There’s no way around it; breakups are hard. No matter which role you played in the split, it’s natural to be sad, depressed, angry and confused at the end of a previously solid relationship. Unfortunately, not all couples are built to last and sometimes you have to let go and move on despite how difficult it seems.
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When a relationship goes kaput, the best thing you can do is to figure out how to get over your it and your ex. You’ll need to work through the emotions, make peace with the breakup, put the memories aside and get ready to try again. Learning how to get over an ex is will be a lot easier if you follow each of these following tips.
1. Feel your emotions
No one wants to hurt, but sometimes a breakup is painful. Slapping on a smile over sadness or anger probably won’t make it go away, it’ll just cover it up for a while. But, the pain may still be waiting for you later. Instead of denying your emotions, deal with them as them come. Cry, wail, or scream. Do what it takes to release the emotions, so you move on without the baggage of the pain.
2. Keep busy
While getting over your ex, free time is the enemy. Idle time may result in obsessing, playing the “what if” game and replaying the breakup. Instead, keep your mind busy by trying a new hobby, taking a class or learning a language. Look at your newly single status as an opportunity to spend time on your favorite activities and to develop new interests.
Pull out your calendar and start packing it with new adventures. If you had a standing date night with the ex, or a particular day you spent together, be sure to have a plan for filling it.
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3. Toss his stuff
The last thing you need is a houseful of his stuff hanging around to serve as a painful reminder. Box up his ratty sweatshirt, toothbrush and that DVD he insisted on watching over and over, and get them out of your place. If you really need to be the bigger person, give him the opportunity to get it, but after that it’s gone. Toss it, donate it to charity, or light it on fire; whatever you need to do to move on.
4. Give up on getting your stuff back
If tossing out his stuff aids your quest to get over your ex, you can’t expect to get your own back. The swapping of stuff can turn into a stall tactic to moving on. Plus, the back-and-forth it takes to arrange the meeting may be an excuse to prolong contact. All the things you left at his place seem like must-haves, but you don’t honestly need that bottle of lotion and hairbrush. Replacing those things will probably cost you less than seeing him again will.
5. Catch up with friends
Your best allies in getting over a guy are your girl friends. They’ve probably all been in your shoes, so they’ll know how to pick you up. Not only will they be supportive, they’ll also help fill all the free time you suddenly have on your hands. Often people neglect their friends when they’re in a relationship, so a great way to catch up is with some mani/pedi dates, happy hours or even shopping trips.
6. Talk it out
While you are catching up with your girlfriends, have a giant vent session about your ex and the breakup. They probably all have a jerk in their past, or have been in a toxic relationship (more on toxic relationships here), so they’ll gladly let you dish out all the ugly details. Complaining can be cathartic and you may feel free of the negative emotions once you’ve spilled them to your pals.
While you gripe about yours, make sure to also listen to their tales of woe too. There’s power in knowing you aren’t alone in trying to figure out how to get over an ex.
7. Stop talking about it
Admittedly, this seems to completely contradict the previous suggestion, but hang in there. After articulating everything once, stop venting out loud, especially to your friends.
Rehashing everything over and over keeps it fresh and may prevent you from moving on. Plus, your girlfriends will want to make you feel better, so their go-to response may to tell you awesome you are and how much better you deserve. Confidence-boosting feedback like that can be addicting and a dangerous cycle is created. Instead, put an embargo on the ex talk and focus on cheerier topics.
8. Focus on his negatives
When you are figuring out how to get over your ex, it’s easy to idealize him and the relationship. Take him off the pedestal because he has plenty of flaws too, everyone does. Replace the image of his sexy smile with a mental image of the mess he always left in the kitchen or some other problem he always caused. Every time a longing for him pops up, squash it with a memory of his shortcomings.
It’s almost impossible to get over the ideal boyfriend that hindsight can turn him into, but it may be much easier to move on from the highly flawed person he actually is.
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9. Get fit
Sitting on the couch, watching sad movies and gorging on Chunky Monkey is a breakup cliché. Instead of falling into that pity party trap, get up and get fit. Now is the perfect time to workout as I explain in the guide in falling out of love here. Not only will it fill the time you might otherwise spend obsessing, your body will be smoking by the time you are ready to jump back into the dating scene. Burn off some rage with cardio activities like kickboxing or running. Or, find your Zen again with yoga.
10. Get a makeover
A new look can signal a fresh start. Plus, looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. Don’t go too drastic though. Once you start feeling like your old self again, you may wish you had your old look back. Trim a few inches off your long locks, go for subtle highlights or splurge on some feisty red lipstick.
11. Erase his contact info
Late night drunk-dials are never going to help you heal and you’ll just end up feeling embarrassed as I explain in the no contact rule. Purge his numbers from your phone and address book. With his contact info wiped out, you can’t give into the urge to send him a text just to make sure he’s ok.
And if he happens to drunk dial you, it’s probably not a good idea to respond. Understanding men isn’t rocket science (as I explain here), so you can be pretty sure that in this case all he cares about is your booty, not you.
12. Defriend and Unfollow
Now that you’ve erased his phone number, it’s time to strike him from your social media as well. His Saturday-night selfie with a cute girl is bound to make you wonder if she is his new fling (tips on dealing with jealousy here), and his post from your favorite date-night spot will bring up memories of your time together.
Social media keeps the two of you tied together, even when you aren’t. Skip the drama and delete him from your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. At the very least, hide him from your newsfeeds so you don’t have to see his updates.
13. Do all the things he hated
Relationships call for compromise, but being single is all about you. Now is the time to indulge in all the things you gave up to be with him. Did he hate something you adored, like brunch? Schedule an all-you-can eat, champagne-soaked version with your girl friends. Wear that bulky sweater he didn’t like and perfume he thought smelled weird. Doing the things you love that he didn’t may remind you of how much better off you are without him.
14. Avoid bumping into him
Not only is running into your ex awkward for everyone involved, it can also send you into a spiral of emotions. Even if you are moving on and feeling great, a chance encounter may bring up old hurts. Limit the opportunities for surprise sightings by staying away from the places he frequents. For now, all his old haunts, like his favorite bar and morning coffee shop, are off limits.
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15. Throw yourself into work
Now is the time to start working on your next big career move. Amping up your commitment on the job has plenty on benefits. You’ll fill in some free time and keep your mind busy.
More importantly, your success at work may turn into confidence in the other areas of your life. Of course, the jealousy he’ll feel when he hears about the raise or promotion you earned won’t hurt either. Put in some overtime, volunteer for a big project, or offer to go on a business trip or attend a conference.
Your home is the scene of loads of memories the most intimate moments of your relationship. Switching up the decor may be enough to change your perspective and prevent the memories from flooding in every time you plop down on the couch. There’s no need to need to move or drop thousands on new things though.
Rearranging the furniture and splashing a new shade on the walls may do the trick. There’s no need to endure sleepless nights recalling your lovemaking sessions, so focus your redecorating efforts on the bedroom by splurging on new sheets and piles of pillows.
You may not be ready for a new relationship yet, but there’s no reason you can’t indulge in a little harmless flirting. It’s fun, plus, seeing guys respond to your flirtatious ways may give you a boost of confidence as well as a reminder that there’s a whole new world of men out there just waiting for you to hit the dating scene again.
Flirting can also keep your libido humming. Even you aren’t ready to jump into something physical right now, you don’t want to let your sex drive get too cold. You’ll find more awesome flirting advice here and here.
18. Meet new men
There is no better way to get over your ex than to get excited about a new one as I mentioned in the guide on getting over a break up. You can’t replace your ex and jumping into a serious relationship right away probably isn’t the best idea. But, if you take it slow, meeting new guys may be just the distraction you need.
Join an online dating site, ask your friends to introduce you to their guy friends, or strike up conversations with handsome strangers in line at the grocery store. You never know when and where you are going to meet Mr. Right, (or Mr. Right Now).
19. Stay safe
When you are trying to escape the emotions of a breakup, alcohol, drugs and risky sex may sound like pretty good ways to numb the pain. Unfortunately, they all have consequences. A few drinks or some shameless flirting can be fun, but don’t let things go further than you are comfortable with.
If you feel like things are getting out of hand, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Besides, all those feel-good activities just mask the hurt temporarily; the real stuff will probably be waiting for you on the other side.
Getting over your ex may not be easy, but you can’t wallow in the pain forever. Once the relationship is done, the process of moving on has to start. The faster you figure out how to get over your ex, the faster you can move on to bigger, better things. While new love may be waiting just around the corner, the real prize is feeling healthy and whole, without the burden of longing for him.
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