How to move on

How to move on: a guide for anyone struggling to let go of an ex

by Eharmony Editorial Team - March 7, 2018

Wondering how to move on? If you’re finding it difficult to let go of an ex and move forward, Laura Yates is here to help

Letting go of an ex can be one of the biggest struggles when trying to heal from a past relationship. No matter how many times you turn to positive quotes on Instagram, delve into self-help books, or try your best to listen to friends’ advice, it can be hard for anything to really stick.

That’s why I’ve put together some advice to help you start to move on, while having full empathy and compassion for yourself:

1. Don’t feel pressured by time

 Letting go of an ex is much like mourning the loss of someone. In some ways, it can even feel worse because there isn’t anything final about the situation. While that might sound dramatic, if you do feel that way, it’s completely normal. Just know that grief, in all its forms, isn’t linear. You might read or hear countless theories on ‘how long it takes to move on from an ex’ but there isn’t a time formula. It depends on the relationship and the individual. So, if you feel okay one day and terrible the next or can’t quite see how to move on some days, don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay and it will pass in time.

 2. Declutter

When considering how to move on, having something practical to do can help. Decluttering your environment can really help your state of mind. Spend some time clearing out your space, making way for the new. It might be tough to let them go but if you still have any of your ex’s belongings they act as constant reminders preventing you from moving on. Store them away, arrange for them to be given back to your ex (ideally without having to see them yourself), or donate them. And even if you don’t have any of your ex’s things lying around, the ritual of creating change in your environment will also start to translate in how you feel.

3. Journal

Writing out your thoughts and feelings is a great way to better interpret what’s going on in your head. Try asking yourself why you’re afraid to move on and then write your thoughts down. Journaling can help you get to the core of why. The deeper reasons. You might find that it’s not so much that you don’t know how to move on from your ex as a person but more a fear of change, being alone, and or having to start over. All these reasons can then be worked through in a more tangible way. Even if nothing enlightening or revealing comes to the surface through journaling, it can still feel like a great emotional release.

 4. Decide you want to let go – and commit

Here comes the tough love bit – and I say this with absolute kindness and compassion. Ultimately, letting go of your ex is your decision. It’s a decision that you must make day after day after day. It doesn’t mean ignoring your feelings or refusing to feel and show emotion. It just means that you accept what you’re feeling but are choosing a more empowering, positive thought that’s aligned to moving forward. This could be as simple as doing some exercise, going for a walk, working towards a personal goal, journaling through it – anything that moves you from victim to victor. Remember, you are on the centre stage in your life. The cards are in your hands and you do get to decide how to move on. It isn’t going to be easy – it’s about baby steps as opposed to big leaps – but it will get better if you adopt this mindset.

5. Talk it out – but have your limits

It’s important to have people you can talk to. Whether that be friends, family, a colleague, therapist or coach. Someone who you trust. Talking is a great way to release your emotions and feel supported. But be careful not to over-talk or keep going over old ground, especially with friends. When you do this too much it can keep you stuck. Try to maintain a balance. Embrace new conversations and talking points. Let your friends steer your life forwards.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Here’s to creating new space, memories and goes for this next stage of your life. Just know this isn’t about seeing radical change in a matter of days. It’s about taking small steps and intentions every day that will help you really start to move on.