How to forget past friends

This article was co-authored by Sabrina Grover, LMSW. Sabrina Grover, LMSW is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) who earned her degree in Advanced Clinical Practice from New York University. Sabrina has experience working in substance abuse recovery centers and schools where she gained experience providing evidence-based treatment to children, adolescents, adults, and families. Sabrina specializes in Dialectical, Narrative, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies. She has particular expertise in treating clients struggling with grief, complex trauma, interpersonal difficulty, family conflict, anxiety, and depression. She commits to providing a supportive environment for everyone who commits to growth and offering a warm, non-judgmental atmosphere.

There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 85% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 204,410 times.

Facing the end of a friendship can be very difficult emotionally and psychologically. Friendships may end because of a betrayal of trust or simply because one or both of you have moved to a different place in life, either physically or mentally. The length of time it takes to get over the ending of a friendship can vary, depending on the amount of time you had been friends, how close you were, and what occurred to end the friendship. Taking the appropriate length of time to grieve the loss of your friendship can help you forget about a past friend in a healthy and positive way.

This article was co-authored by Lena Dicken, Psy.D. Dr. Lena Dicken is a Clinical Psychologist based in Santa Monica, California. With over eight years of experience, Dr. Dicken specializes in therapy for anxiety, depression, life transitions, and relationship difficulties. She utilizes an integrative approach combining Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, and Mindfulness-based therapies. Dr. Dicken holds a BS in Integrative Medicine from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, an MA in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University Los Angeles, and a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Westwood. Dr. Dicken’s work has been featured in GOOP, The Chalkboard Magazine, and in numerous other articles and podcasts. She is a licensed psychologist with the state of California.

There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 16 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 179,024 times.

Not all friendships will last forever. In fact, friendships may end for a variety of reasons. Despite the rationale for severing ties, losing a friend can be a painful process. Fortunately, there are several ways to move forward with your life after you’ve lost someone who once meant a lot to you.

“Best friends forever” doesn’t always mean forever.

How to forget past friendsBy Ashley Mateo Jun 17, 2019

How to forget past friends

Breaking up with a best friend can feel worse than splitting up with your partner—at least after a tryst ends, you’ve got your confidante to turn to. And while everyone acknowledges the trauma of romantic breakups, people don’t really talk about the fallout of a platonic separation.

But your brain doesn’t know the difference between a romantic or platonic relationship. A breakup is a breakup. There was intimacy and trust, and then there wasn’t. And it takes time to deal with the devastation of losing someone you always thought you’d have by your side.

Surviving a best friend breakup isn’t easy, but here’s how to start the process.

Acknowledge what happened and allow yourself time to grieve.

“Sometimes we underestimate the power of platonic relationships,” says Dani Moye, PhD, a marriage and family therapist. But, you expect to share the future with your close friends. And when that expectation disappears, it can be disorienting and disappointing. “Take the time to reflect on what this shift means to you and sit with the discomfort of sadness,” says Moye. “When we don’t grieve the relational losses we’ve endured, it may take us longer to move on.”

Know that not all friendships are meant to be "forever."

We use the phrase “best friends forever” because, in the best of times, we expect that person to always be around. But the reality is, “we are attracted to, and connect with people during particular time in our lives,” says Dena M. DiNardo, Psy.D., a marriage and family therapist. “If we’re doing our best to live consciously and to grow, we have to recognize that that means we might not always grow alongside someone or in the same direction as someone.

Related Stories

"What originally brought us together isn’t necessarily the thing that will hold us together.” That doesn’t belittle or negate your friendship in any way, but if your relationship doesn’t evolve, that’s okay. And accepting that is crucial to finding closure.

Don’t forget the good parts.

When a friendship ends, you might look back and question the entire relationship, wondering where you went wrong. “We replay time and time again what transpired and how we would do things differently,” says Moye, when we should be focusing on how that relationship fulfilled us while it lasted, and what you learned from it. “By simply shifting the way that you look at the breakup, it becomes easier to move on from a place of gratitude,” she adds.

Accept that there’s no such thing as "getting over it" or "moving on."

When a relationship ends, it’s understandable to shove those emotions about that person in a box and never let them bother you again. But, “while it’s not nearly as recognized as death, divorce, and diagnosis, the loss of a dear friend is very painful and leaves a hole in your life that can never be filled in the same way,” says Shelby Forsythia, a certified grief recovery specialist.

Related Story

“There will be moments going forward (like weddings, anniversaries, and hard times) where you’ll probably miss having that friend to lean on, and that’s perfectly normal.” The idea of “moving on” doesn’t mean erasing this person’s memory from your life.

Appreciate the support system you still have.

You’re going through something hard, and the kick-in-the-face aspect of it is that you don’t even have your best friend to discuss it with. That doesn’t mean you don’t have support. “Relationships are just as unique as people are, and one friendship cannot be swapped for another,” says Forsythia. “That being said, there are people in your life (your spouse, your family, your coworkers) that might be able to bolster you and support you in navigating this new life without your friend.” But you have to reach out to them and let you know you need them.

Don’t be afraid to talk about it.

Hiding your feelings is a surefire way to a) let them fester and b) isolate yourself from the people who could help you cope. “Whether it’s with other friends, your family, or your therapist, it’s important to talk it out to understand how you feel, what went wrong, what each person’s responsibility was to the ending, and to receive honest feedback from people who know you well and truly care about you,” says DiNardo.

Be realistic about your role in it.

You know the old adage, “it takes two to tango”? It’s a cliché because it’s so dead-on. “A breakup is rarely ever just one person’s ‘fault’, but it’s easier to be angry with the other person than to feel any of the things that might come up if we have to realistically look at our own selves,” says DiNardo. But you won’t get the closure you need if you don’t acknowledge the part you may have played in the breakup. “Seeing your role brings you one step closer to finding peace in your heart as you continue along the journey of learning about who you’ve been, who you are, and who you want to be in the future,” she says.

Set boundaries for yourself.

This is a kind of self-care, and may be as simple unfollowing your former friend on Instagram or blocking them on Facebook so you’re not still getting a window into their life. “Take an inventory of all of the ways and places they’re bound to pop up, and figure out where you need to step back or disconnect to keep your boundaries and heart safe,” says Forsythia. These boundaries can change over time as things feel less raw, but there’s nothing wrong with protecting yourself from triggers that will disrupt the progress you’re trying to make in moving on.

How to forget past friends

BFF breakups are notoriously brutal. Unlike romantic relationships where you can vent to your bestie for hours over too many mimosas, losing your closest friend can leave you feeling even more hollow and isolated. Getting through it is no easy feat, but it can be done. Eventually, things can get so much better than you’ll be weirdly grateful that the breakup happened. I spoke with Dr. Andrea Bonior, author and adjunct professor of Psychology at Georgetown University, about the best ways to cope:

1. Don’t try to force closure.

Closure feels like an emotionally healthy thing to seek – but it has to come naturally, and when you’re both calm. If you’re in the thick of a dramatic breakup with your best friend, it can really tough to explain how you both feel without escalating the situation.

“If the relationship had grown dysfunctional, then the same factors that made it end will also likely prevent there being a healthy and mature ‘closure’ process,” says Dr. Bonior. “[You] can accept that something is, without always knowing why. (And [you] can keep reminding [yourself] that no matter the reason, [your] friend simply wasn’t capable of being the person [you] needed in order for the friendship to be sustained).”

Maybe one day, with time and distance, you’ll be able to better understand what even went wrong. Maybe you won’t. But in the meantime, you still have to move on.

2. Give yourself a lot to look forward to.

Since friend breakups can hurt just as much (if not more) than romantic breakups, some of the antidotes – like keeping hella busy – are the same. Dr. Bonior recommends “the same coping techniques that help boost mood in other circumstances – exercise, time outdoors, expressing gratitude, looking to help others, spending time with people whose company [you] enjoy, [and] learning new things.”

She emphasizes that booking your schedule with empty distractions is probably not the best, and stresses changes that actually improve your life in the long-run. “Setting a new goal for yourself – whether professional, financial, fitness-oriented, or anything else – can be helpful to work toward as well.”

3. Meet new people – but don’t pressure yourself to find a new BFF ASAP.

If the friend you lost was the person you hung out with most of the time, you can have an overwhelming desire to fill that void immediately (much like wanting to date someone new right after a devastating breakup). Stronger bonds have to happen organically. In the meantime, casting a wide net and opening yourself to new people is never a bad thing.

“Focus on becoming a part of a community, which often helps friendship form through creating repeated contact, and could take the form of anything from a yoga class to a coffee shop to a volunteer site to your neighborhood listserv,” says Bonior. You will either make friends who like the same things you do, or you’ll keep yourself occupied doing something you actually like on a Saturday night. Win win!

4. Tailor your social media if needed.

Is there anything more enraging than seeing the ex-friend who wronged you having a BLAST with their new squad on Instagram? Being reminded of them at all (but especially when they seem unbothered with losing you) can be super hurtful, but it’s also easily avoidable.

“In general, you don’t want to do something aggressive that will only make you feel worse (or lead your friend to escalate things), but you also want to protect yourself from constantly being reminded of your upset,” says Dr. Bonior.

The “unfollow” and “untag” buttons were invented for this reason. Don’t block them if you don’t want to, but keeping their stuff off your radar for now is probably for the best.

5. Have a game plan when dealing with mutual friends.

If you hang out with some of the same people or might feasibly see each other at a party sometime, you have the added issue of “WTF do I say to everyone who still thinks we’re best buds. “

Ideally, the answer is: not much at all, if you want to avoid drama. “Develop a mantra that you might need to repeat over and over again – both to yourself, and also to people who may ask,” says Bonior. “‘She and I don’t really spend much time together’ said with a basic, pleasant face can go a long way. If you bump into the friend, some similar, civil acknowledgement –’Hope you’re doing well’ can help stave off the awkwardness.”

6. Try to learn something from it (if you can).

“Look for patterns,” suggests Dr. Bonior. “Do you tend to have a lot of friendships where this happens? Did this friendship break up for reasons that you’ve seen other relationships in your life have problems about? Do you tend to choose a lot of friends like this person?”

The silver lining to a friend breakup is addressing your own potential toxic behaviors, if there are any. On the flip side, your friend may have just been deeply problematic on their own, and you might have to realize a sometimes-harder truth: there was nothing you could’ve done to fix it.

7. Accept that you may never reconnect.

Chances are, you either never want to see this person again. or you’re holding onto hope of a reconciliation someday. While the idea of forgiving them and hugging can sound beautiful, you can’t actually count on that as a possibility.

“Sometimes, there are specific things that you will hold out hope for – your friend getting sober, or not being so emotionally exhausting if she finally works through her own stuff – but you have to realize your own lack of control in any of that happening,” says Bonior.

In a few years, one of you might reach out and you can rebuild your friendship and make it stronger than ever. Or you just won’t ever speak again. Forgiving them (and yourself) can happen regardless. Whatever happens in the future, you need to move on now.

I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights. Nights when I was so worried about something that had happened in the past that I let it dictate my future. We’ve all been there at some point. You’re not alone.

/>Snapwire Snaps

I’m talking about those times when we just can’t shake the past. Whether it’s something small, like making a terrible first impression, or saying something you wish you hadn’t, to something big, like having to shutdown your business. Harping on negative experiences is painful and, when we hold on to that pain, we can’t move on to something more positive.

That’s why it’s important that you let it go and leave the past behind with these eight tactics.

1. Learn from the past but don’t dwell there.

Yes. Those negative experiences you had can actually be used for learning and future experiences — no matter how painful they are. Take some time to reflect on the experience and look at ways at it can actually benefit you down the road.

You can learn from your experiences by reflecting on these few simple questions:

  • What really happened? Answer only by confronting the facts.
  • What emotions do I feel? I personally like to write them down.
  • How can I use this to empower myself and my feelings?

After answering these questions, it’s time to move on. While reflecting on the past for a little bit of time is acceptable, dwelling on it will only keep those negative thoughts and feelings around.

2. Express yourself.

Don’t hesitate to get the pain you’re feeling off your chest. Whether it’s talking to the individual who has harmed you (or who you harmed), venting to a friend or writing it down, expressing your feelings can assist you in sorting out what, if anything, needs to be done to move on.

More importantly, it’s good for your health. Dr. Edmund Bourne, author of The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, warns that holding onto your feelings leads to anxiety, depression, headache and high blood pressure.

Grief expert Gloria Horsley from OpentoHope says “When it’s time to express your feelings, make sure to use “I” messages. Describe the degree of your emotions, and share them with someone who will listen and not pass judgment. This will help you express the grief you’re going through.”

3. Stop pointing fingers.

Playing the role of the victim is easy and sometimes feels pretty good, especially compared with accepting the truth. The problem is, blaming others prevents you from going forward. Most often, pointing fingers is just complaining.

Life coach Ruchika Batra also adds on Pick the Brain that blaming others gives power to someone else and makes us small. Batra also says, “When we blame, we automatically enter the negative zone. We loathe someone else or some external factor because we were not able to mold life into our own favor.”

4. Focus on the present.

One of the most effective ways to let go of the past is to embrace the present. Instead of reliving the past and getting consumed with negativity, keep yourself active and enjoy the current moment. Learn a new skill. Meditate. Exercise. Have dinner with a friend. Make a new friend. Whatever it is, just live in the moment – even if it’s just sitting at your desk and watching the clouds roll by. I personally “cope” by building my business and the future of eCash. It motivates me and helps give me something to devote my life towards.

Living in the moment, also called mindfulness, “involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away.” Psychology Today states that “mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure.”

To achieve a more mindful state, be aware of what you are thinking and feeling, reduce self-consciousness, seek out new experiences and accept your negative feelings and situations as merely being a part of life.

5. Disconnect for a while.

Allow yourself to take some time away so that you can clear your head. You don’t have to go backpacking through Europe. Just remove yourself from the situation by distancing yourself from the people, places and things that remind you of the past. Practicing ways to disconnect for a while will give you the chance to experience something positive — even if that’s just camping at a nearby campground without any access to social media.

When you return, you’ll have a perspective on the past.

6. Think about the people around you.

Take inventory of the people around you. Who is negative and always bringing you down? Who are the people associated with the past that you’re trying to move away from? You may need to move away from these individuals to find more positive people who will empower you.

There are more than enough ways to meet new people, such as attending local meetups and conferences. Don’t be shy. Get yourself out there and find a new group of friends and acquaintances who can help you move forward.

7. Forgive those who wronged you — including yourself.

If you’ve been hurt by someone, the last thing that you may want to do is forgive them. But, as Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “Forgiving others is essential for spiritual growth.” Dr. Dyer has 15 steps to help you forgive someone, like embracing the past while moving on, making a new agreement with yourself, not going to sleep angry and being kind and generous.

While you’re at it, forgive yourself. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Instead of kicking yourself for your past mistakes, cut yourself some slack and focus on the lessons that you’ve learned.

Once you’re not carrying that anger and resentment, you’ll be able to move on.

8. Make new memories.

Finally, start making new, positive memories to replace those negative memories from the past. Spend your time with the people who make you happy, the things that bring you joy and in the places that bring you peace. Making new memories is better being stuck in the past.

In fact, it’s been discovered by scientists that having too many old memories makes it more difficult to make new memories. So, out with the old and in with the new.

Here’s to living in the now.

Entrepreneur Editors’ Picks

3 Strategies That Helped Me Develop 13 Streams of Income

Ken Burns: ‘Mark Zuckerberg Should Be in Jail’

How to Start and Grow a Business: A Digital Guide for Young Entrepreneurs

8 Body Language Cues That Lead to Better Business Connections

There’s No Better Time to Start a Passive Income Business Than Now

All Your Burning Tax-Filing Questions, Answered

Bill Gates Says Lazy People Make the Best Employees. But Is Your Laziness Actually Masking a Deeper Issue?

How to forget past friends

People say it is very important to keep in mind things you’ve done in the past so that you can have an evidence for what your life turns out to be. I say history is nothing but history. What you have done in the past has absolutely no role to play in your future. We have all done things or been through situations that we are not so proud of or happy with, which is part of life.

I will be discussing 5 simple ways you can forget about the negative things that had occurred in the past and move in with life.

1. Change your mindset

If your mind focuses on the negative things that had happened in the past, your life will move in a negative direction. Your life move in the direction of your dominant thoughts, so whatever you set your mind and focus on is what your life and emotions will follow. Instead of setting your focus and thinking about all the negative things that had occurred in the past, all the heartbreaks, all the things you’ve lost, all the not so proud of situations.

Start to recycle all those thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts like: “I am going to be great, I am very intelligent, my history is nothing but history, what is ahead of me is great, nothing will stand in my way, I will be successful, I will not let my past tie me down.” If you wake up every day thinking and saying things like that loud and boldly, then you are getting a hold of it. Before you know it, no one will be able to use your past against you because you are starting to actually let go.

2. Cut off some friends

There are some friends that we keep that even we ourselves know deep down that they are doing nothing but slowing us down in life. It is not a crime to cut off friendships once you feel it is delaying your purpose in life. For you to occupy your focus with positivity, negative friends have to go. You need to set yourself apart so that you can be where you desire to be. You must stay away from friends that always remind you of the wrong things you’ve done in the past.

When I say set yourself apart, I mean tuning yourself completely out of what is going on around you and focus on yourself and your vision. Doing this can be very lonely; in fact it is a lonely situation, but that is just a price that you can afford to pay in order to be where you desire to be.

3. Set goals for yourself

One of the most important ways you can forget about the negative things that had happened in the past is by setting goals for your future. You need to acknowledge the fact that it is not the end of the world and you have full potentials of achieving greater things in life. Start to imagine yourself doing big things in the future, going to school, getting that job of your dreams, starting new businesses, finding your soul mate, and more. Set both long and short tram goals, give yourself deadlines and follow up with your progress.

4. Learn to forgive

One of the things that kills us emotionally and mentally is the spirit of un-forgiveness. Holding a grudge against someone is like eating a poison and expecting someone else to die. We all do this thinking we are doing ourselves a favour, but it does nothing but break us down emotionally. The only way you can forget about the past is by forgiving whoever has done you wrong. It doesn’t matter how bad they have broken your heart, If you can look at them and say “I forgive you” with a smile (this can be hard), then you are releasing yourself from the cage you have locked yourself in. Replace the spirit of hate with love.

5. Stop trying to impress people

Have you ever felt like no one understand you and why you make the decisions you make anymore? If your answer is yes, then it is because they don’t see what you see. You don’t owe anybody an explanation for doing what you feel like doing. You need to stop seeking approval from people and start giving notice whether they like it or not. You cannot please everyone; it is impossible.

Trying to please everyone does nothing but leads you into frustration. We all might have grown up thinking the best way to live our lives is by getting everyone to like who we are. It is just not possible; no matter how good of a person you are, there will always be people that just won’t like you for the sake of not liking you; which is also part of life.


You cannot move forward if you are still thinking about your past. Can you imagine a track athlete attempting to compete in a 100m dash with an heavy backpack? Yes, he’s most likely going to finish the race but he won’t finish it at the appointed time that he we was supposed to. Many of us are ready to run our race, we are ready to shoot for the stars, but there is one thing that we need to do first; we need to drop off that backpack full of shame, regrets, unhappiness, mistakes, failure, broken hearts, grudges etc. When you drop that backpack, I promise you that your race will be much easier to run in life.

Friends are the best…until they’re the worst – and that’s when things can get really tricky. If you’re feeling belittled, put down, uncomfortable or pressured, you might be dealing with a toxic friendship.

Being in a toxic friendship can really suck, and it’s hard to know how to deal with it. If you want to make it work, check out our guide to dealing with a toxic friendship for some tips. If you’ve tried but your friend isn’t meeting you halfway, it might be time to think about ending the friendship gracefully, even though it’ll be hard.

Cutting a friend out of your life because they have hurt you is a big decision to make when you’re feeling very emotional. Perhaps, when you’re feeling calmer, you’ll be able to work things out with your friend; only you can decide whether you want to save the friendship. A lot of people find, though, that with a little time and patience, friendships can grow stronger after moving through hard times together.

If you can see no way forward, here are some ways you might consider ending a toxic friendship.

Fade them out

The slow fade only works if you’re both on the same page and are mutually putting less effort into your friendship. It’s a non-confrontational approach that’s often effective.

Here are some things to try:

  • Don’t message or call them as frequently. If you used to text three times a week, bring it down to twice a week, and then once a week.
  • If it’s tricky because you’re all in the same group, you could try limiting your catch-ups to group stuff so that your interactions are less personal.

However you do it, it isn’t easy ending a friendship. Remember that the fade-out is only healthy if you’re both pulling away. If it’s not mutual, this could make your friend feel like you are ignoring or judging them. For example, if they ask you why you’re not hanging out with them, this means that the fade-out isn’t mutual.

If this is the case, or if you’d rather be upfront about ending the friendship, having a direct conversation to clear the air could work better for you.

Officially end the friendship

This method involves sitting down with the person and letting them know that the friendship is over. This is a pretty tough option and requires a lot of courage from you, the same way that breaking up with a partner would. The great thing is, it gives you both the opportunity to get everything out in the open and get closure.

Completely drop them

If your friend is being physically or emotionally abusive or making you feel like crap – for example, they call you names to put you down, physically hurt you, threaten you or control you – this is not okay. You don’t owe them anything and you have the right to remove yourself from the situation.

To stop the friendship, delete or block them on social media, or anywhere else they might be able to contact you. If you go to school or uni with them, see if you can make sure you’re not in any classes together.

But remember, cutting off a friendship can have major consequences. Your friend could become aggressive or cruel towards you, and you might lose some of your mutual friends. Make your friends aware of the situation and have them there for you as support. It’s worthwhile also letting them know that you don’t expect them to choose sides.

Breaking up a toxic friendship is something you have to do for yourself. When you move away from a toxic friendship, you’ll be moving on from a whole lot of negativity and will be free to be yourself.

Getting help

Sometimes, we need professional help to deal with the effects of ending a relationship. Also, if you think your friend needs to talk to someone, or that they’re a risk to themselves or others, encourage them to seek help.

You could visit your school or uni counsellor to begin with. These counsellors are normally available during school/uni hours and you can make an appointment with them for a free session. Check out our getting help section for more information on who can help.

If you feel like you need to talk about what’s going on, contact a phone counselling service such as Lifeline (13 11 44) or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).

Candis McDow is from Atlanta, GA, and has been a mental health advocate since 2014. She has lived experience and charges to bring awareness to the oblivious and provide hope to peers.

PeopleImages / Getty Images

We've all been here multiple times before, and if you haven't, consider yourself lucky. Love is in fact a rollercoaster of emotions and instances that no one can either predict or control.

Do you still love and have strong feelings for your ex-spouse or partner? Don’t fret, after you’ve finished this article, you’ll be well-equipped with the tools needed to move forward with your life.

If you still have feelings for an ex and/or still love an ex, don't feel shame. You are not alone, many people struggle to get over an ex and it may take a while because every relationship is different. Read along to get tips and encouragement on how to move forward during this difficult time.

Loving an Ex Is Normal

As great as it would be to erase an ex out of your memory once the relationship ends, unfortunately, that's not possible. The love you once shared for your ex just doesn't fade away overnight, and that's something you have to be patient with yourself about.

Studies show that, when relationships end, people may deal with depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health issues. So, it's understandable that you may have a tough time healing.

Despite the many issues that arise after a breakup, it’s still important to make the effort to prioritize your own needs.

“If you still love an ex, that is normal and OK. It just means that you are processing the many emotions that come with being in a relationship,” says Ernesto Lira de la Rosa, Psychologist, and Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s Media Advisor.

Of course, it may feel as though your entire world is over. Those strong feelings that are omnipresent now won't last forever, and one day you'll look back and hopefully be grateful for the change that the breakup brought about for you.

How to Get Over an Ex

If you've recently gotten out of a relationship or you realized that you're not completely over a former flame, below are some tips that can help you move on.

Distract Yourself

An idle mind is especially damaging to a broken heart. If you're sitting at home thinking of your ex and all of the memories you've shared, you are setting yourself up for failure. However, if you keep busy, the time will pass, the day will move quicker, and the emotions will go along as well.

Although keeping busy is important, Lira de la Rosa cautions that if you're constantly busy, you won't have the time to really process your emotions. And, not processing the emotions can affect how you cope with loss in the future. So, while staying busy is a good thing, remember to allow yourself to feel your emotions.

Delete Your Ex Entirely

Delete your ex from your life completely. That entails their phone number, address, all social media platforms, family, friends, mutual acquaintances, and anything that attaches you to your ex.

Hanging on to things that constantly remind you of your ex will only stifle your growth. If you truly want to get over your ex, you have to cut them completely out of your life. Fair warning, it will be hard, but mending your heart is the overall goal.

Stay Away From Social Media

If you still love your ex, social media is not going to be helpful. You will only torture yourself if you scroll through your platforms. Just imagine your ex popping up on your timeline and they've just posted something with a new friend. Instantly your day is ruined.

Because you're in a vulnerable state, it'll be easy for you to compare your life to friends and online friends you've never even met.

Moreover, frequent social media usage has been linked to depression. So, delete your ex and do your best to stay off of social platforms as you process your emotions and focus on your healing.

Prioritize Self-Care

Long gone are the judgmental days of frowning on solo dates and sitting alone for lunch. So, treat yourself to a day of pampering or take yourself out on a date.

Enjoy yourself and learn to get used to your own company. After all, if you can't love yourself, how do you expect to move on and allow someone new to love you?

Don't Rush the Process

Falling in love can sometimes be a task and other times it comes at you fast and unexpectedly. However, with breakups, the process of getting over someone can feel like the end of the world.

Don't rush the process by trying to jump into another relationship. In fact, bringing someone new into your mess of emotions is the worst possible thing to do. Feel those emotions and work through them before trying to date again.

Talk It Out

Therapy isn’t taboo anymore. You can talk to a professional in person, on video chat, on the phone, and through text message. Technology has made it possible for convenience to accommodate every aspect of life.

If you’re still not intrigued by telling a complete stranger all of your business, you should consider talking to family members or a close friend about how you’re feeling. Talking it out will release those emotions and give you clarity and closure.

Don't bottle those emotions or try to be "strong." You are human and you have the right to express yourself.

Finding Closure

Ultimately closure is always the goal at the end of every relationship; and in most cases, we never receive closure; you either have to accept what is or find closure on your own.

Write a Letter

Therapists often recommend writing a letter as a way to deal with your emotions following a breakup or another painful event.

Counseling therapist Myriame Lyons, MA, RCC, CCC, recommends that her clients write a “Goodbye Letter.” In this letter, Lyon asks patients to answer the following questions:

  1. What will you miss?
  2. What will you cherish?
  3. What do you take responsibility for?
  4. What do you wish for each other?

Lyon believes this exercise gives you an opportunity to share what has been left unsaid. Another perk to this form of closure is that you don’t need to share the letter with your ex to get the full benefits of writing all of this out. Figuring out these answers for yourself can be enough of a release to move forward.

During this time it's important to encourage yourself and realize that you matter. Don't get lost in grief and forget about your worth and significance in the world. Sure, it hurts to still love someone that is no longer a partner, but the world is still within your grasp. If you find that you're still having a hard time letting go, don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.

A Word From Verywell

In a perfect world, we'd all be able to erase the memory of an ex. Unfortunately, we aren't granted that luxury. Dealing with the emotions that come with a loss is imperative. The cure to getting over an ex that you love is living. It's OK to remember the memories (good and bad), crying is a part of that journey, and being sad is inevitable, but feeling that pain is what will eventually get you to the other side.

It can be frustrating to realize that things that happened in the past are still affecting you. You might think, “That happened years ago! I thought I was over it. Why am I still feeling or act this way?”

Our past trauma can have such long-lasting impacts. At times it can feel like you will never recover from it. That leads to feeling discouraged. Often people feel scared to talk about the effects, because it makes them feel ashamed.

The truth is, it’s normal to have trouble moving past the things that have happened to us. Nothing is wrong with you—you’re just learning how to cope with challenging feelings!

Your feelings and experiences are valid

We often question our own perceptions or experiences. Sometimes while you are going through something, it doesn’t seem like that big a deal. Calling it “trauma” might feel like overkill—but trauma comes in all shapes and sizes! Anything that has a lasting emotional impact can be traumatic.

You may have tried to talk to someone who didn’t take your experiences seriously. But other people don’t get to define your past or how you deal with it. All that matters is what you experienced, and how it affected you.

How our past continues to affect us

Trauma has lasting effects on the brain. It can become difficult to feel fully alive in the present moment. When we are not living in the moment, we are reliving the past—or fearful of what might happen in the future.

Our experiences also shape our beliefs about ourselves. We like to feel like we’re in control… So when something happens that’s outside of our control, it’s often easier to blame ourselves. We become overly critical of ourselves. We think, “If only I had been stronger, this wouldn’t have happened to me.” We end up feeling like the problem is with us, when really the problem is what has happened to us.

While you are working through your trauma, you are likely very alert and ready to protect yourself in any situation. You may not trust others—or trust them too easily. You might have some triggers—situations that remind you of the past, or bring up feelings or behaviors that make you feel stuck.

Things that happen in our past can have a lasting effect on our mental health. If your thoughts, feelings, or behaviors are interfering with your daily life, it’s possible that your trauma has led to a mental health condition like PTSD, anxiety, or depression.

How to heal and move on

To move on from the past, it’s important to create a strong foundation for healing. Here are some steps to start your journey:

  • Give yourself some credit. If you’ve realized there’s a problem, you’re halfway to solving it! Rather than asking “what’s wrong with me?” consider “how is it that I keep going even though I have faced such scary situations?”
  • Get support. Try to find a friend or family member who understands. You can look for a support group online or in person. It can also be helpful to have a therapist that helps you heal.
  • Be easy on yourself. Whatever you are feeling is normal to feel. Many other people have had the feelings you are having. If you don’t believe that, you can search online for stories of people who have had similar experiences. And the more you begin to open up to trusted people, the more you will realize that you’re not alone!
  • Take one situation at a time. Rather than trying to solve your whole life, start with the specific issue that has gotten you upset. Identify what’s triggering you. Is it something you can avoid? Or do you need to talk it out with someone? Do you need to work up the courage to face it?
  • Remember it’s a process. You will take positive steps forward, and you will also take steps backward. You are moving forward overall… Don’t rush it! It takes what it takes.

Remember: Just by reading this, you’re taking your first steps toward facing your past. That’s such a brave thing to do, and you should be proud of yourself!

Related Topics

​Click on each topic to see more articles:

Take an Anxiety Test

The Anxiety Test is for people who feel that worry and fear are affecting their ability to function day-to-day. The anxiety test is also available in Spanish.