When you're thinking about your ex to the extent that these thoughts are interfering with your day-to-day life, he's become your focus, notes April Masini, author and relationship expert at AskApril.com. He shouldn't be your focus — you should be your focus. "It's understandable that breaking up requires a transition period, but after a few months, these thoughts should taper off, and you should focus more on what's in front of you that's possible, and not on what's behind you," she advises.
Following a breakup, it's a good idea to cut social media ties with an ex. If you haven't, you're likely still too attached. "You're going to be tortured by his presence on your social media, especially when he starts dating," says Masini. "You won't be able to enjoy your social media friends and contacts when you're always clicking on his information."
As Masini tells us, keeping your ex on Facebook or similar can easily lead to stalking. The information is readily available and oh-so-tempting to pore over again and again. But, she warns that you won't get the whole story behind the photos or the tweets, just enough to lure you in and get you addicted: "Stalking means you've given up your power and you're investing it in a failed relationship."
True story: For about six months after my last breakup, the first thing I did every morning, even before coffee, was check my ex's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Finally my best friend came over and deleted him from all platforms to save my sanity. I love her for it. Rochelle, 28
Continuously asking his friends or your mutual friends for information about your ex is a mistake and a big step into crazy ex territory. "Before you know it, you're going to get a reputation, and you'll start noticing your invitations are dissipating," says Masini. "If you can't stop asking or wondering, make new friends who don't know him," she advises.
True story: I convinced myself it was better to ask about my ex than not talk about him because I thought it made me seem like I was more over it. But really I just ended up sounding like a broken record and if I'm honest, a bit of a stalker. Anonymous
Do yourself (and your dignity) a favor and stay away from places you know he'll be. "As soon as he realizes you're following him, or worse, showing up at his haunts before he even gets there, he's going to eventually find new places to hang out and you'll be out of the loop," warns Masini. She suggests using the breakup as an opportunity to find a better gym, a better coffee shop and a better dog park.
True story: I was so intent on seeing my ex I joined his gym. Big mistake. It was so awkward every time I saw him I could never concentrate on my workouts and I quit a month later. Deanna, 25
Still have all his stuff? It's time to purge. "Keeping a shrine to your ex by maintaining a box of his stuff long after you've broken up with him is going to be weird at best, and obsessive at worst," Masini says. It also keeps you anchored in the past. She recommends getting his stuff together and mailing it back to him, his mom or donating it to Goodwill.
Women who chase men lose out, Masini says. And guess what? Texting, emailing and calling him count as chasing him — especially when you're initiating the chase, she explains: "I've heard from loads of women who justify doing this, but in the end, it catches up to them. If he's your ex, that means he's going to sleep with you if you make it that easy, but he's also going to be looking for relationships and sex elsewhere, too."
People do reunite, but the circumstances need to be right and both people need to be ready. But, says Masini, if he's changed the locks, is dating someone else, and you saw them perusing rings at the mall, chances are, no matter how elaborate a plan you've hatched, he's moved on: "It takes two people to get together, and one to break up."
The problem with sabotage, as tempting as it is when you find out he's dating someone else, is that you may end up driving him further away from you and more quickly into the arms of this new person. "You'll get a short-term boost and a long-term let down. The best revenge is living well, and that's a fact," says Masini. "If you really want to make him second guess himself, go have a great life and be gracious and polite."
True story: My friends and I spent so many hours and consumed many bottles of wine, hatching schemes of sabotage to scare off my ex's new girlfriend. We never put any into action, but I'm still embarrassed I was so intent on breaking them up. Laurel, 32
You might be hung up on your ex, but eventually your friends aren't going to want to hear about it. "You'll know that your friends are sick of hearing about your ex because they'll stop calling you, the calls they do make will be shorter, and you'll be invited out less and less," says Masini. "You'll start hearing about fun times you weren't included in because they didn't want to hear tales of woe."
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