Thinking can be a great tool to have. Sometimes, it gets out of tight spots, gives us tremendous insights, and can even change the course of our lives for the better. Other times, this useful tool, begins to control our every waking hour. It replays past events like a movie on a constant loop and not even a good movie…one that can haunt us or just make us feel terrible about ourselves. This can be especially true for us men after we break up with a woman. So many scenarios run through our minds about what could’ve been, what we could’ve done differently or how we can still, maybe, get our ex-girlfriend back. It’s only natural for this to occur after a breakup, but at some point we need it to stop and be able to move on with our lives (even if we eventually get back together with our ex). The question then begs, how do you stop thinking about her once the relationship ends? What about if she’s sleeping with someone else? Or you’re in another relationship? Well, boys, let us dig deeper and see if we can’t present some ways to solve this issue.
To The Roots of Thinking
The first thing to recognize is the powerful illusions that thoughts create. Even when we remember events fairly clearly, they are still only our subjective interpretations of what happened, and flawed ones at that. As I said before, memories and thoughts are sort of like films, and films that are highly edited and colored by our emotions and the limited ability of our senses to pick up the data of our surrounding environment.
No matter how rational or certain you take your memories for, they are still always inherently flawed. When interacting with another person (your ex for example), your memory is even more limited because you don’t quite know what she was thinking, feeling, or what she would remember about any given situation. Add to the fact, that our brains can often conflate two separate events and turn them into one single memory…and you’ve got yourself one highly misleading narrative.
That’s the thing about it, it’s not just having the memories or thoughts pop into our heads, it’s also our interpretation and analysis. What if this happened instead? What if I’d said this? Oh! Maybe I should call her and say that now…I’m sure she’ll take me back. The narrative story that we create about memories are often the most insidious part of them. We’re natural problem solvers and when we have a major change like a break up happen in our lives, we want to solve the emotional tumult. Thus, it repeats again and again.
The narrative isn’t just limited to trying to resolve problems the relationship faced. There is also the story we tell ourselves about just how damn great she was and how you’ll never meet someone like her again, etc., etc.
Is any of that really true? I’m sure she had some great things about her, however, was it all sunshine and happiness? No issues? No behavioral problems? No selfishness? Being annoying? Are there not billions of females on the planet? No one is better looking? Nicer? A better partner? You aren’t capable of landing someone else?
Just what is really true about all of these thoughts and memories that are being stirred up?
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Another issue with thoughts is how often they can lead to actions which don’t serve our best interests. Your brain will concoct all sorts of solutions and fail-proof schemes in order to get your ex to come back, and these ideas can have the effect of pushing them further away.
There is nothing less attractive to a woman than a desperate man. He has no self respect. He treats her as if she is somehow above him, like he is her personal servant. Now, normally men wouldn’t act like this of course, but when our thoughts and emotions are consumed with this idealized vision of our ex-girlfriends…we get into some silly situations.
If your thoughts translate into desperate, clingy, annoying, or hurtful behavior towards your ex-girlfriend, any attraction she may have had left will evaporate really quickly. It becomes a situation in which to resist what is (the end of the relationship for the time being) is to further impair the odds of it ever being repaired. In essence, you have to be willing to move on completely with your life, whether or not she ever comes back.
Do not let these thoughts and emotions cloud your judgments and force you to make short-sighted moves. You aren’t going to ‘fix’ a broken relationship just like that. In fact, if reconciliation did take place, it would effectively be a new relationship in order to solve all of the issues the old one had…so accept the fact that the old one is gone either way.
How to Stop Thinking About Your Ex-Girlfriend
OK, so now that we have a brief overview of overthinking and how it can hinder things post-breakup, we can begin to move on to ways to reduce thinking about her. All of these suggestions are things that I have done in the past to help me stop thinking about ex-girlfriends or even move on from tough life experiences. In fact, I incorporate some of the techniques into my daily life, to help my performance and mental clarity.
Letting go of thoughts, desires, or relationships can take place either in the here and now or in the long-term. The short-term effect is to interrupt the thought patterns, which sort of retrains the brain to not go down that same road again and again. Letting go allows for a level of clarity to take hold and an elevation of one’s mood. When I let go in the moment, I no longer need to chase my thoughts, as I am content with what is.
This is the best short video of a technique to let go. I watched this almost everyday for a month or so before meditation sessions and found that it helped immensely. The actual breathing technique is like 5 minutes, so you can fast forward to the six minute mark of the video, if you don’t want the entire explanation:
The great thing about this breathing technique is that it can be done anywhere, once you’ve learned it. I’ve incorporated while at museums, bars, before dates, etc. It’s a fantastic way to start calming oneself down and helping to make the thought patterns more sporadic.
Interrupting thought patterns is a way to set up sort of a beach head and begin to unwind the lock that these persistent thoughts and memories can have on one’s mind. The above technique is just a warm up for me, I like to do meditation on an almost daily basis, to really get in the habit of ‘no thought’ and disrupting thoughts that have become addictive to my brain.
Any easy way to begin, is to do the breathing technique demonstrated in the video above, and then follow that with a guided meditation video. Guided meditation will talk you through the basics of meditation until you can progress enough with your ability to clear your mind and do a meditation on your own accord. Here is an excellent video to start with:
The following books may also aid you in being able to clear your head of excess thinking. Each one has helped me immensely along my journey of personal transformation.
Part of being able to stop thinking about someone is to stop dwelling on the past itself. The meditation techniques and book recommendation above are probably enough to help cut off the thinking of an ex-girlfriend entirely but I wanted to incorporate some other things that can help over time as well. Our routines in daily life can become stagnant and seem to bog us down, especially when there’s a major shift in one aspect (relationship). Things can become stale, we feel like we’ve stopped growing or have any real goals to shoot for.
Since we have to accept the possibility that our ex might not ever get back together with us, we should then follow the post-breakup plan that I have put forth in the past.
It is a mixture of removing as much interaction with your ex-girlfriend as possible, self-development, and dating other women.
The No Contact aspect of this trifecta, helps with the overthinking, with the help of the old adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’. The less you have to see or speak with her, the less her image will appear in your thoughts. Now, it is obviously a gradual process but I have found that once I’d started meditating and disrupting those thought patterns, it became much easier and less painful to let go of the women I’d been dating.
Self-improvement gives you something else to focus your energy on. If you don’t have jack shit going on in your life, then of course a break up is going to linger for a long while, your brain is sitting idle. Physical, mental, emotional, social…all of them. Pick something to move towards, with your eyes forward, it becomes hard to focus on the past.
I like to start dating other women almost right away, nowadays. Granted I’ve gotten myself to a really good place psychologically and am able to deal with things in a much healthier and non-self destructive way, so maybe I can get away with moving forward faster than other guys can. However, I’ve found that dating other girls helps to really get rid of the total focus on one person, who I’m no longer together with. Right after a break up, I might even be a little less picky because even the bad dates have a positive impact on me. In the sense that they make me say, “Thank God I’m single and not together with her”. Meanwhile, the good dates are a reminder that I still have value as a man and there are other attractive women out there.
In closing, to forget about an ex, I:
Cut off the constant stimulus of seeing/speaking to her
Interupt thought patterns with meditation and letting go techniques
Give myself other things to focus on with a massive self-development plan