How to Get Over A Breakup: This Mindshift Might Surprise You

how to get over a breakup

Breakups can be torture. You’d had good times, and big plans. Binge watching while snuggling. Friday night dinners with other couples. You traveled together, and planned to travel more. You planned your future home, and perhaps even marriage, kids. Your couplehood was central to your life, and your identity. You never wanted to know how to get over a breakup, but as time went on, it became clear that this relationship wasn’t suitable long term.  It’s over. Ouch. And now you wonder: How can I get over my ex?

The surprising mindshift for getting over your ex is to harness the negative for the positive. Breakups are one of the few times in life when focusing on the negative is a good thing. That is to say, when those “highlight reels” of all the good times, all the exciting plans, and all the nostalgia creep in, they need a reality check. And that reality check is recalling all the reasons that the relationship wasn’t right for you. 

What is YOUR list of all the negative aspects of the relationship? Think about all the reasons, and then, write down your list. This tangible reference about the negative aspects of your relationship will be your go-to for combating the understandable, although ill-directed, “maybe we could get back together” fantasy.

Everyone’s list is different. In order to trigger you to write your personal list, here are some reasons you might have had for breaking up:

-You had different life goals or values

-You kept fighting, and couldn’t resolve your differences

-You didn’t feel understood, or otherwise didn’t feel you got the emotional support you needed

-You were incompatible (be specific as to why)

-Your ex was abusive, mentally unstable, suffering from addiction, or any combination thereof

After you’ve written down your personal list about why you broke up with your ex, choose the most impactful reason. That one main reason will be your negative focus to combat any wishful thinking about getting back together. By focusing on why you broke up, you’ll have a tool to counterbalance any longings to return to this now-past relationship. 

Breaking up takes time – it’s a period of grief. By reminding yourself why it is you broke up in the first place, you’ll be able to work through the breakup, rather than remain stuck in wishful thinking about what could be. By focusing on the negative about life with your ex, you pave the way toward opening yourself up for a new, positive life with someone else down the line.


For more help managing anxiety, check out my book, Hack Your Anxiety, register for my free mini-ecourse by signing up for book bonuses here, or check-out my anxiety and relationships blogs.  

Photo by Vera Arsic

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD