How to Get Over a Guy: 9 Steps to Healing Your Heart
You can’t eat…
You can’t sleep…
You’re going through the motions of your life without feeling anything.
Your friends try to pull you out of your funk, but fail to.
Every day, you wake up and want to go back to sleep. It’s easier than facing the pain.
He broke your heart, and every day you think you’ll never be able to move on.
Whether this is your first heartbreak or your 10th, you need to learn how to get over a guy.
Why It’s Harder to Get Over a Guy The Older You Get
You’ve been through young heartbreak, but this is different.
You remember that sharp pain when your high school boyfriend dumped you for the head cheerleader. You thought your world was ending. You look back now and realize he wasn’t even all that.
You’ve been through hard things in your life and know you can get through anything…so why does this feel more challenging than it did when you were younger?
The fact is: you’re more deliberate in dating these days, so your instinct told you it would work out with this guy. Now that it’s over, you’re a bit surprised. You were sure he was the one for you. How could your intuition have been so wrong?
The truth is: there are no guarantees in love. The best you can do is learn from the relationship and use that knowledge in the next one.
How to Get Over a Guy and Move On
Don’t take me as being heartless when I tell you that you need to be able to move on. But really: is there any value in prolonging the grief you’re experiencing if this wasn’t the right man for you? I’d rather you dedicate yourself to healing so that you can be ready for it when true love comes along.
1. Give Yourself Time to Grieve
This is my absolute biggest piece of advice, and yet it’s one that is incredibly hard to follow.
I get it: you want to be done being sad. You want to get on with your life.
Unfortunately, that’s not how grief works. It’s up to your heart how long it takes.
I absolutely love this quote from licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., who wrote Should I Stay or Should I Go?
“We take six to eight weeks to heal a broken leg after it has been cast, so why not a broken heart?”
If you broke your leg, you’d use crutches and stop going to your spin class, right? So why try to continue to live life normally if it’s your heart that’s broken?
There are all sorts of inaccurate formulas for how many weeks or months it will take you to heal based on how long your relationship was, but the fact is: time alone won’t help. You have to make sure you’re doing the right things (giving yourself a dating detox, processing your feelings, etc.) during that time to fully heal and move on.
And there’s no exact formula for how long it will take. Just be patient.
2. Have No Contact for 21 Days
I’ve talked many times about the No Contact Rule, and can’t stress enough how key it is in learning how to get over a guy. When you talk to him, thinking you two can “just be friends,” you end up leaving that heart wound open. Even if you think you’re over him, imagine how you’d feel if he started dating again…or told you he wanted you back.
Being in touch, whether it’s in person, via text, or through social media, only prolongs heartache. So let me be absolute in this: have zero contact with him for 21 days. Trust me on this: it will help you close that wound and move forward.
3. Know That He’s Not Right For You
This may or may not help, but if you look at things from a logical perspective, you have to understand that if this man was meant to be The One, it wouldn’t have ended. You might be able to maintain a little distance from the situation and start to see things you couldn’t see before (curse those love blinders!). Suddenly, the way you used to think it was adorable how he never wanted to go to parties because he wanted to work on writing his novel seems like he was just being selfish and rude. Where you once thought the fact that he always interrupted you to mean that he was a genius who couldn’t keep his ideas to himself, now you see that it wasn’t cool of him to do so.
4. Remind Yourself: This Pain WILL End
Another chance to be logical rather than emotional (hard to do, I know): tell yourself that this pain will end. You know it will. Nothing lasts forever (including that relationship), and even though it feels like you will suffer into eternity, you know, deep down, that this suffering will have a light at the end of the tunnel.
Even if you don’t know when that will be.
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This is where following that Alcoholics Anonymous adage, one day at a time, can really help. Don’t focus on how you’ll feel tomorrow, next week, or next year. Just focus on today. Right now, even, because your emotions can go on a roller coaster even within a 24-hour period.
5. Start Being Social Again
I know the last thing you want to do is get up off of your couch, shower, get dressed, and go outside, but trust me: you’ll feel better if you do.
You likely have friends who are concerned about you, who have been inviting you out for dinner or social gatherings. Say yes to the next invitation. You don’t even have to stay the whole time; commit to an hour or two, and if you’re not having a good time, you can leave. But I bet that you’ll want to stay.
Especially if you pulled away from your friends during the relationship (or after, as you wallowed in your own misery alone), this is the ideal time to remember what friends are for: to lift you up when you’re feeling crummy. Let them.
6. Rediscover Your Hobbies and Interests
Just like you might have let some friendships fall by the wayside as you focused on adoring this so-not-worthy-of-you man, you might have also let some of your favorite hobbies or interests take a back seat to him. Dust off that tennis racket or running shoes. Pull your paints or violin out of the closet. It’s time to get back to those activities that make you feel most like…you.
You can also use this time to try new hobbies. Boxing is a great sport for relieving stress. And hey, if you picture your ex’s face on that punching bag, no one has to know!
Maybe he hated dancing and you always wanted to learn to salsa. You don’t need a man to take classes with! Go on your own, or with girlfriends. Activities, especially physical ones, can shift your brain chemistry away from sadness and depression and toward hope and happiness. A study by JAMA Psychiatry shows that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour can reduce the risk of depression. So it’s win-win! You get in shape and feel better.
7. Love Yourself
You may be criticizing yourself after the breakup. You may be thinking you weren’t good enough…smart enough…pretty enough…sexy enough to keep this man, but I want you to get away from that kind of destructive thought process.
It’s always a good practice to love yourself, but right now it’s even more critical.
Be gentle with yourself. Don’t set expectations about when you’ll start dating or when you’ll feel normal. Spend plenty of time being alone and processing what happened. Think about what you want next in your life. Do things that feel indulgent like:
- Taking a long, hot bubble bath
- Buying a bottle of wine that costs more than $10
- Reading a book
- Going on vacation, by yourself or with a friend
Your goal is to remember that you are loveable and lovely. If you don’t believe that, how can you expect to find someone else who thinks so as well?
8. Journal About the Pain
Research shows that writing about grief can help you process it and move forward. If you’re not in the habit of keeping a journal, this might be a good time to start. You can write about what went down with the actual breakup, how you’re feeling in the moment, your anger toward your ex, how you’ll do things differently in the future, and what you want moving forward. You could even write a letter to your ex that you never send as a way to say what you want to say without repercussion.
If writing isn’t your thing, you could make lists, like 10 things you hated about your ex, or what you want in your next man. The point is just to keep the pen flowing (or the keyboard. Whatever floats your boat!).
9. Allow Yourself Some Time to Think About it…But Then Distract Yourself
You might be surprised that I’m encouraging you to think about your ex and the breakup, but we both know that you’d think about it even if I told you not to! The key here is not dwelling on it every day. Set a timer for 15 minutes and go to town, feeling sorry for yourself. Then, when the timer is done, tuck those thoughts away and think about something else. If you find those negative thoughts creeping up later, tell yourself you’ll have to save them until tomorrow’s 15 minutes.
What NOT to Do to Get Over a Guy
So now that we’ve gone through helpful tips to get you healed and moving on with your life, let’s look at a few things that definitely won’t help when it comes to how to get over a guy.
Don’t sleep with someone new. We’ve all heard that dumb saying, “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.”
Yuck. Who came up with that??
You might think that having sex is just what you need to forget about your ex (or make him jealous), but the reality is: you’ll feel worse. And you might even end up crying, naked, with a guy you hardly know.
Not a good look.
Don’t deliberately try to make him jealous on social media. If you’re still friends on Instas, don’t do the thing where you suddenly post pics of you with hot men, doing fabulous things, in an effort to get a rise out of him.
You’re not a child. Don’t act like one.
Don’t sleep with your ex. It’s also a really, really bad idea to sleep with your ex. You may think you want one final hurrah in bed, or that you won’t let emotions get the best of you, but you’re wrong. Sex and emotions will always be tied together when it comes to a man you’ve been in love with. And you won’t win him back by sleeping with him. He’ll just think he’s now got a friend with benefits and be totally oblivious to the fact that you’re falling apart.
Do you feel like you better understand how to get over a guy now? I hope so. The truth is: your formula for moving on will look different than any other woman’s. Take what works for you and leave the rest.
But please, please, please: give yourself time. You can’t rush this. It will probably take far longer than you think it should but know that you have a lot of emotions to sift through. It will be okay when it’s supposed to be.
Talk to me in the comments below: what do you struggle most with when trying to get over your ex?