing your work, you know getting back together isn’t going to happen, and it’s time to stop ruminating and take action.


Get determined, identify exactly why you broke up , cut off all contact, believe that your next love is out there, and then get out there and find your new love.

The next short period of time will be painful. Saying goodbye to someone you love always is.

But, once you are through it, life will go on and you will be in a place to find that special someone who will love you forever.

And in doing so, you will learn how to be happy once again!

RELATED: 13 Simple Ways To Stop Overthinking Your Relationship (Before It's Too Late)

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them become all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.