How can I stop thinking about my ex?

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

When moving on seems impossible, there are a few things that can help you work through the loss and start fresh. Check out my top 4 tips for getting over your ex.

Dear Heather,

My boyfriend of 6 months recently broke up with me and I'm having a very hard time letting go. I prayed that God would help me, but I can't stop thinking about him and can't stand seeing him with other girls.  We stayed friends since we started as friends.  What can I do to get over him? -

Sincerely, Heart-broken

+++++++

Dear Heart-broken,

First of all, I can sympathize completely with your concerns. A few years ago, I experienced a situation in which it was difficult to let go. And, I too prayed that God would guide me in moving on. And, God was faithful in answering my prayers, but it wasn't as I expected. Below are my top 4 tips for getting over your ex.

Let's Just Be Friends?
But, before I get into that, I want to address the idea of "being friends." I think it is noble of you both to attempt to keep a friendship, however, it is also important to be realistic about your feelings. After dating for 6 months, you're probably very attached emotionally to this guy. If you want to be friends at some point, I recommend spending a good deal of time apart from each other. If you continue to talk on the phone, IM or just chat at school, it'll be nearly impossible to stop thinking about him. I know it might be difficult to stop most communication (if not all), but both of you need to establish your lives apart from one another. After a long while of re-building your confidence and spirit, who knows if you're meant to be friends again. At least you'll be at a much better place--not emotionally dependent to each other, so you can enjoy a friendship and support one another no matter who they are dating, etc.

1. Consider Your Priorities
If you're in high school, this should be a great time for you to learn so much about yourself-what you like to do, who you truly are, etc. I didn't have a serious relationship throughout high school, but I had the time of my life. I created a bunch of friendships with guys, got involved in everything that interested me, volunteered, held a job or two and just enjoyed the freedom and friendships. Is your priority as a teen to find the love of your life right now or become more fully the person God created to be? Although every movie and television show makes you believe it should be the first, consider making your priority the latter. We have too many screwed up young adults, relationships and marriages because people believe they are not "whole" without a boyfriend or girlfriend. With God's grace, you can feel completely loved, accepted and even attractive and sexy without a guy. Check out my blog I'm in Love for details on having a great love life anytime.

2.  Open Up to Something Different
Believe it or not, sitting at home, watching romantic movies is not the best "medicine" for letting go. Even praying about the guy, in particular, keeps him always in your mind. Therefore, each morning for a while after my breakup, I would simply ask God to guard my heart and help me move on, but I wouldn't spend hours or tons of prayers on it. I opened up my heart to God in a new way - asking Him to fill the hole in my heart from losing my boyfriend. I needed to trust God that He was helping me through it. When I found myself dwelling, I thanked God for the relationship I had and then thanked Him in advance for all the cool stuff He's got in store for me. This tough situation in your life might be one of your best personal growth times ever. Be open to what God wants to teach you - how He wants to fill your heart and lead you to other cool experiences.

3. Get Busy
Also, to keep your mind off him, as I mentioned before, get busy. After my big breakup, I've been trying to invite friends or family over for dinner parties. There are many people I really want to know better-here's my perfect opportunity. I've filled my evenings with going out or hanging out with a variety of people I care about deeply. I've read some adventure books I've wanted to read for years, played cards a bunch with my grandma and babysat. I helped out on a softball team and picked up some little sides jobs. Consider going to a cool youth group. I could give you some suggestions of youth groups based on where you live if you don't know of any. All of these things aid to the healing process tremendously because doing them reminds us that life is so much more than just romantic relationships.

4. Rely on the "tangible" God
There are friends and mentors in my life who constantly reveal God to me in a variety of ways. I spend as much time with them as possible. First of all, I love their friendship, but I also need them to keep me accountable. When I am tempted to call the guy or I'm lonely, these people know me well and support my struggles. They will pray with me, or chat or even take me out somewhere. I keep them updated on how I feel as well...even if I feel stupid for still liking the guy. We need to go through our battles, as much as possible, with those who love us. I also tell my parents when I am struggling, and they offer things for us to do together. So, include others in your battle...God will equip them as He works in your heart as well.  And, find God in the tangible Eucharist.  I have a friend who would go to a Eucharistic Adoration Chapel for her Friday night "date" with Jesus.  I like to go to daily Mass as much as possible to remember that the space in my heart I think a guy will fill can really only be filled by Jesus.  Lastly, even though it seems intangible, like in the "Footprints" story, ask God to hold you.  When I'm struggling, His arms is always where I find peace and rest.

In case you want some extra resources, chastity pro, Mary Beth Bonacci, writes to young adults about "dumping." It might be tough to read, but it's a good reminder that serious dating is for eventually finding a spouse and that "dumping" is unfortunately part of the package. Check out her article...
Dating is about Dumping
Also, check out our Chastity Resources on Chastity Challenge...you might really enjoy the books "When God Writes Your Love Story" or "Passion and Purity".

Over time and through God's healing, you'll start to desire something other than your ex and your mind will shift to all those people and things. Trust in Him and your heart will not be disappointed.

NOTE TO READER - Since this has been one of our most-read articles on our website, we recently had a roundtable discussion of this issue among REAP Team staff members, which you can listen to here or by clicking on our podcast player at the top of this page.