I can’t forget my ex: 6 tips from relationship psychologists

No one can match it. Every new man is compared to him. Time and again, your mind wanders back to the past – back to him. "I can’t forget my ex" this is a real problem that can get in your way significantly during the getting-to-know-you phase. How to get involved with someone new when your heart is set on someone else? This leads to confusion and frustration. Put an end to it!

It’s time to look ahead and really enjoy dating again. How to finally break up with your ex-partner and what experts advise, you can find out here.

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1. I can’t forget my ex: Find a role model

Whether it’s a presenter, model or actress: which strong woman do you admire? Psychologist Kelly McGonigal recommends looking for a good role model. Maybe even a woman who went through a similar story with an ex.

Whether it’s Rihanna or Jennifer Garner – thanks to social media, we know that even the stars and starlets have struggled with terrible relationships. And we also see how they are now newly in love, engaged or even married again. We can take a cue from this! Because if media stars can do it despite negative headlines and outside pressure, we too can get closure with an ex.

A good role model, for example, is Emma Watson, who revealed how happy she feels being single. Read more here.


2. Replace the desire

The best way to replace an old desire is to discover something new. You can’t find a new partner so quickly. But a new hobby or a new project, already!

Scientist Kelly McGonigal recommends making it a point to set a new goal in life that ignites your passion. You need something to put your energy into, so you don’t get caught up in the "he’s missing so much" thoughts. We need a new challenge that we’re on fire for!

Unsure what you could tackle now? We’ve already told you how to discover hidden talents here.

3. Being focused does not mean being in love

If I still can’t stop thinking about that one ex, there must still be feelings there – or not?

Not necessarily, writes psychologist David Braucher in this essay. Maybe it’s not your ex you’re missing at all. Maybe it’s the zest for life and the lightness you’re missing right now that you’ve linked to the relationship at the time.

It may also be that you just can’t get rid of the thoughts because you haven’t finished dealing with the guilt or fear of loss yet. These negative feelings can also make us think about the ex over and over again. But it’s not about him, it’s about hurting your self-esteem.

So it’s worth questioning what you’re actually missing. A relationship, him or a strong sense of self-worth.

I can’t get over my ex: What does a relationship coach recommend? In the following video, Coach Emanuel Albert explains exactly how you can come to terms with the past:

4. Down with the rose-colored glasses

"It was so nice when we went on vacation together back then." "He was such a good listener." "He always gave me gifts". No matter how difficult the breakup was, we tend to only ever hold on to the positives in our thoughts!

The longer we’ve been with someone, the more drastic this effect is. Fade out every loud argument – in retrospect, everything didn’t seem so bad anymore.

Our brain is playing tricks on us here because it wants back the feelings of happiness we once associated with this person. Scientists found what works best against stuck rose-colored glasses in a 2017 study. We need to actively look at the negatives about the ex to keep things real. And as many times as possible until we no longer put him on a pedestal.

5. Force yourself to the truth

Ask yourself concretely: What did you never like about him?? What would have become really problematic in the future? What behaviors did you put up with, but never agreed with??

In the positive with the thing close or distract neither helps to finally close the relationship. It’s only when the message "he wasn’t the one" has reached our brains that we get over it.

The book "Weg mit dem Ex: Wie Du IHN garantiert aus deinem Leben streichst" by Franziska Lieb can help you to finally get closure.

By the way: If your ex gets in touch again – there are many reasons why this happens. Learn more about it here.

6. I can’t get over my ex: Recognizing co-dependency

According to researcher Darlene Lancer, there’s another reason for the focus on the ex. And that is: co-dependency! The American has been researching the field for 30 years and has written several books on the subject.

What’s the reason we wish back an ex we’ve been in a toxic relationship with? Actually, you should be glad that the lying, cheating and humiliations are finally over. And yet: We still cling to the toxic ex-partner as if he had been the absolute dream man.

Darlene Lancer warns: should you want your ex back despite unhealthy relationship structures, you may have developed a co-dependency. This happens more often than you think. But co-dependency should not be confused with love. This insight can also help you break up with the toxic ex.

Do you tend to have co-dependent behavior? According to the scientist, here’s what speaks for it:

– The relationship with the partner always had priority over everything else
– You belong to the anxious attachment type (learn more about the different attachment types here)
– Guilt is a big issue. You blame yourself or your partner
– You have struggled with depression in the past

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I can’t forget my ex: Hopefully, these tips will help you put the past behind you. You will also be helped by these self-confidence tips.

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