Breakup Advice

This is How to Get Over Your Ex Girlfriend

Getting over an ex is one of the hardest things you can do – at least, that’s how it felt for me at the time of my relationship breakup. And yet, I was able to move on from my past and become a superior man in the process.

In this article, I show you exactly how I did it, and how you can do it too.

Let’s do this.


Accept that it's over

At the start of my breakup I was a mess, both mentally and physically. I holed up at home for days, barely eating, experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions, from anguish to outright anger.

I hadn’t gone through a breakup at that point in my life, so I didn’t know quite what to expect. But more importantly, I didn’t have the mental tools to deal with a breakup.

I’ll get to what those tools are soon, so stay with me.

Then, I realised something was wrong.

It had been a few weeks, and the heartache wasn’t going away. Even though I had no experience in getting over a breakup, I knew that somehow I could not remain trapped in this broken emotional state.

It wasn’t a healthy state, both mentally and physically.

I had to accept the fact that nobody was coming to help. This was something I was going to have to sort out myself.

On that note, I did search for information, but back then there were no blogs or books I could have purchased to help. This is what prompted me to write my own book – How to Get Over Your Ex Girlfriend – as a guide for other guys in my position.

So, I started to question the story I was telling myself daily. It was an ugly process, but I had to accept that I was feeling sorry for myself at such a level that it made me uncomfortable.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the beginning of figuring out how to move on from the past.

For the first time in weeks, something other than self-pity stirred in me. So I kept circling back to that line of thought. I felt somewhat detached from myself – the victim – and I became the ruthless interrogator.

I recommend that you follow this technique: detach yourself in order to take a close look at your current self. Otherwise, you’ll block yourself with countless excuses and reasons that justify your self-pity.

I began to look at my victim self in disgust, and then in anger. Look at the state of me, I thought. I’m like a hopeless baby. This is not how a man should be.

As I grew angry, I began to question how I had become stuck in a groundhog day rut, and what it would take to break that state.

The answer was simple: I was stuck in self-pity hell because I hadn’t made a decision. The fact is that we move forward in life by making decisions, and when we stop – or are unable to make – decisions, we feel powerless and grind to a halt.

Figuring out the decision I had to make was not obvious though. It took a lot of thought to realise that what I needed was to figure out the question that would break the spell.

That question was: do you want to get back with your ex, or do you want to move on?

Don’t dismiss this question, because it’s the very reason why so many people get stuck in heartache and self-pity for so long. At a subconscious level, they hope that their ex will come back to them, or that the situation will somehow resolve itself as if by magic.

Not asking yourself this question will keep you rooted to the spot as you wait for something external to happen.

If you decide that you want your ex back, then you still need to go through the process I outline in this article in order to become a more attractive option for her.

If, on the other hand, you decide that you want to move on with your life, then congratulate yourself on making the first decision that creates a goal in your subconscious.

You want out. You want to be free of this heartache. You want to stop the thoughts of the past that keep you from moving on.

Good. Now, let’s get to work.


Clear your space

This part of the healing process is straight forward. However, don’t be tempted to skim over it or even skip it! There’s a specific reason why this is the second step, and I’ll get to that in a moment.

The thing to do here is to clean up your environment and rid yourself of any painful reminders. That is, anything that reminds you of your ex, whether it’s clothing or gifts. Throw it all out.

It may seem like drastic action, but you’ve already decided you want to move on with your life and your ex partner has no place in it, so stop procrastinating and get to it. Throw it all out.

This is about regaining your personal space.

Roll up your sleeves, play some loud music and get stuck in. Immerse yourself in the task. Detach as much as you can from the act. Don’t pick up items and start pondering at the emotional connections to the past. Work fast and don’t think. Instead, sing along to the songs and actually feel yourself enjoy the task.

Once your living space has been purged, rearrange the furniture in a way that doesn’t feel familiar. Change right now is good.

The goal is to end up with clean surroundings and to rid yourself of any visual reminders to your recent past and your ex girlfriend.

Now it’s time to grab your phone.

Ditch her number

Holding on to your ex’s number is a terrible idea. It will consume your mental resources as you keep yourself in a state of hope or curiosity in case she ever calls.

Even if you decide to move on, keeping her number is still a bad idea. You have to question your hidden motives: are you hoping she calls so you can give her a piece of your mind? Or are you hoping she doesn’t call so you can feel somehow justified that you made the right decision?

The reality is that you don’t need her approval – or anybody else’s approval. You decided to move on with your life. Start acting congruently with that decision: delete her number.

If you really want to break free, ditch your number and get a new one, unless it happens to be a work-related number.

If and when you catch yourself making excuses during this step, quickly ignore them and get on with the task at hand. Tell yourself that the other version of you (the victim) is trying his best to stop you from moving forward. Get angry if you need to – there’s nothing like anger to spur you on to your goal.

Just do it.


Deal with your mind

Now that your surroundings are clean and void of any painful reminders, it’s time to face a bigger task: dealing with your emotional space.

This is precisely why getting your environment in order was the previous step, because it’s a mechanical effort more than a mental one, and also because it gives you a comfortable place in which to deal with your mind.

When it comes to timescales, how much mental baggage you have to deal with and how long it takes you to face up to yourself will determine how long this step will take you.

The reality is that dealing with mental baggage forces you to first acknowledge and then accept the baggage.

This is the time to sit quietly and introspect. It is necessary to revisit painful memories in this process, in order to extract the lessons we need to move forward from a previous relationship.

Specifically, you’ll want to return to the past and analyse events in detail. However, the goal here is not to blame her, as you’ve probably being doing up until now, but to find your part in the blame.

Take responsibility for your failings. In other words, own your s**t.

Start by asking yourself what could you have done better? And dig deeper by asking why you didn’t do better. What motivated you to keep low standards?

Whatever your ex did, whether it was her that dumped you or cheated on you or whatever else, needs to be brought to the forefront of your mind too. But this time, instead of blaming her, ask yourself what is it about you that could have motivated her to do what she did?

Do not run away from this task. If you do, then you know you’re hiding from facing yourself.

Nobody said this was easy. You’ll find yourself – or rather, the self-proclaimed victim version of yourself – fighting you all the way. Nobody wants to be wrong or bad. Taking the blame for events means shattering that pristine, blameless story your old self built around what happened.

Console yourself by the following three facts:

  1. There are three sides to every story: yours, hers and the truth.
  2. There is nobody involved in this process other than yourself. You have complete privacy in which to admit your failings without anybody judging you.
  3. It takes courage to do this. Prove to yourself that you’re a man of courage and not a pussy.

In my book, How to Get Over Your Ex, I cover the use of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to help you take control of your mind. More specifically, to stop the merry-go-round of painful memories.

Let me give you a brief exercise:

  1. Become aware of your conscious thoughts. Stay alert and be resent, monitoring your thoughts like a firewall.
  2. As soon as a thought about your ex pops into your mind, replace it with something else. For example, ‘white noise’, or a song you like. Start chanting or repeating a mantra if that helps you block the thought.
  3. Do this repeatedly and you’ll notice after a while that the thoughts become less frequent and then less intense, until they start to face. This is because you’re conditioning your mind to do so.

I realise that the above exercise, without the context of the NLP chapter in my book, may seem somewhat abstract. But trust the process: it works.

I encourage you to familiarise yourself with NLP and some of its concepts in order to gain control of your mind. You can learn more about NLP in this Wikipedia entry.


Rebuild your confidence

Once you’ve dealt with your mental baggage, you’ll feel a weight off your shoulders, not to mention a clearer mind as you free up a ton of mental bandwidth that was dedicated to making you feel down. This is the blank slate you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to start working on yourself.

When a relationship breaks down and ends badly, your self-confidence and self-esteem take a kicking. Add to this the fact that you’ve been moping around feeling sorry for yourself and you’ll realise why you have zero confidence, especially when it comes to approaching the opposite sex.

The old you will have convinced you that you won’t find love again, or a girlfriend, and even that you were lucky your ex tolerated you. This is nonsense, so brush these thoughts aside and vow move forward with determination.

It’s time to start integrating yourself back into social life.

Start small. If you have a dog, then walk your dog and strike up simple conversations with other dog walkers. If you don’t, then force yourself to ask women for directions, or comment on the weather.

If you’ve forgotten what it’s like to talk to the opposite sex, start with small things – don’t try to go for gold.

If you really feel self-conscious, then go to a supermarket and ask a shop assistant for help finding an item. They work at the supermarket and it’s in their job description to help you. Moreover, they’ll probably be very pleasant and even smile at you.

Take things up a level by chatting lightly to the till assistant when it’s your turn to go through checkout. Don’t use the self-serve section. This is not a time to be in a rush: you’re retraining yourself to feel comfortable speaking to strangers, so stick to the task.

Keep this up and before long you’ll find yourself growing comfortable speaking to almost anybody.


Get a life

At this stage, you’re ready to start becoming cooler than you’ve ever been. In my book, I reveal something about cool people that most of us miss, and that is that it boils down to mindset.

Here’s an example from the book:

Consider two people talking about their weekend. One complains that he stayed in all weekend and was bored to tears. He couldn’t wait to come back to work. The other talks excitedly about how he stayed in and was able to catch up with his favourite book, some of his favourite tv programs and even did a little experimental cooking!

Both people stayed at home over the weekend, yet each person had a very different experience. Moreover, the second person appears ‘cool’ to everybody else. If you had to spend a weekend with either one, you’d pick the cool dude.

And yet, the only real difference boils down to mindset.

With this in mind, it’s time to pick some things to fill your time with, and to get excited about them. Resume an old hobby that filled you with joy or pick up a new one. Learn something – a new language, a new skill. Go to night school if possible and meet new people as you learn. This will do your mind wonders.

The goal here is to become a single guy with a full schedule of exciting things to do. Start to enjoy your freedom and begin to realise that none of this was practical or even possible when you were in a relationship.

Enjoy being single. There will be time for relationships later.


Be somebody

It’s time to start shaping the man you really want to be. By this point you’re free of mental baggage and you’re busy doing things you enjoy.

Now is the time to start thinking about the qualities you want for yourself. What will make you attract the type of women you really want?

Here’s a short list to kickstart your mind:

  1. assertiveness
  2. confidence
  3. kindness
  4. humour
  5. wellbeing

Being with your health. Start an exercise program and get yourself fit. Aim high: set your sites on reaching the best you. 

If you can afford it, invest in yourself by paying for a coach or an online program. Motivation in life doesn’t always come easy. Being part of a coaching group can help motivate you through the accountability such programs provide. Additionally, you’ll have tools to put together a decent diet that supports your goals.

Do not try to do this alone if you haven’t got a clue about nutrition or exercise. You’ll waste your time if you do so and become discouraged with the lack of results.

Conversely, nothing will drive you harder and fill you with good feelings than seeing results.


Choose your goals

By this point you’ll be almost unrecognisable even to yourself. I remember reaching this stage and being complimented by friends on how well I looked or how confident I seemed.

At this point, you’ll naturally begin to attract the opposite sex. I will tell you this: when you get to this stage, you’ll think very carefully about getting into another relationship. The truth is that being single – when you’re doing things that fulfil you – is addictive and you’ll have a hard time giving that up.

One thing you’ll notice is that what you thought was a devastating breakup wasn’t even really a bad breakup. It was something that needed to happen in order for you to reach a higher level.

This is a good place to be. It raises your standards and makes you naturally filter out lower calibre women. Why would you give up a cool single life for a woman that’s going to bring nothing but trouble and issues to your life? The simple answer is that you wouldn’t.

But you have to feel on top of the world and happy with your life in order to be able to naturally filter out what’s bad for you in your future relationships, and going through the process I outline here is the way to get there.

Working on yourself to become a superior man sets you up to experience healthy relationships.

This is a perfect time to choose your goals: the things you want in life. You may have had goals already, but this is a new, better version of yourself, and you’re likely to be aiming higher.

Choose whatever goals you want to achieve and remember: it’s better to aim for the moon and hit the mud than to aim for the mud and hit the mud.

Now you have the overview of my 7 step process to turn your life around. The devil is in the detail, of course, and you can find my book on Amazon if you want me to guide you through this journey. Just search Amazon for How to get over your ex J. Riley.

Now, I realise you still have questions, and I’m not about to leave you hanging, so let me tackle the tough ones for you.

Other questions

But what if you still love your ex? How do you get over her when you still care for her?

You need to recognise that you may be missing female company rather than your ex herself. Recovering from a breakup is a stressful time and right now your thoughts and decisions are very much emotionally driven. Allow a period of time to pass in order for your feelings to settle in order to think more clearly.

Emotion-driven thoughts and decisions in this situation (when your mind is in turmoil) are to be avoided or postponed for a time when you have the ability to apply cold logic.

The bottom line is, you cannot be sure right now if you miss your ex or the comfort of female company. This distinction is crucial. We become used to (and comfortable) having a partner to share our daily lives with, and the abrupt end of that will naturally send your mind into a bit of a spin.

Of course, you miss some aspects of your previous relationship. That’s normal. If a friend betrays you and you decide to cut them out of your life, you don’t suddenly hate everything about them. There are things you will miss from that relationship.

An intimate relationship provides an extra level of comfort and fun (especially in bed) so you’re bound to miss that part of it. It’s normal. Just don’t confuse that simple fact with needing a person who makes a bad partner for you in your life.

Is it harder to get over her if she's your first ex girlfriend?

Getting over a first love – or a first significant girlfriend – is generally harder than later breakups due to not having previously experienced this type of personal loss. The exception is breaking up with somebody you’re very emotionally invested in or somebody with whom you have experienced a long term relationship.

Read the above section on how to get over an ex if you still love her to understand the mental processes at work in your mind right now, and then add the fact that the warm experience of intimacy with a regular female partner was new for you, and you get a dog without a bone situation.

If she’s your first major girlfriend then your breakup is going to feel like a rough time for you, but we all have to go through this, so take solace in the fact that billions of men on this planet have gone through this before you and will continue to do so after you get over your breakup.

It’s a fact of life, if you like, so don’t fight it. Instead, move with the flow and work on yourself to be the type of man that a suitable partner will want a committed relationship with.

Why do I still think about her, and how do you actually stop thinking about your ex girlfriend?

To stop thinking about an ex, you need to first come to terms with your breakup and accept your situation fully. Thinking about an ex happens when there are loose ends, or a lack of closure in the relationship, or a hope that you may get back with your ex. Make a decision to move on and be OK with it if you want to truly break free.

I had to figure things out through trial and error, but you don’t. I wrote how to get over your ex to help guys like you get through these hard times and actually emerge better men.

One of the mental tools I talk about in my book is NLP (neuro linguistic programming) as a way to help you control your thoughts.

During a breakup, you’ll naturally experience repetitive thoughts about your ex. These can feel like torture and can make you feel like you’re going mad. 

One of the most important things you can do is regain control of your mind. You need to do this for your mental health and for your physical health. 

One of the exercises I explain in the book involves actively listening out for thoughts about your ex and immediately replacing that thought with another thought. Do this enough times and – due to the way the brain works – you’ll create an automatic response that enables you to quickly put a stop to those repetitive thoughts.

And what if she still has feelings for you? Can an ex fall back in love with you?

Wondering if an ex still has feelings for you when you haven’t heard from her after your breakup is wishful thinking on your part. It’s also an indication that you haven’t come to terms with your breakup and you haven’t moved on with your life. There is only one way to find out, and that is if she tells you or gives you a reason to think so.

If she doesn’t, then banish such thoughts (and hopes) from your mind. You need to get on with the process of healing emotionally. The best thing you can do is spend this time focusing on yourself and even enjoying bring single again.

If one day your ex returns and you decide to get back with her, then best of luck. At least you will have made the most out of this period of time.

So how long does it take to get over an ex girlfriend in total?

The goal is to get over your ex as fast as possible, of course. But if you want to learn from the experience in order to become a better person, you need to spend some time on introspection, going over some past events in your mind in order to analyse and learn from them. Ultimately, you need to take responsibility for your own part in the breakup.

And once that’s done, you’ll need to spend some time rebuilding your confidence and self-esteem.

As a rule of thumb, your breakup recovery should take around 3 months if you follow my process. If you’re guessing your way through, expect it to take around 12 months to account for trial and error.

It's been about a year since my breakup, so why do I still hurt over my ex?

If you’re struggling to get over ex girlfriend after many months, this suggests that something is amiss. There are unresolved issues that you need to address for the sake of your mental and physical health. If it’s been years, consider seeking professional help such as a psychiatrist who can give you a fresh perspective on your situation.

The most common causes of this situation are as follows:

  • you’re not emotionally mature
  • there are some underlying issues

The first reason (being immature) is the most common. To fix this, you need to work on yourself. Block out all unhelpful distractions like going out to bars in the hope of scoring so somebody else can make you feel better and learn to generate happiness from within. You are your responsibility, after all.

How do I let go of an ex who has moved on when I'm still struggling to forget her?

Feeling jealous or resentful of your ex because she has moved on and you haven’t is a sign of emotional immaturity. You need to come to terms with the fact that you don’t own or control other people and suffering over the things they do or say is futile. Instead, focus on yourself and improving your own life.

Make sure you check out my article to learn how to get over an ex girlfriend that has moved on. How to Get Over an Ex Girlfriend that has Moved On (for Ever)

And what if your ex girlfriend dumped you? Is it possible to forget her?

The reality is that, in the long term, it doesn’t matter who ended the relationship. Of course, being the one who terminates the relationship gives you an edge because you’re mentally prepared for the aftermath, whereas the person who gets dumped has their world turned upside down literally overnight. But the process of letting go is the same.

The first thing to do is to realise that when this happens you’re not your rational self. You need to accept that life has changed and you need to take some time to adapt.

The same process applies to get over your ex – you need to heal emotionally, whether by letting time do its thing or following a process, and then – if you really want to thrive as a man – spend time improving who you are. It’s a worthwhile investment that will serve you well for your entire life.


In this article I shared an overview of the process I outline in my book, How to Get Over Your Ex. This process took me a long time to piece together, and much trial and error.

This overview is enough to fill you with hope, to let you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. However, do consider if it’s worth investing the equivalent of a couple of cappuccinos and get my book to get the entire process step by step.

To find my book on Amazon, just search for How to Get Over Your Ex Girlfriend, J Riley.

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