how to stop obsessing over your ex

ever caught yourself scrolling endlessly through your ex’s social media profiles? or replaying old memories in your head while staring blankly at the ceiling? worse, maybe you’ve been bombarding their phone with messages. and now you’re blocked. my friend, you’re in what i call the “ex obsession zone.” which sounds quite intense, doesn’t it?

let me break it down for you.

the “ex obsession zone” is a state where you’re unable to let go of your ex, emotionally and mentally. it’s when you’re trapped in a whirlwind of past memories, deep longing, with a persistent sense of dread and loss.

in the “ex obsession zone,” your ex occupies your thoughts to an unhealthy degree, which can lead to obsessive or controlling behaviour. this could manifest in several ways, such as:

  • spending hours trawling through their social media profiles, even when it brings you pain.
  • repeatedly reliving memories of your time together, especially the good times, thereby idealising the past and overlooking the reasons why the relationship ended.
  • engaging in excessive conversations about them with your friends or family.
  • unsuccessfully trying to rekindle the relationship when it’s clear the approach you are using won’t work.
  • neglecting your personal growth, happiness, or future prospects because you’re so focused on them.
  • spying or stalking.
  • sending unwanted messages.

here’s the deal:

when you’re obsessing over your ex, you’re stuck in a loop, unable to escape or move forward. you’re not just missing your ex; you’re essentially allowing the breakup to dominate your life, thoughts, and feelings.

but remember, this “zone” is not a life sentence; it’s merely a phase that many of us go through following a painful breakup. it comes from grief. but like any phase, it can be overcome with the right mindset, strategies, and support.

in this post, we’re going to tackle how to break free from this zone and reclaim your life.

let’s do this.

acknowledge your feelings but don’t feed them

it’s okay to feel upset after a breakup. it’s normal and expected and part of the healing process. but there’s a difference between acknowledging your feelings and feeding them.

so you miss your ex. fine. but if you fuel that by rereading old texts, stalking their social media, or imagining scenarios where you get back together, that’s feeding the feelings. stop right there!

here’s what i suggest:

whenever you catch yourself feeding your negative feelings, mentally say to yourself, “thank you for sharing…” and then put your mind on something else.

you can even say, “thank you for sharing” out loud, if you are alone.

the point is, the mind tends to run off on its own when not given something specific to do.

so, when you find yourself having obsessive thoughts, you just need to “catch” yourself, and then acknowledge that this is what you are doing. then you can step back, and give your mind something better to do.

challenge your inner critic

everyone has an inner critic. this is that little voice inside your head that loves to focus on your insecurities and doubts. it can amplify your fears and paint a bleak picture of your life after the breakup.

when it comes to dealing with the pain of missing your ex, your inner critic might be telling you things like, “i can’t live without them” or “i’ll never find someone as good.” but, trust me, these are not facts; they’re fear-based thoughts. you lived before them, and you’ll live after them.

so, what to do?

well, first you need to recognise your inner critic; understand it’s just a fear-based part of you, and that you don’t need to let it run the show.

challenge it, confront it, and replace the negative idea(s) with healthier, more constructive thoughts.

you can even use the, “thank you for sharing” trick i shared above.

e.g.,

your mind: “you’ll always be alone.”
you, once you notice the thought: “thank you for sharing.”

(interupts the thought.)

then you can challenge the thought, if you like.

e.g.,

“so, you’re telling me that people who exit a relationship are destined to remain single? that sounds like bs to me. it’s a laughable idea!”

see?

in doing this, you’ll be well on your way to freeing yourself from all traces of obsession with your ex.

replace your obsession with a mission

find something that lights a fire within you. that could be learning a new language, musical instrument (i like the piano,) picking up a new hobby, pursuing a business idea, or travelling. you get the idea.

if your mind has nothing better to do, it will revert to something worse 😉

so, it’s time to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time.

things that good and positive.

so give yourself a mission, something that will make a better version of yourself.

let your breakup and misery be a catalyst for growth.

obsess over your potential, not your past.

choose consciously

every time you feel the pull towards old habits, choose consciously. if you don’t, you’ll end up unconsciously choosing, and that, my friend, is where your reptile brain loves to reside.

the unconscious choice is usually the easy way out, like picking up your phone to text your ex. whereas, when you consciously choose, you make decisions that your future self will thank you for.

remember, many who fail to move on from their ex are not consciously choosing, typically. instead, they are running on “autopilot” where the base urges are given free reign.

not choosing means you’ll take the reflexive route instead of something better.

what you must do is choose more of what you do, rather than reverting to habit or your strongest urges.

give yourself time and compassion

healing takes time, and it’s different for everyone. don’t beat yourself up if you’re not “over it” as quickly as you’d like. one day, you will wake up and realise that they don’t occupy your thoughts anymore, and you’ll feel lighter. until then, be patient with yourself.

now, let me be frank. if you’re reading this, it shows you’re ready for change, ready to move on, and ready to stop obsessing over your ex. that’s already a huge step.

but you don’t have to do it alone.

if you’re struggling, consider getting help. get the support you need, preferably from someone who understands what you’re going through.

it’s going to be okay

you may still stumble along the way; we all do. it’s part of being human. but every stumble is a step forward if you’re willing to get back up.

also, remember that you can’t fight what you can’t see. so, once you acknowledge these tendencies of yours, you’re already well on your way to winning the fight against obsession.

i hope that makes sense.

of course, time is a great healer. but time combined with deliberate action? you’ll be unstoppable. remember, life is about progress, and progress is all about dealing with reality.

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About the author: i’m a relationship coach specialising in breakup recovery. i’ve been doing this for 12+ years helping thousands worldwide. i created the Breakup Dojo, a popular program with over 1,000 members. i’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. i also publish the “ex-communication” newsletter that’s packed with actionable advice to over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.