Being hung up on an ex-girlfriend is a painful, awful experience. It can rob you of time, energy, focus and self-respect.
Danny recounts this well about what happened after he and a girl broke up: 3 months later, a WALL of depression washed over me. I was a fucking wreck. This is really embarrassing to admit but I was a sorrowful, crying, depressed douche. I’d taken her EVERY WHERE in the city that was dear to me. I couldn’t escape her. My apartment became a prison, and I didn’t want to be there.
It goes both ways. As Emma Stone described a breakup: I was crawling on the floor. I remember throwing up. I remember being on the floor…I have never felt anything quite like that. It was so visceral. It’s like someone has killed you and you have to live through it and watch it happen…It was awful.
This makes me feel guilty. I’ve broken up with too many girls to think about, either because:
- I knew it wouldn’t work out
- I got bored of them
- I just didn’t like them that much.
Even when I broke up with them for reason 1), it was often still a painful experience. However, I have had one girl break up with me, which was frankly a devastating experience. As I’ve previously said, I can appreciate how badly men feel when they contemplate that the only way forward through life without their loved one is suicide. But men, life does get better.
As relationship counsellor Elly Taylor says: a break up is a legitimate loss and needs to be respected like one. The more significant the loss, the greater the mourning of it. That chest crunching pain of losing love can send us into the same stages of grief that other losses, even a death can. So the first do’s: know the stages you will go through: shock and denial, bargaining, anger and depression, and how to manage them. How you manage them will determine how you get through to the final stage of acceptance. And don’ts: don’t pretend that you are fine when you aren’t as people will withdraw vital support because they think you don’t need it. And don’t bury your feelings, they only go deeper. We need to feel to heal.
Here are sixteen ways to help you get over a girl and get on with your life.
16 Ways To Get Over a Girl
1. Break up with her first
This is the single most important factor.
If you end it on your terms, there will be a sense of closure that you can never have otherwise.
A few years ago, I was blindsided by that one girl to have broken up with me, who did it two weeks earlier than we had planned (due to both moving interstate). Switching it from a mutual decision to her having all the power made the impact a million times worse.
A friend of mine tells me how he once broke up with a girl after a few months because he just wasn’t feeling it. A few more breakups and back togethers later, it was once again teetering on the edge. He says he knew he should have ended it, but then she broke up with him. He said it was a completely different frame, which suddenly made this time exquisitely painful, and it took him ages to get over her.
Remember. If you get dumped, it will make the breakup process exponentially harder.
‘Before Sunrise’ nails this perfectly: You know what’s the worst thing about somebody breaking up with you? It’s when you remember how little you thought about the people you broke up with and you realize that is how little they’re thinking of you. You know, you’d like to think you’re both in all this pain but they’re just like “Hey, I’m glad you’re gone”.
2. Get with a lot of other girls
After I broke up with one of the most incredible girls I’ve ever dated (sadly a million mitigating factors meant we would never work), I went on a rampage and hooked up with literally dozens of beautiful women.
This dulled the pain temporarily, but still left me often wishing that this most recent girl I was with was my ex. A critical reason why this strategy is largely ineffective is because you don’t get to release much oxytocin. ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’, Norman Doidge M.D. states that oxytocin: Reinforces bonding in mammals… induces a calm, warm mood that increases tender feelings and attachment and may lead us to lower our guard. A recent study shows that oxytocin also triggers trust.
Short sharp flings don’t provide enough time to bond with someone, especially if you don’t really like them. All it will do is make you crave the intimacy and familiarity that you had with your ex. This way isn’t recommended.
3. Get in an amazing relationship with one girl
This is absolutely critical. It wasn’t until I was in a really long relationship with an amazing girl, that I was finally able to get over my ex mentioned in the last point. Scientific research explains why this is the case. In ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’, Norman Doidge M.D. states that:
Oxytocin plays the role of wiping out the neural circuits… oxytocin’s “ability” to wipe out learned behaviour has led some scientists to call it an amnestic hormone. Freeman proposes that oxytocin melts down existing neuronal connections that underlie existing attachments, so new attachments can be formed…
Neuroscientist Jack Pankseep argues that oxytocin, in combination with other brain chemicals, is so overwhelmingly good at reducing our feelings of separation-distress that the pain of losing previous attachments makes less of an impression than it would otherwise. This relative lack of distress may also free us to learn new things and form new bonds, while partially reconfiguring our existing relationships.
Remember, you need to build a connection with someone else. You’ll never get over an ex sitting around moping at home.
4. Let Time Pass
Even then, getting over my ex still took time. I don’t agree that time heals all wounds, but it is a component in being able to completely move on. Relationship Counsellor Elly Taylor is pretty close to the mark when she says: “Obviously it depends on the relationship, but as a guideline I find with a significant relationship, it takes around 18 months to grieve and then 18 months to heal“.
However, what you do with that time is a critical factor. If your ex has gone on and done incredible things and marries an amazing person and you never got off the couch… well you’re not going to be able to feel much better about life.
5. Live an amazing life
Use that pain as motivation to go on and do things that you never would have thought of otherwise. Push yourself beyond your creative limits. Break boundaries. Experience what the world has to offer. Travel.
6. Channel your anger
Get all the anger and emotions out. Go to the gym. Do martial arts. Something that will channel that pain, anger and frustration into productivity. It’s amazing how much more you can lift, how much harder you can hit, when you’re really angry.
Here Heartiste nails the anguish that love can result in: I once lost a girl I loved. The rush of pain was so intense even a fight club pummeling couldn’t have distracted me from it. But I didn’t stoically shrug it off. I threw glasses at the wall. I broke things. I smashed up my apartment. If you aren’t smashing stuff after losing a lover you don’t know the pleasure of relinquishing everything for love.
Channel the loss. Utilise it.
7. Want the best for them
Recognise that you probably weren’t the best thing for them. What’s that, you’re going all indignant beta, remembering how good you were to them and how dare they did that to you? How sweet. But genuinely hope they gain proper happiness in their life.
Admittedly, this is easier to do when you broke up with them because you weren’t feeling it. In fact, this is one of the best things to lessen your guilt – knowing they’ve been able to move on and get with someone who treats them better than you did or could.
8. Realise you went beta
If she dumped you, realise you probably went beta somewhere along the line. Don’t be a victim. Be honest with yourself. I had to admit it when the girl dumped me. This is your alpha/beta measurement checklist.
9. Recognise the other things you did wrong
What’s that? It was all her fault? All one sided? Put yourself in her shoes, and figure out why she had the need to end what was good or great at one stage. It wasn’t until I finally did this that I realised the one who broke up with me had every damn right to. I was a total punk. Damn, I’m amazed she stayed with me as long as she did.
10. She’s a slut right?
Did she have more sexual experience than you? Well then did you really want her lips, which have been wrapped around a plethora of penises, kissing your newborn baby? The very essence of you?
11. Use NLP
There are techniques to change the way you view and feel about the past. I don’t think it’s the be all and end all, but it can be useful and has its place.
12. Get back with her.
I’ve done this right, and I’ve done this wrong. Careful of focusing on 10 if this one is a possibility. This really is worth doing if she’s someone special. As Celine says in Before Sunset, ”when you’re young, you just believe there’ll be many people with whom you’ll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times.”
13. DON’T try and dull your senses.
With alcohol, drugs or porn. Live a good life, to the full. Experience everything it has to offer.
The Christian notion of forgiveness really is a beautiful concept. Even when Jesus was being crucified, he said “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Forgiveness allows us to move on. Use it.
Appreciate the things you learnt from her. Appreciate that you’re in this point in your life because of having met her, and that you never would have met a lot of the people and had a lot of the experiences you have since otherwise.
16. Get counselling
Seek professional counselling. It’s a good thing. There’s no shame in it.
I’ve found that many guys hold onto girls because they’re terrified they won’t be able to get another. Read this page for some brilliant advice on the topic. Learn what attracts women, and your confidence will grow. If you realise it needs to end, you’ll be able to move on, to bigger and better things. Simply put, the knowledge that I am able to attract women is one of the most important gifts in my life. It eliminates the fear of a relationship ending, and makes every day exciting. I never know who is going to come into my life and rock my world.
A couple more things. If you see it’s not going to work with a girl, be straight up. A tendency for some guys is to put gradual distance between the two of you, but this often drags it out and hurts her more. Man up and at least do it over the phone. Not via sms. Have some respect.