After a big heartbreak, you’re struggling with how to move on when you still have strong feelings. From where you stand, it seems plain impossible that you’d ever be able to get over him.
Whether he ended it because he wasn’t ready to commit…
Or the two of you simply argued all the time…
Whatever the reason the relationship ended, you’re wondering whether it was the right decision after all. And yet, he seems to have less trouble figuring out how to move on from you…so why are you finding this so hard?
I’ve worked with thousands of men and women as a dating coach, and believe me: I’ve seen it all. There’s one thing I know to be true with breakups: the fact that it’s over is a sign it wasn’t meant to be.
Absorb that for a moment.
This wasn’t The One. It may have felt like he was. But he wasn’t. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you figure out how to move on, and the sooner you can heal.
How to Move On (15 Ways)
The strategies you use in how to move on will be your unique recipe for finding happiness again, but here are some proven tips I’ve seen work with my clients (and myself!).
1. Stop Texting or Talking to Him
I know, this sounds easier than it is, especially if he’s reaching out to you, trying to get you back. When you’re down, hearing from the man you loved (or still do) can be like a boost of serotonin. He still cares about you! That feels good, right?
The problem with this is that having this attention makes it too easy to forget why you broke up. You rationalize (with your very irrational post-breakup brain) that if he still loves you…and you still love him…why shouldn’t you be together?
I’m going to have to put my foot down here and insist on zero contact. Sure, if you have kids together, you’re going to have to communicate about logistics, but even then, stick to business-only and avoid communicating about your relationship.
I guarantee if you implement the 3-week No Contact Rule, you’ll have a much different perspective about things than you do right now.
2. Unfollow Him on Social Media
It’s kinda funny how we are as a society these days: when you start a relationship, you announce it on Facebook, where it becomes “official” once you’ve changed your relationship status. You do the same after a relationship has ended, but you also ceremonially “unfriend” the guy on Facebook and other social channels to communicate your pain to him.
I have slightly different advice. On Facebook, you have the option to unfollow him without unfriending him. This makes less of a loud statement (“you broke my heart and now I don’t wanna see your face in my feed!”) and if you ever do want to see what he’s up to…down the road after you’ve healed, you still have that ability.
Still, resist the urge to see what he’s been up to on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or anywhere. It will only hurt you. If you want to know how to move on, you have to stop caring (or at least pretend not to) about what he’s doing.
Just think: if you saw a photo of him and another girl, how would you feel? Don’t take that chance. Stay away!
3. Stop Telling Yourself Stories About How Great Things Could Have Been
I gave up too soon. We could have made it…
Humans do something kind of funny. While they’re in a bad situation, they fully recognize that things are crap. But when they’re out of it, it’s like a fog of forgetfulness rolls in and they can’t remember any of the negative aspects of the relationship.
Its like having a bad job. You reluctantly roll out of bed every morning, cursing the world, only to come home every night to bitch to your friends about how awful work is. Would you then quit just to start telling yourself that it wasn’t so bad because so-and-so brought in Munchkins once a week? NO! Buy your own damn Munchkins, start looking for a new job, and remember how great it is to not deal with that bitchy co-worker Sam, and in no time you’ll be making twice the salary and eating those delicious little donut holes every morning.
Your relationship ended for a reason. To tell yourself otherwise is to tell yourself lies. I know that right now your relationship looms large in the rearview mirror. But one day — with a little time and healing — it’ll be further away, and you’ll have better perspective on why he wasn’t the right man for you.
4. Take Care of Yourself
I know all you want to do is wallow on the couch, not eating and crying your eyes out, but I really need you to understand that taking care of yourself is part of knowing how to move on.
You are incredibly precious. This man didn’t have a clue how wonderful you were. And even if it’s hard for you to accept, I need you to treat yourself like you love yourself. That means getting out of the house and going for a walk. Spending time with friends (they’re your support group, after all).
Exercise is a wonderful way to heal. It releases endorphins that act as painkillers for that broken heart. Read The Secret. Go to a paint party. Do something that benefits you, while taking your mind off him.
I’m not saying you can’t have a Bridget Jones bingefest with Ben & Jerry on the side. Feel free to have a wallow day or two. It’s good for you. Just don’t make the wallowing your permanent state. Keep your goal in mind: feeling good and whole again. It may seem light years away, but if you take care of yourself, you’ll get there faster.
5. Get Back to Being Social
Believe me: I know how incredibly challenging these strategies for moving on can be. I know you don’t feel like being social. But I also know that if you are, you’ll heal faster.
Friends are so critical to moving on and feeling more like yourself again. Did you realize there are different types of friends you’ll need after a breakup?
There’s the friend who says comforting things, like “you’re better off without him. You’ll find someone new!”
There’s the friend who will get you drunk to forget the pain and try to hook you up with this guy she knows.
There’s the friend who will come over, throw open the curtains, and demand you finally get dressed and get out of the house.
There’s the friend who will just listen, not giving an opinion one way or another.
The fact is: you need all of these friends to get through this hard time. If you’ve built a loving and supportive network of friends you can turn to exactly the kind of person you need in the moment. But beyond simply talking to your friends, make sure you’re also getting out with them. Don’t skip your weekly girls’ night because you feel sorry for yourself. You’ll feel so much better surrounded by people who love you, who will tell you that you made the right decision and that they’re there for you.
6. Start Dating Again
I know, I know: in no way do you feel up for dating right now. But all I’m asking you is to be open to it. When you’re ready to put yourself back out there for the right reasons — not to forget your heartbreak or make him jealous — you may find that you simply enjoy going out with a man who appreciates you.
You don’t have to fall in love. But you might be surprised at how you notice little things that you like better with a new date than the man you’ve been struggling to get over.
Maybe you go on a date with a guy who showers you with compliments…your ex never did.
Maybe your date takes charge planning your evening…your ex was always wishy-washy about making plans.
Maybe the guy you meet on a dating app texts every day to check in with you…your ex took forever to respond to your texts.
Even if you’re not ready for a serious relationship yet, dating again can help you clarify what you’re looking for in a mate…and show you what you were lacking with the last guy.
7. Get Therapy if You Need It
Some people figure out how to move on after a heartbreak on their own, while others need professional help doing so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing a therapist, and it could, in fact, help you heal faster, according to a study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science.
You may feel like you’re wearing out your welcome, complaining and crying to your friends. But if you’re not moving on, you still need someone to talk to. A therapist has experience helping people heal and may see aspects of your situation that you couldn’t see on your own.
Especially if you’re dealing with depression, I encourage you to see a licensed mental health professional. You may be surprised at how much better you feel.
8. Have a Good Cry (or Three)
Before you try to be all Wonder Woman and not cry, let me argue in favor of crying as an emotional release. Think about the last time you had a good cry (it might have been today!). While you may have felt terrible while you were sobbing, I would bet money that after you finished, you felt better.
Throw in sad music for even better results. No, really. Think back to your eighth-grade self. What did you do after Billy rejected you? You listened to Tori Amos or Alanis Morrisette and bawled your eyes out.
Guess what? It still works.
A recent scientific study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that listening to a sad song and crying is cathartic and healing.
Who are you to go up against science? Embrace your eighth-grade habit. Maybe replay those songs that got you gushing back then. Or find new ones. Your sad playlist will be different than anyone else’s, but I bet you already know those tear-jerking songs you want on that list, right? Grab your box of tissues and go for it.
9. Stop Replaying Your Greatest Hits Reel in Your Head
Since you’re not sleeping much these days, you find yourself playing a little film in your head at night.
The first time you kissed him…
The first time he told you he loved you…
That trip to San Francisco…
The problem with this movie you’re playing is that it just features your relationship’s greatest hits. If you’re honest with yourself, it was probably way crappier in real life than you’re remembering it to be. So the next time you find yourself daydreaming about your perfect relationship with this guy, get real.
Add the time he yelled at you in front of your friends…
Or was late for a date for the umpteenth time…
The time you caught him cheating…
If you’re going to relive the good times, you also need to relive the bad ones. This will help you remember why you left and why he’s not right for you. It’ll be easier to figure out how to move on if you are realistic about what your relationship really was.
10. Stop Blaming Yourself
“If only I…
…told him I loved him more…
…did what he told me…
…wasn’t so uptight about monogamy…
More than likely, you’re blaming yourself in some way, even if the relationship didn’t end because of you. You feel like if you’d acted differently, if you’d been different, things might have worked out.
Everyone’s got an opinion about Fate, but let’s look at it like this: if you believe that everything is predestined, then you were with this guy exactly as long as you were supposed to be. You could not have changed the outcome by acting differently. You owe it to yourself to always be authentic, and if you were doing that, then how can you expect that if you acted like someone else, things would have been better?
This is not your fault. You were supposed to have this relationship for as long as it lasted.
11. Stop Talking About Him
Your best friend: “You should wear the red dress tonight when we go out.”
You: “Ted loved me in that dress…”
Your best friend: “Let’s go out for tacos.”
You: “Ted loved cheesy gordita crunches…”
If every other word out of your mouth is your ex’s name, it’s time to be aware of that and change the habit. If you’re talking about him, it means you’re thinking about him, and if you’re thinking about him, you’re not successfully learning how to move on.
Put a rubber band on your wrist. Every time you start to talk about him, snap it (or better yet, have your friend snap it). This will make you aware of the habit and break you of it.
12. Know That He Wasn’t The One
I’ve said this a few ways in this article, but bottom line is: this wasn’t Mr. Right. There was some reason (or likely many reasons) you weren’t supposed to be with him long-term. If you clear away all the good memories, you’ll find those reasons.
Be assured, however, that ending things with this guy makes you free to find the guy who is right for you. You now know more about what your dream guy will be like (at least, you’ll know what he won’t be like) and can put your energy into finding the man who will make you happy every single day. This was not him.
13. Forgive Him
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not suggesting you forgive your ex for his wrongs and take him back. But there is healing power in forgiving and moving on.
When you forgive him for hurting you, you release those negative emotions that were trapped in your head. This frees your heart and allows it to heal more easily.
You don’t have to tell him to his face that you’ve forgiven him. You don’t have to tell him at all. This is for you.
Write a letter to your ex, expressing your hurt about what happened. Then, write those simple words: “I forgive you.”
It may take a while to actually believe those words, but over time, you will and you will learn to let the past go. You can’t change the past, so the best thing you can do is let go of it.
14. Take Lessons Away from the Relationship
One day, when you have a different perspective, you will be able to take away lessons from the relationship. It might not happen today, but it will happen.
Maybe being with this guy taught you how to be open to love, or be more assertive, or even to trust your gut next time.
Maybe you learned that you needed to work on being more authentic in a relationship.
Maybe you learned that intellect and good conversation is super important to you.
Rather than look at this relationship as a waste of time ending in heartbreak, find that silver lining. Something good comes out of everything, even the tough stuff.
Make a list of what you liked in your relationship, what you learned about yourself, and what you discovered about what you want in future relationships. You might be shocked that this list is pretty long!
15. Give Yourself Time
I’m not going to lie: learning how to move on takes time. There’s no schedule for it. What might take your best friend two weeks to get over may take you a heck of a lot longer.
Be okay with it taking time.
Don’t rush it. You can’t rush grief, and in fact, trying to rush it will only prolong the pain.
So settle in with it. Accept that on any given day, you may feel like crap. You may be unable to see that light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to trust that it will come.
The good thing about learning how to move on is that it gets easier. Maybe this is your first real heartbreak and you’re struggling with the process. But if there is a next time that your heart gets hurt (and I sincerely hope there is not), it may be a little easier to work through the pain and get to healing because you already have those strategies for how to move on faster.
You know what works for you after going through it once. You know, for example, that you need one day of wallowing where you shut out the world and feel sorry for yourself, then you need to get back to your regularly scheduled routine. You know you need lots of exercise and friend time. So when you go through a breakup, pull out your secret recipe for healing and put it to work.
I want to know: what does your recipe for how to move on look like? Does it involve smashing plates? Burning his t-shirt collection? Crying in the shower? It may seem silly, but please share your own tips in the comments below because you never know which of our Sexy Confidence community they may help.
Once you’ve successfully learned how to move on, get back out there to find The One! Sign up for my 21 Days to Sexy Confidence program today to take that first step.