The reason why you have such a hard time getting over your ex is because most folks have the wrong idea about breakups. The pain of a break-up is equal parts mental and physical. When you’re struggling with how to get over your breakup, you’re almost never handling BOTH halves of the equation. Getting over your ex quickly and successfully requires that you address both sides of the breakup.
So today I want to give you the 5 things you MUST do in order to get over your breakup and move forward.
- How focusing on the wrong parts of a breakup only prolongs the pain and the heartbreak
- Why it’s important to let yourself feel the pain and frustration of breaking up with someone
- How breaking up changes who you are
- Why staying in contact with your ex is a mistake
- The secret to getting over the loss of your relationship… quickly
… and so much more.
How To Survive Being Dumped — https://www.doctornerdlove.com/survive-being-dumped/
The (Positive) Value of Anger — https://www.doctornerdlove.com/positive-value-anger/
This Is Why You Can’t Get Over Her — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aevlnBwpEWw
“Cutoff Culture” And The Myth of Closure — https://www.doctornerdlove.com/cutoff-culture-and-the-myth-of-closure/
How To Protect Yourself From A Broken Heart — https://www.doctornerdlove.com/protect-yourself-from-a-broken-heart/
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Hey everyone, Harris O’Malley from doctornerdlove.com, brought to you by my generous patrons at patreon.com/drnerdlove and today, we’re talking about one of the most painful — and misunderstood — parts of a relationship:
How to recover from a breakup.
Breakups can be incredibly frustrating. They almost always feel like something that OTHER people are able to handle with ease, while you’re stuck trying to feel like a human again instead of ten pounds of shit in a five pound sack. Worse, while you’re struggling with the complicated feelings that come with the end of a relationship — even one that needed to end — it often feels like your ex didn’t just get over you, they VAULTED past you. Now you’re left wondering why you were so easily replaced while you’re still in the process of sweeping up the pieces of your shattered ego.
The reason why you have such a hard time getting over your ex is because most folks have the wrong idea about breakups. The pain of a breakup is equal parts mental and physical. When you’re struggling with how to get over your breakup, you’re almost never handling BOTH halves of the equation.
If you’re focusing the painful emotions that come with a breakup, you’re often neglecting the physical aspects, which can make things more painful. Meanwhile, treating just the physical side of things often masks the emotional issues. As a result, you’ll often get blindsided by feels that you weren’t aware of… one reason why you may find yourself in a rebound relationship in the aftermath.
Getting over your ex quickly and successfully requires that you address both sides of the breakup.
So today I want to give you the 5 things you MUST do in order to get over your breakup and move forward.
Step Number 1: Feel The Fuck Out of Your Feels
One of the first mistakes people make when it comes to breakups is that they try to be the “bigger person” or “try to be mature about it”. In theory, it seems like a good idea — hey, relationships end, it sucks, there’s nothing to be done but try to move on.
In practice… well, trying to be the “bigger person” usually means trying to pretend that you’re NOT miserable or furious or that you want to just get in their face and scream until their head turns inside out from the force of your righteous rage.
But trying to push those feelings away doesn’t actually work. All you’re doing is squeezing them down, compressing them and trying to contain them… which only makes them more intense and volatile. It’s the emotional equivalent of an oxygen tank. Which more or less guarantees that you’re ALSO going to end up with the emotional equivalent of the end of Jaws.
Smile you son of a bitch indeed.
Trying to pretend that you’re not feeling what you’re feeling — or trying to force yourself to not feel it — only prevents you from getting the catharsis you need. There’s nothing mature or productive by trying to force those feelings away; it just prolongs the misery because you’re spending time and energy trying to NOT feel things instead of actually going through them.
Your relationship ended; even if it needed to end, that’s a thing to be upset about. It’s worth mourning and it’s worth being angry about. You’re hurt, let yourself feel hurt. Recognizing that your feelings — the anger, the hurt, the frustration — are real and valid and legitimate is important. Even if you think you shouldn’t be this upset — or that you’re not “allowed” to be — you need to do yourself the favor of acknowledging that you feel the way you feel and those feelings are valid. Trying to pretend that there’s some logical limit to what you’re supposed to feel isn’t helpful.
But the answer isn’t wallowing either. Wallowing ALSO just prolongs things; it just reinforces the way you self-identify as “Thems as What Got Dumped”. In it’s own way, wallowing is self-indulgence, a demand that people witness your tragedy beyond a point that’s reasonable.
Instead of trying to avoid these feelings or force them aside or just soak in them like a hot bath of bleach, you need to find some way to put those feelings to positive use.
Which leads us to my next point.
Step #2: Use That Pain
Feeling the fuck out of your feels is only part of the answer. That pain, that anger, that frustration you’re feeling? They aren’t just emotions.
Rather than sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, you should take those feelings and use them to motivate you and energize you to make positive changes in your life. This can be anything, from getting off your ass and tackling some project you’ve been putting off to picking up a hobby or pursuing an interest that you’ve been thinking about but haven’t quite brought yourself to pull the trigger on.
But what I suggest — especially in the early days, when it’s all freshest and at the pain is at its most acute — is to get back to your body. Using those emotions to fuel yourself physically is one of the best ways to power through an ugly breakup. Exercise and physical activity is not necessarily a cure-all, but a way of helping push through the worst moments and making it through to the other side.
And that activity can be pretty much anything. Weight lifting, dancing, running, martial arts and boxing. Build something, clear some brush, help your friends move… anything that gets you up and moving and expending that energy.
Our bodies were designed to move, and we live increasingly sedentary lives. Doing things that get us up and moving, exciting our cardiovascular system and getting more oxygen to our blood stream helps produce endorphins and makes us feel good.
But there’re benefits to physical exertion beyond endorphins when you’re trying to get over a breakup. To start with, movement and exercise help get you out of your head and more into your body. You’re able to get lost in the burn of your muscles and the effort of the work. Think of it like a sort of moving meditation, allowing you to just be in that moment instead of either relitigating your relationship or trying to puzzle out your future.
And honestly, anger and sadness take energy to maintain. It’s hard to stay miserable when you’re exhausted. Applying that energy elsewhere can help numb the pain you’d be feeling otherwise simply because you don’t have the energy to feel it.
Just as importantly though, is that exercise and exertion are an unambiguous good. You’re doing something that’s beneficial for you, which can help you overcome that sense of self-loathing that often comes with a breakup. One of the issues with, say, turning to comfort food is that it can quickly go from being a source of consolation and become a sort of punishment, especially if you’re eating junk. It’s amazing how quickly you can go from “Ok, this makes me feel better” to “well, I’m an unlovable piece of shit, so I may as well eat like the trash goblin I am,” which then just makes you feel WORSE.
Doing something good for yourself, on the other hand, helps reaffirm that you’re a good person who deserves good things and that taking care of yourself is important.
And if it gets you into post-breakup revenge shape? Well… that’s just a bonus.
Step #3: Reconnect With Yourself
One of the reasons why breakups hurt so much is because of how much relationships change us as people. When you’re in a relationship, you and your partner aren’t just two individuals; you’re also a gestalt entity — a fleshy Voltron if you will. You reshape your life and your habits around having someone else being part of it. You develop new and different daily patterns that are predicated on having that other person in your life. You are, in a very real way, a different person when you’re dating someone.
And in an equally real way, when you break up with them… it’s a lot like losing a limb. You have to learn how to live without it — or re-learn it, in this case. You have all these little habits and behaviors that have to be unlearned, little changes in your life that you’ve taken for granted up until now. Those habits and patterns can haunt you like ghosts and crop up when you least expect it. You’ll start to go through the motions of your life with your ex or have little things like the way your texts autocomplete to their name and it triggers that pain again.
That’s why if you want to recover from a breakup, you want to treat it like you’re rebuilding your life. You are, in a very real way, relearning how to be single. But the way you think of it is important. You want to treat this like you’re building NEW habits, becoming a NEW person, rather than trying to return to who you were beforehand.
After all, you’ve learned new and different things about yourself while you were with your partner. You want to take those lessons and apply them to your new life. Instead of trying to regress or pretend that your relationship didn’t happen, take the approach that you’re discovering who you are NOW and learning how to be this new person, developing new patterns and habits instead of trying to pretending that your entire relationship didn’t happen.
These are new sides of yourself, new patterns to bring to your life and new habits to adopt. You can’t go back to who you were before, so look to the future instead.
And while we’re talking about looking back…
Step #4: Take The Nuclear Option
One of the most necessary steps is often the hardest: you need to cut off your ex.
I know that there’s that desire to try to be friends or — let’s be honest — that hope that you might be able to get them back. But here’s the thing: even if there IS the chance that you and your ex can get back together, none of that can happen until you’ve healed. And you can’t heal if you’re constantly reopening that wound.
Because straight talk: all those little things you do, whether it’s checking their Facebook, going through photos on their Instagram or their Snapchat are just ways of picking at the scab.
At best, you’re just constantly reminding yourself that you’re not with them anymore. At worst, you’re checking to see if they’ve moved on yet. And I’m here from the future to tell you: they will ALWAYS move on and start dating again before you’re ready and it will ALWAYS hurt.
So you need to spare yourself the pain and eliminate the temptation by cutting them off entirely. Delete their phone number, archive their texts, unfriend and unfollow them on all the social media you have. If you can’t bring yourself to do it, have a friend do it for you.
I realize this sounds extreme or over the top, but there’s a reason for it. It’s not that you hate them, or “you dumped me NOW YOU’RE DEAD TO ME”, it’s that you need space and distance in order to recover. You can’t do that when it feels like they’re a constant presence in your life — even if that presence is strictly virtual.
Plus: it eliminates the chances of your drunk-texting your ex and embarrassing the shit out of yourself.
Now I realize that it’s not always possible to completely box them out of your life; sometimes you work together or run in the same circles. But at the same time, it’s not immature or unreasonable to not want to see them or want to avoid them for a while. Hurting yourself over and over again in the name of being “an adult” isn’t productive or useful.
So go nuclear. Box up the keepsakes, put the photos on a memory stick and get them out of easy reach. The more you have to work to go through them, the easier it’ll be to resist the temptation. The more you can create that separation, the easier and faster you’ll recover.
Incidentally, getting back with your ex is a topic all on it’s own; if you’re interested in that, hit up the comments let me know and we can talk about this in a future episode.
Step #5: Get Over Someone By Getting Under Someone Else
This step is, possibly, the most important, because at the end of the day, this is all about why it can seem like you just can’t get over that breakup and why it still hurts after all this time.
It’s not just the sense of rejection or loss. It’s because you’ve lost something critical in your life and you haven’t replaced it. You’ve lost not the love or companionship that you’ve felt, but how that love affected you.
The thing that people often get wrong about love is that it’s not strictly emotional; it’s chemical. Love is as much a chemical reaction as it is a feeling; it’s the generation of oxytocin in the brain.
When we’re with our partner, we’re continually generating oxytocin — through sex, through touch and through laughter. When we break up, that source of oxytocin disappears, and often, we don’t have another source to replace it. Break ups hurt as badly as they do because you’re LITERALLY in withdrawal; you’ve been cut off by your dealer.
Part of how you fix that is to find NEW sources of oxytocin. That’s why it may be crude and it may be a cliche, but “get over her by getting under someone else” works. Sex is one of the most reliable ways of generating oxytocin AND it reminds you that you have options. There are other people out there that will want you and that you will want. It’s a physical reminder that you WILL find love again.
Now I know that some of you are saying “you don’t understand, I struggled to find somebody in the first place, it’s not like I can just turn around and just sleep with someone else.” And I get that. It can be hard to find someone, even for a casual hook-up. But there’re other ways of getting your oxytocin fix.
We generate oxytocin through touch… so getting massages can help bridge that gap. Cuddle your pets, spend time with people that you are physically close with. We generate oxytocin through laughter, so go with friends to comedy clubs, watch funny movies and TV shows. We generate oxytocin through good conversation, so make a point of spending quality time with your friends and family. Surround yourself with the people who love and care for you and remind you that you’re an amazing person.
And yes, go and date again. You don’t have find a love to last the ages; sometimes you just want the company, and that’s ok. But by following these practices, you’ll heal faster than you’d believe possible.
And as you heal, you’ll understand: this isn’t the end. All that’s happened is that the latest chapter of your life has come to it’s conclusion. Now it’s time to start writing the next one.
And one more thing. If you want to learn how to develop the skills to transform your dating life and find that new special someone when you’re ready, then you’ll want to sign up for the beta test of the Dating Accelerator program — an 8 week seminar where I will be teaching you and a limited number of students how to transform your dating life and help you build the social success you’ve always dreamed of. I have only a few spots left, and we’re in the final days where members of NerdLove Academy get the first opportunity to reserve their spot. And the price WILL go up when the beta test concludes, so if you want in, now’s the time.
If you’re ready to take your love life to the next level, be sure to join the NerdLove Academy Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/DrNerdLove for more information.
So that’s going to do it for this episode.
So you heard from me and now I want to hear from you. What has helped YOU heal from a broken heart? Share your story in the comments below. And don’t forget: I’m answering some of your dating questions in my new Ask Dr. NerdLove series of videos. So if you’ve got a short dating question you’d like to have answered on here, hit me up and share it in the comments as well. Maybe the question I’ll be answering next week will be yours!
Meanwhile, if you want to work on practicing those social skills, learn how talk to strangers and turn people you’ve just met into friends and lovers, then check out my book New Game Plus: The Geek’s Guide to Love, Sex and Dating. This is the instruction manual you’ve always wanted, the A to Z guide for learning how to develop and unleash your inner Casanova and find the relationship you’ve always wanted, whether it’s for a lifetime… or just that night. Links to buy it are in the show notes, so go check it out. And if you do check it out, or any of my other books for that matter, be sure to rate and review it on Amazon and Goodreads, it’s a huge help.
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