I cannot stop thinking about him

‘We broke up an x number of days (weeks, months) ago and I cannot stop thinking about him. I do not think I will EVER be able to move on’. Here it is, a classic example of a classic post-breakup pain. We want it to stop so badly, we want to stop thinking about him, and we want it to happen NOW.

We all have been through this experience, haven’t we? And we also remember friends who kept saying “Huh? You still obsess over that jerk?? Why don’t you just stop thinking about him and move on?”

Thinking of someone non-stop after a breakup is an extremely exhausting experience. Our head feels like a buzzing beehive with a million bees flying in and out day and night. The buzzing never stops and is always there. It drains our mental and emotional energy, depletes our mental resources, and affects the quality of our life.

I know you want to stop thinking about them, but you know what? It is OK to think of your ex after a breakup.

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It is correct that the hallmark of a recovery is when we do not think of them anymore, BUT trying to think of not thinking about them will make us think of them even more. You know, it is like trying consciously not to think about a yellow elephant – the more you try not to think about it the more you actually do.

Let us agree on this one for now: 1. It is OK to think of your ex after a breakup.

Do not fight the urge because again, the harder you fight it, the more persistent it becomes. Which makes it all basically worse. Let us agree that, even though he is not with you anymore, he will still linger in your head for a while.

He will linger in your head because of the dreams, hopes, and fantasies you had together. Humans do not cut these off like a chunk of a rotten apple, throw it in a garbage and then voila it is gone. Our brains need time to process the loss. For some of us it is the loss of a friendship we had with a person and for others  it is the loss of someone we could confide with freely; for some of us it is the loss of sex and for others it is the loss of dreams and hopes. For many of us it will be about our own ego and the acceptance that we are not really that special to them anymore.

At times we may even think: ‘How could they just cut it all off so easily and leave? Aren't they in pain?’. The answer is very simple - they were not as invested as you thought they were.

Let us agree on this one as well: 2. Thinking about him does not mean giving into compulsion and acting upon it (or trying ‘to do something’)

It may be hard for some, but the best way to deal with it is to channel that compulsion of ‘doing something’ into starting a diary, writing a letter or talking to imaginary him. Pour it all out onto a paper and I guarantee you will feel better. Part of your current suffering is related to being ‘cut off’. You feel like you have a lot to say and explain, but since he is gone you have no outlet to unload this pain. Unload it all on paper!

It is important not to suppress your feelings. No matter how painful, please accept what you currently feel. Do not fight your emotions, do not feel angry or embarrassed about feeling so weak and miserable, and do not belittle yourself. You are a live human being who is in pain, why make it worse by being so harsh towards yourself? Do not side with Him or with the pain, side with YOU!

Siding with YOU means ‘doing something’ FOR YOU. Think about it: your thinking of him won’t change the fact that it is over. Rather than wasting energy on something that is dead, why not shift the focus onto YOU and do something loving for YOU? Since you have been broken up for a while, plus the time before the breakup, I would assume it has been a while since you were genuinely happy. Shifting the focus onto you should remind you of your own importance and what it is like to be The One. I know you are thinking of him and you are in pain, but there is YOU in this equation also. You are the number one and they are (the pain and your ex) number two and three. Put yourself first!

You have the highest priority here and get to enjoy what you love. Perhaps the first time in months?

Positive experiences effect our thoughts. Once you start doing self-loving things you may notice that thinking of him does not feel as painful. Yes, you will still be thinking about him, but putting yourself first will make it easier. It will be easier because self-love makes us feel comfortable and secure. It also makes us happy, calm, and in control. You won’t be at the mercy of that buzzing beehive anymore, you will now be able to step in, to interfere, and make it less bothersome.

And him treating you like sh*t? Here is the rule of thumb – the more we love ourselves, the easier it is to see his unloving side. I say, spend an entire month on giving yourself self-love, and then see how badly you will still want to think about him.

3. Moving on with your life will eventually make you think of him less or stop thinking of him entirely.

It is true that time heals all wounds. If you are currently working, think of some of your previous jobs and the boss who wasn't treating you right. Quitting that job (and starting a new one) made him ‘your past’ and helped to forget and move on.

You cannot speed up the flow of the time, but you can push your ex further down your past by creating a new life without them. Just like your today’s job may become your past job tomorrow, moving away from the area where you live, getting back to school, meeting new people or taking up on some existing project will immediately push him back in time. Our brains would rather register and ‘feel’ what is happening now; the more eventful and emotional our present is, the more bleak and colorless our past becomes. We can either sit and wait for the present to erase the past or we can take action and build our present now.

As an example: have you ever had such a busy day that what happened in that morning felt like it was yesterday?

Get on with your life and it will immediately push him back in time. As a result, you will feel less pain and won’t be thinking of him as much. The richer your current life is, and the more stuff is happening, the less time and capacity your brain will have to dwell on the past.

To sum this all up: you will think about him after a breakup. Do not fight it though, just let your brain process the loss. Shifting the focus onto you will make the process less lengthy and less painful. You DO need to be proactive, however, to make it all happen.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Articles - Post-breakup: does he miss me? and What to do when he breaks up with you or this high quality e-Course Why He Disappeared