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How to Stop Thinking About Your Ex: 21 Ways to Forget Them for Good

When a breakup is still fresh, you want to learn how to stop thinking about your ex. But this is easier said done, especially when they fill your mind.

How to Stop Thinking About Your Ex

You and your ex recently broke up. Maybe you broke up with them, or they broke up with you. Either way, you still can’t get them out of your mind. It’s a tough spot to wonder how to stop thinking about your ex. Honestly, no one wants to have their ex stuck in their head.

But we can’t help it if we still have feelings for them. It doesn’t matter who broke up with who, a breakup will always hurt like a bitch. So you can’t help but think of them, even if your mind knows what your heart doesn’t accept yet.

Your relationship meant a lot to you, so it’s normal that you can’t get them out of your head. It seems that no matter how hard you try, you keep thinking of your ex, even when your relationship is long gone and over.

But here’s a truth you need to reinforce constantly – when you can’t stop thinking about your ex, it starts to run your life, and ruin your future too!

You can’t concentrate in school or at work, and you can only talk about your ex with friends and family. They consume your every move. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

[Read: How to make letting go of your ex a little easier]

Why do we think about our ex?

It’s not that we want to keep thinking about them, but it’s a reflection of our feelings. You miss them, still love them and probably wish things turned out differently. You can’t help but have thoughts of them, especially when your heart still screams for them.

They took up a considerable part of your life and mind for a while now. And expecting your brain to just rewire itself and replace those same thoughts with something else all of a sudden? That’s not easy, no matter how determined you are, or how good you are with mind control!

It’s also possible that you’re wondering how they’re coping – if they’re moving on faster than you, and if they’re already dating someone new. Even if we know that thinking of them isn’t helpful, we still do it. Why? Well, it’s human nature.

It’s honestly more questionable if you didn’t think of them at all, as that would mean you didn’t care about them as much as you thought you did. So thinking of them means they really did mean a lot to you during the period you were together. [Read: Do you miss your ex or think about them often?]

How to stop thinking about your ex with someone else

Okay, we’re not going to lie; this is a tough one. Obsessing over thoughts of your ex with someone else isn’t healthy, and it will drive you insane at times *or most times*. You will only stop thinking about them with someone else if you distract yourself enough to stop obsessing over this thought.

Think about how these thoughts can benefit you in any way. If it serves you no benefit, just stop thinking about them with someone else. Realize that at some point, you’re both going to end up with someone new. The faster you come to terms with that, the better for both of you.

Just like you’re entitled to do whatever you want to move on, the same goes for them. It might hurt to think of them with someone else, but you’re going to have to accept it eventually. [Read: How to move on from a break up without compromising your dignity]

How to stop thinking about your ex for good

Learning how to stop thinking about your ex doesn’t have to seem impossible. Especially when it’s holding you back from moving on, you can stop thinking about them altogether. Here are some ways to get them off your mind entirely. 

[Read: On-Off relationships and all the reasons why you should never stay in one]

1. Don’t text them

Oh, we know you want to send them a text to test the waters, but don’t do it. If you’re still texting with your ex, even in a friendly way, you won’t be able to get over them. This can become compulsive. Delete their number from your phone, so you won’t be able to text them first.

The next step, and it will be a hard one, is to block their number.

If you’re serious about learning how to stop thinking about your ex, stop texting them. This won’t do you any good; we assure you that. Delete their number, and don’t ever look back! [Read: 7 resolute ways to resist the urge to call your ex]

2. Follow the no contact rule

But, seriously. This is something you really need to follow. If you want to move on, you cannot contact them for at least 30 days. That’s right. You need one month to process your feelings and breathe. If you’re still talking to them, you won’t be able to move on.

You might’ve heard this popular rule as a tactic to get your ex back, but you’re not doing this to get them back. You’re doing it to stop thinking of them altogether. We repeat, you’re not doing this to get them back!

The moment you go a month without talking to them, you’ll realize you can actually live your life even without them in it. How great is that? [Read: 12 reasons why the no contact rule always works]

3. No stalking on social media

It’s so easy to go on your phone and look up your ex. You can follow their every move and see who they’re with at any moment. But that’s not what you want to do. If anything, this will only keep you from moving on. Delete or mute them from your social media so you can get them off of your mind.

Did you know you tend to dream of someone if you keep stalking them? So if you want to help yourself and stop thinking about them or even dreaming of them every night, stop stalking their socials. Mute their account or even block them if you have to. [Read: Should I block my ex? 17 signs to help you decide what’s best for you]

4. Accept the breakup

The worst thing you can do is be hopeful of getting back together. Right now, if you want to process the breakup and move on, accept what happened. You are not going to get back together, and you need to move on. By accepting what happened, you’ll feel a little relief, and of course, sadness.

But that’s the process. You will only learn how to stop thinking about your ex if you accept the breakup as it is. If you keep thinking you want to get back together and find any shred of hope, they will never leave your thoughts.

We know it’s hard, but you must do this for yourself. [Read: 10 stages of a breakup and how to get through each of them]

5. Learn from the relationship

What went wrong in your relationship? What were your strengths and weaknesses? And what were your ex’s strengths and weaknesses? Looking at your relationship through this lens can help you understand what happened and prepare you for future relationships. 

It’s important you learn from the relationship to stop being consumed by thoughts of your ex. It’s the only way you can move forward and accept why the breakup had to occur, especially if they dumped you. But if you were the one to break up, hold on to all the reasons why you had to end it as well. [Read: 12 things about love you’ll only learn from experience]

6. Spend time with your friends and family

You have an amazing group of people around you who love and support you. Why don’t you focus on spending your time and investing in those relationships? Now is the time. You need to be reminded that people still love you and respect you. Those people are the closest ones around you.

So if you want to learn how to stop thinking about your ex, spend time around your loved ones. They’ll remind you that you have so much love in your life and your ex is just one person you lost.

Allow yourself to be surrounded by the love you still have in your life as it’s the best distraction to stop thinking of them. [Read: How to feel better after a breakup – 22 steps to find your happiness]

7. Remove everything that reminds you of your ex

They gave you a teddy bear, or you have framed photos of you two. Remove them. You don’t need to burn them in a fire; instead, keep them in a box and put them in your basement or attic. If you don’t want to remove the memories, make sure you put them somewhere out of sight.

If you keep seeing your ex everywhere, you’ll always be thinking of them. So the only way to stop the thoughts of them is to get rid of everything that reminds you of them. You can even choose to redecorate a room if your place reminds you so much of them. [Read: Deleting pictures of an ex – The psychology behind it and why we do it]

8. Try new things

Did you always want to go kayaking, but your ex was too scared to do it? Or have you always wanted to learn a new language? Well, now’s the time. You have the extra space in your day for something new, and we recommend you use it to improve yourself.

When you expand your horizon and get out of your comfort zone, this distracts you just enough to stop thinking of your ex. Rather than dwelling on the breakup, use this opportunity to do all the things you couldn’t do when you were still together. [Read: How to start a new life and move on from the toxicity for good]

9. Don’t try to be friends

It’s not going to work, at least not right now. If you want to move on, you won’t be able to be friends. You need a break from this person, and it may take a while for you to move on. Being friends with them will only screw with your head even more.

So if you want to know how to stop thinking about your ex, don’t attempt to be friends. You can only do this after you’ve moved on if you really want to stay friends with them. But if you’re still healing, this will do more harm than good. [Read: Your ex wants to stay friends? A guide to make up your mind]

10. Be kind to your family and friends

They’re by your side to support you through the breakup, but remember, time keeps ticking. You’re going to be sad, and that’s understandable, but remember to treat your loved ones with kindness. They can only do so much to help you through this time.

It’s so easy to be rude to your loved ones when you’re going through heart troubles, but don’t push them away or lash out at them. They’re only trying to help you, and they’re who you need to forget your ex. So don’t keep them at arm’s length. [Read: How to be kind to yourself and others & love life instead of hating it]

11. Treat yourself

If there’s a time to treat yourself, it’s right now. You just went through a challenging experience, so why not be kind to yourself? If you want to know how to stop thinking about your ex, go to the spa for a day, buy that shirt you’ve had your eye on, or go on a weekend getaway with just yourself or your friends. 

This is the perfect opportunity to prioritize yourself, so don’t hold back! Treat yourself and buy the things you’ve always wanted to buy. We promise this will help get your ex out of your head. [Read: How to love yourself – The 23 best ways to find self-love & happiness]

12. Stay away from the bottle

Ah yes, drinking to get over an ex sounds like the perfect answer. And yes, almost everyone who drinks will use a breakup as an excuse to get roaring drunk. But is it the healthiest choice? No, not a chance.

Oh, it’s easy to have a couple of drinks after an emotional breakup, but then those drinks turn into a bottle every night. You don’t need that. And then, just when you think you have enough on your plate, you’ll have to battle more things at once – your ex, a raging hangover, the fear of addiction, and the risk of using alcohol as a crutch to get over an ex.

Stay away from drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with your breakup. If you want to get drunk one night, that’s up to you. But don’t make it a daily routine.

You don’t need to embark on the self-destructive route to learn how to stop thinking about your ex. There are other ways to cope than drinking or doing drugs. [Read: How to stop self-destructive behavior and change your life for good]

13. Talk to a professional

You’ve talked to your friends about it, but they’re getting a bit tired of talking about the same thing. And you need to understand and respect this.

If you’re unable to find closure, why not speak to a professional? You can go through your relationship with them, and they’ll help you come to a conclusion.

You’re not crazy for seeking a therapist or counselor about this. If you want to stop thinking of your ex, talk to a professional. They can also help you develop healthier coping mechanisms and help you understand why you’re feeling the way you do. [Read: Why we need to breakdown the stigma of mental illness]

14. Time really does heal everything

If you just broke up with your partner, you’re not going to get over them in a week or two. It will take time for you to process the breakup and move on emotionally. Give yourself time. It could take months, even years, for you to move on. Don’t try to rush the process.

If you’re serious about learning how to stop thinking about your ex, give yourself time and space. You won’t realize that you have already stopped thinking about them one day, but you can’t rush the process.

It won’t happen overnight, even if you want to stop thinking about them immediately. [Read: How long does it take to get over a breakup? The exact timeline in months you can expect]

15. Date around *when you’re ready*

Rebound relationships aren’t recommended if you aren’t ready yet and if the breakup feels too fresh. But if a significant period has passed and you want to know how to stop thinking about your ex, then it’s entirely okay to date around and have fun.

Of course, you’re not dating to jump into another serious relationship, but you’re dating just to have fun and meet new people while you’re at it!

After all, the best way to stop thinking of your ex is to get distracted by someone else. You’re single again, so why not have fun while you’re at it? [Read: Rebound relationship and why it can actually be good for you]

16. Feel your emotions

This is quite possibly one of the hardest to do in this list, honestly, who likes sitting with their heartbreak? But if you want to heal from your breakup and stop thinking of them genuinely, this is a necessary step.

If you don’t feel your emotions, you’ll constantly be running towards distraction after distractions. It’s okay to use distractions as a coping mechanism, but only to an extent. So stop shutting off your emotions or numbing them, and let yourself feel the pain. [Read: Why am I so emotional? Science has the answers you may not expect]

17. Distract yourself

Coming back to distractions again, they aren’t really a bad thing, and they’re perfectly normal to take advantage of in a breakup. But if you’re going to distract yourself, it has to be in a healthy way and not in a destructive way *like drinking or smoking*.

Distractions like exercise, working on your career, or something productive, can help you stop thinking of them while also not being detrimental to your well-being. [Read: 33 steps to stop thinking about someone you like but can’t have]

18. Declutter!

This is an underrated aspect in learning how to stop thinking about your ex, but it’s necessary. Especially if your ex was constantly around your place, everything within your space would remind you of them.

From waking up in the morning to even watching Netflix, everything around you has memories stained by them.

By decluttering your space and even redecorating, it might hurt less to think of your ex. Don’t be afraid to change your personal space and try something different completely. In this instance, change can be extremely good for you. [Read: The best things to do when you’re stuck at home & feel productive]

19. Realize why the breakup had to occur

Breakups might hurt, but they often happen for a reason. There’s usually a lesson after every breakup and to stop thinking of them, you need to realize why you had to break up.

Did you have contradicting values? Maybe the future you both envision didn’t align? Did one of you cheat or lose interest? Or was it more of a compatibility problem? Pinpoint and reflect on why you had to end it as that’s the best way you can stop thinking of them.

Holding on to that reason can help you accept the breakup and move on. [Read: Do you regret breaking up? 15 signs you should give it another chance]

20. Don’t try to rush the moving on process

You shouldn’t try to rush the moving process if you want to know how to stop thinking about your ex. You shouldn’t try to speed up something that just can’t be forced. It takes time to stop thinking about someone and heal from the breakup.

You can’t expect to forget your ex overnight instantly, and it will take time for you to recover from your heartbreak and form new habits without your ex. The more you try to rush things, the more you’ll likely incorporate harmful habits just to forget them. [Read: How to move on from a relationship in a healthy and happy way]

21. Don’t blame yourself

It’s frankly so easy to blame yourself when you’re going through a breakup. But thoughts of them will constantly consume you if you keep putting the weight of the blame on yourself.

Remember that a breakup takes two to occur so if you want to learn how to stop thinking about your ex, stop indulging in self-blame. Your ex also has a part in why things ended, you know?

[Read: How to stop feeling guilty and finally start living for you]

So, how to stop thinking about your ex?

You can only stop thinking about your ex if you make a conscious effort to follow the steps we’ve shared here. Listen, moving on isn’t something you can rush. And thinking about your ex is normal, no matter who broke up with who.

But what’s unhealthy is when thoughts of them consume you so much that it prevents you from living your life or moving forward. There’s more to life than your ex who’s now in the past, you know?

After a breakup, thoughts of them will feel like something you can’t control. But follow these steps for how to stop thinking about your ex, and you can slowly build your life back gradually. As we said, you can’t rush the process but we can guarantee you that you will get over your ex soon enough!

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...